As I reflect on the year which will shortly pass in to the history books I do so by saying that for me its been a pretty mixed bag.
Politically, 2016 hasn’t been the most enjoyable of years with Brexit Allepo , and the Trump victory in the U S presidential election being enough to make me weep tears of rage at the thoughtless actions of certain misguided human beings who seem not to care about the long term implications for our planet. There was however just one ray of light and that came with a third successive victory for the SNP at the Scottish parliamentary election. Thank God Scotland held our nerve and voted for a party which is continually told by Westminster minded Scots in UK parties to perform miracles on a shoestring and then manages to infuriate them by at least to some extent actually doing so.
Anyway, that’s the political section over, I now move on to culture and in particular spoken word. This started off on a disappointing when after 25 years Words and Music lost our home at the venue formerly known as Sammy Dow’s. This would have been sore under any circumstances but the fact that I wasn’t informed about it until the night before the February event was due to take place and this gave me less than 24 hours to make phonecalls and put the word out on social media and no one had the decency to inform me that the venue no longer opened on Monday’s left me with a very bitter taste in my mouth.
Naturally this came as a body blow and people wondered if the event would continue but though it was known by the name of its former home the proper title of the event is Southside Words And Music so I had every intention of continuing the night as soon as I could find a new venue. Fortunately after a bit of searching, I found a place in May and Words And Music had a new home at the Pollok ex-servicemen’s club which is known because of its military past by the nickname the Tin Hut Though we had to move the night from a Monday to a Tuesday we are now firmly established in a brilliant wee venue which welcomed us with open arms and are actually glad we’ve made a home there. (See picture of me and the founding mother of Words And Music Pamela Duncan below)
So if getting Words and Music sorted was very important to me and it was then devoting time to my writing, be it blogging or poetry was also a priority and believe me I put the shift in like never before. I think I have written some of my best poems in the last 12 months and I am particularly proud of the following which I list in alphabetical order and not in order of preference .It I think fair to say that 16 Cinderella’s, Advice To My Younger Self On Arriving Over The Rainbow, Dear United Kingdom, Dress Sense,Driving Instructor, Glasgow Girl, Prescription For Happiness, Self Made Woman, Through The Hoops, True Colours, Two Hours, and Vote Of Thanks To Martian Teansvestite, all come from a very personal place and set out signposts on a road map to my life.
With regards to my blog I made what I think was a very wise decision early in the year and that was to change the focus from topical to personal . By doing this I reduced the political input to my blog and made it more about me so that on the occasions I do post political content my readers will know more about where those views come from and the circumstances that shaped them. Whilst I acknowledge this will result in my stats falling a bit from the peaks of the last two years it should be said that this is a long term strategy and not a short term fix and the fact I was listed by a prominent UK blogger and as one of bloggers to watch in 2017 indicates to me that my decision however challenging in the short term will have longer term benefits.
Last but not least I focus on my performances and I have to say that 2016 has been an amazing year for me in this respect as I’ve appeared on more billed events than in any year since I started performing in 1993. Amongst many brilliant night it’s difficult to select highlights but if push came to shove I would say that the feminist night at Ivory Black’s in early March, the Women With Fierce Words event at the Scottish Poetry Library, and the Fair Play for Palestine benefit at McChuills, would be top of my list of readings.
So as I say farewell to 2016 I do so by thinking that like any other year it had it’s share of up’s and downs but though the global events which occurred in the last 12 months may not have been to my liking they’ve delivered a cultural harvest which given me hope for the future.
Love And Best Wishes