A Truly Wonderful Day As We Honour The Bard Of The Tay

Hey everyone As I sit in the stillness only times can bring I am reflecting on 7th Tollcross Writers/Bards in the Park annual McGonnagall supper. This is one of my favourite events of the poetry calender, as it gives the performers a chance to relax & socialise & enjoy a convivial atmosphere in a pleasant environment . This is something we don’t often get the chance to do when we’re busy performing at or organising events.

Excellently hosted by Colin & Irene Storrie, this was a day to celebrate all that was good about Scottish Culture. Ok so McGonnagall was the worst poet in the world, but that’s good because. It makes those of us who are members of today’s spoken word look brilliant even on our bad days & trust me I like people who can do that.

As I arrived at the venue, it was great to see so many friends gathered to join the party. As we tucked in to the buffet spread I chatted to two of my closest friends on the poetry scene namely Andy Fleming,&Alex Frew it was good to get the chance to relax & enjoy the company of these outstanding talents. Whilst some of us are only blessed with one natural talent others such as Andy & Alex are accomplished poets & musicians. It would be so easy to be jealous of those guys, however, I prefer to take the road of another Baillieston lass the lovely Michelle McManus & focus on encouragement not envy.

After a most enjoyable & generous feast Colin called the meeting to order & declared to the world or at least those assembled in his front room that the 2012 McGonnagall supper had started.

As the host or should I say co-host well one must not forget Irene’s contribution on a day like this, Colin decided that the perfect way to start the proceedings would be for the company to read a poem of McGonnagall’s on the diamond jubilee of one Queen Victoria especially since her great granddaughter wee Lizzy Windsor of Buck House had another one just a few days ago.

This unique experience seemed to work & it was interesting to hear so many different voices read the same poem ‘it felt like you were really part of something’ I wonder where I’ve heard that line before.

Amongst the topics covered in tribute to the great man were the Jubilee like I could have predicted that. Embarrassment Celebrity Culture & Death. This by any standards is a diverse range of topics & when you consider these poems were all written in true McGonnagall style you will realise the efforts that goes into creating a poem like that. Well as any decent poet will tell you its hard work to write which is so bad its actually good.

My poem which was titled From Shettleston to San Francisco & gave a McGonnagall take on the deaths of Donna Summer, Robin Gibb & Whitney Houston seemed to be enjoyed by everyone but especially by Andy who said that some of the lines in it were pure genius. Not bad when you consider it was only written in the wee small hours of Yesterday morning & typed up just before I made my way to the event.

On completion of the McGonnagall rounds we then read some of our poems, you know the ones that we write in normal style which prove that we do actually have real talent. My choice of poem for this section was one of my most recent ones which was written after watching a documentary on the godfather of performance poetry the genius that is John Cooper Clarke. The poem which is called I’m Part Of A Team Not Team GB, was very well received by all in attendance.

This was especially true of Hazel Brown who said it was the best poem she had heard in years. Now far be it for me to disagree with Hazel’s opinion but I think I have written better poems recently however it was a brilliant compliment & I’ll take it in the way it was intended. It was good to see Hazel back in the poetry fold as she hasn’t been around for a while & her presence has been missed.

When the singing started I discovered that Susan Milligan has been hiding some talents under a bushel. She has a good singing voice which should be used far more often than it has been up to now & she is a dab hand on the bongo drums. Great songs from Andy & Alex who were assisted by the wonderful Jane Overton are part of the course at this event. However excellent debuts by Steve Vickers & Damo were memories to treasure & Damo’s version of Ye Jacobites By Name was along with a story of oppression & injustice by Paddy Hannrahan were my personal highlights of the day.

As we made our way home I was saying to Derek Read that he is probably the only performer who has attended all seven of these events I missed the 2008 McGonnagall on the grounds the weather was so bad it physically blew me off my feet but I think six out of seven is not too bad by anyone’s standards. It is an event I look forward to every year & it never disappoints. Am I looking forward to McGonnagall 2013? You bet I am. Well it will be what its always been, which is a very enjoyable day when we honour the bard of the Tay.

Love & Best Wishes
Gayle X

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