Tag Archive | Adam V Cheshire

When Women Of A Certain Age Decide To Get Fierce The Golden Girls Can Really Rock The Mic. 

​Due to an unforseen accident in the last Wednesday of April, It’s fair to  say that May was a quieter month than usual in my poetry calendar. Indeed I had to postpone my own event due to a badly sprdined ankle.

This meant  there was no Words And Music at the Tin Hut on the first Tuesday of the month. I also missed cracking nights at Fail Better, Extra Second,  Express Yourself, and Last Monday At  Waterstones. In fact the only event I made in the whole of May was on the second Sunday of the month when I captained the over 40’s team in the four  ages slam at the Tron Theatre 

 This was an afternoon which I simply had to attend comes as 0ou I was  chosen by the host and organiser of the event Robin Cairns to captain the team for my spoken word demographic but also the fact that it was my first journey outside Baillieston since injuring my ankle at the tail end of last month Since I was still a bit shaky in the terms of my movement I got taxi’s to and from the venue well it made more sense than going for a bus and potentially making things worse. 

Having been made captain, I had to select my team for the events in which we would be doing battle with the teams representing teenagers twenty something’s and thirty something’s and with an emvarrasnent of  riches to choose from I made a few tentative enquires as to who may or may not be available for selection. Eventually I settled on my choices and in Angela Strachan and Lesley Traynor I knew I had chosen well, whether we would would be able to take on and beat the other teams would be as it is in all slams in the lap of the gods, the aududnce, and the judges.

I arrived early for the big event and was quickly joined by rival team captain and close friend Victoria McNulty who since she was taking a social media break had not heard of my recent accident. As we chatted I told her that this was only the second time I’d left the house since it happened and the other occasion was to cast my vote in the local elections. Eventually I was was joined by my team mates and other competitors including fellow team captains Carla Woodburn , Matt MacDonald. As kick off time drew ever closer we went through to the Victorian Bar took our seats on the stage and waited for the battle to  begin. The rules of the competition were simple all poets would perform twice in a round robin fashion and the two highest scoring teams after the two rounds  would progress through to the final to compete for the title of the Four Ages Slam Champions 

After the prelimaries like deciding  on team names and  the running order,  we were treated to a sacrificial poem from one of our judges Brighton based poet Deborah Martin. Sacrifice made It was time to start the competition and it  was the Young Team who were first to the mic as Aidan Rivett opened the slam with his take on Karaoke.One by one the  poets made our way to the mic when it came to our turn to put our first poem out there I decided to take a captain’s responsibility and lead from the front as I performed Jewel Of The Clyde in which I looked back the impact of Glasgow’s year as city of culture on both the politics and culture of our cityThis being my first ever team slam though I have competed in and judged individual ones, I was understandably nervous as I didn’t want to let Angela or Lesley down so I was glad to get it out of the way and get back to my seat. 

On a day when we played to what was a predominantly non poetry audience who had paid £7 for the privilege of seeing us I think we saw the poetry community at it’s best and those gathered  heard poems on a wide range of topic including domestic violence ( Victoria McNulty) family from both (Adam V Cheshire and Moki , male anger Loki, Sex and taming the bad guy Lesley Traynor with her hilarious take on the big bad wolf, nightclubs, me (lost the plot,) and Aidan Rivett , facebook friendships, Jess Smith , shopping and the perils of giving up  smoking (Angela Strachan) and the dangers of swallowing spiders  from Carla Woodburn. 

At the end of the second round of  poems it was four quality teams who waited for their fate to be decided by the judges two of whom would be judging every poem but the third judge was a different story as this was a different member of the audience for every poem and I must admit I rather liked the idea of what I call poetry democracy in action.

As we waited for the judges decisions I talked tactics with my team to decide what poems to perform if we made it through and also I had to consider who would be placed where in the running order. I took a captain’s decision that should we get through I would be going first , Lesley would follow me and Angela, would be our final poet standing. Eventually , the judges made their decision and we had qualified for the final where we would pit our wits against the young team. It was set up as the classic final a battle of youth against experience. 

Having lost the toss it was the young team who went up first then it was my turn to step up to the mic and I performed one of the few poems I know well enough not to need a paper copy or my phone  and when Karaoke Queen got a maximum score of 10 from the audience member I knew I had played my part to the best of my ability. 

One by one we took our turn at the mic and when Lesley performed her poem my sister sleeps I thought we had grounds for optimism and then finally it was Angela who went all out for glory to prove that the so-called oldies can be Goldie’s and believe me The Queen Of Modern Suburbia didn’t let us down.Now having done all we could do it was two nervous teams who awaited the decision of the judges 

Eventually, they made their call and much to my delight they called it for us. The wise ones had  won the day and our all female team had proven that when Women of a certain age decide to get fierce the golden girls can really rock the mic. 

Till next time 

Gayle X

A Treasure Trove Of Memories In A Room Full Of Friends As We Came To One Last Carnival And Said Farewell To Rio 

Last night was an emotional one for the Scottish poetry community as it signalled the end of the cultural institution that is , was and ever shall be Last Monday at Rio after 10 amazing years in the heart of the both the west end and the Glasgow spoken word scene.  

 
Picture (1) The main man and host of this event Robin Cairns kicks off the final night of his reign at this cracking wee venue by taking us down memory lane as he performed the poem that opened the very first night at Rio and we meet the school teacher called Old Lochgelly. 

Picture (2) Peter Russell takes his turn at the mic 

Picture (3) Shows A R Crow and Shannon McGregor relaxing and enjoying the atmosphere of the night 

Picture (4) Sees Jim Monaghan share his thoughts on Rio and why it will always have a special place in his heart. It is the mark of a man of principal that Jim would sooner speak with integrity on the part that Rio has played on his spoken word journey than perform on such an important occasion. 

Picture (5) Is of a stalwart of this event and many others over the years. A man who has entertained us in his boxer shorts and worn his party candidate rosette on stage and had his hand up so many puppets that he could were he not so principled get a job as a Tory Chief Whip. I refer of course to the one and only Chris Young. 

Picture (6) Shows Shannon McGregor taking her turn to entertain the company .

Picture (7) It was an emotional night for Stephen Watt who regarded Rio as his poetry home and has done since making his performance debut on this stage in 2010. Over the years since first meeting him in this cracking wee cafe I have come to respect Stephen as a poet and even more so as a man and have valued his friendship support and advice. 

Picture (8) Has our very own Falkirk bairn Janet Crawford at the mic. In her introduction last night Janet informed us that it was Stephen Watt who encouraged her to go west with her poetry and I for one am very glad he did. 

Picture (9)  Shows a poet whom you can always rely on to raise the bar, the brilliant Katharine MacFarlane who went for a poem on sex and brought us all in to a fit of the giggles.  

Picture (10) Shows the man whose had more headline slots at Rio than anyone else the man who Robin described as the best poet in Scotland today the amazing poetic tour de force that is Kevin Cadwallender. 

Picture (11) Sometimes in life it’s the small things that make us happy and that’s certainly the case in the poetry world when Sam Small performs his work. 

Picture (12) As reached the penultimate open mic slot it was time for A R Crow to share their thoughts on what happens when Scots get a glimpse of the sunshine with their hilarious poem Taps Aff. 

Picture (13) Kirsty Nicolson makes history as the last open mic poet ever to grace the stage at Cafe Rio with one of my favourite ever poems Being From Lewis Is on the stereotypical images people have on the island where she was raised and her family roots are planted.

Picture (14) Our last ever headliner who took not only to the end of the night but to the end of an era was the excellent Hamish MacDonald. A consummate performer Hamish’s poem Ma Bit is an outstanding example of what can happen when people become too territorial and attempt to exclude others from what they believe to be ‘their’ communities.

And so it was over. 10 years of not only of quality spoken word but a valuable part of Glasgow’s cultural and social history. During a decade in which Glasgow has undergone many changes we have heard 1,000 voices speak their truths on a wide variety of topics and listened to everyone who shared them.  In doing so we have created a treasure trove of memories and we’ve done it in a room full of friends. I can think of no better legacy than that. 

Picture (15 ) Our host and compere for the last 10 years.

Thanks Robin. 

See you somewhere else. 
Love And Best Wishes

Gayle X 

17 Poets

Hey Readers On day 22 of NaPoWriMo I look back on a wonderful night of spoken word at Extra Second. This is a night I can’t recommend highly enough and to celebrate my first appearance at this excellent evening I have written a poem entitled 17 Poets. Though I have already written a poem with the one word title Poets which was inspired by my friend Audrey Marshall, this is very different in content and though I was tempted to change it I was reminded that there were the three versions of The Power Of Love and none of them sounded remotely similar. My thanks to Paul Wardrope for confirming that my original choice of title was the right one.  So here it is, 17 Poets I hope you enjoy the read.

17 Poets

When poets speak with authentic anger
the audience listens 
as tales on Europe
homelessness poverty and unfulfilled ambitions
proved the personal is political
Now I don’t mean to be critical
of the older generation
but there are occasions
when they need to wind their necks in
and realise that just because they are a certain age
they do not have a right to rage
about not getting a seat on the bus
this culture of entitlement
is not an enlightened attitude
I am sick to death of their platitudes
of how it was better in their day
it wasn’t there lying
it’s not cool
and voting SNP both votes
will not be enough to free Scotland
from Westminster rule
despite Facebook campaigns
to the contrary
capitalism will never cure poverty
it magnifies the gap between the haves or have nots
and just because someone has bouncy hair does not make them an optimist
so make sure you have no regrets
the law doesn’t work for women
or at least not yet
and male ego doesn’t mean
that you are the smartest man in the room
I heard all these tales and many others
on a night when the world discovered what happens
when words danced to the tunes of ranters
and the only recruiting Sargent’s
were from the army of 17 poets
whose dreams were  shared on the stage
even though the final poet raged against rage
we were the voice of authentic anger.

@ Gayle Smith 2016

NB This poem was written on day 22 but couldn’t be posted until now due to the usual technical issues like my phone needing charged.

If You’re Really Angry At The Survival Of The Privileged You’ll Receive A Wednesday Welcome At A Place Of Acceptance For All

Hey Readers  Wednesday night saw me take my weekly journey to the Blue Chair Cafe for a night of cabaret and chaos. As is always the case there were great performances from the regulars and some highly promising debuts at an event which seems to be getting more popular by the week.
As I arrived a wee bit late it is fair to say I missed the early performances but those I saw more than made up for my late arrival.

The first act I saw was Darren a gifted singer/songwriter who played four songs  two of which Monolith and References were absolutely brilliant.  This is  a man of genuine talent and a performer I want to see and hear a lot more of.

Next up was one of my favourite members of the Blue Chair family. Anna Crow. Anna for those who don’t know is a committed political activist and is standing  for The Green Party as a list candidate in Glasgow. In this particular set, Anna who identifies as non binary gender performed Queer Is, Ask Me If I’m Ok a thought provoking poem on the topic of mental health , and she finished off with a breathtaking political polemic entitled If Your Not Angry Your Not Paying Attention. As I’m sure regular readers are aware I am a great admirer of Anna’s , her poetry is not only very well crafted she always seems to come up with such wonderful titles for her work and some of her lines are right out of the top drawer. In the last poem of her set  Anna encapsulated all that is wrong with UK and indeed global society with this damming line on how the rich and powerful treat the rest of us ‘ Those in power ignore their pain , crack open another bottle of champaign. These words to me sum up the couldn’t give a damn attitude of the Cameron,  and Osborne Conservative government towards those in society who are left on the scrap heap by their toxic brand of politics.

After Anna it was the turn of Andy to entertain us with some laid back acoustic tunes and make the mood somewhat more melodic. This however was only temporary and when Gabriel Featherstone took the stage the result was highly creative comedy from the Alice Cooper of stand up whose topics included jokes on Orwell, and time machines and is the only man in history to sing his own introduction.

Following Gabriel is never easy at the best of times but when you are heckled by a drunk singing Tiny Bubbles the old Sydney Divine classic of  1970’s west of Scotland new year parties who insists he’s not drunk and is only slightly intoxicated your job becomes so much harder and such was the case for Adam V Cheshire on this wet and windy Wednesday. However far from giving up as some people would I am sure have been tempted to do, Adam simply got on with his set and performed No Man Is  An Island, giving and I hope he will forgive the pun a storming performance.

As things calmed down a bit it was the job of my very favourite member of the Blue Chair family, Kirsty Nicolson to make it stayed that way by reading one of her own poems Is There A Word? and followed it with a story by a nine year old member of a children’s drama group she teaches. Kirsty then made the draw for the Blue Chair slam which will take place on the day that this is posted

Kirsty was followed to the stage by a young musician making his Blue Chair debut and I have to say that Kieron was a welcome addition to the night. I really liked this guy and his songs especially his first number entitled Looks S Bit Like Ronaldinho, which despite the title Kieron assures us as a song on unrequited love. After Kieron it was the turn of Davy who performed a couple of covers and I loved his version of Lilac Wine

At the end of Davy’s set the focus returned to poetry and Mark performed five of his poems Ghost, More, This Is The Illness, An Unknown, and Truth In The Lies. What I liked in this set was the variety of topics covered, and his easy listening style  makes him a poet with a voice worth listening to.

Mark was followed by James who treated us to a couple of songs All Gone, and Workman It was during this set that our resident compere Kieron asked if I wanted to be next to the stage and ever one for a challenge I accepted the slightly earlier than usual slot
performing three poems two of which were receiving their first public airing.  I did however start my set with an old and trusted favourite in Karaoke Queen.  This was to give my phone time to load up, when it did I read Acceptance which is about being a trans teen in the stifling cultural climate of the Scotland of the 1970’s. I finished my set with my tribute to David Bowie A Vote Of Thanks To A Martian Transvestite. Yes you did read that title correctly as once recall my mother calling Bowie a martian transvestite.
Anyway as I was to find out later, my set and especially the new poems were very well received with acceptance in particular getting very positive feedback from a number of those in attendance. 

I was followed to the stage by Jack who sang two songs the second of which, Pretend, was his debut Blue Chair debut of his first original song and believe me when I say it went down a treat with the regulars.

After Jack it was the turn of the man that our compere Kieron  described as the most patient rapper in the world and when Paul took the mic he didn’t disappoint. Well let’s be honest , he never does. Believe me this is a man of genuine quality. Paul started his set with the wonderfully titled Survival Of The Privileged and his line about the IMF being as  gangster as it gets is both topical and brilliant. Our rapped then delivered his second rap of the night and Hourglass was sharp, current,  and on point as a rapid fire rhymer with rhythm grabbed the attention of an audience who were only too willing to listen to his words and enjoy them. 

As we neared the end of another entertaining evening it was Blue Chair favourite Grace who was next up to the stage. Grace performed only one number on this occasion and it was a song with a very misleading title The Same Old Thing as this description though a good title for a lovely song comes nowhere near to describing her talent.

As Grace departed the stage after an all too brief appearance it was time to welcome our penultimate act as Russell Wilson performed two of his favourite songs Hoochie Coochie Man and Foxy Lady before Pete who was also making his debut the performances to a close with his rendition of the Johnny Cash classic Fulsome Prison Blues. 

At the end of Peter’s song there was only one thing left to do and that was to as a company sing the Closing Time song before leaving our cultural homes to get back to the safety of our real homes

As I made my journey east I thought on the night I had enjoyed in the company of friends and. of strangers whom I hope will become friends in days yet to come and reflected that if you’re really angry at the survival of the privileged you’ll receive a Wednesday welcome at a place of acceptance, for all.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

Church Carols And Cultural Celebrations Left Me With A Very Festive Feeling

Hey Readers For most people Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest when you don’t do very much apart from possibly going to church and watching comfort telly with those who matter most to you. Most people however do not have my social diary and last Sunday was and I have to say it action packed from beginning to end. 

As a regular attender at church the fact I went to morning service will surprise nobody. It may though shock you ever so slightly when I say that I went not to one service but to two at the church pictured below.

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The second service was an evening Carol service at the kirk on the corner. It’s the time of year you know,  so when I heard that we were having an evening Carol service neither wild horses nor loud poets could keep  me away from it. 

At the end of the service I joined the rest of the congregation for mince pies with tea or coffee to keep the cold out and I  particularly welcomed my hot coffee on such a cold winter night and would like to thank our hosts at Lodge Robert Burns for their generous hospitality.

On leaving one gathering I made my way to another. This one was being held at The Blue Chair Cafe and hosted by the very talented young poet Kevin P Gilday  (pictured below)

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You see Kevin being not only a quality poet but also a top bloke, had organised a poetry party for those of us who host events throughout the year. There was however one rule for those of us in attendance there was to be no poetry performed on the night. Yes when Kevin says we’re having a night off then believe me we’re having a night off. When I congratulated him on this innovative idea, Kevin who hosts Rhyming Optional said we work our buns off to host quality spoken word nights and give others the chance to perform so I thought it would be nice if we could just have one night off to  enjoy a bit of social time as reward for the hard work we put in month after month. This in my opinion, was a very noble idea from a very honorable man.

Amongst those in attendance were Sam Small who hosts Inn Deep,  Kevin MacLean from Loud Poets,  Adam V  Cheshire,  Anna Crow, Ross McFarlane,  Mark Mc Ghee from Fail Better, and of course the lovely Kirsty Nicolson ( see picture) who is one of the driving forces behind The Blue Chair Cabaret.

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During a relaxed and enjoyable evening it was good to be able to catch up with Jim Ferguson a man who has done much for Scottish poetry in the almost 23 years I’ve known him. As I enjoyed music from formidable talents of Declan Welch and Mark McGhee not to mention some of the best cake I’ve ever tasted I was given the title of most talkative poet in Kevin’s mock awards ceremony. I regard this not so much as an award more a statement of fact and I’m sure if you asked the members of St Andrew’s church in Baillieston I’m sure you wouldn’t  find many who would disagree with  that sentiment.

On what was primarily a social night with only the occasional musical interlude I  have to say I particularly enjoyed the music of Declan Welch and I heard a version of Jingle Bells which was so funny I doubt I’ll ever be able to listen to this festive classic in same way ever again. 

On a personal level,  my highlight of the evening thanks to the kind words of another of poetry’s rising stars Liam McCormick who thanked me for giving him his first chance to perform his work. On hearing this I must admit I got a real buzz as to me at least that is one of the reasons I find hosting Words and Music such an honour.  To me there is nothing to beat giving a new performer the chance to find their voice and get their work out there in front of an audience.  As I said to Liam I was only doing for him what others such as Jim and Cathy Craig, Hughie Healy, and Pamela Duncan had done for me. You see, it was they who brought me up in the oral tradition and gave they the support and encouragement I needed as a younger poet and they expect and indeed demand that now I am in the position to do so that I provide that support to others.

At the end of a fantastic celebration of that is good about spoken word I made my way back to the village During my journey I reflected on a busy but enjoyable day in which rest was not an option and concluded that a mix of church, carols, and cultural celebrations had left me with a very festive feeling.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X