Tag Archive | Irene Storrie

Founders Of The Feast 

On a lovely summer Saturday it was my privilege to, attend a poetry themed barbecue in honour of the world’s worst  poet otherwise known as William Topaz McGonagall. This annual event now in its 12th year is hosted by my good friends Colin and Irene Storrie who every year open their hearts and open their home for a fantastic day of poetry, music, and friendship where having celebrated the best poet in the world at our Burns Suppers in January we can focus on commemorating the self styled worst poet in the world who even on our worst days can make every one us look like a genius. That’s why I dedicate this year’s McGonagall poem to them. I’ve given it the title Founders Of The Feast I hope  you enjoy the read.  

Founders Of The Feast 

​It is one of my favourite my summer traditions 

In the land we call the United Kingdom of Great Britain 

as we gather together the many and not the few 

to have good food and companionship 

and enjoy a very sociable barbecue

   
It is always great fun, but I cannot deny 

that sometimes it is not just the food which will be grilled or fried 

as the natives of our land have a tendency get very badly burned 

when we see that big yellow object 

which is know by  metrologists and weather forecasters as the sun 

 This is however, not something about which we should complaining

as in Scotland and the United Kingdom Of Great Britain 

the weather has a nasty habit of raining 

If this is the Almighty’s idea of a summer joke 

I do not find it funny as many of out citizens 

could get caught in a downpour and end up getting soaked. 

This I fear would not be very good 

however I hope it would not spoil their day or stop them enjoying their food 

for that would be a very great shame 

especially at the poets barbecue 

which every year since 2006 

has been held to celebrate the honour of my name. 

This barbecue is not held in the Magdalene Green or the fair city of Dundee

Nor even in Edinburgh the city that gave birth to the poetic genius I was born to be 

it takes place in the heart of Glasgow’s East End 

and founded by most uniquely talented collection of friends

it is however to the founders of the feast 

I must now proclaim my gratitude

though I have heard said they prefer good companions

 to a diet of well meant  platitudes 

but alas as the my story has now reached it’s end 

I ask you to raise your glasses 

and toast, Irene , Colin, and the company of  friends.  

© Gayle Smith 2017 

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The Thoughts Of McGonagall On The European Union Referendum And Why We Should Vote To Remain

Hey Readers.

I’m relaxing at home after an enjoyable and highly entertaining day at the 2016 McGonagall Supper hosted as always by Irene and Colin Storrie. This annual homage to the the man dubbed the worst poet in the world is now in its 11th year and that is entirely due to the fantastic hospitality given by Irene and Colin who have created an event which is one of the highlights of my summer poetry calendar.

Amongst those in attendance this evening were Words and Music regulars Andy Fleming, Alex Frew , Jane Overton , Lesley MacKay , Derek Read, Jim Ewing, Jim Monaghan, and our club’s founding mother Pamela Duncan who brought some family members along to enjoy the day. It was also lovely to share in Rosie Mappleback’s birthday celebrations and meet Andy Fleming’s new girlfriend Christine who paid the gathering what I think must be the ultimate complement when she said that it was being amongst family. I think in that one sentence she summed up what this day really is all about. It was a wonderful afternoon and early evening spent with a great group of friends as is always the case on this occasion.

As one of the originals who was at the first McGonagall supper, I have now attended 10 out 11 McGonagall’s which is no mean feat. So believe me, I know only too clearly the tradition which needs to be observed, namely that poets who attend this gathering must not only read a poem by our bard in celebration of his work but should compose a poem in McGonagall style it is with this in mind that I write a new McGonagall poem every year and this year my topic is the upcoming referendum where McGonagall declares for Remain. I have have given it the title The Thoughts Of McGonagall On The European Union Referendum And Why We Should Vote To Remain I hope you enjoy the read.

The Thoughts Of McGonagall On The European Union Referendum And Why We Should Vote To Remain

Dear voters of the United Kingdom of Great Britain
On Thursday 23rd of June you will have to make a very important decision
This is the time when you must make a choice and you must never again complain
As with regards to the European Union you have to vote to leave or to remain

Now this referendum is leaving many people feeling most vexed
Some are positively bewildered whilst others are just plain perplexed
I myself even now am by this matter most bemused
Whilst some of the less well read are it seems very easily confused

I have read many comments on facebook which make me smile
They were by written those who should appear on Jeremy Kyle
These people I have to proclaim are most uneducated
And if they appeared on his show Jeremy Kyle would quickly be very frustrated

The leave campaign in full of union jacks and most scary stories
It is great to see George Galloway pals with Nigel Farage and the Tories
This man has a heart filled with hate and which we all clearly see
And is an insult to the Magdaline Green and the beautiful city of Dundee

This scallywag is the patron saint of bandanas
But the whole leave campaign is beginning to drive me bananas
It caused me distress when I saw Boris Johnson on This Morning
Waken up voters please heed my words of wisdom as a warning

You see if you vote for Brexit it will be most sinister
When you waken up with Bo Jo as your Prime Minister
This is something I would in a most earnest manner caution against
As he would make Margaret Thatcher look like Tony Benn

There is I am afraid in my heart a real fear we will leave
By I as McGonagall’s voice do declare and believe
That in spite of Cameron, Blair and Osborne and Brown
Being on the same side as myself
that you will not let us down

So dear undecided voters of the United Kingdom of Great Britain
On Thursday 23rd of June when you make your decision
If your not in the club then will have no right to complain
So with that in mind please remember to vote Remain

@ Gayle Smith 2016

From Poetry To Protest Marches From Pews To Pamphlet Launches I Shared A Common Space Or Two In The Name Of Faith And Friendship

Hey  everyone  Not only was Sunday was the longest day of the year but this weekend was the longest and most action packed weekend I’ve had for a very long time.  Honestly even with all those extra hours of daylight and the added bonus of sunshine and believe me it a bonus if you live in Scotland I still quite how I managed to fit everything in. I am however a woman and women as you know just get on with things and ain’t that the truth. Well we have to, we have no other choice.

Anyway, i was as i said active from beginning to end of a very busy weekend and is was a weekend which offered plenty of variety. It started with me making my now mandatory appearance at Baillieston Library to print a  copy of my poem for this year’s McGonagall supper which was happening later on Saturday afternoon. Print job completed i headed off to my monthly trans support for the first  time in longer than i care to remember.

Though i arrived later than i would have liked i still had time for a coffee and a chat with other women in a similiar position and when you’re trans peer support even in the smallest of ways is always a very handy thing to have. Being a political activist and member of the SNP  i gave my campaign report to the group from a trans perspective and said that i had been generally received by voters during my work on street stalls which goes to prove that our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was  right when she told me not to worry about a trans-phobic comments as the voters would judge me on the comment of my character and the merits of our party’s policies and not on the content of my wardrobe.  I also took great pleasure in reporting that my party candidate now local MP Natalie McGarry  used my talents and skills to the full and that this had been one of the best campaign’s i have ever been involved in.

In other news i said that i now felt more comfortable in my own skin than ever before and i believed that making the transition far from narrowing my friendship base had actually increased it.  It does however have to be said that not everyone is as confident as i am and  i have to say that i had a full and frank exchange of views with someone who said that they felt it was unfair that we have to live as women 24/7 to qualify for gender reassignment surgery. Needless to say i disagreed profoundly with this comment as i believe that the rest life test serves a very valuable purpose which is to demonstrate our commitment to living in our acquired gender and therefore avoid any mistakes being made in the process. The person concerned tried to fob me off by saying that they lived in  a rough area  and were too well known in the area to take the risk. Unfortunately for them however this is an area i know having grown up in a neighbouring  area  and i wouldn’t say it’s any rougher than the parts of the East End i need to travel through to get home or the area i used to work in. That said however we parted on amicable terms and i got on with the rest of my Saturday.

On leaving the group I decided to take a wee wander down to George Square or as the yes  movement call it Freedom Square. Personally I think this is a far more suitable name for my city’s civic  square than an outdated name which stinks of wealth and empire. This however is not how our city fathers see the issue.  Remember fellow citizens our glorious guardians are members of the anything for ermine brigade and would sooner see it retain the name of a long dead German king than rename it after a noble concept.  Re-naming it they say would to be concede that those horrible yes voters were right all along and the Loyal British Labour And Unionist Party will never surrender to that. Talking about no surrender it was really nice that our city guardians allowed that nice orange order to have a cultural day at the beginning of the month? Well it was in their opinion even if that opinion was not shared by those of us who put Scotland first  and believe in  a fairer more equal society. Anyway the square  was still pretty packed at around to 2.30

As tradition dictates I always bump in to a fair few fimiliar faces and believe me I wasn’t disappointed. I saw many friends from struggles past and struggles yet to come in a crowd much than the official figures of the press and media. Star attraction amongst them however goes to Mandy Morgan who informed me that she was about to be vetted to put her name forward as an SNP candidate for the Scottish Parliament and should she be successful in the vetting process it is likely that she will consider putting her name forward for the Provan constituncy.  Let me take this opportunity to say that I hope she has been successful in the vetting process and that she goes on to win the party’s nomination for Provan the seat in which she was born and raised.

After listening to some excellent speeches, mingling with everyone of all pollitical hues from Business For Scotland to the SNP from Communists to Greens  and being entertained by Gerry Cinnamen I finally left the square and made my way to Riddrie to the home of Colin and Irene Storrie for the 10th annual McGonagall Supper which Colin and Irene have turned in to a unique cultural feast where we pay homage to the man who has become renowned as the worst poet. in the world Dundee’s very own adopted son  William Topaz  McGonagall.

This is always an excellent day as most of those in attendance enter in to the spirit of the event with one noticable exception whose eyes are bigger than their belly and who only turns up for the food.

The format of the event is simple. We have some social time at  the beginning of the day and then after our genial host welcomes us all to the day we then get down to the business of celebrating the Bard of the Tay.

In the first part of the day we play to Oor Wullie by reading something from the great man’s work. Having done we adjourn to feed our faces, some more than others it has to be said, before reconveining to read our tributes to McGonagalll as we read the poems written in the style of the man whose name we honour. Topical topics this year included Glasgow city council leader Gordon Mathieson, who was brilliantly saterised by Catherine Baird, who was making her McGongall debut.  Alex Frew wrote about unfair pay and conditions in the workplace I tackled the topic of climate change and its impact on the Scottish weather and Andy Fleming wrote on the impact of austerity on the diet of the vegitarian proletariat. These were but a few highlights of what was a memorable event for all  the right reasons. As is always the case this event did not finish early and it was not until the wee small hours of Sunday morning that I finally returned to the village.

Bearing in mind my rather late arrival back home it was perhaps a wee bit of a miracle that I made it to church on Sunday morning but I did grace the kirk on the corner with my presence.  I have to admit though I was shattered and I think making to church did me the world of good and set me up for the rest of the day and it was good to be in attendance on the day of our Sunday School prizegiving.

After the service and the social time for fellowship with friends,  I made my way back to the flat for a quick coffee and freshen up before heading to the Art School for the Common Space launch party

Though it started six months ago this was the official launch for an innovative new media project whose aim is to break the news stories that the mainstream would tend to leave unreported. Having said that however Common Space which was set up in the aftermath of  the independence  referendum to provide an alternative service to the pro unionist media believes in collabaration rather than competition and this point was made by its editor Angela Haggerty in her welcome speech to a well attended gathering.

During what was a busy and productive afternoon for me I was chatting not only to fellow members of the SNP but to Greens and members of  Left Scotland and general movers and shakers within this much needed new media organisation. I even managed to get both a word and a couple of selfies with Angela Haggerty and chatted with Common Space journalist Liam O’Hare. I also enjoyed brief chats with video and technology expert Stephen Paton, and Kaleido Scot’s editor  Dan Littaeur . Well part of my reason for attending the event was to mix and mingle with those who are attempting to bring us the brave new journalism that Scotland wants, needs, deserves, and in my opinion has every right to demand.

One of the most informative parts of the day was the meet the bloggers which was held in the downstairs cafe. During this relaxed informal session i chatted with one of my favourite political bloggers James Kelly of ScotGoesPop.  It was at this time that I also caught up with some of those who have worked for Common Space. On meeting them I was quick to let it be known that I was a blogger who may be interested in covering the Scottish trans scene such as it is and reporting the issues that concern one of my many communities of interest. I said I had spoken to Angela about this and she had given me her e-mail address and advised to look for the Scottish angle on trans issues rather than just thinking of the issue in a more generic way. 

On returning upstairs i  had the same conversation with Dan Littaeur and he like Angela said that  he would welcome my input at Kaleido Scot as the mainstream LBGT  media tended to be biased in favour of gay men but Kaleido Scot already had two trans reporters and were far more receptive to trans related stories.  

Looking back on the event I would say that it was not only an enjoyable day but also a highly productive one for me at which I made what may yet turn out to be some really useful contacts. 

At the end of the event I went to the CCA for a wee refreshment before heading to The Griffin for what was my last event of an action packed weekend. This was a double pamphlet launch of two poetry collections Notes On AQuarter Life Crisis and The Man Who Loved Beer by the excellent Kevin PGilday.

On arrival we had a brief chat in which Kevin said that I had  probably heard all the poems in his set at least  a hundred  times. Personally I think that the ever modest Kevin is underselling himself as I couldn’t  give a flying fish supper how many times I’ve heard them because I never get tired of listening to quality and believe me Kevin P Gilday is a poet of very considerable quality 

However though he was without doubt the star of the evening and gave his audience which included friends and fellow poets Kirsty Nicholson and Jim Ewing a brilliant set of some of his classic poems such as Welcome To Dennistoun Hitler’s Moustache, The Man Who Loved Beer, Middle Class Love, Jesus In Possil, and The Workie, Kevin wasn’t content to keep the spotlight to himself and prefered to share it with fellow performers In what has to be one of the best most entertaining variety nights I have ever been lucky enough to attend.  

In young comeadianne Gemma Flynn Kevin had the perfect act to kick off the night. With material which could best be described as Guardian reading girl with Cosmopollitian lifestyle  Gemma took us all on a journey  in to Gemma’s world with carefully constructed lines which were fiesty, female, and funny. As I chatted  to her after her set this very talented twenty something said she had a show  at the Edinburgh fringe in August. Now I have to say that’s one show I’ll be going to see and I recommend dear readers you also put it on your must see list  

Next up was Edinburgh based musician A Dull Boy. Now if ever a performer didn’t live up to his name then this was that performer and I for one really enjoyed his set which was filled with quality songs from start to finish. In my opinion 21st century man was probably my favourite song of the selection but that said there  wasn’t a single bad song in his repretoire.

Next up was the main man in whose honour we had gathered the one and only Kevin P Gilday. Since I’ve already listed my favourite poems from his selection I don’t think I need to say anymore except that I will be buying both books at the earliest financial opportunity. 

At the end of his set a happy but exhausted Kevin introduced our final act of the night and believe me when I say I don’t think I have ever seen anything like The Creative Martyrs in all my years on earth. Honestly this dynamic duo were breathtaking from beginning to end of a set which was both high octaine and high quality and tackled the issues many safer performers tend to stand well clear like state control, war and death. I particularly lked their opening number The List in which they launched a brilliant attack on the horrors of too much state control and had Kevin’s wee sister the ever lovable Lisa doubled up with laughter,well it was either or terror during a song in which she was singled out for particular attention.

As they started the next song I wondered where they could go next and we didn’t have long to find out as they continued their all out assult on capitalism by reminding why the capitalist system loves war. Now when an act can openly engage an audience to think of this idea no matter how disgusting we may find it that act really does deserve those over used titles radical and cutting edge and believe me this act are worthy of these descriptions. I do however have to say that I felt really sorry for poor Lisa when yet she was the target for their brilliant if ruthless banter in the hillarious Spare Parts Baby.  

At the end of a wonderful event perhaps the wisest words of the night were spoken by Jim Ewing who advised me to ‘Get them to Sammy’s. With this very much on my mind I went over to the guys and, congratulated  them on a mind blowing set and asked them if they would ever consider appearing at our words and music night and much to my surprise and delight they were only too happy to take the details of it

And so  it was over. The busiest and best weekend I’ve had in months maybe even years. This was a weekend I will remember for the diversity of the cultural, poltical, and social opportunaties it provided  From poetry to protest marches from pews  pamphlet launches I think to its safe to say I shared a common space or two in the name of faith and friendship.

 Love And Best Wishes

Gayle X

Poetic Thoughts On The Commonwealth Games Facial Hair, And Tragadies Were Followed By Some Opera In The Garden As Mid Summer Mayhem Came To Town In The Name Of The Great McGonagall

Hey everyone. On Saturday the poetry clan gathered to celebrate the life and rhymes of one of Scotland’s true immortals. Mention the name Robert Burns and I’ll guarantee you’ll get every member of the great and the good of the proud Scots if you get my meaning, coming up with the only lines they know and often embarrassing themselves in the process.

Contrast this if you will, to the mention of the man many consider to be Scotland’s alternative bard William Topaz McGonagall and you will be met with either ignorance or howls or derision. However it was in his name that a group of poets gathered at the home of Colin and Irene Storrie to celebrate a poet some would claim to have a long way to go before he reached ordinary but whom we honour as a poet most extraordinary.

As the crowd descended on our genial hosts we were greeted by lovely mid summer skies to celebrate the longest day of the year which is the traditional day of this cultural feast. As is often the case with this event the majority of the crowd arrived somewhere between four and five pm. There were however some early birds such as Susan Milligan, Chris Young, myself, and Jim Monaghan.

After getting tucked in to some sweets and nibble and quenching our thirst with our tipple of choice in my case an Irn Bru we waited on the others to arrive. Amongst their number was a certain Derek Read who had just celebrated passing his course. Our congratulations go to him on his well deserved success, we know how hard he worked to achieve it.

As one by the throng gathered Colin called us to order and we assembled in the garden as he declared 9th McGonagall super underway.

As always, the first round of recitals were readings from the works of the poet himself before stopping for the feast and then reconvening for our tribute poems in his honour. By this time Derek’s all too brief appearance had come to an end as he had a prior engagement to attend a play at the Tron Theatre. The rest of us however had made no such arrangement and promptly got on with the business of enjoying ourselves.

Topics for this year’s tributes included The Tragedian by Alex Frew, Derek Read selected The Man With The Yellow Umbrella which on his behalf by Jim Ewing who then went on to perform his own effort The Great McGonagall and gave us an excellent debut with a thoroughly enjoyable poem. Chris Young wrote his poem on the theme of Beards Jim Monaghan another McGonagall debutant or as he said McGonagall virgin wrote a cracking poem entitled Beautiful Govanhill, and my topic of choice was the Commonwealth Games. So I think you’ll agree there was a wide and varied selection of material on offer.

At the end of the formal proceedings Colin proposed a toast to absent friends and I thought of Danny O’Connor, Marc Sherland, Paddy Hannrahan, Lesley MacKay, Etta Dunn and Freddie Fingers amongst many others who have graced the stage at previous McGonagall’s but perhaps most ironically of all I thought on Barry Dubber whose Beautiful Balmoral poem is the benchmark against which all future McGonagall poems must be judged.

He then opened the stage to anyone who wished perform any of their own work. This led to a brilliant set from Andy Fleming and Alex Frew under their musical comedy names of Frobisher and Gleeson as they performed classics such as the Pound Shop, There’s No Mention Of The Clitoris In The Bible, And David Icke with which I decided to give them a wee bit of assistance whether they wanted it or not as it is one of my favourite songs of theirs. However there was one song they did for the company with which I wasn’t too familiar though I have to say I am now as I managed to get on my video phone and that was Rock jam which I thought was brilliant.

During this less formal part of there were also golden moments from Jim Ewing whose poem Bromance never fails to make me chuckle. Jane Overton, Susan Milligan,whose rendition of As Tears Go By was as emotional as it was heartfelt, Monica Pitman though her choice of the Peter Sarsteadt song Where Do You Go To My Lovely did seem to annoy Jane a wee bit however unintentionally.
There was also a cracking wee story from Rosie Mapplebeck and Colin sang a few of his songs including one of the legendary Tollcross anthems Alcohol.

I read two poems The Tartan Ronaldo on the pressures of fame and young footballers, and Tights Before Trident in which I argue that the price of a pair of tights is far more important to Scotland’s economy than having weapons we cannot afford to fire. You may not be surprised to know that I take my lesson from the Elle Woods school of economic theory and remember Elle Woods was smarter than anyone gave her credit for.

The highlight of the evening however was as it so often is Chris Young. Chris demonstrated the full range of his talents by performing A Loud Marriage giving in it his reasons why he believes Scotland should within the UK. After a brief break he went on again to do his famous and highly entertaining poem on the environment and then he left us all speechless with a stunning operatic performance. So I think you could say we had found the perfect way to celebrate mid summer’s day and I am sure a certain Tayside bard would have approved of our endeavours. Well any event which includes poetic thoughts on the commonwealth games facial hair, and tragedies then concludes with opera in the garden is living proof that mid summer mayhem came to town in the name of the great McGonagall.

Finally I couldn’t finish my post on this glorious day without recording my thanks and that of the assembled company to our hosts Colin and Irene Storrie for their generous hospitality to all who attended this wonderful event. You know it was Colin’s idea back in 2006 to have a McGonagall supper. Since that initial event he and Irene have made this one of the must attend gatherings of the spoken word summer and as I left at around 10.30. I couldn’t help but think that as the traditional summer bonfire lit up the Riddrie skies friendships made in poetry’s name will never be extinguished.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

The Story Of The Man Who Set The Bar Low Has To Be A Tale Worth Telling

Hey  everyone On Saturday I had the honour of attending what must surely be the Tollcross Writers social event of the year. This is otherwise known as the McGonagall Supper in which those present pay homage, not to the man who was known as Scotland’s and perhaps the world’s finest poet of all time Robert Burns  but to the man who was his total opposite that man being one William Topaz McGonagall. A man who must surely rank as the world’s worst poet of all time if the critics are to be believed.

The Idea behind the event came in February 2006 when Colin Storrie who is  a fine topical poet of the early millenium was chatting to myself and Derek Read at our monthly gathering at Bards in the Park in February 2006. Colin was if memory serves me well saying that though he appreciated some of the work of  Burns that too high an estimation was given too him at the expense of other Scottish poets. Derek and I  much too his surprise agreed with him in the respect that Burns was not the only poet Scotland has ever produced, though this would appear to be the case if you ever listened to the inane  sycophantic whitterings of the press and media. So when Colin suggested that we as a community based writers group should honour someone like McGonagall whose work was often mocked by establishment the seeds were sown and in June of that year we held our first ever McGonagall Supper.

Saturday’s McGonagall was the 8th such event and  its hard to believe what started with an informal chat between has now become an annual event. hosted every year by Colin in partnership with his wife Irene. Make no mistake this is a day where pay tribute to a man who we believe may not have been quite so bad as some people think. After all he was kind enough  to set the bar far lower than Burns as to what constitutes a poet and without being too unkind this is a bar most of us can easily pass.

The format of event is that the poets and performers will first pay tribute to the man in whose memory we gather and read a poem written by McGonagall. After this, comes the real test of our poetic skill as we have to perform a poem we have written in the McGonagall style. In other  words it not has to rhyme it has to rhyme badly. Believe me, this is not easy and may actually more of a test of your poetic ability than you had first thought.

Needless to say I kept up my time honoured tradition of arriving late for this event, well it wouldn’t be me if I was on time. I mean we can’t be having that now can we? no we cannot I mean what would McGonagall think? Anyway  I just in time for the feast which i always seem to manage and after we all got tucked in to a fantastic spread each taking more than our bodies can handle We got to down what the event is really about. This is of course celebrating the man and his work.

As Colin welcomed us to the 8th annual McGonagall supper he handed over to Marc Shetland who declared that the event was now officially under way.  As the first poet took the stage it was time for Colin to remind everyone that the dried peas and barley were now available to throw at those taking part. This is a fine tradition of McGonagall suppers  as  McGonagall often had to endure this torment whilst performing his poetry to what he viewed as an ungrateful public.

During this round those brave souls amongst who were mad enough to read the work of our bard performed poems on temperance, Glasgow,  New York,  the burning of Exeter theatre, Forget me not’s, and of course those annuals which always seem to make an appearance namely the sun, the moon, and of course the queen, with whom  McGonagall seems to have had an absolute fixation

Amongst those attending the gathering were Colin and Irene well it is held in their home so they can’t not  attend, myself, The well kent and highly respected  Ayrshire trio of Andy Fleming, Alex Frew,  Jane Overton. Chris Young Freddie Fingers, Monica Pitman Susan Milligan, Paddy and Mary Hannrahan ,Chic and Robert from the Glasgow band The Untitled and McGonagall virgins Sarah Cassidy and Lesley McKay.  This is i’m  sure you’ll agree a decent quality line up by anyone’s standard  though not everyone managed to write a McGonagall poem. I along with First timers Lesley and Sarah and more seasoned regulars such as Chris, Alex, Andy, Marc , and Fred  Fingers who gave us two for the price of one, did manage  to undertake the task at hand though it has to be said it was written by hand in the Garden of Colin and Irene’s home just a few minutes before taking the stage,  Now some people may say this was showing due commitment. diligence and determination to honour the great man. Others, aka the more truthful amongst the company would say that this last minute was typical of me and my luck. My reply as that just like my football team the glorious Glasgow Celtic I am known for my ability to score last minute winners.

Amongst the topics covered in the tributes section were the invention of Bike  or to be accurate it’s prototype and predecessor which was performed by Chris School Inspections which was the topic chosen by Lesley,  The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and The McGonagall Supper itself were the topics selected By Fred in his two for one offer  and I decided to offer McGonagall’s  take on refugee week as my contribution for this year. However whether people managed to write a poem in the style of McGonagall or not, I think it is very safe to say that all entered in to the spirit of the day.

I think this spirit was best summed up by Chic from that excellent Glasgow band the Untitled when he said that the hospitality was second to none and he knows of no other family who open would their doors in such a way where it feels like you are wearing a pair of comfy slippers. I have to say i agree 100 per cent with him on this and know of no other family who makes you feel so welcome.

As the evening wore on, it developed as the McGonagall always does in to a bit of a sing-a long  With everyone enjoying good company good and  quality music what’s not to love about such an  excellent day  It truly was a feast in every sense of the word. Eventually at just before 10 o’ clock I left the gathering and along with Monica and Susan made my way in to town to start my journey home.

As I finally got back to my wee flat in Baillieston I  reflected  on a day which will live in my memory as good events always do and reminded myself that the reason Colin initially came up the idea of the McGonagall supper was that though it was only fair that If Burns was acclaimed for setting high standards, we had to recognise that the story of the man who set the bar low enough so the rest of our nation would have the chance to pen our poetic rhymes and musings has to be a tale worth telling.

Love and Best Wishes

Gayle