Tag Archive | Matt MacDonald

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

Advertisements

The Little Lessons Teach You A Lot About Yourself If You Listen To The Voices In Your Head

As I prepare for the March edition of Words and Music  it’s time to look back on the events of a very eventful February. To me February is the month when we cast aside our party clothes after the excesses of the festive season and return to a place of normality as we wait to see what the coming year will bring us. It was with this in mind that I allowed myself a quiet smile of satisfaction as we began to gather for the evening ahead. 

 You see it was at this last year when we started our enforced break having been told by our previous home only at the very last minute that  they no longer opened on Monday and Tuesday nights news which threw both myself and the event in to chaos. Eventually however we did find a new home and having settled in to it baptising with the kind of Christmas and New Year shenanigans that only we can have , it was now time to settle in  and enjoy it as the surroundings take on that comfortable feel you can only have when you feel truly secure on your journey to the future.  

Talking of journies, our featured writer had travelled from Edinburgh to be with us and Matt MacDonald being the kind of sensible organised man that he is had even arrived at the venue before I had. Now that’s what I call dedication and as we enjoyed some pre event social time Matt told me how much he was looking forward to the night. 

As the crowd gathered I got the night started dead on 8 o’clock as I tend to do these days. I think the change of home has been good in this respect as whilst at our old familiar venue that was our home for 25 years I was mindful that Pamela would often get me to hold back from starting to wait for some latecomers to arrive, however on moving home I decided to change this and start as soon as the clock strikes 8 and welcome others as they arrive. 

As soon as the clock told me to,  I started the evening with a new poem which hadn’t even been written when we gathered in January to bring in the bells.  The poem Winter Miracle, recalls a childhood memory in which I relate the story of a boy who had never seen before in arriving in Glasgow and how  our teacher didn’t share our excitement at sharing a winter memory with our classmate and friend.  

With my job done, it was time to move on and enjoy the rest of the night and who better to kick off the madness that will forever be Words and Music than Andy Fleming who marked his first appearance of the year by singing Voices In My Head. Now I don’t know if Andy does get voices in his head but if he does they must be very talented ones to produce the kind of work he does. 

Andy was followed to the stage by his friend and mine Alex Ftew who read three pieces Land Fever, No Parrots, and a cowboy story entitled Lannigan which reminded me of the kind of wild west programmes my dad used to watch in the 1970’s. 

As Alex returned to his seat it was the turn of another of Words and Music’s most regular contributors to entertain the company and Pete Faulkner did just that with a witty yet sensitive story about a shy boy who becomes a superhero This was an entertaining and heartwarming story with which despite the gender differences I could easily identify. Well it’s a little known fact that the minute I put my tights on I become the tartan wonder woman 

Anyway that’s enough of my ramblings for Pete’s sake and as Pete Faulkner left the stage it was another Pete or should I say Peter who was next to bring his talents to the table and trust me Peter Russell is a man of considerable talent. 

On this occasion, Peter read three poems The Becks Blue Blues, Mr Murray’s Words which is written as a tribute to Les Murray, before concluding his set with the brilliant America First, a poem which offers hope for a troubled country as he reminded us of the resilience of the American people 

Next up was one of my favourite poets and one of my favourite people, I refer of course to the excellent A R Crow. A R, started their set with a poem on mental health issues titled Ask Me If I’m OK. This is not only a wonderful piece of powerful thought provoking poetry but also serves as a reminder to the audience and society at large that we should be looking out for each other more in these turbulent times . 

A R continued their set with a poem on anxiety, before concluding on a poem entitled Queer Is This I poem I really enjoy despite the fact that as a trans woman  I would never use the word Queer to identify myself. I do however recognise that A R who identifies as a non binary person in other words does not identify with the notion of male or female gender identities is using the word in a positive context to empower themself rather than the negative stereotypes which were associated with it when I was growing up in the 1970’s and 80’s 

As A R rejoined the company it was time for Susan Milligan to claim her five minutes and take us on a trip to her world. On this occasion Susan performed Mia, Love Lust and Lullabies, My Not Sonnet , and A Laddie which was written in Scots, and finished as she usually does with a song . As Valentine’s Day was just a week away at the time of our event I think the song of choice which was the Conny Francis number Where The Boys Are was I think a fitting one and I know that it’s a song she likes singing. 

After Susan it was Alan McGlas who led us to the bar break as he performed three pieces which started his classic Honey Nonny Nay before moving on to Hors D’oeuvres and bringing the first part of the evening to a close with his take on A Happy Marriage. 

During the break I caught up with Robin Cairns who was making a welcome visit to Words and Music and he told me of a new project he’s working on which is by far his most ambitious to date and his most serious piece of theatre since Sawney Bean and believe me it sounds intriguing and like all of Robin’s projects I’m sure it will be top quality entertainment.  

Talking of quality we started the second half of the night in   traditional way with our featured writer and in Matt MacDonald we had the kind of poet whose thoughtful well crafted work is always a joy to hear  

Matt started his set with poems on his home city of Edinburgh kicking off with a poem on friendship entitled 29th September 2011. He followed it up with Bloodlines , before moving on to Arthur’s Seat and then the last  poem of this part of his set The Island Of Broken Sky. At the end of this poem Matt took us on a journey not to broken skies but to the Western Isles of his ancestors and in particular the isle of Harris which his cousins still call home.  In his first poem in this section of his set Whisky Pebbles relates a tale of childhood adventures that warmed the hearts of the audience as we travelled back in time to share the experience with him. This was followed by Little Lessons a poem Matt wrote for his grandfather.Matt then moved on to another Harris based poem and Packing Up in which he shares a memory of a trip he made with his mum. For  his final poem Matt (pictured below) read Signposts In Gaelic To My Edinburgh Eyes and in doing so completed a  truly magnificent set which was both educational and easy on the ear. This is a poet  worth hearing and enjoying a poet grounded both in the craft and his heritage who writes lovingly of his family and trust me his family have a lot to be proud of. 


Having  Matt travelling all the way from Edinburgh and being up to my neck in Celtic Connections for practically all of the festival meant there was no featured musician but this meant I decided to double Matt’s fee and I don’t think there was anyone who would object to my decision.  

After Matt’s sublime performance, it was Claire McCann who had the challenging task of following him and to be fair to Claire she  gave it her best shot performing  two poems The Room, and The Square. Personally I thought The Room, was the stronger of the two as it focused on the impact of social class on  friendships and relationships and I have to  say I quite enjoyed it 

Claire was followed by January’s featured writer Suzanne Egerton whose storytelling skills have won her many friends over the years she’s been attending Words and Music. On this occasion Suzanne read a story entitled Patience and as usual her characters were brought to life using the  warmth and gentle  wit for which she’s become know.

At the end of Suzanne’s set it was time for which the penultimate performer of the evening and it was great to welcome Robin Cairns back to the Words and Music stage. On introducing his set Robin said that he had been inspired by Eveline Pye’s set of poems which documented her time in Africa and as a result of this inspiration he has written his own set of poems on a topic he knows well and that topic is commerce and industry. In a highly enjoyable set Robin read commerce and industry before finishing with That’s Why The Lady Is A ….. in which he showed that if satire’s worth doing it’s worth doing well. 

With everyone who wanted to perform having done so , it was my job to conclude the night and bring it to a close. I did so by  performing two poems Global Warning which was based on my mother’s unique and slightly eccentric  reaction to the idea of climate change and Yesterday When I Was Young which takes a reflective look at my life to date

With the evening now satisfactorily concluded we made our way in to the night and started on our homeward journies. As we did so I mused on the fact that the little lessons teach a lot about yourself  if you listen to the voices in your head.  

Love And Best Wishes

Gayle X 

  

On The Night A Piper Played To Win Scotland Found A Champion

Hey Readers

On a dark Saturday night in the cold of a Scottish winter I made my way to the Tron Theatre to enjoy a top quality night of spoken word poetry as I attended the 2017 Scottish poetry slam championship final.

This is always one of my favourite nights of the year as Scotland’s premier poetic talents battle it out for the prestige of being Scotland’s national slam champion and the honour of representing their country in the poetry slam world series in Paris later in the year

As expected the Tron was packed to capacity for such an important cultural occasion and all stars of the Scottish spoken word scene including this blogger were out in force to support those judged throughout the year to be the cream of this year’s crop. Amongst those I chatted to was Jane Overton who was one of the judges for the event. I also had a quick word with David Forrest who like myself was there to enjoy the evening, and other audience members Kevin Cadwallender, Anna Crow, Janet Crawford, Lesley Traynor , and Shannon McGregor. Amongst the contenders I had early chats with Katharine McFarlane, Lloyd Robinson, Matt MacDonald, Molly McLachlan and Victoria McNulty and wished them well for the night ahead.

As tradition dictates the event was compared by the maestro Mr Robin Cairns who brought the occasion to us as only he knows how. After revealing that there would be two abaebtees from the list Robin took nominations from poets in the audience for a wild card entry and though a few poets themselves forward such as Jade Mitchell, and Shannon McGregor it was Ben Rogers whose name was pulled out of the hat and in to the slam.

In the first round, the poets were drawn in to four groups of four competitors each with two from each group going through to the second round and three (well that was the plan )going through to the final where the eventual winner would be declared Scottish Poetry Slam Champion 2017

As the draw was made we were all hoping that our choice or choices would make the final. For the record this totally unbiased blogger was trying her best to remain as neutral as possible , but even I have favourites though I’m not going to say who they are. Well I get on well with all the poets in the final so I’m not going to name any names as to who I may or may not have been supporting.

In an excellent first heat  we heard work of outstanding quality from Elise Hadgraft on Homelessness Aiden Rivet and his Wonderwall poem Daniel Piper and his cleverly crafted poem DJ Veg. This was followed by Max Sratchman whose poem on how a woman’s quest for love could have been filled by a Down’s syndrome baby she chose not to have tugged at more than a few heartstrings, and believe me this group set the standard for the other contestants to follow.

When we did get in to the second group there were yet more stunning performances. These came most notably from Katharine MacFarlane whose poem on her sister’s very traumatic rape and the ordeal which followed and now makes her fearful  as a mother with a daughter of her own This poem was so powerful that it blew the Richter scale to bits, and Lay La Josephine whose poem I Think She Was A She gave a very powerful and passionate portrayal of the way women who have abortions are made to feel guilty by a society in which these issues are not talked about as openly as they should be. It should also be noted that Molly McLachlan was in this group as was wildcard entry  Ben Rogers and I thought Molly who was the only contestant to get the hooter in the opening round performed well in this company. However , and I’m only saying because I love Molly to bits, it is my opinion she started her poem too slowly and in such a tight group the marks I’m sure it cost her illustrates how difficult competing at the top level really is especially when I believe there could be less than 10 points between those who qualified for the semi finals and those who missed out.

The third group was kicked off by Victoria McNulty whose poem Coffins From Derry is in my opinion a very strong piece in support of refugees in which McNulty draws on her own Irish heritage and the hostility towards the early Irish immigrants to demonstrate why as someone whose blood as she says ‘ is cut from refugees ‘ supports those she describes in the final line of poem as ‘ the displaced people residing in Scotland today ‘ Next up was the excellent Bibi June with her entertaining and thought provoking poem Simon Says . This poem was funny and disturbing in equal measure and demonstrates just how easily sheep can be led to whatever pen the establishment want to go to with alarming ease.

Hamish MacDonald’s poem Ma Bit focused strongly on tensions between rival communities both local and global and real and imagined as it explored the potential for conflict that territorial geographies can and do provide where borders are contested. Ellen Renton performed a thoughtful and considered poem on her love for both Glasgow and Edinburgh in which she produced the line of the night with the words ‘ I can still belong to Glasgow with my heart in Midlothian. This in my book was absolute genius and poetic imagery at its brilliant best. It was a wonderful way to conclude what I believe was the toughest group of all the first round qualifiers.

It was Matt MacDonald who will be February’s featured writer at Words and Music who kicked off the final qualifying group with his poem Fibonacci. Matt was followed by the pint sized pocket rocket that is the brilliant Hannah Raymond Cox. After Hannah it was time for the penultimate performer in the first round and Jack McMillan was climbing the ladder of spoken word success and finally Lloyd Robinson brought the first round to a close with his poetic take on those right wingers who voted for Brexit with I’m Ready To Stop Being English. This was a real crowd pleaser as the anti Brexit sentiment went down very well with the predominately West of Scotland audience.

As we headed for a well deserved bar break everyone had our own mental list of who we thought would qualify for semi finals but only the judges would make that decision and I for one didn’t envy Andy Jackson, George Miller, Jane Overton one little bit. 

As we reconvened after the break Robin gave us the results of the judges deliberations and it’s fair to say that for some members of the audience there were a couple of surprises amongst the qualifiers. I have to say however that I called most of them right, well 7 out of 8 isn’t bad by anyone’s standards and yes I did see hurricane Hannah qualifying from the final group because I’ve performed with Hannah at Other Voices and know how good she actually is. Trust me Hannah, is one of the best performers you will ever see on a poetry stage and I’m not understating the case when I say that she a talent ten times the size of herself.

As the semi finalists were announced we managed to get what very few political cabinets ever do the perfect gender balance of four male and female qualifiers. As the draw was made, you would have been given more than decent odds on the two heats being exclusively single sex but that is exactly how it turned out with the first heat being all female and the second heat all male. Now I can’t prove it, but it is my educated guess that the minute the judges saw these single sex battles was also the minute they decided to up the number of finalists from three to four.

In the first heat it was the turn of the girls to spice up the night and believe me they did exactly that with some truly mesmerising poetry as all four poets were outstanding and produced the kind of work which made me proud to have heard it. As for calling it I thought Katharine was a certainty for the final with her poem Bonnie Scotland speaking to my rebel heart in the gentlest and most passionate of ways.

As for the others I changed my mind at least half a dozen times before giving the nod to Hannah Raymond Cox for her poem The Revolution Will Be Televised. This poem shows why I rate Hannah as highly as I do as it combined wit and warmth in such a newsy style I thought I was being patronised by the BBC.

As for the boys to me only Lloyd whose poem Jump written on the theme of suicide was met with the kind of silence a poet only gets when you know the audience have really listened to every word was a safe bet for the final. As for the others Ben , Daniel, and Hamish’s were all quality poems but I struggled to call second place though I did eventually decide for Hamish, but as I said I wasn’t in the judge’s seat and it was up those who were to give there decision and as we waited expectantly for their decision we were entertained superbly as Robin performed a poem from his extensive and varied catalogue

With tension building and the excitement palpable the judges handed their findings to our host who announced that it was going to be a final four and not a final three as originally planned. After making the announcement Robin named the finalists as Katharine MacFarlane , Elise Hadgraft, Lloyd Robinson, and Daniel Piper. On the night of all nights the audience were ready for our finalists to do battle one last time to decide who would be crowned Scottish Slam Champion 2017

And so as we started what was going to be a cracking final it was Daniel Piper who was first up with a poem on rave culture which used humour to explore a potentially challenging issue.

Daniel was followed by Katharine MacFarlane whose poem on her the use of language and its power to value or devalue people really spoke to my heart. I say this not only as a trans woman but also as a former equality trainer who used to have a section on language use in every course I ever delivered. I love this poem and the fact that it was written for her daughter adds to the power of a fantastic thought provoking poem which contained many examples of wonderful imagery which is the trademark of this gifted poet.

As Katharine left the stage our penultimate poet of this year’s slam to make her case for victory and believe me Elise Hadgraft delivered her best poem of the night right on cue and the brilliantly titled I Want To Wear Your Clothes showed that this is a poet with serious talent whose use of suggestion as intimacy was in my view an absolute masterstroke in a poem which spanned a range of emotions including love, lust, and a liberal sprinkling of humour and made her a genuine contender for the title. 

So it fell to Lloyd Robinson to be the final contender in this year’s final and yet again Lloyd delivered an excellent poem on the theme of suicide which was well received by an appreciative audience who gave all competitors the respect they deserved on such an important occasion. Now having done all they could do the fate of our final four lay in the hands of the judges and finally the decision was reached. In my heart I had called it for Katharine but alas this night was not to be hers.

As Robin announced the result I held my breathe in expectation. As is the case in Strictly and other important events the verdict was given in reverse order. So at the end of great night for Scottish poetry 4th place went to Lloyd Robinson with Katharine MacFarlane in 3rd. Our runner up was Elise Hadgraft which meant our new Scottish Slam Champion was Daniel Piper and it is Daniel who will take with him the good wishes of everyone involved in the Scottish spoken word scene as he goes to Paris as our representative in the world series in May.

I make this point because if there is one thing the Scottish spoken word community is good at it is supporting each other when it really matters and trust me this matters. We want our champion to be the best in the world and I’m sure Daniel will do us proud.

As the end of the evening a number of us both audience members and performers including Anna Crow, Aiden Rivet, Hamish MacDonald, Heather Duffy, Lay La, and Molly McLachlan, and of course Daniel enjoyed a post event drink in the salubrious surroundings of the Tron Bar. As I chatted to our newly crowned champion, Daniel said he felt a wee bit guilty about winning the title since he only moved up to Scotland at the end of last year and won the very last slam before the cut off date.

On hearing this very honest opinion, I replied that he didn’t need to feel guilty about anything as the only people in the position to deliver a verdict were the judges and there decision was that his poetry suited Scotland just fine. In fact what they really decided was that on the night a Piper played to win Scotland found a champion.

Congratulations Daniel Piper Scottish Poetry Slam Champion 2017.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

I’m A Ranting Raving Poet With A History Of Rebellion Who Believes In A Scotland Of Equals.

Hey everyone As some of my friends may have known I had hoped to attend the brilliant spoken word event that is last Monday at Rio last night. This is an event I really want to get back to and as soon as humanly possible however I fear that I will not be to get back to this cultural feast of spoken word until May as there is for those who haven’t quite noticed yet a general election in just over a month’s time and as a member of the SNP I am only too aware I have my duty to my party and my country at this important time.

According to my good friend Stephen Watt I missed a brilliant night in which Shaun Moore was an excellent headliner and Matt MacDonald was on fire. I have to say that knowing Shaun and Matt as both poets and friends I am really sorry to have missed such brilliant performances and also some fantastic debuts.

I have to say that on this poetic evening my creative talents were put to good use at the rooms of my local branch of the SNP as I worked on the first draft of our candidate’s statement to sell her to the voters of Glasgow East.

Honestly the buzz I got from working on this task was incredible, I felt privileged to be asked to use my talents in this way especially as our candidate is one of my longest standing allies in the party and took this loose cannon under her wing from the moment I first met her not long after joining the party five years ago.

The fact that Natalie McGarry is young enough to be my niece matters not one jot. Indeed I am honoured that see she has said that I am like her honorary auntie. Yet she is the one who has to occasionally gently discipline me. Yes I know you’ll think I got that the wrong way round as it should surely be the auntie honorary or not who should be the one dishing out the discipline. Not in this case it shouldn’t, well when your auntie is a ranting raving poet with a history of rebellion then it is the niece who has to make the rebel toe the line and it is due to her kindness, support, and sometimes well chosen words that Natalie has helped and encouraged me to develop my skill set and be as active member of the party as time and commitments allow.

You see Natalie was born in to the SNP whereas I had who had spent many years as an election volunteer helped came late to ‘official membership’ This was due to personal reasons of gender identity which I had to resolve before I felt I could give my time to the party I had supported for 99 percent of my adult life and will continue to support for the rest of my remaining years which I hope to number in decades rather than figures.

This it has to be said was not a party decision this was my decision. If there is one thing I have learned about the SNP in the past five years it is the fact that we are as I had always hoped we would be an inclusive party who accepts and values the skills and talents of each and every member. Well, we believe in Scotland so it stands to reason we also believe in the potential of our people.

Natalie McGarry is a shining example of this of belief in our ability to deliver a better Scotland. You see not only does she believe that Scotland should be an Independent nation she also believes that Scotland must be a nation where equality must be more than just a buzzword.

The fact that this feisty fearless Fifer has chosen to represent a seat in her adopted city of Glasgow should come as no surprise to those who know her, she is after all the current chair of the Glasgow Regional Association of the party and has had an active role in the politics of the Glasgow SNP since coming to live in the place she calls home during her student years at Glasgow University.

I have to say I was delighted when I heard Natalie had put her name forward to be a candidate for Glasgow East. This is my constituency and I know it’s people well. I also know that the Glasgow East SNP had a brilliant selection of very able and talented candidates from which to choose and I appreciate that for most of my fellow members this would make selecting our candidate a very difficult choice.
For me however it was a no brainer it had to be Natalie it could be no-one else. Well I don’t give up my poetic Mondays for just anyone you know.

Yes I was disappointed to miss what sounds like a fantastic evening, it always is Robin Cairns makes sure of that but I knew had to go the office to help Natalie because I believe as she does in a fairer more inclusive society and the principles of social justice which underpins that society. There are many however who do not share our vision of an egalitarian Scotland and I received transphobic abuse from one such homosapian as I waited for my bus to a venue which even at that stage had still to be decided. I was told by this so-called member of the male species that I should start dressing like a man as I was doing his nut in. I have to say I have poshed this comment up for the purposes of this blog, but let me be very clear on this issue I will not tolerate let alone accept any transphobia of any kind not today, not tomorrow not ever. As for his ridiculous suggestion that I should in his words stop dressing as a woman I answer with this reply. I am not dressing as a woman I am living as a woman and that will never change so do the world a favour and get over yourself.

This unprovoked attack was not only insulting and aggressive in its tone it illustrated someone who is clearly ignorant of the law of the land. So let me enlighten anyone who shares these misguided and deluded beliefs. As a transwoman I am legally protected under both the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and The Equalities Act 2010. These pieces of legislation give me the full rights of a woman and those are rights I intend to use with the full force of the law to back me up against any narrow minded individuals who may resort to discrimination against me or stereotyping of me. It was this transphobic incident which finally helped to make my mind up as to where I was going last night and that was to campaign for Natalie McGarry the woman who signed me up for Women for Independence. Like Natalie I have always believed the best way to deal with narrow minded people is by educating them. I also believe as a transwoman I have an important role to play in both women for independence and in the Scottish National Party and beyond in that social and cultural education in shattering myths and misconceptions about the trans community as part of a broader political education.

You see, though I will always take my revenge against these bigots I will do it not in the way they expect. Instead I will do it by campaigning for the one thing these people and that is by working as I hard as I can to create a better Scotland than they could ever imagine. Well I may be a ranting, raving poet with a history of rebellion but I believe in a Scotland of equals and that and only that was the reason I missed a cracking night of top quality poetry.

Yes it’s great to have choices, but sometimes we have to guard those choices and make sure they are not reversed in any way shape or form. It is this fact which motivated me to go down to the campaign rooms and do my bit for Natalie and leave the ranting and rhyming till next Monday night at Words and Music.

So to the voters of this constituency I say I have a very clear message. If you want a Member Of Parliament who will fight for fairness, if you want someone who will make sure equality becomes a reality for all of us and who doesn’t believe the old Orwellian quote that some are more equal than others should be treated with the same reverence as a biblical quote. If you want a representative who will listen to you and value your voice, then we have the perfect candidate to stand up and fight for you and the principles you hold dear. That candidate is Natalie McGarry.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

Favourite Poems Are A Matter Of Taste And Very Personal Choices

Hey everyone Last Thursday being the first Thursday in October was National Poetry Day where a nation however you define it, remembers and celebrates the importance of this craft to our cultural, social, political heritage.

This time last year I wrote a post on the poets who had influenced both myself and my friends. This year I decided to go down a different road, as I have over the course of a good wee while asked my friends what is there favourite poem of mine and also why they like it.

My reason for doing this can be seen in the words of Robert Burns. It really was about seeing ourselves as others see us because the one thing I know is that if you ask a group of friends this question they will in the main come up with a variety of different answers, thus proving that no two people will see you in exactly the same way.

Having said that however one poem which did get a lot of mentions was The Lemon Dress. This poem about growing up with a secret was a favourite of such well respected poets as the Edinburgh based force of nature Kevin Cadwallender who described it as brilliant. Former federation of writers makar A C Clarke and 2013 Words And Music Open Poetry Champion Stephen Watt. It was also well received by Jacqui Connolly, Caron Lindsay who published it in Scottish Round Up, Monica Pitman, Kirsty Lowndes, and the only poet in the whole of planet poetry whose shows I insist I must see twice at the Edinburgh fringe, our very own wonder woman Sophia Blackwell. All those I’ve mentioned say it’s the honesty of the poem which they really like and believe me it’s a poem which comes straight from the heart.

Talented young traditional musician Laura Wilkie selected Mother Hen as her favourite poem of mine, saying that this poem sums me up perfectly. I think she may be right as I do have a tendency to fuss over my younger female friends. I think that’s what comes of not having a daughter of my own.

Also from the traditional music community Daniel Hunter liked Letterkenny Memories which is one of the most open and honest poems I will ever write on the subject of my diverse and complicated family. This poem also gained favourable comments from another musician of considerable talent in Bob Leslie. Indeed Bob said that the line “A sash that his father never wore” was a biting comment on those who look for identity anywhere but in their own back yard and believe me it’s hard to disagree.

Another to give voice to her opinion was Maureen Fairgrieve who said she really enjoyed Standing In The Shadows. Explaining the reason behind her choice she said that ‘it is a real challenge to readers who stay in the shadows to step out in to the light supported by real friends’. This view was backed up by Ann Kennedy who also selected this poem and said that she loved it.

Stuffed Tiger Blues was the surprise choice of Jenni Pascoe who hosts the ever enjoyable Jibba Jabba at which I had the pleasure of appearing at this year’s Edinburgh festival fringe.
Jenni went on to make a very interesting point with which I entirely agree saying that it was really difficult to choose as some were technically better as poems but others had a really strong message. Eventually however she chose Stuffed Tiger Blues because she really loves tigers. This choice should please Linda Grant who shares her love of tigers and Stephen Watt who suggested the theme when I set friends the challenge of selecting a topic for me to write on

Another to add her voice to this blog is my friend and stylist Mandy Lochrie whose choice of I’m Just A Girl Who Can Say No reflects her political vision for Scotland and the things she doesn’t want to be a part of it. This choice surprised and delighted me as it was the last political poem I wrote before the independence referendum and a poet to which Mandy she can completely relate. This illustrates that Mandy has a vision for our nation which is very similar to mine.

Someone else with a shared political vision is my friend and fellow performance poet John McGlade. His choice of I Speak For Scotland in which I lampoon the leader of the Better Together campaign Alastair Darling shows his appreciation of satire an art at which he is a master. John is not only a gifted poet he is also comedy script writer and cartoonist so this is a subject he knows well. Therefore to gain credit from him on one of most satirical pieces of work is I believe very high praise indeed.

Politics also featured in Jim Monaghan’s choice. As Jim is a principled man of the left it should not be too much a shock that he selected Champagne Socialist a poem he described as my best argument for yes in the course of the entire referendum campaign. Jim justified his choice by saying that the reason he liked it so much was that it put forward the case for a yes vote without mentioning independence, Alex Salmond, or the SNP yet was able to demonstrate exactly why we needed it.

Michael McLaughlan was another poetic voice to add his voice to the debate describing his choice Alternative Tomorrow’s as fantastic. This should bring a smile to the woman who inspired it Glasgow Labour Councillor Aileen Colleran.

As I said earlier Monica Pitman said she liked The Lemon Dress however she was also fulsome in her praise of My Glasgow a poem for my native city, a city I love despite or maybe even because of some of it’s faults and flaws. In fact Monica said it was leaked straight from a Glaswegian’s heart and she loved the fact she didn’t need to wear heels to stand tall.

This view was also shared by poet and storyteller Stephanie McGregor who said she loved this poem as her dad was from Glasgow, and it’s a place she is very find of. Heather Caldwell also liked this poem saying that she loved the symbolism I attribute to our old city. I am of course glad to be of service

It isn’t often an Edinburgh poet sings the praises of Glasgow but Pauline Brightwell Chumbley did just that informing that me this certainly pulled on her heartstrings, as it was a great mix of nostalgia and hope for the future. Indeed she went to say the auld bitch isnae deid yet and you know what, I think she might be right.

The Voice Of Number 10 was the choice of both political activist Douglas MacLean and a fellow poet and former Bards in the Park regular Sandra Lang. It seemed that my personal take on the death of Mrs Thatcher went down rather well among those of a left wing disposition. Indeed Sandra said she loved the poem, shared it to her Facebook.

Mark Niel who is the official poet laureate of Milton Keynes said that after having a half dozen the two he enjoyed most were Blood on the Stars which was written to commemorate World Aids Day and The Last Cup of Coffee in which the title is used to illustrate the end of the festive season and the return to the routine of everyday reality.

Mark may have picked a couple of my more serious efforts. However someone who has known me a wee bit longer is blogger, tweeter, teacher, and long term inhabitant of my virtual village Louise Anne Geddes. Louise-Anne also selected two poems though in her case both were of the more humorous variety which my younger female friends can relate to. On Happy Endings she said it very much appealed to her sense of humour, and the same with her other choice Tears of a Style Queen she said that having never been a skinny girl, the ending made her chuckle in an evil manner. This I think shows my inner bitch and anyone who is daft enough to cross my inner bitch does so at their own very considerable risk.

As many of you know I have a very strong affection for Edinburgh and despite the fact our capital city committed what was in my eyes a capital crime by voting no in the referendum I still do. One of the reasons for that is the quality of its poets and believe me I know I’ve written a good poem when I’ve impressed an Edinburgh poet and especially a poet of the calibre of Matt MacDonald who is in my opinion one of the rising stars in Scottish poetry. Matt’s choice of my Pro Independence poem The Quilt delighted me as it is a poem in which I acknowledge the importance of the union in our country’s history whilst wishing to move on to a new start and to a better relationship with our neighbours. In his comments Matt said the central image was a beautiful one which I handled really well. Coming from a poet of his calibre this is indeed a fantastic compliment.

It perhaps no surprise that Linda McGarrigle daughter of the late John McGarrigle said she couldn’t dream up a better title The Night The Stars Refused To Dance which was my title for my memorial poem for those killed in the Clutha helicopter crash which included her father who was someone I liked and respected both as a poet and more importantly as a man.

Someone else for whom I have a very great respect is former makar of the Federation of Writers Scotland Sheila Templeton whose choice of A Single Girl On Valentine’s Night was also amongst the favourites of a certain Kirsty Lowndes who is a massive fan of my trans related poems. Sheila said that it was as if the woman in the poem was getting dressed like a lady of the night. I’m not sure about that but I do think she was illustrating that a girl has to ready for love be it on valentine’s night or any other night and that she was a woman who was comfortable with her sexuality and was at ease with herself.

Talking of Makars current Federation Maker Ann Connolly selected Twenty Four Romanians as her favourite poem as it contains a powerful message against stereotyping immigrants. This is a view which was also shared by another poet my friend and chosen sister Catherine Baird.

Heather Caldwell selected I’m. Part of a Team Not Team GB which was also a favourite one of our Words and Music regulars Lesley MacKay. Heather said that she really loved this poem, in part because I heard me deliver it myself and because in her words It’s catchy and clever. She went on to say that It has stayed with her and still brings a smile when she remembers it.

On a different topic completely blogger Lisa Marie Ferla selected A Trans Daughter Remembers Her Mother which I wrote for World Transgender Day about my loving but complicated relationship with my mother. Lisa Marie described the poem as really powerful stuff ; really moving. She even went as far as to say she thinks i’ve found the perfect art form to tell my story. This was also the selection in as far as he was willing to make one of my friend and mentor Derek Read who echoed Lisa’s sentiments on the power of the poem. This was also another one on Lesley’s list as she says it demonstrated the bond between myself and my mum may have been stronger than either of us cared to admit.

My friend and fellow member of the SNP Margaret McLaren McCabe selected one of my favourite political poems Tights Before Trident which she inspired me to write saying that she loved it as it spoke to her both as a Nationalist and a feminist. Whilst fellow blogger Elaine Livingstone selected my comedy poem Happy Family which I wrote about what would be the world’s most dysfunctional family.

Sophia Blackwell who it has to be said is one of my favourite poets took me back to my adolescence for her second choice poem Jackie Girl. This is a poem which has a very personal resonance for me as it was the poem I read to my gender specialist to let him know I was transsexual and on hearing it he said that there could be no doubting I was female as even gay guys who read their sister’s copy every week could not have gone in to so much detail as there are some things only a woman can know.

Still on the topic of my formative years, American poet Arielle Dale Karro selected White Tights and Mini Skirts and told me that it was a poem with which every woman could identify. Speaking as a transwoman I have to say this really pleased me. Well it shows that the reason transwoman know we’re really woman is because we understand the little thing that matter to us.

I think this is also true of poets because if I have learned one thing through writing this post it is that favourite poems are a matter of taste and very personal choices. Indeed they often reveal more about those making the selection than they do about the poet.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

From Transition To Trident I Told My Story My Way And I Told It In My Own Authentic Voice

Hey everyone All too soon it had crept up unnoticed. It was the final Saturday of the fringe and my final day of Edinburgh 2014 so I was determined to leave the stage after having the best time I could have in short space of one day. Little did I realise how much this day would test both my performance skills and my emotions and make me laugh and cry in equal measure.

Running late or at least later than I had planned I hurried up the North Bridge and made it to the mile just in time to see the excellent human dynamo that is the one and only Sophia Walker in her thought provoking show. Can’t Care Won’t Care

I don’t want to say too much about except that it made proud to know her and even more proud to call her my friend. This show was performing in the raw and believe me it touched parts of my heart I never knew existed. Anyway I have already posted on that particular show so I know dear readers that if you have read my review you will know just how much how I enjoyed an entertaining if emotional start to my day.

Next up was an appearance at Other Voices not just to watch the show but also to participate as one of the open mic slots. This was my last performance of 2014 so I wanted to make it count and finish my fringe on a high. As the crowd began to gather it was good my friend and Sammy’s regular John McGlade in what was a packed house. This I think was only fitting for such a quality event and it made me even more determined to give it my best shot.

As our genial compare Fay Roberts kicked off the show in her own unique way little did we know of the drama which lay ahead. This included a fire alarm during Sophia Blackwell’s set which to paraphrase the old football phrase meant it was a set of two halves both of which were excellent. Amongst the poems included in Sophia’s set Red which showed her at her glamorous and daring best, and the poem with which she finishes becoming wonder woman I want to do more than survive.

After Sophia it was time for the open slots who on this occasion were myself and Stephen Barnaby who is well known on the spoken word for his amazing 50 word stories. Since neither of us expressed a preference for going first or second it was up Fay to decide who went in which order. As luck would have it I was chosen to be first up and I decided to read one of my favourite and most autobiographical poems A Trans Daughter Remembers I had thought about reading The Lemon Dress which I know would have went down well or even taking a selection of appropriate poems and letting the audience decide. In the end however, I decided not to do what we at Words and Music would call an Andy Fleming but to make my choice and stick to it and it seems I chose wisely because at the end of my set I got the biggest round of applause I have had in 21 years of performing and 10 years at the fringe. Indeed John McGlade went as far as to say it was the best he had ever seen me perform in the seven years he’s known me and Fay said the applause from the crowd should tell me all I needed to know.

After my set it was the turn of the other mic slot Stephen Barnaby to entertain us and this he most certainly did with three of his trademark 50 word of stories. Personally I would find this an extremely difficult thing but Stephen has got his storytelling down to a fine art and it was a joy to listen him performing some quality prose.

After Stephen it was time to return to the main acts and Hannah Chutzpah was at her devastating best delivering a brilliant set including Permission which has to be one of my favourite poems of this year’s fringe stating as it does in no uncertain terms that no women need ask any man for permission to be herself. I think someone should have imparted this pearl of wisdom to the Better Together referendum campaign so they could have said no thanks to that ridiculous advert which is turning no voters to Yes at a speed unmatched even by Usian Bolt.

Last up on a great day for spoken word was the man who came second in this year’s BBC slam Toby Campion. On taking the stage, Toby announced he was bisexual or he prefers to call it equal opportunities. This to me has to be the quote of the fringe from a young man with a very bright future and a poet who very clearly has a lot to say for himself. And you know what, I thank god he does have a lot to say because as any poet or spoken word artist will tell you there is a lot which needs to be said. Be it in Scotland, the British Isles or the wider world we can’t keep ignoring the elephants in the room because burying our heads in the sand and pretending they don’t exist will solve precisely nothing.

In his first poem Toby tackled the thorny issue of language and why it will take more than a change of wording or labelling to change the attitude behind the labels so often ascribed to the disadvantaged and the marginalised within our wider society. As a former disability equality trainer I found this poem had an all too familiar ring to it in the sense that too many people are unaware of the power of language and the potential dehumanising effects it can have on certain groups but also that no matter how often you change a word or phrase it will achieve nothing if you don’t change the thinking behind it. This was brilliantly powerful and thought provoking stuff from someone I hope to hear a lot more of.

At the end of the event I went upstairs and had a quick drink with Mr McGlade to celebrate my performance and I thought about going to see Matt MacDonald’s show but I managed to get lost and nobody I stopped to ask for directions even came from Edinburgh. I kid you not, even the police I stopped were fellow weegies. So unfortunately I missed a show I really wanted to see but this is Edinburgh and it happens.

Disappointed but determined to enjoy my last few hours in the city I go to the bottom end of the mile as I know there is a shop there where I can play the lottery. Well I believe in the slogan I could be you though my numbers hardly ever come out and when they do they certainly don’t do it together. This is so unfair it’s unbelievable and I’m not even playing for the big money I’m playing the hot picks I only want smile money and still those numbers make sure I’m not smiling.

Before I put my lottery on I go to the Bene’s for my last meal of the fringe and get myself my final haggis of the fringe. On saying my goodbyes I told Maria I would be back next year and for some reason she didn’t doubt it. Well I have been gracing Bene’s for more years than I care to forget and as long as I can attend Edinburgh I will be back to see the team at the best chippy on the mile.

Having finished my haggis and sorted out my lottery I began to wander back to my more traditional home of the Banshee or at least I thought I did. You see I had barely walked a few yards when I was approached by the very chatty women with a flyer who persuaded me to come and see her show Too Cool To Care she explained that it was a comedy about the care system and her journey about caring for her parents. Now some people would say that two shows on the care system would too much to handle on any one fringe let alone on my final day but I decided to risk it and you know I’m really glad I did. This show was a real breath of fresh air. Yes I know a comedy about care sounds like a crazy idea but sometimes crazy ideas work and this was certainly one of them.
Well when your dad has dementia and your mum is a full time wheelchair user as is the case with Lollie you won’t be short on material especially when your dad becomes a naked Santa Claus and you have desires to go to Las Vegas.

This show had me laughing and thinking in equal measure and though it may have been a comedy but the topic was very sensitively delivered with crisp clear one liners in all the right places by a woman who has actually won the her local area’s carer of the year award.

At the end of the show I did finally return to the Banshee for one final show before boarding the bus home to Baillieston. On arrival I caught up with Sophia Blackwell who had just finished her penultimate show in her run of Becoming Wonder Woman. During our chat she said I had performed brilliantly at other voices earlier in the day. Now I know Sophia has my back but I also know that she would be honest with me as that’s what good friends are and bearing in mind the compliments from John McGlade and Fay Roberts I think I must have done well. However I think in what I believe has been my most successful fringe to date I have set myself a new bar in terms of performance and it is now my duty to maintain the standard I’ve set. Make no mistake maintaining this level of performance will not be easy but I certainly I believe it’s achievable.

As Sophia went on her way I decided to go my final show Colm Finn and friends. This show was hosted by Galway comedian Colm Finn who invited to us to share the thoughts and musings he and his friends have on the world and I must admit I rather liked it.

As the show concluded I made up the stairs and said my goodbyes to the staff at the Banshee the place I’d called home for the duration of the festival before making my exit and heading home.

On my journey to the village I reflected on what I believe was easily my most successful fringe yet, I realise I have taken my performances to a new level. This pleases me greatly, however it is not the only thing which brings a smile to my face as I look back on the events of Edinburgh 2014. You see this was the year I spoke louder and prouder than ever before no matter the topic of my poetry. From Independence to Immigration. From Dancing To Dresses From Transition To Trident. I told my story my way and I told it not as an other voice but as an authentic voice who said it in the only way I know with honesty and integrity .

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

Sex War And Fantasy Football Were Very Pleasant Distractions On A Truly Capital Occasion

Hey everyone Friday was my fourth successive day at the fringe and it was as bizarre chaotic and wonderful as the fringe always is for a host of different reasons.

As I arrived in Edinburgh I was approached by a mature pleasant looking man who tried to get me interested in a show on the First World war entitled Least We Forget. I politely but firmly told him that I couldn’t attend as I did not want to glorify war.

This led to a very interesting discussion on Britishness, Imperialism, and Scottish Independence. The man spotted my Yes badges and immediately proceeded to tell me why he was voting no. I told him I certainly would not be voting for a union which was corrupt, sectarian and well passed the sell by date. We debated the issue until I was satisfied that I had won on my terms by which I mean I had gained respect from my opponent and I then went on my way. There is I think a lesson to
be learned from this which is never underestimate me or I will make sure it comes back to bite you on the bum. Anyway, the debate served another purpose it fired me up to make sure I was at the top of my game for my planned performances at the Courtyard and Jibba Jabba.

As I walked down the mile I was in upbeat mood and this was I think reflected in my performance which was the penultimate one of another busy afternoon at the courtyard. Hosted by the ever amiable Tony Lawrence it was as we say in Glasgow jam packed and the bigger the crowd the more I tend to like it.

The day started in the traditional way with our host reading a poem to kick start the event. It was Tony Capaldi who seized the moment not to mention the stage and his chance to entertain us in his own unique way. Tony is always good value and this was no exception, you can always trust him to enchant his audience and he’ll never let us down.

Next to impressed was Pamela who delivered a brilliant set featuring poems on exercise, sex, and babies as I joked with her afterwards that was the perfect set in the right order. Well that’s how it happens you know, you do the exercise then you do the deed and that is as any biology teacher will tell you that’s how you make babies.

Next up to stage was an Australian poet named Jeff who read a poem called Quantitative Easing which he dedicated to Alastair Darling. This was the man to whom referred to as that financial genius who even on a bad night for his opponent could make Alex Salmond look good. This got a tut of disapproval from my long term sparring partner at this event Beverly Wright. I however backed him up by saying that he didn’t make Salmond look good he made him look world class. Anyway I enjoyed that poem and the rest of his set.

It was Beverly who was next up to the stage and she read a brief set before leaving for another engagement. This was a shame as I always enjoy her company as well as her poetry but alas it was not to be but I dare say normal circumstances will be resumed next year.

After Beverly it was the turn of Paul MacKintosh and Shalpa Ray to deliver sets themed on families and ethnic origins which included poems on war and death. In Paul’s case he concentrated on his Italian ancestors and Shalpa read about hair and her Bengali heritage.
Both poets are known to me from previous visits to the courtyard readings and both are poets whose work I hold in the highest esteem.

To follow poets of this calibre is a big ask but that it is what I had to do as was the poet to follow Shalpa. Since I wanted to make sure it was a high impact performance I decided to I read two of my poems which are always well received. I started with Tights Before Trident before moving on to my pro Independence poem The Quilt which I know to be a favourite of one of my favourite Edinburgh based poets Matt MacDonald and concluding my set with a poem written in memory of my mother and the loving but sometimes challenging relationship I had with her A Trans Daughter Remembers Her Mother. I’m glad to say that all three poems were well received by an appreciative audience who know their poetry.

Last man standing on this afternoon was Philip Hutton. Philip is he informed us a very keen supporter of better together and believes Scotland should remain part of the United Kingdom which he claims has served us well. To illustrate his support for his cause he wrote a poem supporting it and though I strongly disagree with the sentiments expressed I did appreciate the fact his views were expressed with sincerity.

As Tony brought the curtain down on a lovely afternoon I chatted to Philip about his poem and recommended that he remove the references to Alex Salmond. I explained that this would give the poem a more current and topical edge and that since some of it is set in a time about 15 to 20 years from now Mr Salmond is hardly likely to be politically active let alone President of the Independent Scottish Republic that Philip fears so much therefore it will give his poem a much longer shelf life. It could be that it may be relevant for another referendum in 10 or 20 years time should we vote no this time as I think we would always certainly have one whether the unionists would want it or not. Much to my surprise and delight Philip said he would make these changes and he thanked me for the suggestions.

On leaving my fellow poets I went to the Edinburgh Central Library and joined it in order to submit my flatmate Janette’s fantasy football team in to a dream team competition. In the event I ran out of time so that would have wait till Saturday Morning the very last day for entries to the competition.

As I sauntered through Edinburgh I took in the sights and sounds of the grass market before eventually finding my way back to the mile and making my way to the final night of Jibba Jabba.

On arrival I was pleased to see that every seat was taken as I had really enjoyed my visit there the previous night. To mark her final night of Jibba and the end of her first ever fringe Jenny had assembled a top quality line up as well as leaving plenty of room for those who wished to rock the mic in the open stage section of the show.

The our headline acts were Davy Viney, Byron Vincent and the brilliant Liberty Hodes. Whilst I enjoyed all their sets I have to say I thought Liberty Hodes was outstanding, her dippy girl style was right up my street and her delivery was spot on. Of the open mic performers I yet again enjoyed the work of Chris Page whom I had seen the previous night and Mel Jones whose work had entertained me at Stand Up Tragedy earlier in the week.

I also enjoyed Australian duo Mel And Sue and there excellent poem I Like Chips which was a protest about the Americanisation of global and this case British culture, and Mab Jones whose poem Poor Queen was in my opinion the stand out piece of the evening and guess who had the job of following it? Yes that’s right yours truly. It’s a good job I was job ready and up for the challenge. My poem Night Shift seemed to go down well and I received several compliments on it at the end of the show. At this juncture Jenny invited me down to Newcastle to enjoy the real Jibba Jabba experience whenever I get the chance. I joked with her that I might need a passport to come down that far, she just giggled and said I might.

At the end of the show I had choice to make, go home for an early night or go to the Banshee for a quick diet coke and see what occurred thereafter.

Despite the fact it would have been easier to get to the bus station and go home. I decided such is my logic to go to headquarters aka The Banshee for one last diet coke. As is my want I got myself in to good company and eventually staying until half 9 when I made my way to the bus station and started my journey back to the village at the end of a day where sex war and fantasy football were very pleasant distractions on a truly capital occasion.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X