Tag Archive | Steve Allan

We Came To The Gathering Where Happiness Lives And Magical Memories Are Made We All Have Home Wins At The End Of The Night As We’ve Scored Personal Goals On The Stage. 

With November upon us we prepare for a Words And Music which will undoutably feature the theme of remembrance. It is therefore important to remember the events an October edition which was memorable in many ways for the 12 of us in attendance and perhaps even a wee bit controversial in places. That however to this poet in particular is no bad thing as it is the job of the bard to tell their truths as they see them. 

It was with very much on my mind that I started my set with two poems the events in Catalonia declaring my support for Catalan Independence. In my opening poem The Currency Of Hope written on the Friday night before the referendum I wish my Catalan comrades good luck and urge them to stand strong against threats or dirty tricks from Madrid. I fillowed this with a poem written the morning after the vote and Storm Of Sorrow was my imeadiate and angry reaction to the brutality Catalan voters faced at the hands of the Spainish state police as they exercised their democratic right. 

Having got the night off to what some would say was a controversial start I invited Angie Strachan to the stage to restore some sort of sanity to the proceedings but then I remembered it was Angie and decided to let her get on with what she does best. Putting on her sensible suit at least temporarily Angie performed three poems the first two of which Happiness Lives, and Tandem Causa Bonna Triumphat gave the impression that Angie can be sensible when she has to be . However her final poem proved that Angie like me is sensible only in emergencies and Scarlet Fever the tragic tale of a burlesque artist proved that normal service had been resumed as she came back to her brilliant if ludicrous best.  

As Angie went back to her seat it was the turn of Mary Wilson to share her words with the gathering. On this occassion Mary started with a comic piece about A Snooty Thermostat, she then read two nature based poems after observing the behaviour and habits of squirrels before finishing her set with a poem on getting older entitled Dealing With Age.

Mary was followed by Susan Milligan whose pieces Beyond, and In Heaven For A Day were well received by the company before concluding with a song which this month was I Can Sing A Rainbow. 

As Susan rejoined the company it was time for Peter Russell to entertain the company and this he most certainly did with six excellent poems all of which were elquenty executed in his typical laid back style.  Peter started his set with Visit From A Taxidermist before changing tact completely for A Sestina On The Cafe Neon, he then read the  powerful and thought provoking Our Necks Saved , before noving on to my personal favourite in this set 62 Sunningdale Avenue which is a beautiful poem on his first childhood home. He then concluded his set with Are You Better Yet? and his final poem From The Ground Up. This was a top quality set of well crafted poems for a skilled and talented wordsmith with a keen observational eye. 

Talking of talented wordsmiths it was as always a pleasure to introduce one of my greatest mentors Derek Read who read three poems which were all tied to some extent to his quaker beliefs. In his first poem Diving For Atlantis Derek looked back  with affection on the life of the late Catherine Walker. He then read a piece from the Quaker book by Adrian from Brunei  before finishing with The Gathering. 

Derek was followed by Claire McCann who read a short piece before returning to her seat as Alan McGlas led us to the bar break reading The Hairy And The Smooth which he informed us was based on a biblical story and following it up with the bitingly funny All Over The Place which shall we say was slightly more personal in nature. 

After an enjoyable bar break It was time for our featured  writer and on this occasion it was club stalwart Alex Frew who took his turn in the spotlight. Though primarily known for his more humourous material Alex has many strings to his creative bow and he showed the full range of his work in a set which covered a range of different issues . Alex started his with a poem And Then He Spoke Of Death and followed it up with another slightly more humorous take on the same topic with a poem on what the comedian Billy Connolly would like inscribed on his gravestone entitled Is It That Time Already? 

This was followed by Cutting Down A Tree and a poem on what Alex referred to as night terrors called From The Deeps before the poem which I thought was the highlight of his set Three Photographs Of You in which he pays a brilliant emotional and heartfelt tribute to his mother . It was no surprise to anyone who heard this lovely piece of poetry that he got a wee bit teary on reading it but I’m sure his mother looked down and smiled as he did so and was proud of the son that she raised. Speaking as his friend of more than 20 years I know we are certainly proud of both Alex and his talents. 

Having completed what was undoutably the hardest poem in his set Alex (pictured below) decided to give us a musical interlude with a song titled You Ain’t There before returning to poetry with a piece entitled Patterns. This was followed by the brilliantly funny My Friends Are All On Prozac before winding up his set with Doctor Krippen and A Dear John Letter.  

Picture (1) Our featured Writer Alex Frew shares his thoughts with the gathering)

As Alex went back to take his place amongst the gathering after an immensely enjoyable set it was time for the featured musician to take their place on stage and  this time that honour fell to Alex’s partner in rhyme , crime and musical mayhem and the other half of Ayrshire’s answer to Batman and Robin the one and only Andy Fleming.  Andy like Alex has been a Words And Music regular since the 1990’s and has entertained audiences in his own unique style ever since. 

Andy (pictured below) started his set which with the exception of his last song was made up entirely of covers with Killing By Degrees (Bad Karma) This was followed his rendition of  that well known country song A Heartache Following Me. He then sang both country and Motorhead songs before his unique Johnny Cash style  performance of that 1980’s girly classic which was one of my personal anthems  Girls Wanna Just Have Fun.  He moved on from this with That’s What People Say before performing what he introduced as the Bum Songs but was actually Sea Of Heartbreaks and followed it with the Run DMC song My Adidas And Me before an excellent rendition of the Talking Heads classic Physco Killer  and concluding his planned set with Word Up before we demanded an encore for which he sang one of his own songs Jesus Will Kick Your Sorry Ass. This I think was a fitting way to end a kick ass performance from a top class musican and consummate performer.

Picture (2) Andy Fleming our Featured Musician struming his stuff whilst covering classics 

After our featured performers I sometimes look for someone to bring the room back to normality. Unfortunely I couldn’t find anyone who would do that on this occasion but thankfully Steve Allan who was making a welcome return to the fold after a period of absence was availble to be the penultimate performer of the night and bring even more madness to the evening with his hilarious story about some people arrive in heaven in very quick succession. Since Steve said it didn’t have a title I decided to call it God’s Spreadsheet as I think kinda fitted the narrative of the story. 

With everyone who wanted to having performed it was up to me to bring the night to a close with the final set of the night. I did so with a set of four poems three of which were receiving their first ever performance. 

I started my set with Home Comforts a poem on homelessness which is the only poem in the set which had been performed previously as I have read at a number of events in the last few years. Mindful of the fact that Scotland still had a slim chance of qualifying for next year’s World Cup Finals in Russia  I followed this up with a very personal football poem titled Home Win which chronicles my first Scotland match as a woman and shows the emotions I felt on a day which ended with good results for Scotland and for me.

 For my next poem I moved from football to feminism and in Sugar And Spice I set out my very personal agenda as to why stereotyping is a never a good idea and why I set my own rules in life. It has to be said this poem was not universally popular and one good friend went as far as to tell as much when I chatted to him after the event. I feel however that everyone is entitled to their opinion and though I do not agree with him and he by no means spoke for the room his opinion is nonetheless a valid one and I accept it for what it is and agree to differ with him on this opinion. I concluded my set with Badge which was written after a visit to the theatre to a trans related play. This was one of the most personal poems I’ve ever written and to share it with a group of writers which included some of my closest friends just hours after I wrote it meant a lot to me and judging by the reaction it received at the end of the performance I think it also meant a lot to them. 

At the end of the night Steve Allen was kind enough to give me a lift home and as I reflected on the events of action packed evening I thought that we come to the gathering where happiness lives and magical memories are made we all have home wins at the end of the night as we’ve scored personal goals on the stage. 

Till next time .

Gayle X

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Tartan Tights 2016 My Year On The Blog 

Hey Readers.

 It’s that time of year when I post my yearly review of what’s been happening on the blog and there is a lot to talk about for this blogger as I’ve been a very busy lady in the last 12 months.

As the bells rang in 2016 I made a resolution that I was going to make changes to my tartan tights and I knew that these changes may surprise a few of my readers pleasing some and disappointing others but sometimes there are risks you have to take if you want to grow and develop your blog and take it to the next level.  

2016 was a year of challenges for me and I was certainly up for meeting them head on. Not only did I complete my second NaPoWriMo in a row I also attended two blogger events, posted no fewer than five outfit of the day posts which is five more than I’d posted at the turn of the year, and successfully completed my first Blogmas and trust me this is much harder than NaPoWriMo.

As for my overall performance I would say I am reasonably satisfied  and though my post views dipped from just under 15,000 to just over 12,000. Part of this is undoubtedly due to the change of focus from one where political commentary featured prominently to a more personal narrative which focuses strongly on female and trans related issues. 

This is not to say that political issues will not feature on tartan tights. Politics has always been and always will be a big part of my life and as my blog reflects my life  it wouldn’t be the same without the odd considered political rant it’s just that I made a decision to post fewer of them and I think this have a beneficial impact on my blog in longer term. 

As for my top five posts of 2016 let’s just say there were a couple of surprises in it which both delighted and to some extent astounded me. Topics which covered in these were the death of a neighbour and friend. Transgender Remembrance and why it’s important to me. I also looked at Sectarianism and extreme British nationalism and how its supporters made fools of themselves just after the Scottish Election, the  EU Referendum and journey of former no voters to saying Yes to independence and my friendship  with a brilliant young feminist poet who is the greatest talent to come out of Sweden since a certain Henrik Larsson.Yes I do mean you Agnes Torok. The list is 

(1) Driving Instructor 172 Views This post makes history as it becomes the first poem ever to be my top post of the year.  It was written in memory of my much loved and respected neighbour Ed Cullen who died in May after a battle with illness.Ed was described at his funeral as the quiet man who knew everyone and would I think be smiling at the fact that the poem written to celebrate his life beat poems written for  far more famous entrants to heaven such as David Bowie, George Michael, Ronnie Corbett , and Muhammad Ali. This is I think a fitting testimony to one of the genuine good guys.

(2) The Girl The World Never Knew Has Become The Woman It Does 167 Views. The fact that my very personal story of my gender transition and why commemorating World Transgender Remembrance Day is a matter of honour to me was my second most popular post of year surprised me only slightly as it was the kind of post I had thought would reach my top ten but if there were posts which I thought would fair better than they did there were also those which exceeded expectations.

(3) Billy Boys And Bully Boys Are Running Out Of Options As Nicola Was Scotland’s Choice To Play A Better Game  166 views My third most popular post was one of my most contentious in a year in which I tried to steer clear of controversy. This was I have to say one of my most overtly political posts and I didn’t miss my targets who in this case were the foaming at the mouth brigade of extreme British Nationalists that Better Together and the unionist press and media were in constant denial about during the 2014 independence referendum.

It didn’t take long for the unionists very own demented tendency to make fools of themselves after the Scottish election. They achieve this by demanding the resignation of Nicola Sturgeon who had been democratically elected First Minister of our country just weeks before for the crime of congratulation to Hibernian for winning for the Scottish Cup.Final.Unfortunately for them they were put in their place whilst Nicola despite the their deluded rantings remains very much in hers. 

(4) Family Tree 131 views This poem was written to welcome former no voters who voted against independence in to yes family. I wrote it  in the aftermath of the EU Referendum in which the United Kingdom proved it wasn’t as united as some would like to believe as Britain voted narrowly for Brexit and Scotland voted the empathetically to remain in EU. 

(5) Learning Swedish 128 views This poem which I wrote for my friend and fellow poet Agnes Torok after she received hate mail for her ground breaking feminist poem This Is My Body. When it comes to my own work this poem is not just one of my favourite poems of last year it is one of my favourite poems ever because of who it’s about and I was delighted that it got a place in my top five posts.

As for where my visitors came from, I got traffic from 73 countries and my main sites for driving traffic were Facebook, Twitter, WordPress Readers and later in the year Google Plus. As for the geography of my readers the top five countries for generating traffic were the United Kingdom , USA, Australia, Canada, and Ireland. This to be honest I think the was pretty much the top five I thought it would be. Other countries which featured reasonably prominently in my tartan tights visitors list included Spain, India, France, Germany New Zealand and The Netherlands.

Whilst my page views may have dropped in the 2016 it
was a very positive year in other areas as I finished 2016 with 147 new comments on my posts. This is almost double the 76 I received in 2015. This is a great result for me but I don’t intend to rest of my laurels and I will try to improve on this trend in 2017.

During a year which was very active for social engagement my main contributors who posted comments on the blog or on other social media sites are named here and in some cases I will refer to them by their blog name. They are in no particular order, Bob Leslie, Charlene McElhinney, Suzanne Egerton, Last Year’s Girl, I Didn’t Have My Glasses On, GisforGingers, Political Tourist, SoulMurmersBlog, Iain Moss, Colours Of A Rose, Dash Of A Fashion Girl, OfmgFaye, Derek Read, Steve Allan, Katharine McFarlane, Jamie-Lee McHugh, Kelly McGhee, Angela Strachan, Lesley Traynor, Linda Grant, Janet Crawford, Rona Fitzgerald, Jim Monaghan, Sheila Templeton, The Curvaceous Vegan, Victoria McNulty, and Carla Woodburn.

As for my most commented posts of the year. It comes as no surprise that my poem 16 Cinderella’s on the day we launched Women With Fierce Words  got more feedback than any other post. Indeed my only surprise about that post (see fierce women picture below) is that I didn’t finish much higher up the list than it did.

Other posts which performed well included The Great Debate That Never Was which was my poem about the Scottish election debate, my outfit of the day post I Wore My Seasonal Colours With Just A Touch Of Satin, Scotland We Need To Talk About Sex Banish Our Tartan Taboos, and 50 Random Facts About Me.

2016 was as I said earlier a year of challenges and I believe accomplishments. Successfully completing both NaPoWriMo and Blogmas were both rewarding experiences and I will taking on both again this year. However in a year where I believe I have grown as a blogger I believe  my biggest blogging achievement in the past 12 months was getting the chance to write for Common Space on World Transgender Remembrance Day. Common Space has for those who don’t know , been at the cutting edge of blogging and is in my opinion the best  social media news outlet on web,so to be given the chance to share my thoughts on a very personal issue meant a lot to me both as a trans woman and as a blogger.

So as you can see 2016 has been a very busy year for me and the fact that I managed 22 consecutive posts from late November to mid December was no mean feat. In truth the last year was a bit or a rollercoaster ride for tartan tights, it had to be with the changes I made to it. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and are ready for more of the same in 2017. I know I am, well I quite like rollercoasters

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

Dinners Dugs And Poetry Nights With Friends In Familiar Surroundings.

Hey Readers.

Welcome to my photographic review of September. As you would expect it was a wee bit quieter than August but I still managed to have a reasonably busy month and as this review proves it certainly didn’t lack variety.

Picture (1) Is taken at our monthly  Words And Music night at the Tin Hut and what better way to kick off the month than with an action shot of club stalwart Suzanne Egerton.

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Picture (2) is another from the September Words and Music. This time is shows Pete Faulkner making his long awaited debut at the Tin Hut.

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Picture (3) Shows another Pete this time it’s our featured writer Peter Russell whose  taking centre stage with debut girl Angela Strachan looking on.

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Picture (4) Is our last from this particular section and features one of the most promising young talents in the spoken word scene Molly McLachlan who like Angela Strachan and our featured writer Peter Russell was making her Words and Music debut and to say she was breathtakingly brilliant would I think be understating the impact she had on an evening which though low in numbers was very high in quality.

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Picture (5) This picture was taken at at a night I was privilged  to be part of  As the  West of Scotland’s creative community  came together at Fail Better to raise money for refugees in Palestine. In this shot  Francis Lopez is snapped providing some music for the company. 

Picture (6) This shot captures Scotland’s very own pocket dynamo Victoria McNulty rocking the audience with a brilliant set which included the fabulous Coffins From Derry a poem written in support of the displaced people residing in Scotland 

Picture (7) Sees Carla Woodburn perform for the cause.At the time of writing this review Carla is coming to the end of her holiday in Peru but on the night in question like all of us her heart was touched by the stories of horror which are happening  to the people of Palestine 

Picture (8)  Shows Declan Welch in storytelling mode as he tells us first hand of his recent trip to the West Bank and what he witnessed during his visit before entertaining us with his bitingly brilliant brand of music.

Picture (9) On my first night back at the Blue Chair after my adventures in Edinburgh I noticed a couple of friendly faces in the gathering in the shape of our very own Becca and Grace.

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Picture 10 This picture provides evidence that some poets do actually prepare our sets at least a few minutes in advance as I lay nine on the table ready for reading later. image

Picture (11) Shows that it was a lovely sunny Saturday as those of us who wanted a better  Scotland gathered in George Square for the Hope Over Fear rally. In this picture you can see the internationalist vision of the marchers who fly not only the Blue and White saltaire of our nation but also flags of other small nations who wish to have the right to govern themselves such as Palestine and  Catlonia 

Picture 12 Captures the spirit of what this family friendly festival is all about as friends from all over Scotland meet up and share the craic

In Picture (13) the focus moves indoors as I travel from the city centre to the west end and I’m seated for dinner in the luxurious surroundings, of the Polish club where I enjoyed a fantastic reunion meal with a selected group of friends including Steve Allan sitting directly opposite me, Donna Campbell, and Hazel Frew who organised the gathering to celebrate the life of the late Scottish poet, storyteller, and musician Sandy Hutchinson who was a great friend to every one of us.

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Picture 14 Is a  picture of my starter which is one of the best bowls of soup I’ve ever tasted. Honestly Polish style Beef Broth is absolutely delicious.

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Picture (15 ) Sees Christy Williamson read a one of Sandy poems as his tribute to our much loved friend 

Picture (16) Illustrates that poets will always find to time to chat. Here Eveline Pye and Tracy Patrick seated diagonally across from her share a story with Alan Falconer listening intently. 

Picture (17) It was time to tuck in to my main course and the Pork Chop and Chips were so tasty not to mention filling that I didn’t have room for dessert. 

Picture (18) Shows Hazel Frew who suggested the idea of the reunion. We have a lot to thank her for.

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Picture (19) Was taken at the bikers for yes rally on the second anniversary of our independence referendum and features one man and his dug. The man in question is Paul Kavanagh and the dug is of course the wee ginger dug from which his blog gets its name. It was really good to meet Paul in the flesh and put a face to the name especially since he was the first blogger ever to give me a guest post the run up to the 2014 referendum.

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Picture 20 Shows singer/ songwriter Gavin Paterson belting out tunes to warm the heart of yes voters on what was unfortunately a dull and wet afternoon. This however didn’t seem to bother Gavin or the crowd whose spirits were were lifted by this talented musician 

Picture (21) This picture only goes to show that Lord Robertson doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about when it cones to independence, culture or for that matter anything else. You see according to the noble Lord independece supporters are Anti English and Scotland doesn’t have any culture. So bearing that in mind allow me introduce two members of the cultural wing of the yes family. This dynamic duo are English born musician Pauline Bradley and the poetic voice of Radical Renfrewshire Shaun Moore. 

Picture (22) This picture captures a woman with a heart for Scotland and one of key organisers of this highly successful event the lovely Kirsten Storrie. 

Picture (23) Our next few pictures were taken on a night out in Paisley. Yes I know it’s not where you would imagine spending a Monday night however when I was offered the chance to perform at the Paisley Women For Independence spoken word event I decided that Paisley on a Monday night might not be such a bad choice after all and as if to prove I was right one of the first familiar faces I met was the talented local poet Rashelle Reid 

Picture (24) Some of the women sit by the flag we are proud to call our own.

Picture (25) As you can I see from this picture I wasn’t slow at the taking the mic and sharing my words of wisdom. On this occasion my poems of choice were A Woman’s Voice on the importance of women using our right to vote and A Personal Vow in which I give both Gordon Brown and Johann Lamont more character than they were ever blessed with and vow to make Scotland independent and make people matter. 

Picture (26)  Sees Kathryn Metcalfe entertaining the crowd with a heart warming and thought provoking story about the woman shaped her values and believe me on hearing her story I’m sure her mother would be proud of the daughter she raised.  

Picture (27) All girls together for a group photograph which shows independent women of principal passion and power. 

Picture (28). Shows me posing for the camera in an outfit which some of you may recognise from a previous outfit of the day post. 

For Picture (29 ) We’ve move from Paisley to the Drygate Bar at the east end of the Merchant City where the lovely genius that is the wonderful Cat Hepburn is happy to smile for the camera as she prepares for the start of the first ever Sonnet Youth Slam at the monthly night which she co-hosts with Kevin Gilday.

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Picture (30) The Sonnet Youth slam was an amazing night of poetry and represented the power of spoken word at its very best. I was lucky enough to be one of the judges at this amazing event in which Elaine Gallagher (pictured below) was given my highest individual score of any contestant on the night for her brilliant second round poem.

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Picture (31) Shows the poet who was runner up on a highly enjoyable and entertaining evening. I’m so proud to call this amazingly talented woman my fierce sister and friend she is the majestic Katharine MacFarlane

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Picture (32) For my picture in this review I travel to the West End of the city to Cafe Rio for the madness and mayhem that is Last Monday at Rio. This is always a quality night of spoken words and our host Robin Cairns always ensures we have a top quality headliner on this occasion that headliner was Katie Ailes who can be seen here performing her powerful passionate poetry to a very appreciative audience.

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So that was my September. At first glance it may appear to have been a wee bit quieter than August though to be honest if you’re a poet most months are quieter than August and there were more than enough events to keep me occupied and make sure I had plenty to blog about.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

12 For Dinner (The Thoughts Of A Wordshare Girl)

Hey Readers

On Saturday night in the plush surroundings of the Polish club in the west end of the city a group of friends met for dinner. This in itself is not an unusual occurrence but when it comes to this particular group we hadn’t sat down to dinner together in 14 years.

A lot has happened to us during the intervening years and I guess we just got with our lives and did the everyday things we all do every day. Though we had never managed to get the group together we had always maintained a network of connections and a broader sense of community and some of us would see more of certain members of the group than we would of others. This was not due to any fallouts or other such dramas but was more likely to be due to other factors like geography and availability

We all met when we were part of the Wordshare poetry group back in the late 1990’s I think I started attending the group in 1997 and I stayed with it till it ended in 2002. During this time we not only enjoyed our Wednesday night meetings at the RAF Club but also held larger spoken word gatherings two or three times a year at the Polish Club which was to become a second home to the Word Share family so it was fitting that this was the place for our reunion meal.

The idea for the meal was suggested by Hazel Frew (pictured below) who said it would be a fitting tribute to honour the memory of our late friend and former Word Share favourite Alexander Sandy Hutchinson who sadly passed away towards the end of last year.

Picture (1) Hazel Frew at the Polish Club
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After taking soundings Hazel then got in touch with Basia Palka who got in touch with the Polish club to signify our initial interest and though we had to rearrange the initial date to Basia having family issues to deal with we quickly rearranged the date with last Saturday the 17th September being the most suitable night to bring us all together.

Surprisingly for me I was one first to arrive at the venue doing so just before 7 o’clock. As I waited for others in the quiet of the foyer it wasn’t too long before I was joined by Eveline Pye. After Eveline’s arrival, we headed downstairs to the bar where one by one we were joined by Donna Campbell, Basia and her husband John, Alan Falconer, Larry Butler, Tracy Patrick Jimmy Riff, Hazel and her husband and fellow poet Christie Williamson, and last but not least Steve Allan.

As you can see from the picture below it was a happy and contented crowd who gathered to enjoy the feast and more importantly the company of good friends. As I said to Steve who is sitting opposite me at the table there was no awkwardness it was as if we’d seen each other last week rather 14 years ago.
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Picture (2) The Wordshare Gang

As we tucked in to our starter
which in my case was a massive plate of beef soup see picture below we chatted about the times that brought us together.

Picture (3) My delicious beef soup starter.

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As we caught up with each other’s news the chat flowed like good wine as you can see with next picture as Jimmy and John shared a memory

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Picture (4) Jimmy And John catch up on their latest news.

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Picture (5) A smiling Donna Campbell gets ready to tuck in to her meal

As I said earlier one of the key reasons for this long overdue get together was to celebrate the life of our friend and fellow poet and traditional singer Sandy Hutchinson and Christy Williamson does exactly that as he shares one of Sandy’s poems with us.

Picture (6) Christie Williamson reads a poem of Sandy’s to the gathering with Steve Allan looking on

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Picture (7) shows my main course of Polish Style Pork Chop and Chips and as you can see it was a hearty sized portion. Trust me this was really tasty and I would recommend the food in this venue to anyone

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Picture 8 Shows Alan Falconer in conversation with Eveline Pye seated next to him who is or at least was until Matt MacDonald the only poet to make numbers cool, and Tracy Patrick whose environmental poems are both educational and entertaining.

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Picture (9) Shows Basia relaxing, John reading, and Christie having a well deserved sip of something I think its coffee

Make no mistake, this was a brilliant night and somehow I don’t think it will be 14 years until our next meeting. In fact there have already preliminary discussions about finding a venue in which we can gather to enjoy the kind of night we used to have at Wordshare.

It is in the spirit of that great night at which we made some of the best friend’s we will ever make and had such characters among our number as Crispin Allen and of course Sandy the man in whose memory we had our reunion I would like to invite those who gathered to the Pollok Ex-Servicemen’s Club to the monthly meeting of Words and Music. It is after all hosted by a Wordshare Girl.

At the end of an excellent night I was as tradition dictates one of the last to leave and I would like to think Hazel, Christie , and Jimmy for waiting with me till my taxi arrived to take me back home to Baillieston the village within a city that I now call home and to Glasgow Private Hire for their speedy and efficient service in ensuring my safe return.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

When  We Went To Search For Diamonds We Looked In The Jewellery Box But We Found Them When Bonnie Searched For Clyde In Irish Bars 

Hey everyone.

As regular readers of tartan tights will know August is by far the biggest month of the year for the spoken word community as we head towards Edinburgh to conquer the fringe. Or at very least let it know that the Glasgow bards are alive, well, and giving it laldy as my dad used to say.
So it is perhaps not too surprising that it is a month where attendance’s at Words and Music are shall we say not exactly at optimum capacity

This however is not something I worry about I prefer to think on the quality of the entertainment rather than the quantity of bums on seats. Well if being a regular attender at the fringe for the past 12 years has taught me anything it is that no matter what the show must go on and the attendance of 7 whilst hardly magnificent was considerably higher than a few top quality shows I attended during my month of madness on the mile.

As,is always the case these days I got the night under way with a couple of my poems neither of which had been performed at Tin Hut and both of which had been written in the last few months. I kicked off the evening with Bus Stop Conversations which is about those moments when women will talk to the nearest available sober or at least not puggled female to avoid the attentions be they amorous or otherwise of some random drunk males intent on invading our space.

I followed this up by reading Diamonds a  poem to celebrate the achievements of my local girls brigade which proves that when absolutely necessary even I can compromise sometimes and poem I am quite fond of it because I know the girls it’s about and I’m very proud of all of them. 

Having got the night under the way I then invited Susan Milligan to make her monthly contribution to the evening and what was I think her best set in the five years she’s attended the event Susan read her poems Summer Of Discontent, Sand, and the very funny Holidays Are Us. She then concluded her part of the night by giving her rendition of The Beatles classic hit Here Comes The Sun before returning to her seat to enjoy the rest of the evening.

As Susan rejoined the company it was the turn of Steve Allan to take the stage and have us rolling in the isles with laughter as he his classic poem The Moon on how different poets react on seeing this object of wonder This was followed by Sarah and Stu and the brilliant Disarm before finishing up his set with a set of Haiku’s some of which were his own and some of which were the work of other writers known to Steve and I during our time at Survivors Poetry Scotland including a great friend of Words and Music the late great Sandy Hutchison 

Next up to the mic was another seasoned Words and Music regular Suzanne Egerton. Suzanne is a gifted storyteller and this month’s offering entitled Clearances was no different in that it had fantastic imagery  running all the way through it as it related the tale of a house clearance after a death of a loved one with all the memories that can bring especially if like the character in the story someone may be a bit of a hoarder.

As Suzanne returned to her seat it was the turn of Lesley MacKay aka Traynor to take centre stage and trust me when I say this not something with which Lesley ever has a problem. Anyway Lesley led us to the bar break with three pieces The Dust, Jewellery Box and the hillirious I’m In Love With A Big Bad Wolf. As is usually, the case with a born performer such as Lesley all her pieces were very well received but her last one on the big bad wolf will ensure that I never look at fairytales in quite the same way ever again. 

After the break it was time for our featured writer and when you have a writer of the calibre of Victoria McNulty (pictured below) to entertain the gathering then I would be lying if I didn’t say I there had been a bigger crowd to see such an outstanding talent. Well let’s be honest Victoria is one of the rising stars of the spoken word scene and though some might say I’m wee bit biased I think I’m just stating the obvious. After all she has starred at Loud Poets, been featured writer at Last Monday At Rio, and and had her work featured on BBC The Social. Not bad when you consider that two years ago when Words and Music got ready for our referendum special, Victoria had still to find her performance voice and was yet to make her debut on a spoken word scene she has since gone on to electrify. It is i believe fair to say that she has

You know there are times when your day job can have a beneficial impact on your poetry particularly when it comes to organising sets and Victoria gave a cracking example of this as due to the smaller attender she did what those involved in lecturing, teaching , or training are encouraged to do in certain situations and make an intelligent adaptation to her planned set. This allowed her the chance to try out some new material which she hadn’t performed before so in that way at least the small crowd worked to her advantage.

Victoria started with one of her new poems A Pig Called Taboo before moving on to Love In The Gallowgate or as some people may call it Flirting In Irish Bars. This is a poem I never tire of hearing and it does remind me of many a good weekend spent in some of my favourite bars.

This was followed by Observing In Soho the newest of all her poems which she had only just completed before taking the stage. This piece was written about a trip down to London which she had just returned from the previous evening.

In her next poem Victoria paid tribute to grandfather in her poem Dalriada This is a beautifully written poem in which the warmth of someone who is one of my best friends shone through like a rainbow in the summer sky.

After this Victoria returned to a genre she has made her own with another football based love poem about being in love with a Hibs fan. This followed by the poem which to me best represents a woman who has powerful passionate principles and shows her fire and compassion to empower those who need her support.

In Coffins From Derry Victoria who is a proud Irish Scot illustrates her support for displaced people of Palestine and Syria with one of the best lines I have ever heard when she states ‘ I can never forget my Scotland is cut from the blood of refugees ‘ I have to say that anyone who listens to this poem and is not moved by sentiments expressed in it has no soul and will not get in to heaven. Yes, it really is that good.

In her next poem I Want To Be Your Bonnie Victoria looks at the kind of passionate love which often results in the can’t live with you can’t live without you kind of relationship. This was followed by London Calling a poem which looks the issues facing UK society and gives what the establishment would call a radical left wing critique of what needs to address them. Personally, I don’t think that this poem is all that left wing but then that be because I am a Scottish leftie from a Glasgow housing scheme so I can identify with the problems it raises.

This was followed by another political poem and Alba is s thought provoking piece which really speaks to my condition as a Celtic supporting, yes voting, Irish-Scots Republican. This is a brilliant and highly emotional poem which tells the story of the Glasgow Irish community and recognises in a way no governments of any political hue has ever done the valuable contribution we have made to Scottish history, politics, and culture.

Victoria followed this a new poem entitled How Dye Works, before closing a fantastic featured set with That Generation a poem about the time of hope she had growing up in a world of Brit pop and the belief that anything was possible before seeing it cruelly shattered by the actions of the war mongering Government of Tony Blair who put personal gain before the people in whose interests he was supposed to be governing.
After a set which can only be described as stunning it was the job of the featured musician to bring us back to earth and far from doing this, Bob Leslie, decided that he would keep on planet good times with an excellent and highly enjoyable 20 minutes which illustrated to me at least why the bold Mr Leslie is one of our most regular musical visitors. 

Bob (pictured below) started his set with Starting Over before moving on to The Shenokie in which he related a tale of those who have both the gifts and the wisdom to tell tales to others. This was followed by Collateral Damage (Nothing Else To Do) before moving on to a number which may or may not be about a distant relative of his Sir Alexander Leslie who played a very significant role in the way the Russian Army was run in the days when Russia was ruled by the Tsar’s. 
Bob then showed his gentler side in the songs Dancing With Me Darlin , and Bessie Mennie before rounding off his set with the humourous and autobiographical song Big Dead Bob and the bitingly sataricial One Size Don’t Fit All. 

At the end of Bob’s unique style of entertainment I realised there was only performer on the bill to round off the night and that of course was me. Having read some new poems at the beginning of the night, I decided to revert to old favorites to close the evening. 

I started the set with a Twenty Four Romanians  which I know to be one of Victoria’s favourite poems of mine as it tackles the issue of migration and shows migrant workers and communities are all too often demonised by the press and media outlets. I stayed on the political theme for my next poem Self Service Cafe which looks at what our caring Conservative government are planning to do the benefits system. Though written in 2013 I think this poem is possibly even more relevant with every day that passes. I then concluded my set and the evening with Lost The Plot which is my personal take on a girl’s night out and believe it or not it has more than a grain of truth in it. Trust me names have been changed to protect the guilty. 

With this another Words and Music night came to an end. As I reflected on the events of the evening I think it can be summed up like this  When went to search for diamonds we looked in the jewellery box but we found them when bonnie searched for Clyde in Irish bars.

Love And Best Wishes 

Gayle X 

As We Reassigned Our Memories At The River Of Reflections Everyone Played Glasgow Games With Spoken Words And Songs

Hey Readers

As this is the First Tuesday of the month and I thought I review the events of the first Tuesday when the residents of Words and Music finally moved in to our cultural home. Now before I recall the events of what was a truly excellent evening and a very important occasion I would like
to give public notice of thanks to Colin Skinner son in law of our founding mother Pamela Duncan for his assistance in helping us find the Pollok Ex Servicemen’s Club which is as of last month is the new headquarters of Words and Music

The Tin Hut as it is known locally is a cracking wee venue which I am sure will become as beloved to our community as the wee back room at Sammy’s always was. The only concession I had to make to the secure services of our new home was to move the event from the first Monday of the month to the first Tuesday and that’s exactly what I did to the Words and Music family back on the road. From a personal point of view it was great that Pamela (who is pictured below with myself) was able join us to commemorate this special occasion.

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Having set the scene it is time review the events of an action packed in which we were joined by a mixture of faces both new and more familiar and it was all smiles all round as we kicked off our first night in our new surroundings. As compare I was my duty to get this party started and on this occasion there was only one appropriate way to do it. Well as Steve Allan said there are times you have to remember what certain people did for our club and one of those people was the late great Hughie Healy.

It was in my opinion only fitting to give the first words and indeed first poem of the evening to Hughie, the man who was to many of us our other poetic parent and read one of his poems to start this night in style. With Hughie being a Partick Thistle fan there was really only one poem I could choose to launch our new home and that was Against The Odds his homage to his team’s greatest ever achievement when they beat one of the best ever Celtic teams in the history of club 4-1 in the 1971 League Cup Final leaving this compare who was then only ten a wee ten year old deeply traumatised. Come to think of it Hughie left us all deeply traumatised on many occasions but that was part of the act. it was just the way he was, and he was our poetic dad so that was allowed. So on our opening night at our new venue I sent this message to heaven we still miss you wee man and love you more than you know.

Having got the new home christened it was time to read my first poem in The Tin Hut what better way to kick off my contribution with a poem entitled Spoken Word on what these types of night are really like just in case anyone had any misconceptions which needed shattered. It went down well and having done my duty it was time to welcome the company to the stage.

First up was Rosie Mappleback who along with Jane Overton had travelled all the way from Ayrshire to be with us. Rosie read two poems both of which tackled serious issues with sensitivity. In her first poem Reassigning Memories Rosie gave a very moving account of her own journey as she supports and empowers her transsexual daughter to be the woman she knows she has to be.

This was followed by the Vaginal Monologues a poem which speaks with honesty and pathos on what being a woman is actually all about Trust me as a trans woman myself I know that being a woman is not an easy shift and I have faced a different kind of prejudice and discrimination than I had in the past. Women need to speak out and address the issues we face with honesty and integrity and it is refreshing to hear a woman do exactly that and telling it like it is.

Next up was Lesley Mackay ( Traynor) whose Alternative Burns Poem went down far better than she thought and was thoroughly enjoyed by all in attendance.

Lesley was followed by Jane Overton whose poem Toilet Walls raised more than a few giggles amongst the gathering as it exposed the naked truth on more than a few secret thoughts none of which were written by Jane I hasten to add at least I don’t think they were. My reason for making this bold pronunciation is that having read some of the stuff written on the toilet walls of ladies rooms some of the spelling is so appalling no self respecting poet would put her name to it and we definitely wouldn’t leave our phone numbers as calling cards to prove we’d read it. Anyway this was the first of many great contributions Jane will make to make to Tin Hut Tuesday’s and believe me they won’t be bog standard.

Next to take the stage was Susan Milligan who read two poems Make The Change, an excellent and suitable choice on such an occasion and Music, a poem on a subject which as those who her well will know, is Susan’s real passion. Susan then finished her set with a song and this time it was Changes. This again was a good choice when you the consider the importance of the night.

After Susan and to prove it wasn’t a hen night we welcomed our first man of the night and in the history of the Tin Hut and Alex Cuthbert was the man who claimed that momentous place. A cracking poet and good friend to the company, Alex was saying that Tuesday nights may be better for him than Mondays. I have to say I’m delighted at this news and Alex performed two poems On The Turn, and Two Years Later both of which were of the highest possible calibre from a poet of quality and substance.

Talking of poets of substance they are a few better than our current Words and Music Champion Chris Young. As many of you will know Chris has not well of late and his appearances at spoken word events have become less frequent than they once were as he recovers from the ill health which has plagued him in the last year to 18 months.

Bearing this in mind it was brilliant to see him in attendance at our first night at the Tin Hut. On this occasion Chris performed three poems Clean Sheet, Confinement, and Siren all of which allowed him to show his abilities as a writer and a performer. Indeed Clean Sheet which details a wee bit of Chris’s bedroom adventures was the kind of poem which if our event had been televised would have meant it would have to been broadcast after the watershed. Indeed as our friend Steve Allan remarked to me during the break we could be the only club in history to be banned after one night. In the second of his poems Confinement Chris (pictured below with Jane Overton, seated next to him and Maryanne Hartness) tackled the issue of gender identity from a male perspective and he did so with a sensitivity which is his trademark when dealing with serious topics. You see though Chris likes to use humour as much as the next poet he is as I said before and will say again a principled man who is not afraid to see what he thinks on things that matter to him.

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As Chris rejoined the company it was time for our bar break and it was time to get some pictures taken to commemorate such an important evening in our history and as you can see from the picture below there were smiles all round from a very happy company.

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As we returned from the break it was fitting that the next performer called to the stage was our much matriarch Pamela Duncan to share her thoughts with the gathering.
On this occasion Pamela read two pieces, The Devil’s Island which highlighted her talents as an award winning prose writer, and The Land in which Pamela who was born in southern England pays tribute to Scotland the land she calls home. Well as she says it is the land in which she has lived most of her life, married and gave life to her five children. It is also a land which is as proud of her as she is of it and values her amazing contribution to the Scottish cultural scene over the years not least of which is her legacy which is Words and Music.

At the end of an excellent, entertaining, and if I’m honest quite and if I’m honest an emotional set, it was time to welcome our featured writer to the stage. Now I had to think about who should be given this honour for all of two seconds, as to me there could be no other choice than Carla Woodburn (pictured below). You see Carla had been scheduled to take up the featured writer slot In February when I was told the club would be no more as our former premises no longer opened on Mondays.

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As Words and Music is a continuing event rather than a new one I thought it was only right and proper that Carla should take the slot which was rightfully hers and denied to her only through a change in circumstances. Thankfully Carla agreed to take up the offer and the 20 Minutes which followed illustrated perfectly why I was so keen to get one of the most promising performers on the spoken word scene to grace us with her presence.

Carla started her with an interesting poem on Cyber friendship which was appropriately called Cyber Friends This was followed by. The Clown, Heart Of Stone, Half Man And Half Machine, Cables And Leads, Barcelona ( A Master’s Piece), Chasing My Fairytale which was one of my favourites of what was a brilliant set.

Carla then read her first ever poem entitled Who Knows What The Millennium Will Bring? This was written by a 17 year old Carla, and is as relevant today as the day it was when she wrote it. This was followed by Black Eyed Bob, I Am A Balloon, I Could Fix A Broken Heart, and the poem which is probably my favourite of all of her poems Just A Girl. Trust me there is not woman or girl on earth who wouldn’t be moved by this poem. Yes it is really is that good and I will never tire of hearing it. Our featured writer then continued her set with A Quiet Voice, before moving on to The Guide, Sunken Ship, Dreaming, An Ambivalent Structure, A New Opportunity, Blood Red Lipstick, before bringing arguably the most fast paced set in the history of Words and Music to an end with her final three poems of a breakneck breathtaking and brilliant 20 minutes.

This started with the first poem I ever heard her read in the Words And Music Championship last year the brilliant I Once Knew A Woman Who Swallowed A Spider before moving on to Fountain Of Youth, before concluding her contribution to the night with Mouldy Soup. Trust me this set had everything it had comedy, it had dreams, it had memories, there really was something for everyone and I’m so proud we had such a wonderful talent as our featured writer

Just like Carla our featured musician Daryl Sperry had never been a featured act at Words and Music before. In fact unlike Carla he had never been to Words and Music before. However when I saw him sing at the launch of Jim Ferguson’s new poetry collection I knew this was someone I wanted to be featured musician as soon as I could get him and believe me he lived up to and exceeded my expectations of him.

Daryl started his set with I Don’t Want To Be Everybody which he followed with A Week On, The Sun Is Out Today, Me Myself And I, Teenage Heartbreakers, and finally concluded it with Seagull. As for personal favourites from his set I particularly enjoyed The Sun Is Out Today and Teenage Heartbreakers as I thought the lyrics were superb and the melodies transported me to a dreamy kind of place. Well I can’t help it if Teenage Heartbreakers reminds me of Donny Osmond and The Bay City Rollers as they were my teenage dreams in the early mid 70’s but seriously this is a young man who star is on the rise and from whom I expect to hear a lot more in future.

After two fantastic featured acts it was back to the seasoned performers who make our nights so enjoyable and such a privilege to be part of. Now anyone who knows Words and Music knows that to be next up after the featured slots is the hardest place on the bill. Yet one regular above all others seems to relish this position is Steve Allan. (pictured at the bottom of the paragraph with Alex Cuthbert) Steve, whose mix of poetry and comic tales are a surefire winner with the regulars is always entertaining and his a natural ability to see the absurd in the mundane moments of life and find humour where most of us may miss it.

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On this occasion Steve like myself paid tribute to the memory of Hughie Healy by reading one of his poems. The poem he selected was Age Limit which had the audience smiling. This is in my opinion the ultimate tribute to both Steve and the man who inspired a generation of us who he famously called the young team. You know, it’s funny how as time those once called the young team are now seen as the establishment in the Words and Music family though whether we would see ourselves in this role is a very different story.

When Steve returned to his seat it was time for the penultimate performer and in this case it was Maryanne Hartness to take the stage. I really enjoy Maryanne’s work as it always gives the audience plenty to think about and this was no exception. Maryanne read three poems all of which were of the quality we have come to expect from such a talented wordsmith and River of Reflections, The Waltz, and Glasgow Games were an enjoyable listen with last one in evoking memories of childhood and early teens for many of us myself included.

So finally having through the sensible readers it was up to me to conclude the night and bring the evening to a close. I did this by performing a set of four poems starting with Forgotten Soldiers a poem commemorating the soldiers who never got to D-Day as they were busy fighting in the Italian campaign to stop Mussolini’s fascist army advancing northwards and in doing so preventing them lending from lending Hitler a helping hand.

My next poem also covered the topic of death but this time it was a much more recent one as I paid my poetic tribute to David Bowie In Ode To A Martian Transvestite which was how my mother referred to a musician she would later admire in the early 1970’s.

I followed this up with Learning Swedish a poem written in support of the young Swedish poet Agnes Torok who has been receiving a lot of online abuse for her excellent poem This Is My Body in which she asserts the right as all women should, to claim her body as her personal and private space.

Over the last few years as Agnes studied at Edinburgh University I got to know her both as a poet on the Scottish spoken word scene and more importantly as a friend and believe me I have never been so proud to read any poem as I was to read this one which speaks truth to power on behalf of all women who wish to claim it.

Finally I ended my set and indeed the evening by performing the first poem I ever read at Words and Music back in 1993 and Every Saturday Night proved just as popular as it always does and was I think a cracking way to finish our first night in our new home.

At the end of what was an excellent entertaining evening I reflected on the events of a night where we were valued and made welcome that this in many ways was just the Sammy’s of old before corporate interests took it over and made it feel like a strange and alien land which had no room for nights like ours. This is in total contrast to our new home which has taken Words and Music to its heart and believe me the feeling is mutual and as we reassigned our memories at the river of reflections everyone played Glasgow games with spoken words and songs

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

A Night Of Paisley Patterned Performers Can Never Be Run Of The MIll

Hey everyone  It may not have happened at the usual time but the fact that it happened is what really mattered and so on the fourth Monday of a five Monday month, Words and Music took centre stage at Lebowskis in the wee back room we’ve called home for last 25 years.

Due the event having been cancelled on its scheduled date a number of regulars had prior arrangements and were unable to attend the gathering however i am delighted that 14 battled hardened citizens braved the elements for a evening which though it may have been short on numbers was not short on quality. Well with Shaun Moore  and Wullie Purcell as the featured acts we were always going to be in for an entertaining evening.

Before the night could get started there was however some sad news  which as host of the group i had to relate to some members of the group.  I say some as others like myself had already heard  of the death of long time friend of Words and Music Alexander ( Sandy) Hutchison.  Sandy was a man of wit, wisdom and perhaps most of all warmth and a gereat ambassador not only for Words and Music but for all the creative communities with which he was involved over the years.

As is  now customary, I opened the evening with one of  my poems and in this case it is a poem which was getting its first public airing at a spoken word event The poem entitled Candles In The Dark was this year’s commemorative poem for World Transgender Remembrance Day and I think I can safely say it was very well received by an appreciative crowd.

Having done my duty it was time to hand over to the people who really make the night what it is and hopefully always will be and let the billed performers take to the stage.

First up among this collection of equals was a man making a welcome return to Words and Music Falkirk’s most poetic of bairns Peter Callaghan. Peter’s contribution was part poem part song and was titled Mr Taxman which was sung to the tune of that well known 1960’s hit Mr Sandman was a real creative tour de force and this poetic polemic set to music kicked the Tories right where it hurts. This is never a bad thing in my book and it certainly had those of us who dance to a more liberal left wing tune smiling as we moved to its beat on the metaphorical dance floor.

Next up was that seasoned Words and Music regular and when Steve takes the stage you know the entertainment will be top quality. As if to prove my point Steve performed two excellent pieces both of which were topical and on point. Sometimes Just Isn’t Enough and the brilliant Universally Challenged In Nithsdale Road. These pieces illustrated the versatility of Steve’s work showcasing both his serious side and the humour for which he is renowned. In the first of his pieces this highly gifted Word Smith made a passionate plea for a more understanding society. whilst the second was a biting social commentary on yet another change of name for the venue we call home. Needless to say both pieces were well received by the regulars but it has to be said the second piece really struck a chord with the regulars.

Next up was Susan Milligan who I think we can describe as one of those regulars I’ve just mentioned. In her set which consisted of a story, a poem and a song Susan looked at angels, devils, and witches. This was an excellently chosen set filled with those kind of topics that your dad used to use to great effect when telling you ghost stories as a child on those cold winter nights. I have to say though there was nothing remotely scary in this set. In her first piece entitled Good Angel Susan told the story of a work college who looked out for her when she worked in a nursing home. After this she completely changed direction reading the quirky and very amusing Letter To Satan in which she challenged Auld Nick to justify his hedonistic self centred values before finishing what was arguably her most enjoyable set ever in the wee back room by giving us her version of The Eagles classic song Witchy Woman.

As Susan went back to her seat it was the turn of Pete Faulkner to regale the company with his own unique brand of entertainment. Well if there is one man we can rely on to be both entertaining and informative its the man who has such a striking resemblance to a former Doctor Who that I’m convinced he travels to the wee back room in a Tardis.

On this occasion Pete read two poems Autumn Leaves and Redbrick Station both of which had a distinctly seasonal theme to them and not unusually for a man of such ability some fabulous and evocative imagery.

After Pete, it was great to welcome Mo Blake to the gathering for the first time in many a long day. A Paisley lass, Mo’s set focused on poetry from the Mill Girls which is a show on Paisley’s industrial past when many women worked in the town’s world renowned cotton mills. Mo’s first poem was simply entitled Poem From The Mill Girls, she then followed this with Spinning Mill Number One At Ferguslie before finishing by reading Granny Purcell a poem written by our featured musician Wullie Purcell who as a poet, storyteller and musician, is a multi talented multi tasker in the finest traditions of Words and Music.

Mo was followed to the stage by another Paisley buddy in the upcoming talent that is Rashelle Reid. Though Rashelle was making her debut at Words and Music I had heard really good reports about her as had impressed a number of competitors at The Paisley Slam in the summer. Naturally I had hoped these reports would be true and believe me they were as Rashelle impressed me right from the start and her first poem Bairns And Bombs was both powerful and brilliant This was followed by two more excellent poems As We Remember and Ride My Unicorn in one of the most promising debuts the wee back room has seen for a very long time.

Following Rachelle was going to be a tough act and yet another Renfrewshire poet George Colkitto was the man who drew the short straw in that respect. George however was as cool as a cucumber provided a polished performance providing two top quality poems Terror God and Inglemass both of which were enjoyed by myself and the rest of the room.

George was followed to the stage by one of this year’s Clyde built poets Finola Scott. Finola who voted was making only her second or third visit to Words And Music read four poems with Start Right, and Spiral being particular highlights in a top quality set which illustrated the quality of her work and why she will always have a place at the gathering any time she wants one.

At the end of Finola’s set and given the sensible tone of the evening I decided to read a wee light hearted poem to lighten the mood before the bar break. The poem of choice was Pulling Crackers which shows how dreams made in the dancing with the help of vodka goggles can and more than likely will end in disappointment when we girls that what we thought was the Saturday night hottie wasn’t quite as hot as we thought.

As we reassembled after the bar break I noticed that we were without one of our key stalwarts in Audrey Marshall and Pete Faulkner explained she had to make an early exit as she was feeling unwell. To me the fact Audrey made the effort to attend in the first place illustrates what the spirit of Words And Music is all about and shows the loyalty that many of us have to each other. This is a loyalty forged in friendship and there is no stronger bond.

Undaunted we cracked on with the night next up was our featured writer Shaun Moore. Believe me when I say this is a poet whose star is very much on the rise and having performed at both the Yes Bar and Hope Over Fear Words and Music held no fear for our Paisley patterned patter merchant. Well he’s a Johnstone boy actually but there are times when one has to use poetic licence.

Shaun started his set with Slice Of Life. This is a poem which showed his softer side, hardly surprising when you learn it was written about the birth of his son. I thought this was a stunning piece of poetry illustrating as it does a father’s unconditional love. This is something with which we are still uncomfortable in the multi national conglomerate that is UK PLC Indeed it is my opinion that we are deeply uncomfortable with any kind of emotions in the land of the stiff upper lip. Maybe that’s why as many a woman will testify many men are emotional wrecks.

Being a perceptive individual Shaun explored this theme to an even greater degree in his next poem Man Up in which he shows the pressures faced by young boys to adhere to this outdated and emotionally backward model of how men should behave and the problems this can and does cause with their emotional development.

Shaun then moved on to read a poem on the tragic events of the Clutha. Vaults and how in the most tragic of circumstances Glasgow showed the recentf it’s character as a city came together in the aftermath of the most horrific of nights.

Now Shaun wouldn’t be Shaun without what the author and comedian Ben Elton once described as a little bit of politics. So a poem on the warmth of west of Scotland humanity was followed by a poem on the recent appointment of wonder bra inventor Michelle Mone a consistent and bitter opponent of Scottish Independence a cause which both Shaun and I support, to the House of Lords as a Conservative Party peer. Believe me when I say that his poem Baroness Moantaefuck doesn’t miss it’s target as just as he gave Glasgow its character he did the same to the new Tory peer. The thing was though that this time the character given was a lot less complementary.

This was followed by another topical poem Saft The Wind in which Shaun shows his support for the powerful people led movement that was Yes Scotland and his continued backing for our country to return to our people as an independent nation. It will I think surprise no one that this is one of my favourite poems from a highly talented poet and performer.
Shaun’s final poem was a poem about a poem which brought to an end a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining set from a smart well versed word smith who really knows how to connect with an audience

As tradition dictates the featured writer is followed by the featured musician On this occasion that honour fell to Wullie Purcell a man who is perhaps better known for his poetry and storytelling than for his music but believe me he is more than capable of holding a note.

Wullie started his set with that well known and well loved Matt McGinn classic The Pill in which McGinn pokes fun at the church and its attitude to contraception. Wullie followed his McGinn inspired opening with The Banks Of Scilly, Travel Away, MacPherson’s Rant and one of my favourite Scottish ballads Peggy Gordon before going back to the Matt McGinn songbook for the hauntingly funny Dundee Ghost. As if o hadn’t been spoiled enough by Wullie’s choice of songs , he proceeded to get all the company singing along to the song which I believe should be an independent Scotland’s national anthem. That or course is the brilliant Freedom Come All Ye Wullie then concluded his set with another excellent song to get at least some of us singing that well known Scottish patriots rallying call Ye Jacobites By Name.

At the end of Wullie’s set there being no more billed performers it was left to me to close the night In doing so, I performed three poems which I hope illustrated the range of my work. I started with the Scattering which is a poem on both autumn and the highland clearances. I then moved on to Over And Done in which provide a list of ways you can and a relationship which is no longer working out, and for my final poem I read Hero which I wrote as a tribute to my late dad John James Smith and with this I concluded the November edition of Words And Music.

Looking back on the events of the evening I would say that the fact it went ahead after a. postponement earlier in the month made it an unqualified success and despite being universally challenged we showed that when you have a night of Paisley patterned performers the results will never be run of the mill.

Love And. Best Wishes
Gayle X