Hey everyone As this Monday was the First Monday of the month it was time for Words& Music at the poetry family headquarters that has always been & will always be Sammy Dows.
July is always a wee bit on the mad side & because its the start of the Glasgow holiday season its never the easiest month to organise. However, let it be said that whilst this may deter other mortals the Sammy’s crew still rock no matter what. I say this despite the fact we had no featured slots. I mean I had arranged for both a writer &musician to take the places but due to circumstances neither could actually make it. Well spoken word nights are a wee bit like politics in the sense that they are dictated by events.
Those events also meant that some of our regulars were on holiday so you could be forgiven for thinking that we were in for one of our quieter nights. Aye right, this is Sammy’s & quiet nights are not allowed. Anyway, I should have realised that sanity was a non starter when Linda obviously having taken her bravery pills before she left the house warned Andy ‘Don’t you dare go before me or after me. Well I’ve always said Linda was like my big sister, now I think she may be taking on the role for the whole of Sammy’s.
As the crowd began to gather it was obvious we were in for a good night& it was great to see regulars who’ve been unable to make it in recent months returning to the family fold. I refer in particular to the best wee chosen sister in the world Catherine Baird & the fantastically talented Jane Overton. It was also heartening to see a couple of debuts from people at different ends of the performance scene. These came from the man who is the public face of Seeds of Thought. Tawona Sithole,& a very talented young writer who focuses mainly on storytelling Gabrielle Bennett.
It was Gabrielle who got the night under way & despite being first to grace the stage this polished young performer showed no sign of nerves with an excellent debut which shows the art of storytelling is alive & well.
As further evidence of this our next writer, wasn’t just a storyteller but the recently crowned Scotia Bar Short Story Champion Catherine Baird
& yes I did get a wee bit emotional in my introduction, well it was the return of the prodigal wee sister & golden child.
After the nice sensible start it was the turn of Alex Frew to restore normality to the proceedings. Now remember when I talk of normality I mean normality Sammy’s style & if anyone could return us to our rightful place of insanity it was our Alex. He did this by getting loads of laughs & raising more than a few smiles with his own peculiar or should I say unique brand of lunacy & his engaging style of comic song proved a real crowd pleaser. In the second of his two songs he was aided &abeted in his madness by two of our most popular characters Andy Fleming & Chris Young. Whilst they may be larger in number, well they have one extra member. I am very concerned that we may have discovered Scotland’s answer to Jedward. On completion of this melody of mayhem. It was a pleasure to welcome back Jane Overton for her first appearance since she was featured writer at our Christmas Cracker last December. Jane has been unable to attend in recent months,& last night with topics ranging from tattoos to modern interpretations of traditional fairytales she showed why her presence has been so sorely missed.
The night then welcomed our second debut of the evening. A debut which I have to say has been long time coming & is perhaps all the more welcome because of that as one of the founder members of Seeds of Thought Tawona Sithole graced the stage of Words & Music for the first time. This was one of those moments at Sammy’s when you really want to say I was there & believe me you were privileged if you were. Tawona was followed by his friend & mine Colin Poole. Colin was making his comeback at Words & Music after a lengthy absence, & entertained us with his own unique take on royalty of the real & pearly variety & somewhat fishy tale about marrying a mermaid.
Next to the stage was a man who is always ready to take his 15 minutes or in the case of Sammy’s 5 minutes of fame. I refer to the man who has so many tricks up his sleeve he’s been banned from going to Paul Daniels gigs he is the one & only Chris Young. By this time, you just knew it was going to be one of those nights & with the man at the top of his game he even survived two heckles from those shy reserved creatures Jim Ewing & Linda Grant. Jim’s came at the end of first of Chris’s poems when he said ‘that’s just smut’ Chris lodged the defence ‘its Shakespearian’ to which Jim replied ‘awright its Shakespearian smut’. Quality banter I tell you quality banter. However, If Chris thought his heckles were over for the evening he couldn’t have been more wrong. On hearing him complain about the difficulties he faced when presented with using technology, Linda whose bravery pills were now beginning to exhibit some potentially lethal side effects gladly gave Chris the benefit of her wit & wisdom. She did this by reminding him as he struggled to find his poem on his phone,’that’s what pen & paper are for’. Oh well though he may no longer be with us in person its good to see to that John Turner is still in spirit at least, very much alive & part of the event he regularly graced with his presence. However only Chris could possibly say’ I can’t find my balls’ & get away with it. I mean it has to be the line of the night.
After her heckling I have to say it was almost poetic justice that Linda had the duty of following Chris. She gave a good performance which she introduced by saying that she would restore sanity to the proceedings. Aye right Linda, that’s about as likely as me marrying Donny Osmond. You know, something that’s never going to happen no matter how much you want it to. With performances from Susan Milligan & Jim Ewing to take us to the bar break We had packed a lot in to the first hour of the night.
At this stage of the evening we thought that the featured writer may have been running late, however we started back with one of the die-hard regulars as Christine Wallace came up to share her work. As the night progressed it became obvious that events had defeated our featured writer & they weren’t going to turn up. This almost became a licence for madness for those still to read not that such a thing would ever be needed at Sammy’s. Next up was Monica Pitman who delivered a quality if in the opinions of some a slightly preachy set. However Monica is Monica & therefore a law unto herself though this in a world of sameness where everyone seems obsessed with fitting in, is not necessarily a bad thing.
After Monica it was the turn of the excellent & extremely chatty Maryanne Hartness. To say that Maryanne can gab is I think an understatement, trust me I was in her
company at an event on Saturday after which we or should I say Maryanne got chatting to another woman who attended the event was still gabbing over an hour later. This time however her contribution was a shorter one & reading only one poem she didn’t even fill her allotted 5 minutes. It has to be said however, there were no such worries for our Champion Steve Allan who reckons he has found a cure for depression. He claims it can be cured by a journey on the Glasgow underground. As we went on board his train of thought we discovered more loonies than we ever knew existed in any asylum.
But what do you do when you have no featured writer & featured musician ? Well the answer to the £64 million dollar question is to me at least a simple one, you call on the services on that genial multi-tasker & one man combo that is Andy Fleming & trust me he didn’t disappoint. Well he never does, he is a man of many talents is our Andrew & on this occasion he got the chance to showcase those talents to the full. The highlight of a very entertaining set came right at the climax if you’ll pardon the expression & by the end of this sentence you may have to. Well he ended set by singing a song entitled There’s no mention of the clitoris in the bible. Honestly it had the place rocking with laughter particularly us girls.
As the end of the night I was as always the case I was last up to the stage. Since we were on target for a slightly earlier than usual finish I decided to take advantage of the situation & perform a slightly longer set than would usually be the case.
I read 5 poems on different topics. Different Postcodes/ Different Worlds
& Yesterday’s Battles on the theme of anti sectarianism. The Quilt on the changing political landscape of Scotland in which I lay out my vision for an Independent Scotland whilst acknowledging the fact that at a different time in our history Scots were more proud of the union. Don’t Remind Me, on that unique bond of friendship which only women share. & Screaming Banshees which was written to commemorate not only my participation in the first ever all female Scottish Poetry Slam or that I made history by being first up to the mic, but the very fact it happened at all.
At the end of my set we brought the night to a close, & on a night when we were worried about potentially low numbers we recorded our highest attendance of the year as 22 turned up to share the madness. So what if we didn’t have any featured performers, sometimes circumstances get in the way. Well they do if we let them but we don’t let them & we proved as we have so often in the past we have a cast of stars & this was a night that we all shared the spotlight.
Love & Best Wishes