Tuesday, 2 September 2014

I am genuinely worried

Lots of my poetry and arty chums are passionately pro-independence. The basic concepts of freedom and change are noble, attractive, seductive, and it can be tempting to see ourselves as following directly from Robert Burns in his more idealistic moments, as if the intervening centuries had not occurred. However, as Burns himself noted, the best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley — and the Scottish Government's plans for negotiating a post-Yes settlement do not seem to me to be particularly well-laid. I know of other poets who have been keeping their heads down for fear, ironically, of being branded "scaremongering" for raising genuine concerns. The following poem (recorded last night at Sammy Dow's) — which is probably not my best work and certainly not my shortest — is a small attempt to balance the argument. (Please excuse the audio; I have provided CC/subtitles should you wish to activate them.)


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Ducking?

I have succumbed to peer pressure (from the world of politics) and passed it on via Macmillan's #IceBucketChallenge to friends (at least they were friends). Bonus points for identifying the verse form used. :)


Ducking?


This challenge I received from Robert Brown:
To hold aloft a bucket filled with ice
And ice-cold water then, within a trice,
To pour the frigid contents on my crown.

Though fearful lest I freeze, or maybe drown,
I’ll suffer this ordeal so far from nice –
To duck the ducking stunt incurs a price
To compensate for absent trickle-down.

The pain endured, the trouble I must share
And nominate three friends to undergo
To help support Macmillan’s cancer care:
Text ICE to seven-zero-five-five-o
To give three pounds, within two days, and dare;
Or dodge by texting FINE (ten pounds will flow).

The deed is done.  I’ll dry off soon and text.
To David, Erin, James – it’s your turn next.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

1 September at Sammy's

That was an enjoyable Fringe! (Only one point away from reaching the final of the BBC Poetry Slam. Maybe next year, if I can win a few more competitions/slams over the coming months...) As a punter (taking notes for devising my own show(s) next year), I didn't quite wear myself out but still didn't get to see half of what I wanted to.

But now, back to Glasgow. On Monday 1 September, I shall be featured writer at Words and Music @ Sammy Dow's (The Samuel Dow, 69 Nithsdale Road, Strathbungo G41 2AJ). It's also an open mic (without the mic) — sign up from 7.30pm, poetry starts 8pm, featured writer about 9pm, followed by featured musician then more open spots.

Last month, stalwart poet/musician Andy Fleming took some photographs of me, one of which you can see below to remind you what a serious poet looks like.


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

A trail of two cities

Edinburgh yesterday, Glasgow tonight, Edinburgh tomorrow...

Fresh/drained from last night's heat of the BBC poetry slam (which went well - not sure yet whether I'll be in the final on Saturday), I will be performing in Glasgow tonight. The fun starts at 7.30pm at Inn Deep (445 Great Western Road, G12 8HH) where Sam Small and his merry band will be launching The High Flight magazine. And it's all FREE!


But don't worry, Edinburgh - you will get more of me. Tomorrow (Wednesday) I will be guesting at another FREE show: Well It's Woody, 9-10pm, Fingers (61a Frederick Street, EH2 1LH).


Thursday, 7 August 2014

Double-slammy!

On Monday 11th August, I will be competing in not one but two poetry slams. At 5pm (BST), voting closes (HINT! HINT!) on the best recorded poetry performance in the StAnza Digital Slam. From 8.15pm I will be performing live in the first heat of the BBC Poetry Slam at the Edinburgh Fringe. Entry is free. The competition will be tough (see video below) but maybe with enough audience response I will find my way into the final on Saturday...