Monday, 31 January 2011


It's the last Monday of the month, which means Last Monday at Rio! This is a spoken word night hosted by Robin Cairns at Rio! café and bar in Partick (27 Hyndland Street, G11 5QF, near Kelvinhall subway). It starts at 8pm and I have a floor spot of 5 minutes, so I really ought to finish eating and get there...

Friday, 28 January 2011

WORDS to a vegetarian haggis

By popular demand, I have posted the words (in all their wondrous spelling) to my alternative Burnsian address...

To a vegetarian haggis

Fair fa’ your… dishonest, sonsie face,
Great maverick o’ the puddin race!
For veggie folk, ye tak the place
O’ honest meat.
Some think ye truly a disgrace
Nae fit tae eat.

But ithers cannae face yon haggis
That made wi’ fresh sheep’s stomach bag is,
Where hairt and lung and liver clag is,
Mixed up wi’ oats.
For squeamish folk, for them, the snag is
No Rabbie’s quotes.

I dinnae mean tae fash nor clype,
But some folk cannae stomach tripe
And kidney could nae pass their pipe
For fear they choke.
An’ inside pairts o’ every type
Would make them boke.

Frae John O’ Groats tae Howe O’ Fife
Sic sentiment is awfu’ rife
But then they gang an’ tak a knife
Tae sirloin steak.
They dinnae think that flesh had life –
For ony sake.

The animal that’s killed for meat
Has died for us – and gay few greet.
We owe the beast at least tae eat
And no tae waste.
The choice we have tae eat or bleat
Is no just taste.

Hypocrisy puts me on edge.
The squeamish folk, they a’ should pledge
Tae eat from henceforth none but veg
(An’, maybe, eggs and milk).
Frae shrink-wrapped plastic, let them dredge
Your ersatz ilk.

O ye wha untold beasties save,
For whom no sheep its stomach gave
Nor cattle came hame to their grave,
Lang may ye reek.
Or bailt in pot or microwaved,
It’s ye I seek.

O meat-free bairn o’ John MacSween,
Nae life ye tak, nae liver seen,
Nor kidney but the kidney bean
That gies ye hairt.
An’ nuts an’ lentils (red or green),
A’ play their pairt.

Wi’ mushroom, carrot, onion, neep,
Your savour is baith sweet and deep.
It’s sad ye dinnae taste like sheep,
But that is fine.
When frozen, weel for months you’ll keep.
(I bulk-buy mine.)

O sleekit puddin, sonsie-faced,
Though some may think a haggis based
On vegetables, the meat replaced,
Should be unlawful,
I bid the world to tak a taste –
It is nae offal.

© Chris Young

Address To A Vegetarian Haggis

Last night, I had the pleasure of addressing the haggis, and the audience, at the Greater Glasgow Liberal Democrats' Annual Dinner, this year held just two days after Burns Night. However, it was the vegetarian haggis to which my Burnsian ode was directed.

Thursday, 27 January 2011



Turn your smiles into reasons,
Reasons to stay.
Make promises of your attention
And flirt with a purpose.
Show me your smile again
Just that bit too often.

© Chris Young

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

A House On A Hill

Frustratingly, I didn't quite get my act together for this year's Glasgow / Magners Comedy Festival. However, I did take part two years ago, supporting my friend Robin Cairns in "Numpties Need Love Too", performed at and in aid of the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall. I have performed this poem better, but never colder.

Monday, 24 January 2011


It's nearly close of submissions for this year's Hippocrates Prize for poems on a medical theme. I am waiting for inspiration to strike. Here is what I wrote last year:


Holed up, hooked up, and surgically enclosed,
He convalesces, trapped within these walls. 
Bare surfaces bear plumbing, part-exposed;
But he is warm inside.  The future calls. 
I ring his bell.  He opens up and smiles. 
We cannot kiss; I keep my hands contained;
But soon his clothes are strewn in ticklish piles
As tenderness is patiently explained. 
Stripped skin which once turned in now clings unfurled;
Spliced ducts lie sheathed in flesh’s phoenix tomb;
A punctured navel, window on a world,
And keyhole slits commemorate his womb. 
He beams, then screams, while showing off his toy. 
Now forty, he was born to be a boy.

© Chris Young

Sunday, 23 January 2011

When Father Papered The Parlour

At the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall on Glasgow's Trongate, the world's oldest surviving music hall, we celebrate the popular entertainments of 100 years ago (or at least the spirit of the age). Last year, it was 1910, the year in which R. P. Weston and Fred J. Barnes wrote "When Father Papered The Parlour", famously recorded in 1912 by Billy Williams. In his honour, I perform this song as "Little Billy Williams".

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Glam Slam UK 2010

On 23 June 2010, Ernesto Sarezale (whom I thank for use of these photographs) hosted the third annual UK Glam Slam, held at The Book Club in Shoreditch, London. I was fortunate enough to be visiting London at the time, having failed to make it the previous years. There were 4 heats, in which competitors were asked to use appropriate costume and/or prop: soul, body, work and wig. I had intended to do a poem in a wig (other than the one which you see me wearing!), but could not procure a "jimmy hat" to replace the one I had left where I was staying. So I entered the "body" heat instead...

So, in short(s), I won my heat and the whole slam, with the best verbal vogue of 2010. Then I did a gratuitous victory poem in some London souvenirs.

You can see the whole album in my Picasa gallery.


This is what I should have been doing today, but alas I am stiff in all the wrong places...

(by Chris Young, with thanks and apologies to Malvena Reynolds)

Letterboxes on the doorfronts,
Letterboxes going snippy-snappy,
Letterboxes on the doorfronts,
Letterboxes hurt and maim.
There’s a high one and a low one
And a small one and a narrow one.
And they all stick or go snippy-snappy
And they all hurt just the same.

And the Focus for the houses
Was written by the candidate
But he won’t touch letterboxes:
Letterboxes hurt and maim.
So I take them and I fold them
And I try to deliver them.
But they all scrape or go slippy-slappy
And they all hurt just the same.

Now the front flap on the letterbox
Is stiff or goes flippy-flappy
And it bruises all my fingers
And it traps them in the frame,
Which is filled with rows of bristles
Which crumple the leaflet up.
And they all jam or go scritchy-scratchy
And they all hurt just the same.

As I bleed upon the leaflet
It stops at the inner flap
And I have to wedge it open
With my fingers in the frame.
Then a dog jumps at the doorfront
And tries to bite my fingers off.
And they all growl or go yippy-yappy
And they all hurt just the same.

So the leaflet turns to dogfood
Or gets snagged in silly curtaining
And gets tangled, further mangled:
It is all part of the game.
When the owner gets the leaflet
It must be half-illegible.
And they’ll never vote Libby-Demmy
But it all hurts just the same.

Letterboxes on the doorfronts
Should be subject to regulati-ons:
Never sideways, all at waist-height,
Letterboxes all the same.
And the dogs should be sedated
And the hinges lubricated fully.
They’d be simple and not knicky-knacky
And they’d all work just the same.

Sorrows of the Blind Drunk

William Topaz McGonagall was a temperate man who warned against the evils of strong drink. In this parody, written on 20th June 2008, I reverse the great man's standpoint to comment on the Scottish Government's plans (mainly since abandoned or thwarted) to tackle the problem of excessive alcohol consumption.

Sorrows of the Blind Drunk

’Twas on the seventeenth day of June in the year 2008,
Which will go down in history as a memorable date,
That the Scottish Government, led by the SNP,
Announced their intention new laws on alcohol to decree.

To explain what was the politicians’ will,
First up to speak was Kenny MacAskill.
This fine statesman, who is the Justice Secretary,
Declared that the Scottish people were far too merry.

“Nae mair will ye gang tae the supermarket for cut-price special brew
An’ bottles of Buckie at 3 for 2.
We will end this unseemly generosity and glee
And mak thame gie ye twa for the price o’ three.

And, since liquor gives licence to frivolity and fun,
It should obviously not be had before the age of 21.
I know that at 16 men can fight and can die for the state.
But misery is always with us.  Pleasure can wait.”

So spoke Kenny MacAskill.  Perhaps he was drunk at the time.
He then went on to say that alcohol was responsible for 45% of recorded crime.
He came out with more statistics till it made the journalists dizzy.
But some people said they could smell something fishy.

The next to say her piece was Nicola Sturgeon
Who, as Health Secretary, deals with both GP and surgeon.
She explained that, through affluence, we Scots choose a life of ill health,
Which problem is best solved by eliminating disposable wealth.

“There are people who are dying in each hospital ward
Just because a pint is something they can afford.
If we fix a minimum price for the sale of each alcohol unit,
Then they’ll sip and savour their Tartan Special and not just up and doon it.

And since the retailers who peddle death do it practically for free,
We must make them pay a social responsibility fee.
The responsibility of individuals is marginal, at the edges.
And it’s not as if we want to raise extra funds to pay for our election pledges…”

So spoke Nicola Sturgeon, parliamentary leader.
But what of Alex Salmond, that smug little rune-reader?
Do you think he keeps quiet lest he sound like a berk
And that, in his clever little brain, he knows it won’t work?

In these plans there is surely a flaw
In that they most affect people who don’t break the law.
They’ll require us to queue in the supermarket twice
(Once for booze; once for mixers), which is not very nice.

And the effects will be worse as you travel forth
To the highlands and islands of the heathen north.
If you stop the folk drinking, that would hurt them so much,
For, without being leathered, Orcadians don’t touch.

This is no way to address Scotland’s haemorrhaging population.
Lack of cheap drink leads to anger and frustration.
The Scots as a nation should be happy and hearty.
Why do we have such a miserable Scottish National Party?

© Chris Young

Without wishing to go into extensive debate, suffice it to say that, although this poem doesn't entirely reflect my position politically, I believe that there will always be a problem with mechanistic measures which disproportionately affect the law-abiding.

Friday, 21 January 2011


The last time I was a student (I have been a student so many times...) I competed in the 2009 "Uni's Got Talent". My act, singing Heaven 17's "Temptation" with my parrot Fernando, was said to have "split the audience like Marmite".

My technique has since improved!

Thanks to all those responsible for the night and the recording.

Dickie Clifford's "Summer Holiday"

And now for the prequel. My alter ego debuted this routine on 18 August 2010 to win that month's heat of Red Door Burlesque's "Burlesque Factor" at Glasgow's Art Bar.

I reprised this routine at Scarlett Fever's Christmas Hullaburloo and am happy to pack up my kit and do it again elsewhere...

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Dickie Clifford at Red Door Burlesque, 24 November 2011

This video has been a long time in the uploading! This was my alter ego Dickie Clifford's entry in the final of the Red Door Burlesque "Burlesque Factor" at Glasgow's Art Bar.

Can you spot the moment at which the handcuff springs open before it's due to? Memo to self: take shoes off before removing trousers.

For those few of you who may not recognise the song, it is "Release Me", as made famous by Engelbert Humperdink.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Getting there...

This website is still under construction. Hopefully, it will be properly live in the next few weeks and inhabiting my own domain. In the meantime, please give me constructive comments re content and layout. Thanks!