Another excellent weekend coming up of poetry, music and fun at Callander Poetry Weekend. This annual extravaganza is truly one of the highlights of the year. The weekend will run from Friday 2 till Sunday 4 September.
Sally Evans and Ian King are fantastic supporters of poets and poetry, and the weekends are always filled with strong words and plenty of laughs (plus excellent cakes). This year’s programme promises the usual high standard with poets coming from all over Scotland and beyond. Check out the Facebook page. Alternatively, go to Sally Evans’ website for more information.
Charlie Gracie at Callander poetry weekend
I have a wee spot on Sunday afternoon, reading in the final session with Ray Evans, Ian King, Irene Cunninghame and Magi McGlyn.
I hope you get along. You’ll love it! You will hear well-established and wonderful poets. Plus, you will hear up and coming and wonderful poets. And, you will have your hearts and minds stretched in fabulous directions.
For ages, I’ve wanted to go to a an event run by Ian Maxtone of The Write Angle. Last week, I did, and it was brilliant. Heroes, in Cafe Roxy in Falkirk, was the latest of their spoken word and music nights. It was a pleasure to read alongside other wonderful writers.
The Write Angle has the ablity to connect writers across Forth Valley. Due to this, there was a huge range of people there. Many of the folks who read are used to sharing their work out loud, while others were speaking for the first time. There was music, and there were laughs, and there was a warm fuzzy feeling in the room. Ian’s compering, in additon to his behind the scenes organising, was funny, encouraging, uplifting and downright groovy.There was even a raffle. How many places can you hear wonderful writing, and excellent music and win some Mr Sheen?
The Write Angle gave the readers a wonderful attentive and appreciative audience. Most importantly, everyone had a good time with great music and brililant writing. Thanks Ian.
Uisga Beatha by Fran Baillie is a sumptuous honouring of Laphroaig, the sharp and joyous malt from Islay. She totally gets it: I think she might enjoy a wee dram herself, you know. ‘Pass owre a tummlerfuhl o the cauld, wild west, / mahltit barley, slow-distilt, pure poetrie;’. Pure poetry right enough.
In some kind of contrast (and I say this as a boy whose youthful drug of choice was the sweet cherry wine of the Monks), Buckfast is given its place in the Scotia Extremis project by Claudia Daventry with her funny and punchy Commotion Lotion. From disco to fist fights, Caludia rocks this one. This is not a relationship going well; her, the burd and the Buckie. ‘Ma skank’s a steamin jakey, / she doons a few then skelps me’. Luvvy jubbly.
Scotia Extremis has been on the go for several months now. Andy Jackson and Brian Johnstone have galvanised a load of writers around our nation’s essential nature, its soul. The starting point was McDiarmid’s assertion that “I’ll ha’e nae hauf-way hoose, but aye be whaur / Extremes meet …” Great stuff already and more to come, bevvied or not.
This project has been going for a few months now and pulls out some wonderful poetry. Scotia Extremis Week 18 is no different, with a beautiful juxtaposition of poetic and artistic styles from Tariq Latif and Dawn Wood.
They have written about two artists who are very much at extremes: Edwin Landseer and Joan Eardley. The first, from Tariq Latif, captures so much of the political, social and economic history in Landseer’s world as well as his work. The second, from Dawn Wood, refelcts the sensitive powere of Eardley’s work, here eye.
Gayle Brogan as Pefkin will put on a great show on Friday with Jazzhandstemazzepamman. Gayle will be doing lots of superb stuff, including a piece based on my poem ‘Jackdaws’.
Pefkin has played live in lots of places, including the Xposed Club-MVI 0143 in Cheltenham, 2015 and HillGigs in 2016.
Jazzhandstemazepamman (Tom Dalzell) will be doing lots of lovely stuff too. He, of course, objects to the ‘lovely stuff’ description and I’m not sure he’s wrong. Grief Porn will feature. Everything wil be an aural and emotional challenge. Brilliant!
I’ll be reading poetry in the Scottish Writers’ Centre Speakeasy on Tuesday 24th May in the CCA in Glasgow. These nights are great fun, with a range of writers sharing some of their ongoing projects.
On Wednesday 15th June, I’ll be taking part in a night run by Linda Jackson at the St. Louis Cafe Bar in Partick. I’ve never been there before, but I’ve heard that they are pretty groovy things, these nights.
Look out for more stuff happening in the near future.
Poetry in action big style when Hector Bizerk, the Glasgow Hip Hop band, came to the Tolbooth in Stirling on 27 February.
The poetry of Louie and the beats of Audrey Tait and the rest of the band wove in out of each other like a tsunami of sound. From the first moments of “They Made a Porno on a Mobile Phone and Everybody Laughed” through to “Festival Boy”, it was mad, stamping chaos; a joyful, sometimes angry chaos. “Empty Jackets”, with Be Charlotte making a colourful appearance, is a manifesto for artistic integrity.
The place was jumping, and that’s something you hardly ever see in the Tolbooth, a venue that is all too often under-supported by the folks of Stirling.
The support band was Other Humans, also good to hear. They have a strong 80’s vibe going on which appeals to my auld heid.
Louie had two young MCs from Stirling on stage with Hector Bizerk: a great hand out to young artists from a band that seem to understand the way things really are.
After, I listened to my new copy of “The Tree That Never Grew”. Fantastic production values in there (that’s that Audrey Tait again).
I’ve been particularly focussed recently on developing my sequence of Donegal and Leitrim poems (currently known as “Tales from the Dartry Mountains” in my head). They have been bubbling away for years as family stories, myths, beautiful landscape and the politics of an area full of ferment.
For 2016, to help my focus, I am also resolved to go more often to the Scottish Writers’ Centre. First up is Jane Archer on short story writing on Tuesday night, 5th January. Should be a blast, so get yourself along.