Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Oh to be in Edinburgh...

By complete coincidence, I am in England now that April is here, on the day that those of a patriotic disposition, celebrate Saint George.  Better it is to commemorate The Bard on this day, and what better way that with poetry!  I would say, where better than Edinburgh, the City of Literature, my adopted home, and host to a myriad of spoken-word and poetry groups, events and opportunities.

However, as I said, today I am in England, and feeling sad that I have spent too much time away from my beloved Dunedin, missing some of my favourite events this month.  But all is not lost, thanks to the wonders of technology, the perils of plumbing, and the innovation of those Creative Types who pepper the Burgh with words, both spoken and printed.  Today, due to a temporary closure of their venue, the writer/performer collective Inky Fingers were hosting a virtual event.  Which means that, through the wonders of technology, I was there in Edinburgh, in Episode Two:

I recently tried to count on my (inky) fingers the number of spoken-word events that happen on a regular basis in Edinburgh.  I ran out of fingers.  Every one of them (the events, not my fingers) is different, distinct, and diverse, and no two events will ever be the same.  There has been plenty written about this vibrant scene: for example http://www.scotsman.com/scotland-on-sunday/scotland/peter-ross-the-bloodsport-of-slam-poetry-1-2841269 But while I’m feeling homesick for Auld Reekie, I thought I would name-check those on my 12-fingered list.

Starting with Neu! Reekie! http://neureekie.tumblr.com/  This is an eclectic and highly popular evening. Another Red Squirrel-associated event is sadly breathing its last on May the 1st, 10Red, at the Persevere Pub in Leith.  It will be sorely missed (as will its departing host, Kevin Cadwallender) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhalxEd_rU0&feature=share

Not too far away from the Borders (of Leith) is another pub-back-room purely-poetry evening called… Caesura.  This nomadic group started in The White Horse, nipped round the corner to The Waverly, then found a new home in the Artisan Bar on London Road, where I will perform in June.

Shore Poets, who sound like they belong in down at the foot of the Water of Leith, in fact convene at Henderson’s at St John’s.  Featuring in-house poets, with live acoustic music, they have an ‘open mic’ evening this Sunday, so I will be doing a slot https://www.facebook.com/events/162376960593354/


There is no more fitting a description of what goes on at Rally & Broad than ‘spoken word cabaret.’ Hosted by Jenny Lindsay and Rachel McCrum, at the Counting House, with trips to the Bongo Club for the odd ‘slam,’ this is always entertaining, polished, and broad in so many ways. Look them up: https://rallyandbroad.wordpress.com/


A close relative is found in the adjoining bar, The Blind Poet, where the
appropriately-called Blind Poetics meet for open-mic and featured poets.  This year Blind Poetics have produced pamphlets, imaginatively titled “COLLECTION I” and “COLLECTION II” – both of which contain pieces by me.

In the Bongo Club, in its new premises deep in the Cowgate, the well-established story-telling collection Illicit Ink host themed evenings with treats.  The next one (again, featuring me) is called ‘Sleeptalking’ – which makes me wonder what the chocolate treats will be this month.  See: https://www.facebook.com/events/619187951428089/ or http://illicitink.net/events/ and here:


Storytelling is, of course, deeply embedded in the Scottish psyche, and
the Scottish Storytelling Centre is never short of events that do just that:  Café Voices, and Jo Caulfield’s Speakeasy to name but two; not to forget another, related event: Electric Tales, which is held at The Stand every month.  


And while I’m in storytelling mode, this event http://www.scottishstorytellingcentre.co.uk/events/event_display.asp?id=5314 sees two of my storytelling friends, Fiona Herbert and Calum Lykan giving a dark take on The Selkie Wife tale.


There’s always a risk in compiling a list. I’m bound to have left off some, and others are sure to pop up in time.  I’ve heard there’s a literary-happening in Thomson’s Bar on Morrison Street this Sunday afternoon, and there are countless writers’ groups who host reading events and performances.  All these are events that I’ve either performed at, or will soon, or hope to at some future point. 

So what the hell am I doing in England, now that April’s here? 

See below.

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