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The Lithgae Gig

30/10/2006
Friday’s reading went really well. It was held in the lounge of Bryerton House, aka St John’s Christian Centre, in Linlithgow High Street. The lounge set-up lent a cosy, intimate atmosphere to the evening, but it was bittie cramped for some of the 20 or so folk who came!
Guitarist Phil Melstrom kicked us off with three tunes, including those that are probably my favourites from Miles Davis’s classic Kind of Blue and Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage–“All Blues” and “Dolphin Dance”. He’s a fine musician, as at home with bluesy and funky, spiky playing as with the smoother, more fluid side of jazz. Phil also played between each of the poetry sets and at the end. In fact, he even improvised an accompaniment to one of Douglas Briton’s pieces. Unfortunately, the poem finished just as Phil (and, I suspect, the audience) was getting into it.
Rob A Mackenzie braved the opening spot with a set of new poems, a couple of older poems and pieces from his HappenStance pamphlet, The Clown of Natural Sorrow. I particularly enjoyed the new work he read, including his opening poem, a strong piece bit of surrealism-at-home, in which the Apocalypse comes the Barnton roundabout. Rob is a good reader, and I’m very pleased to see he’s on the bill for StAnza 2007. You can read his report of the gig here.
Douglas Briton went second. His is a very different approach to either Rob’s or mine, much more performance poetry or light verse in the way that Wendy Cope writes light verse: sometimes witty and amusing, sometimes addressing difficult subjects head on, but always employing a disarmingly straightforward style. I was really impressed with how smoothly Douglas read, as it was the first time he’d performed anything more than individual pieces in public.
I was the last poet on, with a mixture of new work and poems from Tonguefire. It was a good audience to read to. I knew most of the people there to varying degrees, but there were a couple of unfamiliar faces in the gathering. Rumour is that the experiment might be repeated again in future, possibly on the Linlithgow Folk Festival.
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