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Not having been out in Glasgow for absolutely ages–possibly not since I read at Tchai Ovna west end in 2006, unless you count the Mitchell event Helena Nelson and I did with the Scottish Poetry Library–I really enjoyed heading west to join the audience for the reading at Tchai Ovna southside on Friday night. I met up with AB Jackson and Rob A Mackenzie for a quick drink first. Just as well, because I hadn’t clocked it was the Shawlands branch we were going to and would have gone to the wrong place otherwise. Rob had been at the Christian Aid book sale in Edinburgh and come away with a fine haul of books at knock-down, bowl-you-over, irresistible prices, including several doubles of books he already had, which he very generously gave to Andy Jackson and me.

As Rob says, Tchai Ovna southdie is a tottie wee place of a venue. It would be a fantastic place to meet someone for a tea (superb tea, it has to be said), but is was a bit too small for the 14 readers plus musicians and audience. The musicians, Wing and A Prayer, were excellent. The quality of the writing was, well, as you’d expect at an open mic session, variable. Rob and Alexander Hutchison were way the best, to my mind, even if the audience didn’t seem to connect with what Rob read. Afterwards, Rob and I joined Sandy Hutchison and Cheryl Follon for a swift drink before we scooted back off to the train in my case and bus in Rob’s. Pity we couldn’t stay longer, but the last train is the last train. I’m hoping to get back through to Glasgow for a Les Murray reading in June, so it won’t be quite as long before I’m back out in the city.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Jim Murdoch permalink
    18/05/2008 15:50

    I’ve wandered up and down Otago Street for years and never noticed that place. The thing is it looks like it’s down a lane where’s there’s a cool bookshop and record store I used to frequent often so I’m amazed I missed it. My wife’s trying to talk me into going to one of the events but I’m not sure. I’ve never been to an open mike session and I’ve never read my poetry in public besides I’ve looked at the photos of the place and all the kids look younger than my daughter. I think we might check it out during the day. She likes the look of the food. I’m afraid I’m pretty much a dyed-in-the-wool carnivore myself.

  2. Rob permalink
    18/05/2008 17:40

    That’s the west end place you’re talking about, Jim. I read there a while back. It was good!

    I really owe the South Side audience an apology for my reading on Friday. It was such a hard-line, uncompromising, ‘difficult’ choice of poems and they were generous enough – probably because I didn’t read for long! But I wanted to give these poems a live outing and reading them to an audience pointed me towards a few necessary improvements.

  3. Andrew Philip permalink
    18/05/2008 22:42

    I enjoyed the west end Tchai Ovna reading I did in 2006. There weren’t anything like so many readers! The west end one is small, but not pokey, like the southside branch. It is extraordinarily tucked away, which is part of its quirky charm.

    Rob, uncompromising as you were, I still say you and Sandy were easily the best readers of the night. I’d like to see the first poem you read, which was, I think, the only one new to me.

  4. Rachel Fox permalink
    19/05/2008 10:00

    On last trains…me and mine had to leave Paul Weller mid-encore in Dundee last week to get the train home. He was in great form too…though we’re told all we missed was a cover of ‘All you need is love…’Strangely there was no poetry open mic section…

  5. Andrew Philip permalink
    19/05/2008 10:15

    Maybe poetry open mike sections should be obligatory on the last trains. Business class, standard class and poetry class. Anybody think First ScotRail will take us up on the idea?

  6. Rachel Fox permalink
    19/05/2008 10:42

    I’m not sure whether that’s a good idea or really, really terrifying! I think the latter.
    They might agree to it but then just as you’re about to finalise details the company will get bought out (again) and down the pan with it all (unless you’re in a station of course). Some might say down the pan with poetry open mics anyway…but that would be too obvious a punchline…

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