Feels like I’ve hardly had time to breathe since last week’s reading in Aberdeen, where Rob A Mackenzie and I read for Dead Good Poets. In Books and Beans, they certainly have a good venue: a good space with a clear acoustic and a great chai latte!
The evening kicked off with half an hour’s open mic. It ranged from 2009 Foyle Young Poet Bryony Harrower, whose calm and assurance were impressive; through Rapunzel Wizard’s witty anti-Trump rant; to a moving elegy by an 80-year old lady for her son, who died on the mountains. We were also treated to a song and a fiddle tune.
Rob and I had 50 minutes to divide between us. Rather than read 25 minutes apiece, we cooked up an integrated set on the train up to the event. It was the first time we’d done this (though I’d first suggested it back in June) and I was pleased to see how quickly it came together. I think the alternation of the voices made for a refreshing change and highlighted connections between our poems that aren’t so readily evident when we read the standard way. The audience certainly seemed to enjoy it, and it got me reading one or two poems I don’t often perform.
Here’s the full list. Mine are in bold and Rob’s are in italics:
- The Preacher’s Ear
- The White Dot
- In the Last Few Seconds
- The Loser
- Via Negativa
- In Question to the Answers
- The Ambulance Box
- Everyone Will Go Crazy
- Berlin, Berlin, Berlin
- Jacko Holed Up in Blackfriars Street B and B?
- The Meisure o a Nation
- Scottish Sonnet Ending in American
- (Sevenling) Elizabeth had II
- The Invention of Zero
- Light Storms from a Dark Country
- Dream Family Holiday
- Aileen’s Cupboard
- Notes to Self
- In Praise of Dust
- How New York You Are
I’d hoped we’d get several photos and a bit of video of us both, but this numptie omitted to clean out his memory card and so we’re left with little more than this clip of me introducing our set and reading “Summa”. Hope you enjoy it!
It’s always tricky at readings to balance the selling and signing of books (Rob outsold me by two copies!) with chat. I was particularly pleased to see an old friend of my father’s in the audience and we managed to grab a few words, but it was good to a pint and a bite to eat afterwards with Gerard Rochford, Eddie Gibbons and Osob Dahir. It struck me as mildly ironic that, of all the people at that table, I was the only born Aberdonian and — after Rob left to catch the train back down — the only one not living in the city.
Here’s Rob’s report of the evening.