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A Round Up


Feels like it’s ages since I’ve blogged. It certainly feels like I’ve done quite a bit since I last posted anything, so here’s a wee roundup of what I’ve been up to:

A Knife Fight in a Telephone Box
Our madcap poetry competition, in which the competition had little really to do with the poetry, was a hoot. Of course, the best thing about it was that the Salt team won! I certainly won’t forget the evening, especially Sandy Hutchison’s rendition of Kipling’s “If” to the tune of “Abide With Me” and Rob A Mackenzie’s rendition of Shakespeare’s sonnet 118 with ice cubes.

Six Poets at the Fruitmarket
Our Salt plus reading at the Fruitmarket Gallery was also a roaring success. All the readers were fantastic, and we had a great audience — somewhere between 30 and 50 people. The actor Julian Sands was in the house, and seems to pop up all over the place after that. He was doing a Harold Pinter show on the Fringe, and you can hear him here talking about how much he enjoyed hearing Simon Barraclough and Isobel Dixon.

Shows What I’ve Seen
I managed to make it along to see Martin Figura’s show “Whistle” at Zoo. It’s a quiet, but profoundly moving one-man show about Martin’s childhood using a mix of poetry, story telling and visuals. It also pulls off the considerable feat of being uplifting without sentimentality or cliche. It on until the 29th, and I heartily recommend it.

I can also recommend “Kalagora” by Siddharta Bose, produced by Tom Chivers, which is on at Zoo Roxy. This is another one-man show that uses poetry and visuals, but it’s quite a different beast from Martin’s. It’s much more theatrical, much less linear and more multicultural. If you like the kind of piece in which one person plays several characters, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this.

One of my highlights for August was hearing Adam Zagajewski at the book Festival. It was the lunchtime after the Fruitmarket reading, and most of the readers were there, which made it feel almost like a poetic after-party. Zagajewski either find reading from his new collection, which is out in the US only, but the Q & A afterwards was dismal. That was nothing to do with Zagajewski, but the questions that came from the audience were all pretty awful. I was trying to formulate a decent question about his comments on irony, but I just couldn’t get it right. Other people kept asking rather daft questions about translation. I guess the lesson for me there is that it would have been better to ask a more interesting question poorly phrased than to have allowed that opportunity to be dominated by a single issue.

I also thoroughly enjoyed “The Early Word” at The Captain’s Bar with JL Williams and Colin Herd. What a fantastic way to start the day it was! Jennifer’s reading was entrancing and dramatic as always — in fact, it made me think about writing for theatre, something I haven’t really contemplated since I was an undergrad. I hadn’t heard Colin before or met him in the flesh, but it was a real pleasure to hear him read his work. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the wit and poignancy of his collection too ok.

What Andy Did Next
Well, you probably know what I’m up to next: today, I’m off down to Greenbelt Festival to do a workshop tomorrow and a reading on Sunday. I’m thoroughly looking forward to this, although I’m a bit disappointed that Kate Rusby is performing on the Monday evening, which means I won’t be able to hear her. Also slightly trepidacious about today’s weather: I don’t really fancy pitching a tent in the pouring rain … …

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