This gig had been a long time coming since I was first asked back in September. It came and went last Thursday and, boy, did I have fun doing it.
Poetry For All is a monthly event in Aberdeen's Books and Beans cafe featuring local poets and their local poetry (note: NO PROSE ALLOWED!) and, this evening, it was the turn of myself and Bernard Briggs to read to a packed room of about forty people. I always think of Books and Beans as the sensible older brother of my own poetry nights in the cellar, so I was a little unsure how some of my poems would go down. However, after my opening poem A Budget for Beer Drinkers received the requisite laughs (and a round of applause), I knew I had the audience on-side.
Other poems in my set included 'Where Were You When' (semi-autobiographical / semi-historical), 'Vague Rant' (a mostly-coherent sestina), 'No Choice' (about how a particularly harrowing news item forced an emergency stop while I was running at the gym), 'The Gunman' (still my strongest piece I think) and 'Christmas Curmudgeon' which I debuted in Cellar 35 a few days previously. I also read all the poems from the 'Warm Shadows' chapbook, just to show that I have been published in something!
Bernie Briggs traded the comedy of his previous weekend set for beauty, sadness and hard-hitting themes. He also invited EE Chandler to read two that really require a female voice and, while the laughs were thin on the ground this time round (as intended), Bernie showed his versatility brilliantly.
I was really taken with some of the nice words the audience had for me as we packed up - each picking up on a different favourite from my set. This was the first time in a while I'd delivered a longer set and I can't wait for the next one. So, if anyone out there is interested, book me!