Glasgow Poetry Slam

Glasgow Slam

On Friday evening I went along to a pub called The Vale to take part in a Glasgow Poetry Slam competition. Here is the blurb that was written on the facebook page about it.

Live competition for poets new and experienced. All forms of poetry are welcome – rhymers, rappers, ranters and rhapsodists. Each poet goes up to the mic twice. They have two minutes at the mic each time. Judges mark the poets for content, performance and audience reaction. Three highest scorers battle it out for the prize money. Come and test yourself against the rest of Glasgow’s poets. The winner gets to take part in the Scottish Slam Championships in 2014. Robin Cairns is your compere.

I had went through a bit earlier in the day to hang out with a friend, Tom, who I met in Turkey a couple of years ago but who is from Glasgow. He came to see my Edinburgh show in 2012 and we have kept in touch since.

I also invited the author Robert Knox  who is an old friend of mine from when I first started performing around 2000  and I was looking forward to catching up with him as I hadn’t seen him since he came to see my Edinburgh Show in 2011.

Billy with Robert Knox and Tom Watt

I don’t really consider myself a performance poet as such, but I do enjoy reciting my poetry from time to time, even though I know it isn’t up to the standard of those who take it to the next level.  I couldn’t decide what I was going to perform that night and after much deliberation and with Tom’s help I decided that I would do some serious poems, rather than my more humourous ones as I know they are not to everyone’s taste and I didn’t want to ruffle any feathers unnecessarily.

However, at the start of the night Robin gave a little speech about ‘how to win a slam’ and in it he mentioned that a joke in the poem usually goes down well with the audience and judges alike. With that information Nob told me he wanted to give it a bash and he told me to take a back seat. I wasn’t too sure about this but as I had a couple of drinks by that time, I said, Ok and let him enter instead of me.

Nob Stewart

I am still not sure if that was the right thing to do but it’s done now so that’s that. Nob always divides the room, sometimes 50/50 but more often than not 20/80 and I think this was one of the latter statistics. Still, at least he got through it without forgetting his lines, which is always a bonus.

He tells me he will write a blog about it for his site when he can find the time to get around to writing it, so I will not post his performance here, but will post the link to his blog when it is ready.

In the meantime here are the performances I managed to film that evening. I would have liked to have filmed more but I didn’t want to put people, especially newer acts, off their act. I think there were about 18 poets taking part and the standard was very high, here are 3 from the heats.

Slammer 1

Kevin Gilday

Slammer 3

The Final

Three acts made it through to the final and here are there performances in the final round. Very hard for the Judges to decide. In fact, I won’t mention who won here. Instead, why don’t you watch the three performances and then take a look at the Winner Announcement video to see if you agreed with the Judges decision.  I think it was the correct one but it sure was close.

Miko Koko

Kevin McLean

Leyla O’Reilly

Winner Announcement

Miko and Kevin are part of the Loud Poets collective and Miko tells me that he would also like Leyla to be part of that very soon and I am sure you can see why. All three finalists were great and they certainly have inspired me to maybe put a bit more into this performance poetry lark, as it is certainly a great way to express yourself and to connect with people on a deep level.

It was also good to catch up with someone who I knew from the Edinburgh Spoken Word scene before I left for Turkey 7 years ago and that was Stephen Barnaby. He was doing 50 words stories then and he is still doing them now and they always get a good reception. He always introduces himself the same way as well and always makes me laugh when he does so. Yes, I am that sad. 😉

Billy Watson and Stephen Barnaby

He is the featured act for an Inky Fingers Open Mic night on the 7th January in Edinburgh, so if you want to check him out you can do so then.

Thanks very much to Robin for putting the evening together and as he said in the Winner Announcement video, he may put another one on in February. So now you have seen the standard folks, if you want to take part in the Scottish Slam competition to decide who will represent the Scottish scene in Paris, that will be the time to step up to the plate.

Robin also runs a night called Last Monday at Rio on the last Monday of every month at Rio Cafe, where the first hour or so is Open Mic followed by more establish acts to round off the night. Get in touch with him if you would like a spot on that.

Robin Cairns

I had a great night, as did everyone who was there, I’m sure.  Tom, who was a bit apprehensive about going to the gig as he is not a huge poetry fan told me he thoroughly enjoyed it and would like to go and see more in the future.

The Photos

Maybe next time, I will insist that Nob takes a back seat and perform myself but I can never be sure as he can be quite insistent when he wants something. Feel free to leave a comment.


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