Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Poetry at the Great Grog Report

Another excellent evening at ‘Poetry at the Great Grog’ last Sunday – Charlotte Runcie, Dorothy Baird, Helena Nelson and Michael Schmidt were all on great form. Colin Will has reviewed the whole evening with characteristic thoroughness.

I know one or two people aren’t happy that music filters through the walls from the main bar area during readings, but there’s not much can be done. The music isn’t loud but, clearly, any noise can be distracting when listening to a poem. One person told me on Sunday that I should find an alternative venue, but that’s easier said than done. Most bars charge a lot of money for a room, or they demand a hefty deposit and only return it if £250, for example, is spent at the bar. I can’t afford that kind of risk! Also, I like the Great Grog as a venue. It’s intimate and comfortable, and the staff are always friendly and helpful. Personally, I don’t find the music much of a distraction, although I sympathise with those who do.

Anyway, to those who would like another venue – I’m open to suggestions. If you know of a geographically central Edinburgh venue which offers good facilities, silence, fine acoustics, a reasonably-priced bar, doesn’t cost anything to hire, and is happy to make a room available for poetry on the second Sunday evening of every month, then please let me know.


Andrew Philip said...

You know, I felt some of the music filtering from the bar went well with Dorothy Baird's poems. However, the musical mood had changed by the time Nell read and it was a bit distracting, but it couldn't detract from the strength and energy of her reading. I had even forgotten the music till you mentioned it.

Stephanie Green said...

Hi Rob,
How about a pub with an upstairs room where music doesn't filter through? Ones that come to mind are the Meadow Bar and Waverley Pub? Latter is where the Story-telling Society (The Guid Crack) meets. It's scruffy but more sound proof. Don't know about hire costs etc. £250 spent in bar seems a bit steep. I know a Sci Fi writing group in Glasgow meets in a bar that asks for £60 spent.
Incidentally, despite the background noise which did drive me mad, a terrific line up of poets last night. And looks like a great season ahead. Well done for putting on this event. Most appreciated.

Andrew Philip said...

Shore Poets met upstairs at the Waverley for a while. It was not ideal. And I'm sure I remember evenings when it was far from sound proof.

As an audience member, I wouldn't like the Meadows Bar purely because of location: it's considerably further from the trains. I don't think I'd make it as regularly and I suspect the same would go for the Fife contingent.

Personally, I think the combination of centrality, brightness and freeness makes the Great Grog hard to beat. And would you want to shift venue so early in the event's life?

Colin Will said...

I also like the venue Rob, and you're right about the staff being friendly. And the sound effects are still miles better than the Canon's Gait where the Shore Poets used to meet.

Anonymous said...

Yes, a really good night on Sunday, some great readings. And Andy is right about location, anywhere away from the centre would cause problems for me re the train.


Rob said...

Thanks for the comments. Most poetry venues have their good and bad points. If anyone finds one which is much better than the Great Grog and doesn't cost anything, I'm all ears.

I don't think the Waverley is so hot. voXboX use the Meadow Bar - no music, but it's an L-shaped room. A decent venue, but no better than the Grog, I think, and it's a bit out of the way. The venue needs to be central for me, as much as anyone else, as I have to rush by bus from my day job on a Sunday evening!

Andrew Philip said...

L-shaped rooms are not good for poetry readings. That was a problem for Shore Poets when it was in the upper bar in the Tron, as it then was. Either one part of the audience doesn't get a good view or the reader doesn't know where to look.