Thursday, October 24, 2013

My Top 12 Smiths Songs

Seeing as I am in a mood for list-making, and seeing that I have been reading (and have now almost finished) Morrissey’s Autobiography, which I’ve found both brilliant and awful in equal measure, I thought I’d make a list of my 12 favourite tracks by The Smiths. My attempt to cut their oeuvre to a dozen showed me plainly how many great songs they had. Could I leave out Hand in Glove, Miserable Lie, Well I Wonder, How Soon Is Now?, Half a Person, I Won’t Share You, and more? I had to, but tomorrow I might pick a different dozen. Here are today’s, 12 brilliant songs, enough to remind me what was truly important about the Morrissey/Marr partnership. The lyrics of Cemetery Gates alone ought to be enough to convince anyone of Morrissey’s genius. I mean, where on earth did stuff like this come from?

“You say: 'Ere long done do does did'
Words which could only be your own
And then produce the text
From whence was ripped
(Some dizzy whore, 1804)“

Here are my twelve:

You’ve got everything now

Suffer little children
This night has opened my eyes
Please, please, please, let me get what I want
Rusholme Ruffians
I want the one I can’t have
I know it’s over
Cemetery gates
There is a light that never goes out
Death of a disco dancer
Paint a vulgar picture
Sheila, take a bow

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Caesura, Syndicate, Poetry at the Sutton Gallery

I recently read an article on Edinburgh’s live poetry scene – not the best informed of articles, as it managed to omit two of the best regular events entirely. I’m going to say something about them here and also another event that has just started.

Caesura takes place on the second Friday of each month, usually upstairs at the Artisan Bar on London Road, but it has also been known to use the Yellow Bench Cafe on Leith Walk. The focus tends to be on poets writing from the fringes of the mainstream or, at least, in that uncategorisable hinterland “whaur extremes meet” (McDiarmid). You can always expect the unexpected; a few months ago, the Marvo Men came up with a unique performance using a script, pre-recorded material and material recorded on the night from other artists and the audience. The result was mesmerising (and also entertaining). Sometimes the attempts at experiment feel already well travelled, but more often than not make me feel glad I made the effort to come along. The bar is normally packed, the atmosphere is chaotic and MC Graeme Smith’s introductions contribute, engagingly, to a welcome lack of slick and polish. The next Caesura is on Friday 8 November, 7pm.

Syndicate is an altogether different kind of event, even if half the audience appear to be the same people that attend Caesura. It meets at Inspace, a university building, but this is no anonymous lecture hall. It’s a sparse, artistic space, the perfect venue for an events series that seeks to showcase performances in which the spoken word meets cutting-edge technology. Film, music, theatre, poetry, digital technology – all tinged with the avant-garde – combine to create an experience for an audience that’s unlikely to be replicated anywhere else in the city. Like Caesura, the experiments sometimes work astonishingly well and other times they fall flat, but what doesn’t work for me often works well for others. You won’t see or hear anything mainstream here. It’s an event to expand the imagination and it nearly always does that for me. Syndicate doesn’t have a regular day/time, even though it meets most months. It pops up when it feels like it. The next Syndicate is on Tuesday 22nd October, 7pm.

Poetry at the Sutton Gallery is organised by artist, poet and editor, Colin Herd. The gallery, situated on Dundas Street, also runs art exhibitions that change regularly. It's a small, intimate venue and you can look at the artworks during breaks between readings over a glass of wine. The first poetry event featured Andrew Spragg and McGillivray. The second takes place this Thursday 17th October, 7pm and will feature Samantha Walton, Lila Matsumoto and Jane Goldman.