Kevin Gilday is the featured spoken word act at Rally & Broad: The Apology Shop! (Glasgow) at Stereo, 2.30pm, Sunday 25th Jan. He is also one of the Loud Poets team who launch in Glasgow at The Old Hairdresser’s on Thurs 5th Feb. Tickets for The Apology Shop available here: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/rally-broad-the-apology-shop-glasgow-tickets-15141804545
1: You’re a Man Who Loves Beer. Tell us more.
Well I love beer, maybe a wee bit too much sometimes, so I decided to write a show about it. It’s part spoken word, part drunken monologue about nights out, sexual misadventures, casual addiction, crippling hangovers – all the good stuff really. It ran for three weeks at the fringe and is now touring all over the place, including a week of shows at the Toronto fringe in July. (Cheap plug!) The next performance will be at The Old Hairdressers on 19th Jan (with the lovely Agnes Török).
2: Slams, 10 – 20 minute sets, one man shows. What do you get out of each of these types of performance?
I’ve taken to thinking about this in terms of music/bands… Doing a full solo show is definitely the most gratifying format – like doing a full album with all the singles, album tracks and weird stuff that all comes together as a cohesive whole – you get to tell a story without skipping the interesting bits in between. Doing a guest slot is like doing a festival set – you’ve only got a limited amount of time so batter out the greatest hits and hope someone enjoys it enough to look you up afterwards. And slams are like being on (dated cultural reference alert!) Top of the Pops, or whatever the modern equivalent is, you might only get to perform one piece so you better make it a good one.
3: You’ve been gigging pretty steadily for quite some time. What drew you into the spoken word scene?
I think there’s an independence of spirit to the spoken word scene that’s really attractive to me. Everything is pretty much DIY – folk just deciding to run a night, or put on a slam, or start printing pamphlets – there are no established rules yet so we’re all just making it up as we go along. The other aspect is being self-reliant. For ages I was in bands – writing, rehearsing, playing gigs – and as anyone who has ever been in a band will tell you, it’s a massive hassle trying to co-ordinate four or five people. But with spoken word it’s easy, I don’t need to rely on anyone else, I don’t need to lug about any heavy equipment – I can basically perform anywhere at anytime – and that kind of freedom is incredibly liberating.
4: The life of a performing poet can be a mixed bag. Best gig/ worst gig: spill!
In terms of the size of the crowd and the emotions involved, I think performing at the Yes rally the day before the referendum was probably the best gig I’ve ever experienced. I only performed one piece (and had to take out the swearing!) but it was an incredible experience – a feedback loop of pure optimism. I’ll never forget the feeling I had afterwards.
I’ve done a few rotten gigs in my time but I think the worst(/funniest) was during my fringe run a couple of years ago. I had a late night slot in a venue without a door (bad start), had to chuck some guy out for signing Partick Thistle songs, engage another audience member in a debate about the merits of Ikea, started a fight with some loud gentlemen outside and half the audience left in despair. Ended the night crying into my pint.
5: The Scottish spoken word scene was recently described by The List as being “in rude health.” Do you agree? (and feel free to elaborate!!)
I do. I’ve only been involved in spoken word for a few years and even in that short time I’ve seen things develop. I think the main pillar of progression has been variety. There’s an incredible strength in depth to the scene right now, you can go along to any open mic and see people perform slam style, hip hop influenced, comedic, traditional, scots and any other kind of poetry you can think of. We now have genres within our niche little movement and that’s something that’ll allow the scene to expand into different strands as we become more recognised.
6: Finally, the theme of this month’s Rally & Broad is ‘The Apology Shop.’ How will you be interpreting that, if at all, in your set?
I’m still working on a way to tenuously link my set but I’ll certainly be apologising in advance for my language!
More about Kevin: Kevin is the winner of the StAnza Digital Slam, the Creative Stirling Slam and a two time Scottish National Slam finalist. He is the presenter of Rhyming Optional, Subcity Radio’s dedicated Spoken Word show, and has performed all over the country including the Edinburgh Fringe and Glastonbury Festival. He will be taking his critically acclaimed show The Man Who Loved Beer for a run of shows at the Toronto Fringe in 2015.