Author: Rally & Broad

A magnificent cabaret of words, music and lyrical delight, in Edinburgh, Glasgow and beyond!

6 questions for…Ryan Van Winkle

Ryan Van Winkle is a poet, live artist, podcaster and critic living in Edinburgh. His critically praised first collection, Tomorrow, We Will Live Here, was published by Salt in 2010 and won the Crashaw Prize. He was awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson fellowship in 2012 and was listed as one of Canongate’s ‘Future Forty’ in 2013. His poetry / theatre experiment ‘Red, Like Our Room Used to Feel‘ was one of the top ten best-rated shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2012 and in 2015, his second collection ‘The Good Dark’ won the Saltire Society Book of the Year. His poems have appeared in New Writing Scotland, The Prairie Schooner, The American Poetry Review, AGNI and The Australian Book Review. He was born in Connecticut and says ‘Tomato’ like an American.

We are utterly delighted to have Ryan as our headline poet at Rally & Broad’s ‘Hangover Special’ at The Bongo Club on Friday 22nd January. Ahead of this, Rally & Broad Officer-In-Chief Josephine Sillars asked him a few questions…

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1. Your latest collection, The Good Dark, recently won the Saltire Society Poetry Book of the Year! How does it feel to have won, and do you have a favourite poem from the collection?

 

Thanks very much. There’s many great books published every year so it was surprising to be nominated and jaw-dropping to hear I’d won. Of course, it feels wonderful to be acknowledged but, mostly, I hope it means a few more people might find their way to my book and to the others on the shortlist. However, that was all the way back in November, so I felt dreamy for a few days and then thought – shit, now I have to write another book.

I don’t really have a favorite poem but I do seem to read ‘Summer Nights, Walking‘ a lot.

2. One of the many projects you have worked on over the past few years was Reel Festivals / Highlight Arts, of which it is the belief that the arts can be used as a tool to promote unity and solidarity with communities and individuals from around the world. How important is this idea in your own literary work?

Thanks to Highlight Arts (nee Reel Festivals) I’ve been privileged to work with brave & talented poets as well as translators &organizers from Iraq, the High North, Pakistan and Syria. I help with literary programming and translating activities which meanspart of what I do is bring poets from the UK together with poets from these regions to work on new translations face to face. It is a very intimate process & I’m proud to facilitate it alongside committed translators and organizers all of whom believe that the creation of good art (and access to it) is paramount. So, while we do have this very beautiful & idealistic objective – the practice itself is tactile and based on making and sharing work. The artists who work together, we feel, have a tangible relationship which can be presented on stage (or in film or books) offering a glimpse into another culture and, importantly, the bonds between friends, artists and peoples.

What I end up thinking about and learning about is how people are wildly kind, generous and loving all over the world and that the differences between people across cultures are far less significant than our similarities. It turns out that kids skip school in Damascus, that radio stations in Erbil play recognizable hits, that there’s people everywhere who enjoy a good boogie. It is always astounding to see in how this kind of common ground, obvious whenever one sits across from another person, helps us to empathize with those whose experiences are wholly unique.

So, with my own poems I feel that the very act of writing something is an act which attempts to bridge a gap between individuals &that requires empathy, imagination and honesty. So, my work doesn’t exist to explicitly ‘promote unity and solidarity with communities and individuals from around the world‘. But might be fair to say that my work with Highlight Arts has been informed by my efforts as a writer – as someone who attempts to use language to close a distance between myself and a reader. I believe, and have witnessed, how we can connect with people whose experiences are outside our own, and these experiences can inform the way we speak and act in our own lives. Art, like the range of human emotions, spans generations and cultures. Anyone who has experienced musicians during a jam session will have seen this and it is the same when poets or visual artists work together. We have a cultural bond with each other which transcends.

Which sounds ridiculously lofty and not at all something I think about when I’m writing a poem. The poems themselves are largely personal affairs, often an effort to explain something of myself to myself.

3. In 2012, you wrote in the Edinburgh Review that ‘for many working in the Edinburgh arts scene, it has been and remains a fight’. In your opinion, is this still the case in 2016?

As a poet I’m fortunate to work in one of the quieter art forms. Writers don’t take up much space or need much in the way of resources which is why Edinburgh is such a great city for us. There’s plenty of events and opportunities on every level – from the grassroots to the professional.

However, as someone whose helped to organize live and loud stuff – theatre and gigs at the Forest and with Forest Fringe etc – it is a hard city to work in. Partly, people say, that’s because of Edinburgh’s population size and therefore limited audience – though I think the number of sold-out, high quality events happening regularly kind of refutes that notion. Personally, I think running an autonomous space here takes a lot of effort and money. So, I think musicians, theatre makers, and independent venues supporting local talent have a harder time than necessary in the city, especially the city centre.

From what I can see, Hidden Door, Out of the Blue, Leith Late and groups like ‘Desire Lines’ and ‘Music is Audible’ have made a real effort to sustain a dialogue between the city and the artists and organizers who choose to work in it and increase its profile, economy and livibility. I think some individuals on the council get it and are listening but I’m not sure what steps they can take to redress thefact that it is fraying and onerous at the moment to run an autonomous space in the heart of the city.

3. As well as your published work, I have heard from a reliable source (Broad) that you have put on some superb one man one shows. Are there any challenges to writing a performance piece that differ to written poetry?

I’m sure it is different for other poets but, for me, I can’t write specifically for performance. That’s not where my head is when I’m writing a poem. Often, I’m writing to myself or to a loved one, I’m writing to a small worry, a tiny sense of an idea. If I wrote specifically for performance I would totally ruin things by drifting to the polemical, the comedic, the prosaic and didactic. So, I try not to let the performance into my head too much when I’m writing something and I prefer to re-contextualize poems I’ve already written simply for the page into whatever performance or commission I’m working on. That can’t always be done, of course, like withViewMaster – I did set myself a challenge to write a 10 minute poem for each slide.

And that was daunting but I kept in mind something the poet Mario Petrucci once said to me when I was struggling to write to spec. He said something along the lines of, ‘when you’re writing for a commission, just write about what you want.’

Now, this might be a wild extrapolation (and Mario was certainly more eloquent) but I took that to mean, ‘if you’ve been thinking a lot lately about poverty or loss and you get a commission from the Forestry commission to write about wolves – find a way to shift it in the direction of your concern.’

So, after looking at a reel of Mecca or Tulip Time in Holland for the ViewMaster show, I’d just write about what I wanted. Which, in the back of my mind, was nostalgia, loss & legacy. And forgetting that I had a rough deadline and something in mind for the poem beyond the page was sometimes a challenge to getting actual words down.

4. As an American poet living in Scotland, why have you chosen to make Edinburgh your base?

It was an accident. I ended up here the same way people end up in Cleveland. A very happy accident.

6. And finally, who is your favourite writer at the moment, and is there anything that the Rally & Broad audiences should read up on before seeing you at the show? 

My favorite writer at the moment is Stephen Dunn whose poems are deceptively simple and dauntingly honest. No homework is necessary. 

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Jan in Glasgowtown – The Hangover Special!

Sunday 24th January, 230pm – 530pm at Stereo. Tickets £6 on the door or available in advance (and a bit cheaper) over here!

And it’s January. It’s grey, dank and frankly, we cannae be bothered getting out of our jammies. Wanna come join us in a warm basement for a few hours, full of uplifting beats, witty words, general camaraderie? Of course you do. It’s one of our Hangover Specials, after all…

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Helping us along with this is one of the most stonkingly good lineups we’ve ever put on in Glasgow…it’s heating up, pals. On the stage will be…

…MALIKA BOOKER!

Malika Booker

Writer, spoken word and multidisciplinary artist whose writing, collaborations and theatre shows have taken her all over the world! Malika is one of the UK’s leading spoken word artists; this is a rare and wonderful opportunity to catch her work in Scotland. This is an absolute must see.

In her own words

‘Writing is the best way to engage the imagination, to create magic, change the world. I write because my mother tells me I am the first generation of women to be able to tell our stories and because I know there are women in the world who cannot speak. I write to make sense of life, to make the ordinary extraordinary. I write to tell stories, our stories. But most importantly, I write because I cannot do anything else. If I am not writing, then I am not breathing.’

http://malikabooker.com/

 

…LOKI with BECCI WALLACE!

LokiBecci

Two of Scotland’s best loved artists have teamed up to create something incredibly powerful, blending the best of Loki’s social commentary meets rap with Becci’s tender, powerful and wry vocals and crafted verse. We were delighted to have them at Rally & Broad in Edinburgh last year, and even more thrilled to be bringing them to Glasgow. Come experience this!

For more: http://lokithescottishrapper.com/

and https://becciwallace.bandcamp.com/

 

…YUSUF AZAK!

Yusuf

Ex Aberdonian, now Glasgow based songwriter and experimental musician whose most recent album is Peace In The Underworld. The lead single ‘Silver Rose’ has already notched up plays on BBC Introducing and 6Music and has become a live favourite. Reviews for previous work include

‘something of the epic and the ancient, and a touch of fairytale romanticism’ – musicOMH.

We’re ready for this.

https://yusufazak.bandcamp.com/

 

…STEWART SANDERSON!

StewartSanderson

Poet, academic and one of the nominees for the inaugural Edwin Morgan Poetry Award 2014. Stewart has been published widely and also translates poetry into Scots and English. We are big fans of his work – Broad has his poems stuck up in her kitchen cupboards – and excited to hear it in the flesh.

http://www.edwinmorganaward.com/stewartsanderson.html

 

… IONA LEE!

IonaLeeIn our New Voices slot, the unstoppabler newcomer that is Iona Lee! Recently of Edinburgh (and missed) and now based in Glasgow, Iona is carving out a name for herself with her witty, honest performances.

https://ionalee23.wordpress.com/

 

 

Jammies are absolutely encouraged. Ours is a cocoa and brandy.

VintageJammies

xx

 

January in Edinburgh…The Hangover Special!

Friday 22nd January 2016, 7 – 10pm at The Bongo Club. Tickets available in advance (and cheaper!) here or £6 on the door.

[this is an unusual show, with two spaces being used simultaneously, so we’re asking everyone to arrive on time. Tickets in advance may be advisable!]

And lo, January was upon us, and so were the mighty mighty hangovers of a helluva year. Think we’re getting out of our PJ’s anytime soon? Think on…

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January brings with it two more of our ever popular Hangover Specials, where we celebrate all things fizzy, grotty and comfy. Just in time to set you up for the New Year. In Edinburgh, however, as we’ve been striving to do all year, we’re shaking it up like a raccoon in a whiskey barrel…

We’ll be curating two ssimultaneous spaces in the Bongo Club on the 22nd January, Rally’s room and Broad’s room, with very special acts in each and the audience swapping halfway through the night. The story goes that Rally & Broad have managed to lose their shoes, their memories and each other over the course of the night, and are trying to piece it all together…

Come help us do it! Along with some uplifting beats, beautiful dance and soothing, witty words to cure all ills from the likes of…

…BE CHARLOTTE!

BeC

Multi-instrumentalist and astonishing vocalist whose live performances are applauded across the Scottish music scene and beyond. She blew oor little minds with her talent – and multi coloured light up trainers – in Glasgow last year, and we’re so excited to see what she’ll bring to Edinburgh this month.

http://charlotte-music.co.uk/

 

…RYAN VAN WINKLE!

Ryan Van Winkle

Edinburgh-based poet Ryan Van Winkle. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Award-winning poet whose most recent collection The Good Dark (Penned in the Margins) was awarded the Saltire Society Award for Poetry in 2015. Hurrah! So very much deserved for a man who has worked tirelessly to develop poetry in Scotland and across the world, with the Scottish Poetry Library, culturelaser podcast, his award winning solo shows including Viewmaster (with Dan Gorman) and red like our room used to feel, and of course, the glorious and chaotic triumph that was The Golden Hour. We salute you.

http://ryanvanwinkle.com/
…COLIN MCGUIRE!

ColinMcGuire

Poet and performer whose recent work explores bed, sleep, mortality and legacy and (in oor humble) is one of the most exciting, unabashedly individual, curious and idiosyncratic voices in the Scottish spoken word scene. He’ll be in his jammies too, by the way. Just sayin.’*

http://a-glaswegian.blogspot.co.uk/

…RUTH MILLS!

RuthMills
One of Scotland’s leading dancers, choreographers and movement directors whose provocative, intelligent work has seen her work with other artists in many disciplines; we’re delighted to have Ruth back with a specially devised piece for the show.

http://ruthmillsdance.blogspot.co.uk/
…ROSEANNE REID!

RoseanneReid

Up and coming folk musician and songwriter who was recently nominated for the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award, making her Rally & Broad debut. Huzzah!

https://www.facebook.com/Roseanne-Reid
* we would love it if you wanted to come along in your nightwear too. Makes us feel right at home. 

xx

The Story of The Anti-Slam! (Featuring the annihilation of spoken word…)

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all through Our House, poets were scurrying to complete their personas for the annihilation of our sacred verse. Like we just did there.

The Anti-Slam, brainchild of London based Varjack & Simpson, was the first of our ‘Takeover Editions’. The idea behind it is that 10 top spoken word acts take on a persona that they think epitomises the VERY WORST in spoken word, take part in a competitive slam, whereupon the VERY WORST poet wins. There is commentary from a judging panel, themselves also fictional characters; scorekeeping from Angry White Male (aka Bram E Gieben), hosting by Paula Varjack and Dan Simpson and finally, a winner….

The story in pictures follows. Warning: features cats, nappies and occasional dancing….

Our thirsty poets warm up backstage….

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The awesome Erin and Katy await the baying crowds…

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We prepare to hand over our event to Varjack & Simpson (sobbing internally)….

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And then the Anti-Slam starts with a sacrifice by Angry White Male and his Angry White Verse!

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Collating the scores for himself, Mr Male sets the standard of

unbiased recording of marks for the evening….

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And we’re off! First up: Indy Sisive! (Catherine Wilson)

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Duncan McWhirter! (Max Scratchmann)

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Judgemental judgings from Broad, Rally, and the Former Godfather of Scottish Spoken Word, Mr Andrew Blair who, when he was 12 had a helluva lot of things happen to him that gave him many anecdotes to compare his experiences back then to how goddam awful the experience of hearing these poems was…..

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Eli Tism! (Rachel Rankin) Broad can never be her friend, ye know…

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Benny ‘Deadbeat’ Goodman! (Alec Beattie) “Utter filth.” (Everyone)

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Dan is told to check his privilege by Angry White Male….

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And then Kitty Muffin-top, sex-positive baker, on the wonders of yeast and, um, some other things too…… (We’ll never bake again….)

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A crowd shot, to prove that the majority of our audience did not, at this point, leave…. (Thanks for the photo-shop, Chris Scott!) 😉

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Kitty Cat took to the stage and bribed the judges with fluff and edible things for kitties. It worked, with a respectably terrible score from all 3 judges….

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And then……

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BEDWETTER….

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Oh….

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my…..

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God.

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After several shots and some truly stupendous reaction from audience and panel alike, we moved on to Cent E. Mental (Lara S Williams) and her awfully twee, heartfelt (and bokey) love poems! Hm. Maybe they weren’t that bokey. Maybe we were still minding the subject matter of BEDWETTER’s (aka Tickle’s) slam poem….. Hm…..

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Dan loses the will to ask for responses….

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And Paula laughs at him. Or it might have been at a poet. We can’t remember. We’re still recovering.

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On to penultimate poet @FredRAlexander on Twitter & Instagram! (Aka Freddie Alexander.) A hispter nightmare. Terrible marks. (That’s a good thing – are you keeping up? We almost weren’t by this point….)

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And finally! DOUG TRIHARDER (Doug Garry) He was a bit bad really.

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After some conferring, and Angry White Male continuing to attempt to address Dan’s privilege problems through the medium of scowly dance….. We had our three finalists! Kitty Muffintop, @FredRAlexander On Twitter & Instagram and Doug Triharder!

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And……

DOUG TRIHARDER WAS OUR WINNER!

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And, as if that wasn’t enough, we then had plenty of dancing and celebrations that it was AAAAAAAALLLLLLL OVER, with the absolutely stonking A New International!

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And then we all went home and had nightmares.

THANK YOU to Paula Varjack, Dan Simpson, Bram E Gieben and all the Anti-Slammers for being such tremendously good sports in all of this thrilling nonsense! Massive thanks too to the brilliant audience. It was one of the funniest things we’ve ever seen – a perfect Takeover.

Follow Paula @paulavarjack and Dan @dansimpsonpoet to keep up-to-date with all of their other events in the UK.

We’re back on Fri 22 Jan in Edina and Sun 24 Jan in Glasgow. See ye then! xx

 

 

WORDS FIRST! A Celebration of the BBC 1Xtra/ The Roundhouse Words First Glasgow Group!

Rally & Broad have had a busy year in 2015! From our regular cabaret series in Glasgow and Edinburgh, to road-trips to Inverness, Wick, Dundee, Wigtown, Gatehouse-Of-Fleet and many other places (including various venues and, um, schools), we’ve had a rare old time of it!

But, one of our major highlights this year was being the Glasgow facilitators of the BBC 1Xtra/ The Roundhouse Words First Project. Partly a professional development opportunity, partly a talent scout, Words First took place in six cities across the UK, with different lead tutors in each area. Potential participants auditioned to take part by sending in a short video and covering statement, in order to gain a place on the project, which was a week-long intensive masterclass series on all aspects of spoken word and performing, as well as a live show with special guests, recorded for BBC 1Xtra. Open to 16 – 25 year olds, we were totally bowled over by the folks who applied! (See clips from the UK wide events here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02rqxdf

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Introducing….The Anti-Slam Slammers!

 – Rally & Broad: The Takeover Editions #1 –

Fri 18th Dec, The Bongo Club, 66 Cowgate, Edinburgh 7pm.

£6 on the door, £5 in advance. Tickets  – here

(NB: Here is a picture of a mic, close-up. It is MANDATORY to accompany all articles on poetry slams with such an image. MANDATORY, WE SAY….) mic

We all know the importance of the Poetry Slam. Multiple poets, battling it out for lyrical glory and the perfect 10 marks from the judges, for everything from a book token to a place in the Scottish National Slam Championships. Maker of spoken word careers, breaker of egos and hearts, the slam is an integral and important part of any poetry ‘scene’….

And oh, how infinitely open to satire….. Which is exactly what The Anti-Slam, brain-child of London-based duo Paula Varjack & Dan Simpson do!

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Rally & Broad in December…The Takeover Editions!

Oh aye, we know it’s the weekend before Christmas, and all manner of work dos and Christmas shopping and celebrating shenanigans will be going on. Why not come down and celebrate them with a thoroughly irreverant series of takeovers for Rally & Broad? MISCHIEF WILL BE MADE. Also, dancing. Oh, this time, there will be dancin’…

xx

  • Rally & Broad meet Poets Against Humanity! With sets from Gav Prentice, Jim Monaghan and Teen Canteen. Sunday 20th December, 230 – 530pm, Stereo, Glasgow. £6 on doors or £5 in advance here.

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But what does all this actually mean…? Read on…

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There Must Be Some Kinda Way Out of Here…Nov in pictures!

So, that was a glorious weekend of words, tunes and lyrical delight from TWELVE amazing acts! We joked, we thieved, businessmen they drank our wine, and we asked for clarification for what that joker actually said to the thief… Thanks to all involved!

Said The Joker To The Thief!!

EDINBURGH (Fri 20 Nov 2015)
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Spoken word Masterclasses with Rally & Broad in 2016!

Hello all!

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And so…we are DELIGHTED to announce that we will be running three sets of weekend masterclasses in the spring of 2016 with three incredible spoken word performers: Francesca Beard, Ross Sutherland and Caroline Bird! The first two masterclasses will take place at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh, and the final one with Caroline Bird as a residential weekend up in Moniack Mhor in Invernesshire.

These masterclasses grew out of our pilot series last spring. They are suitable for more experienced performers  of spoken word, over 18 years old, who have already undertaken at least one feature set and are looking to develop their practice. In addition, participants from the first two Masterclasses will be invited to showcase their work at a special event at the Scottish Poetry Library on Thursday 14th April 2016.

Booking for Francesca’s masterclass in February is open NOW! For full details on the content of the workshops including how to apply for a place, please read on… 🙂

xx

FrancescaBeard

  • Friday 5th (evening), Sat 6th & Sun 7th February 2016 (1030 – 4pm): Francesca Beard. Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh. £90, 12 places.

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Six Questions for…Agnes Torok!

Agnes Török is a spoken word performer, poetry workshop leader, poetry event organiser and happiness researcher. She is the winner of multiple Poetry Slams in three different countries and two different languages. Török has been featured as a TED speaker, on The Today Programme and BBC Radio Scotland. Her two acclaimed one-woman spoken word shows ‘Sorry I Don’t Speak Culture’ and ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It Take This Survey’ have been awarded the Best International Spoken Word Show Award (2014) and the Best Wellbeing Show Award (2015) at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (PBH). She’ll be performing at Rally & Broad on Sunday 22nd November at Stereo, Glasgow with ‘Said the Joker to the Thief…’ and in the meantime, took the time to speak with R&B’s wonderful Josephine Sillars.

  1. Your latest Fringe show, ‘if you’re happy and you know it – take this survey’ has been described as the ‘science of happiness’. What makes you happy?
Lots of stuff! People, mostly. Good people and good books. Writing and performing poems. Wine doesn’t hurt either.
2.Your poetry deals with themes ranging from personal to political. Do you believe in ‘art for arts sake’ or do you feel that poetry has a responsibility to challenge people?

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