‘Dance While The Sky Crashes Down’ (Edinburgh)

Rally & Broad present…’Dance While The Sky Crashes Down.’ Friday 20th March, The Bongo Club, 66 Cowgate, Edinburgh. With RM Hubbert, Alan Bissett, Lynsey May, Elyssa Vulpes and the 2015 Scottish Slam Champion. Doors at 7pm. £5.

You know we always love to dance. This month, we’re kicking up our heels while we watch the sky fall down, sequins and silk in hand. Whether it’s utopia, dystopia or just good old fashioned apocalypse, we’re dancing through it all. Come waltz over the rubble with us.

See you at the front? Ours is a swirl of radiation and star dust.*

It’s a particularly lush bill of delights this month. Joining us…



Prolific Glasgow-born songwriter and guitarist who, in his own words, “writes music about love, death, friendship, mental illness and occasionally a dog called D Bone”. He is the winner of the Scottish Album of the Year Award 2013 (forThirteen Lost & Found); was short-listed for the SAY Awards in 2014 (for Breaks & Bones) and his live performances “provide the rare spectacle of a noisy rabble falling instantly silent to marvel at both his technical ability and the emotional impact of his music” (The Scotsman)




Speaking of prolific: Alan Bissett is a novelist, performer, activist, theatre-maker, playwright and essayist – a man of many literary talents and firm Rally & Broad favourite. His Collected Plays from 2009 – 14 are released this month by Freight Books and demonstrate why Bissett is one of Scotland’s brightest, multi-award-winning literary and theatrical talents.




Lynsey lives, loves and writes in Edinburgh. She was born to be wild but she didn’t realise and got into the habit of keeping receipts paying her taxes on time. Her stories are where the wildness runs free.




…dreams and firelight, shadow and rock and roll. Late night tales of witchcraft, mystery and desire from battle-scarred survivors of the Love Wars…


...and the 2015 Scottish Slam Champion BRAM E. GIEBEN!


Scotland, hail your champion! Rally & Broad were both in attendance at the Scottish Slam Finals at the end of February, and such a night it was. We are without fingertips. The rightful winner, in the midst of glorious competition, was none other than Bram E. Gieben and we are delighted to have him (back) on the Rally & Broad stage.  Self described poet, performer, rapper, musician, novelist, journalist, record producer, ex-Chemikal Poet, Post-cyberpunk miserablist and crime junkie, it’s all held in one furious balance. Come and marvel.


* and with due credit given to Jason Webley, where the title of this month’s show has come from.

Who Here…Needs To Apologise?

Roll up & own up…to open the Glasgow Apology Shop, we asked the audience to consider some possible sins…*

[*with thanks to Francesca Beard for placing the idea in our soggy brains at her wonderful masterclass the day before!]


Who Here…?

Who here has something to apologise for?

Who here wants an apology from someone?

Who here has eaten a whole onion?

Who here has swum in the sea in winter?

Who here took a gap year?

Who here has watched the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy (extended version, Director’s Cut) in one sitting?

Who here wants to go home?

Who here knows where home is?

Who here has wanted to run away from home, even though they’re an adult and live alone?

Who here really likes Miley Cyrus?

Who here likes wrecking balls?

Who here has made their own soap?

Who here has lucky pants?

Who here has stalked someone on Facebook?

Who here has had a stalker?

Who here wants a hug?

Who here wants to be left the fuck alone?

Who here has made love with someone as if they wanted these two things at the same time?

Who here has urinated in the ocean?

Who here has eaten their flatmate’s lunch?

Who here forgot their very good friend’s 32nd birthday?

[stop it, you two… Ed.]

Who here has had sex with the wrong person?

Who here has been so love in someone that they can’t be in the same room as them without needing to physically touch them?

Who here thinks that is love?

Who here has vomited spaghetti?

Who here likes cats?

Who here has apologised to God even though they are an aetheist?

Who here has been consciously cruel?

Who here has harmed an animal?

Who here has tried to be vegan?

Who here thinks the internet should come with a breathaliser?

Who here has broken a law?

Who here has committed a crime?

Who here desperately tries not to give a fuck?

Who here has caused hurt?

Who here has nothing to apologise for?


Six Questions For… Kevin Gilday!

kevin gilday

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.

Six Questions for…Francesca Beard!

Francesca Beard will be the headline poet at Rally & Broad ‘The Apology Shop’ on Friday 23rd January at The Bongo Club, Edinburgh (£5 on door or advance tickets!). We thought we’d ask her a few questions to break the ice. We got some of favourite answers yet…



1. All hail the Queen of British Performane Poetry*! Why performance poetry, for you?

I was writing very emo, obscure page poems and having fantasies I’d be like Emily Dickinson. After my death, someone would find my poems in a drawer and declare me a genius.

Then I sent some of these emo, obscure poems to a literary magazine and they got rejected.

I had read a Paul Celan poem which likened writing a poem to sending off a message in a bottle and this had seemed very beautiful at the time but then I remembered Paul Celan committed suicide.

And I thought, ‘Well, f*ck this for a game of soldiers.’

So I went to an open mic night and read those emo poems. It was then I realised they were rubbish.

I was so grateful not to have wasted my life, sadly writing rubbish emo poetry, that I decided then and there to devote it to spoken word.


2. What, for you, is important in a good performance poem?

An element of improvisation, of liveness. Of being a voice amongst other voices. The quality of coming from a place of listening, of being one of the stories in the room that wants to be told.


3. Do you think performance poetry has changed in the years since you started?

I have clearly evolutionised performance poetry by starting to be part of it and find it implausible to talk about, outside of myself. Did it exist? Did anything exist?


4. Where is the best place that poetry has taken you?

A Colombian prison?  Rally and Broad? My own human heart?!


5. Where is the worst place that poetry has taken you?

See above.


6. And finally…what would be in your Apology Shop**?

Words collapsed in on themselves, a cage barred large as the world, strange matter made into a song, a stained but clean glass blanket of folded up space-time.

Also, over-priced orbit chewing gum and a lack of advertised as discounted kettle chips.

*the Metro

**the theme for Rally & Broad in January is ‘The Apology Shop’ – see the website for more details!

So…you want to come and see her in action, aye??

Ours is a sniff of remorselessness and a hatchet job of life. See ye at the front!



2014: What A Year, What A Year…

BOUF! So, that was the year that was. Did ye all survive intact? We hope so. We very much hope so…

So, for Rally & Broad in 2014: 27 events, over 130 acts, much in the way of merriment, books, books, more books, poets, spoken worders, authors, tunes and the dancin’!

We started in January at The Counting House in Edinburgh with Don Paterson, Carly Brown and others for ‘What Difference Does It Make?’ and wrapped up the year with The Hangover Special at Stereo, Glasgow. We haven’t got oot oor jammies since! 🙂

We wanted to say a huge thank you to all the acts who have come and performed and played with us over the past year. It’s a huge privilege to be able to put on such glorious artists, and we’re particularly proud of being part of such a vibrant, thrilling arts scene in Scotland. We also want to say a huge, huge thank you to all who come and support Rally & Broad, month after month. It’s a real pleasure to see the familiar faces at oor shows (as well as welcoming the new ones)!

We are endlessly grateful for the support from Creative Scotland for the second  year but really, it is the audiences that make Rally & Broad happen. We’re so delighted […surprised…confused…confusedly delighted…] to be able to keep running the shows, two years and two months since we started. So…you keep coming, we’ll keep running them. Deal? Deal. Love to all of ye, and here’s to a glorious 2015. We hope it brings you everything you wish and work for.

See you in January for ‘The Apology Shop’ –  Friday 23rd in Edinburgh with Francesca Beard! Hector Bizerk! Emily Dodd! Christopher Willat! And Jess Smith! …. And Sunday 25th in Glasgow with Liz Lochhead! Loki & The Kartel! Kirsty Logan! Kevin Gilday! And Shambles Miller!

All the love and best,

Jenny & Rachel xx
See below for some of our highlights of the year! From our first Glasgow shows in the Tron, to running shows at StAnza, the Festival of Politics, Jura Unbound at the Edinburgh Internationl Book Festival, moving home to the Bongo Club and starting up in Stereo, Glasgow; hosting Kate Tempest’s book launch with the Scottish Poetry Library. #44 in The List’s Hot List for 2014. Rally got her political on, and the Broad went blonde (and back again). We asked Ye Dancin’? and We Walked The Line. It was a year.

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KateTempestNov2014 KieranSeptGlasgow LeylaSept2014 LoudPoetsNov2014 R&BAmpersandCrowd R&BCrowdDec2014 R&BDecGlasgow StrangeBlueDreamsNov2014 ZaraGladmanDec2014 R&BFINAL

Six Questions for…Paula Varjack and Dan Simpson!

BaT laugh - web


Paula Varjack and Dan Simpson are the masterminds behind poetry gameshow Never Mind The Fullstops, as well as being poets and performers in their own right. Ahead of their takeover of Rally & Broad on Friday 19th December (The Bongo Club, Edinburgh. 7pm, £7/£5), we asked them a few questions about what to expect…

1. ‘Never Mind The Fullstops’ – whatnow?

Dan: NMTFS is a pop-meets-poetry panel show mash-up.

Paula: We get brilliant poets and performers to play silly games like Poetry Karaoke (singing poems to the tunes of pop songs)…

Dan: … and explore the efforts of celebrities writing poems.

Paula: We’ve seen a lot of James Franco, Britney Spears, Charlie Sheen & Beyonce, to give you an idea!


2. How did all this come about?

Dan: Paula and I have been running The Anti-Slam for a few years now, and love making shows that lovingly ridicule poetry.

Paula: I suggested a panel show-style format…

Dan: … which weirdly was something I had been thinking about for a few years too.

Paula: Then we devised some games and tried it out…

Dan: … and the acts and audiences enjoyed it!

Paula: And the best thing is that it is so much fun to play, having an audience there is like a bonus. It’s the only show I’ve ever done that I would happily play with friends in a living room, although maybe for that there’s slightly too much setting up.


3. And tell us a bit more about yourselves…

Dan: I’m mostly a spoken word poet who likes to put poetry out into the world in interesting ways and to new audiences. This often ends up happening in a comedic way – making people laugh is one of the best and most awesome things to do.

Paula: I’m an artist who is *unfaithful* to any one discipline 🙂 I like working in theatre and film, which sometimes involves spoken word and music. I take myself too seriously at times, so like picking apart all the forms i work with, mashing them up.


4. What do you really not mind?

Dan: I really don’t mind the admin side of being a freelance poet type person – I love me a spreadsheet!

Paula: I don’t mind all the socialising, I feed off of interacting with our audience. I could do with less admin but I can never get enough of making lists.


5. What is something that you really, really do mind, actually, thank you very much?

Dan: I mind that wealth inequality between the super-rich, rich and poor is huge and increasing, and that it’s getting harder and harder for us and the next generation to have genuine security.

Paula: I mind that any talk of inequality and difference can file your work into “issue based”. Talking about your experience is self expression of that experience, end of.


6. Edinburgh at Christmastime. Will you be iceskating?

Dan: So excited to be in Edinburgh at Christmastime (and not there just for the Fringe for a change!). If it’s cold I’m sure there’ll be some impromptu, whisky-fuelled ice skating and skidding down Niddry Street!

Paula: I am really really really bad at ice skating. Its not just a danger to myself but anyone around me on the rink.


See ye on the 19th!

Never has Earsham been so lauded.

We do love to stretch our audience’s artistic glands. At Rally & Broad’s last outing, ‘Ye Dancin’?’ (May 2014), we went for a bit of good ol’ poetry bingo – our esteemed poets and artists gave us some words that would be guaranteed to pepper their sets, and waited for ‘HOUSE’. And just to flavour it further, we promised a free ticket to our season finale to the best* poem that could be made up from the words on the bingo cards.

*best proved a tricky concept for us to qualify. Oh we tried, readers, we tried, but Rally & Broad are different and passionate beasts in their own fiery ways and had to agree to differ before fur flew. Thus, we have three winners: Rally’s Favourite, Broad’s Favourite and Definitely Most Amusing. 

Anyway. Thanks to all! You are most marvellous. xx



Rally’s Favourite 

I wrapped my dreams up long ago

clingfilmed ambitions for my one man show,

catalogued in the Library of my mind

Unashamed, I’ve told myself  ‘they’re easy to find’.


I’ve busied myself with pseudo education

Parroting Ted Talks like a fountain of information

But now I can no longer hold onto it all,

Like a gecko on a teflon pan, I’m starting to fall.


No man is an island but i have been a yacht

Pushing away the talent I’ve got

Hiding out on the pacific seas

hoping that nobody notices me.


But now I notice my own reflection

‘Lines on my forehead.

My party is getting late.

The dancers gone to bed.’


But before the music has ended I’ll smoke the joint of life,

Cut off a slice of pie with a suspended knife,

Smother it in cream

Fuck the prayers to God, just devour the dream.






Broad’s Favourite

‘What Ted did’

Ted travels.

Aberdeen one week, Earsham the next,

the middle of the Pacific if he can reach it.

Always on a bus, or a yacht,

or a plane, or whatever you’ve got.

He travels.

The journey is the destination,

each stop a new beginning,

the buffet car his staple diet.

But today he sits quiet

ignoring the bagged sausage roll,

dog earing a stolen libary book.

Six Rule of Public Speaking.

For the award ceremony, for bravery.

And two more: Caring for Geckos,

and How To Roast A Joint

for fun.

And he’d stand in front of them,

and tell them

how he’d pulled that girl from the

burning library.

How he’d thought nothing of it,

How anyone would have done the same.

But he didn’t.

He didn’t.

He didn’t know the man who did.

Not personally,

but he told Ted he could take

the credit.

It’d never make the final edit

to the ears of the well-heeled,

well meaning types, with mint leaves

in their water.

So unashamed, he told them.

It was him.

He did it on a whim.

He’d been given free reign.

He could embellish the hour,

where, why and when of it.

So the unknown man could help

his sadness benefit.


(Gavin Cameron)






Definitely Most Amusing 


He still kept his head

Event when we were getting red

And I don’t like to get too specific

But he took me clean across the Pacific

He said ‘come with me on my yacht…’

But I said NOT

‘You’re missing the point

And give me that joint

I love poetry, you wanna hear some?’

He said ‘Fuck no, I’m from Earsham.’


(Vicki Jarrett)