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.

Rally&BroadStockApril2014_MG_0254__ (1)Rally&Broad at Festival of PoliticsR&BJan2014Crowd ANIMarch2014 AprilR&B BroadMay2014 Feb2014Image HannahSilvaFeb2014 Harry2014June_MG_0907_MG_1022-Edit JackWebbApril2014 LakeMay2014 LeoCondieJune2014C36A2024 LizLTronJan2014 LukeMay2014 MayBongoLives MayR&B MayTolu R&BJan2014Crowd SianBevanFeb Rally&Broad at Festival of Politics Rally&Broad at Festival of Politics AidanMoffatNov2014 AnnelieseMackSept2014 BlankCanvasNov2014 DecR&B2014 HaileySept2014
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)

Who is Bob Stevens? (What Difference Does It Make?)

As part of our first show of 2014, we asked the audience to tell us their hopes/dreams/plans/visions/goals/resolutions/starry eyed hopes for the coming year.* We’re going to hold them to them all (and whatever difference it has made).




1. Bob Stevens [who? – Ed]

2. More fun, more spangle, less glumness. [Yes – R&B & Ed]

3. To figure out what Ed’s beard is shaped like (I approve this message – different handwriting). [Different Ed – Ed.]

4. Go to the Yoga. Do it. [DO IT – Ed.]

5. To write to Dave Gorman…again [Really? REALLY? Your use of that ellipsis would indicate even you aren’t sure of this one. -Ed] 

6. Write to Leonard Cohen before he dies of old age. Write to Scott Walker for some reason. Write to David Lynch (probably have more time). [Would you like to have dinner? I think I love you – Ed.]


8. Have a career OR baby [We are dismayed that this still has to be seen as an either/or choice. – R&B]

9. Violently confront the people that offend me [You’re all a bit feisty tonight. Is it because we ran out of chairs? – Ed.]


11. Publish a book.

12. Not to kill my psychotic boss. [That’s better…I think. – Ed]

13. Be less anxious. [Good luck, lovely person, whoever you are. Or still be it, but learn not let it stop you doing ANYTHING – Ed, R&B]

14. Hae a hoose!

15. Learn Fair Isle knitting

16. Find out what ‘Rally & Broad’ stands for.  [Never! – Ed]

17. Tour, tour, sleep, tour (also eat).

18. My New Year’s resolution is to start a revolution or 3 small fires. [No comment, but secretly, I’m applauding. – Ed]

2014-01-22 11.23.51

19. Remember I am an adult.

20. Remain a child.

21. Give Scotland a chance.

22. Make a +ve difference to the world.

23. To dye my hair like Rachel’s, and get a dress like Jenny’s, and to speak and sing like that guy in the 2nd act, and to find out where Rangoon is [Aw, thaannnnnnnnnnnks! – R&B…Stop sucking up to them, they don’t need any more compliments! Also – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yangon – Ed.]

24. Perform in public without looking like a deer in headlights [We find 18 fine ales/whiskies beforehand usually helps – R&B]

25. No more apologies! [Rally]

26. Radically change hair colour! [TICK – Broad! #nobleachfear]

27. Vote sensibly! [take a wild guess! -Rally]

28. Understand more about politics! [then vote sensibly – Broad]

29. Drink less! [Rally]

30. Dance more! [Broad]

31. Drink more whisk[e]y! [preferably on Islay, you old fuddies who say it ain’t for ladies – Rally & Broad]

32. Bob Stevens – find & marry [seriously…who? – Ed]


So there you go. We also can’t manage a year, so we’ll be checking in again in *June. And finally, whoever used their time instead to create this artistic observation of the night – we salute you.


See you in Feb!