The Ampersand Sessions – PICTURES!

February was a glorious month here at R&B HQ! 19 individual artists; 9 unique collaborations AND the marvelous Emma Pollock who treated us to an excellent set of tunes from her new album In Search Of Harperfield!

Pictures or it didnae happen… Check out the full set on our Facebook page, courtesy of resident R&B literary paparazzo Chris Scott!


C36A4403.jpgC36A4534.jpgHailey Beavis & Faith Eliott!!


The Hangover Special – The Story in Pics!

Did you know that there are only really 6 different types of hangover? According to PG Wodehouse, the inspiration behind our January raffles, these hangovers are The Atomic, The Comet, The Sewing Machine, The Cement Mixer, The Broken Compass and the dreaded Gremlin Boogie… This month we were all about curing these hangovers (both the emotional and physical ones) with two events featuring an array of top wordy and tuneful folk!


On Friday 22nd January, Broad and Rally wove separate tales of a bizarre night out… In Rally’s case, being ‘out’ meant being outside her own windows on some scaffolding, while Broad’s night involved trekking hills, and meeting some inspiring artsy types on her way to Leith… Two simultaneous performances in two separate rooms, The Bongo Club played host to a mad-cap tale that culminated in Broad and Rally finally meeting up and going off to see Be Charlotte in a great concluding set…. In Glasgow, we had a five-act stellar line-up on Sunday 24th Jan at Stereo. It was fun. See below! 😉


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….


The awesome Erin and Katy await the baying crowds…


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


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


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

unbiased recording of marks for the evening….


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


Duncan McWhirter! (Max Scratchmann)


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…..


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


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


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


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


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


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….


And then……










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…..


Dan loses the will to ask for responses….


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


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….)


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



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!





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!


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



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)


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?


Introducing… The Rally & Broad Team!

Rally & Broad is mainly run by Jenny Lindsay and Rachel McCrum, our alter-egos. They come up with all oor line-ups, book all the acts, admin all the admin side of things that are necessary but not really very exciting, spraff widely about oor shows (which is the exciting bit), occasionally buy us nice frocks to wear on stage, and fill in the odd funding application while chain-smoking, but really, they couldn’t do it without some truly splendiferous support from some other fine people. So we thought we’d get a rapturous round of applause for the folk who don’t get on stage and spraff, without whom several things just wouldnae happen!

Chris Scott, Literary Paparazzo!

chris scott

Chris has been with us since our very first event, way back in October 2012. (Bloody hell, how are we still alive?  – Broad. Biscuits – Rally.) He snaps every event we do, documenting all the acts and also feeding us aforementioned biscuits from time to time. We’re thoroughly grateful to him. The latest in a line of photographers reaching back four generations, Chris has been wielding a camera one way or another for most of his life.  Going digital meant that he could spend ever more time frenetically capturing people and events. These days he is likely to be found wherever culture is happening and in need of remembrance. Check out his other work here too: Chris Scott


Solo shows from Jenny & from Rachel in August… with new collective SHIFT/!

Rally & Broad aka Jenny Lindsay and Rachel McCrum are presenting their very first solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe this year. As part of new spoken word collective SHIFT/, they will be performing three shows each at Summerhall in August (930 – 1030pm, Cairns Lecture Theatre). On Tuesday 11th, 18th and 25th, Rachel will be performing ‘Do Not Alight Here Again’, exploring crossings, sailing, borders, salt, appetite, fathers, women, colonialism, home, and grief; on Wednesday 12th, 19th and 26th, Jenny will perform ‘Ire & Salt’, a thought-provoking story about love, autonomy and the search for personal and political empowerment. Tickets are £6, and are on sale now from the Summerhall Box Office or online here: http://festival15.summerhall.co.uk/event/shift-a-best-of-spoken-word/




We sigh a little…

Final photos from Season 3! It’s been one helluva year. Watch this space for news of upcoming things in August and beyond…but in the meantime, feast your eyes on last month’s beauties. Thank you to all who have come and listened and watched and played with us. We are very, very grateful.  xx

Ev’rytime We Say GoodBye…The Bongo Club, Edinburgh with Ross Sutherland, Withered Hand (Dan Willson), Hannah Silva, Ryan Van Winkle and Caro Bridges on Friday 19th June; Stereo, Glasgow with AL Kennedy, Findlay Napier, Kirsty Logan, Michael Pedersen and Maud the Moth on Sunday 28th June.

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