Glasgow Cabarets

Because The Night…(Glasgow edit)

Rally & Broad ‘Because the Night…’ at Stereo, Glasgow, on Sunday 31st May. With Caroline Bird, The Last September, Alan Bissett (and friends), Hailey Beavis and Marianne Macrae. And all ye who came. All photos by Chris Scott.

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Six Questions for…Alan Bissett!

Alan Bissett is one of Scotland’s best known writers, novelists, playwrights, performers, and activists, with Very Good Reason. We’re absolutely delighted to have him back for Rally & Broad ‘Because The Night...’, at Stereo, Glasgow, on Sunday 31st May with Caroline Bird, The Last September, Marianne MacRae and Hailey Beavis (tickets here). Oh yes!

With Rally & Broad at Festival of Politics 2014. Photo credit: Robb Macrae

With Rally & Broad at Festival of Politics 2014. Photo credit: Robb Mcrae

Ahead of May’s show, we sat down to ask him six questions about writing, labels, politics, art, activism and all the rest. And boy, did we get some cracking answers…

1. Novelist, playwright, performer, activist – that’s a lot of strings to yer bow! Which one is twanging hardest for you at the moment?

To be honest, it’s getting harder to tell the difference between them. Obviously at one level, if you are sitting down to write a novel you are a novelist, when writing a play you are a playwright, and so on, but otherwise it all bleeds into one. I only became a ‘performer’ in the first place because I was doing so many readings from my novels in schools, libraries and festivals that after a while you just memorise it and it tips over into theatre. Some of the activism has felt ‘performed’ – not because you’re not being truthful but because you have to engage a political audience in exactly the same way that you engage a theatre audience. So for example, I just got back from Wigtown, where I was billed as ‘stand up’, which involved me improvising a comedy set that included storytelling, banter, politics, plus bits from my novels and plays – which I think might form the basis of a future tour. I can’t really see the joins anymore. Let’s just call it all ‘blethering’.

2. Cutting straight to the mustard. Post Indy ref – what is the role for artists? And, with hindsight, what role do you think artists played in the referendum?

I think artists played a huge role in the indyref, both within, say, National Collective and beyond it. I’m not going to kid myself that the opinions of artists were as important to the general public as those of politicians or economists, but we did add another dimension that was more colourful and imaginative, and we were able to frame the debate in certain ways – through poetry, theatre, songs or illustrations – that allowed people to understand differently and see themselves inside the magnitude of what was going on. The numbers people can’t do that, which is why they often had to rubbish us – ‘oh you’re just people who make up silly stories and draw pictures, what do you know?’ Well, we gave the whole thing an emotional layer that is often more powerful than talking about GERS figures.

Our ‘role’ afterwards? Well, I don’t think anyone can or should proscribe what any artist’s ‘role’ is. But clearly the whole process is ongoing. We don’t have an indyref to bind us together, which is why it’s probably the right thing that National Collective folded and also why we’re now seeing divisions emerge during the movement, some based on sound political principles, others on ego. But I think the artists will continue to try and make sense of it all in their own ways, sometimes individually, sometimes collectively. There have been very fine works created during the white-heat of the campaign, but we’ve yet to see a true masterpiece emerge. I think there could be several in the offing, but we’re still in an extraordinary state of flux so it’s hard to pin things down. Soon as your pen touches the page the material is dated.

AlanBissett2

3. What do the words ‘Scottish culture’ mean to you?

Well, Scottish culture is different things to different people, obviously, and it should feel inclusive. I might think Allan ‘rivers of blood’ Massie has lost the plot as a political commentator, but I can see that he has written some very fine novels which deserve to be taken seriously as works of Scottish literature. However, I can certainly say that the Scottish culture which means the most to me is the kind which feels oppositional and rebellious, which is a clearing a space beneath the hegemonic Anglo-American culture (some of which is obviously very good, but hegemonic nonetheless) to articulate the language, themes and stories of working-class (or other marginalised) Scots. Unless Scottish writers themselves do this then we”ll just have this homogenous Hollywood/BBC culture, and an entire people’s consciousness will go with it. This is what Hamish Henderson called the ‘carrying stream’ of the folk tradition, and it applies as much to Eddi Reader as it does to Irvine Welsh. That’s the stuff that’s really valuable to me.

4. So, the seeming rise and rise of the spoken word/performance poetry scene in Scotland. Do you see yourself as part of it? And if so (or if not), what are your thoughts on it?

Oh I don’t know. I’ve been on the ‘scene’ for about fifteen years now and when I started out there was a lot less of what would now be called ‘spoken word’. Rebel Inc had done some great stuff creating a buzz for live events in the Nineties, and Liz Lochead was a stand-out before then, but that had died away by the time my first novel, Boyracers, came out in 2001. Back then the ‘poems and pints’ vibe in the back room of a pub was more the thing, but people weren’t really expected to be ‘performers’ and to be honest I found some of it quite boring. I always felt it was being rude to the audience to expect them to listen to you for twenty minutes and not even make an attempt to be entertaining. I mean, with the best will in the world the human brain doesn’t work that way!

I was like: we’re really missing a trick here, and I resolved to make my readings more of a theatrical experience, which is why I stood out back then. I got involved in nights like Discombobulate with the poet Magi Gibson and the comedian Ian Macpherson in Glasgow in the mid/late Noughties, which was really about consolidating that ethos across a whole bill, and which was eventually replaced by Kirstin Innes’s and Anneliese Macintosh’s Words Per Minute. I think both contributed to the current crop of very, very strong spoken word nights we now see, like Rally and Broad and Neu Reekie! which really have perfected the form.

Things have truly changed now and evolved into ‘spoken word’, where writers are expectedto be good performers and boring acts just aren’t programmed. There’s a level of professionalism about younger writers – in terms of the way they present themselves onstage – that’s much more in tune with what live audiences want. I’m certainly not a rarity anymore. As for being part of the current ‘scene’? No, I’ve probably been around for too long for that to be the case. But I definitely approve of this generation of stage-ready younger writers, who all seem really politicised too, so I don’t feel estranged from it either. If the current spoken word scene was Britpop, then Irvine Welsh would be John Lennon and I’d be Paul Weller.

5. What’s coming up next for you?

I’m touring a comedy set around Falkirk, called What the F**kirk? which is about, you guessed it, Falkirk. Having spent so long looking at the things on the national level during the indyref I want to really focus in on the local: asking what it means to have a ‘home town’ and trying to work out whether or not community still exists. It’s definitely feels like my first ‘post-referendum’ statement, which is going beyond the Yes/No binary.

After that, in Spring 2016, it’s the big one: my play about the ex-Rangers manager Graeme Souness, written in verse. We’ve tried sections out in front of test audiences and it provokes big reactions. I can’t wait.

Beyond that I’d like to try a stand-up tour. I should also get around to writing another novel, but I have to wait until my theatre slate is clear and the right idea presents itself. You need to keep doing things that no-one will see coming. There’s no point in releasing a novel just for the sake of releasing a novel. Why miss the chance to fuck with people’s expectations?

6. And finally…Because the Night…belongs to who?!

…vampires, of course! *

*Team Gary Oldman in Dracula 1992. [excellent choice…Ed]

Alan Bissett’s Collected Plays is out now with Freight

(http://www.word-power.co.uk/books/collected-plays-2009-2014-I9781908754448/)

What the F**kirk? will be touring Falkirk venues from 3rd-14th June

(https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/falkirkcommunitytrust)

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Because The Night…Rally & Broad in Glasgow in May (& it’s our 50th Show!*)

Rally & Broad: Because the Night…Sunday 31st May, Stereo, Glasgow. With Caroline Bird, The Last September, Marianne MacRae and Hailey Beavis. Tickets £5 on the door on in advance here

…belongs to us…

Hola, comrades.

George Orwell reckoned you get the face you deserve at 50…

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From oor very first show in Edinburgh in October 2012. Look at those fresh wee mugs…

In May 2015, we’re celebrating our FIFTIETH SHOW!

Well, sortof – in all honesty, we’re not entirely sure if the 50th show is in Edinburgh or Glasgow and actually, it might well be our 57th, but pedantry bedamned, frankly. We’re going to have a party. There might be cake. Because The Night…belongs to us. In all its forms and dreams and terrors. Come raise a glass with us…

With some of our favourite old faces (they’re not old. It’s just…aye, ye ken…) and some utterly delightful new ones

CAROLINE BIRD!

CarolineBird

Caroline Bird is one of the most dynamic, incisive, astounding performance poets in the UK, while also being a playwright, performer and much more. The Hat-Stand Union (Carcanet) is her fourth published collection of poetry, and she’ll be reading from that, and new work besides. Also, she is an excellent drinking companion. We can testify.

‘Bird is irrepressible; she simply explodes with poetry. The work erupts, spring-loaded, funny, sad, deadly – you don’t know if a bullet will come out of the barrel or a flag with the word BANG on it.’
Simon Armitage

http://www.carolinebird.co.uk/

ALAN BISSETT!

AlanBissett

Author, playwright, theatre-maker, performer, activist. We never know what Alan is going to bring to the R&B stage, and we love him for that. We don’t know what he’s planning this time either. Come and see….

Bissett is a terrific performer, capable of terrifying, high-speed transitions…[has] wit, sharp political intelligence, and an ability to entertain his growing army of fans.’ (Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman)

http://alanbissett.com/

THE LAST SEPTEMBER!

TheLastSeptember2

The Last September are on an exciting detour into fresh musical territory, inspired by indie, folk, rock and the odd spaghetti-western thrown in for good measure. Come hear tunes from new album Volcano!

‘…tight, driven and energetic’

http://www.thelastseptember.co.uk/

MARIANNE MACRAE!

858720_10152637770660235_2108050673_oSurreal tales and poetic meanderings through the off-kilter of the everyday. Marianne is one of our new favourite voices on the spoken word scene in Scotland. Did you hear the one about the squirrel?

https://twitter.com/mariannemacrae

…and HAILEY BEAVIS!

HaileyBeavisR&B

Exciting and innovative artist, singer-songwriter and performer, Hailey Beavis is not only lyrically delightful but utterly captivating on stage. An R&B favourite and a must-see act!

http://www.last.fm/music/Hailey+Beavis

And all the usual spraffing and raffling with your resident comperes, poets, players-with-words, Jenny Lindsay & Rachel McCrum. Come celebrate with us. Ours is a slab of Victoria Sponge and a glass of warm beer.

xx

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I’ll Get You Anything My Friend

Gosh, the April shows were jampacked with goodness! From Stereo on Sunday 26th April…The Creative Martyrs! Katy Hastie! A very special showing of Nae Pasaran! Luke Wright! Jonnie Common! Raffles! Spraffings! Solidarity! See ye next month…xx

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Rally & Broad: Can’t Buy Me Love – April, Glasgow.

Sunday 26th April, doors at 230pm. £5. Stereo, Glasgow. With Luke Wright, Jonnie Common, Kirstin Innes, Katy Hastie and The Creative Martyrs. 

Eventbrite: You can book tickets in advance, didya know?!

Love love love. All you need is love. What it’s worth to you?

Joining us to suss all this out…

LukeWright

LUKE WRIGHT!

“Performance poetry’s key revivalist.” (Metro)

Luke Wright writes bawdy bar room ballads about small town tragedies and Westminster rogues. His fast paced, witty poems are crammed full of yummy mummies, debauched Tory grandees, maudlin commuters and leering tabloid paps. His live shows are enjoyed by thousands of people across the world every year, where he mixes the wistful with the downright comic to take audiences on an incredible emotional journey.

http://www.lukewright.co.uk/

JonnieCommon
JONNIE COMMON!

Glasgow-based songwriter and Rally & Broad favourite, with songs from latest EP Trapped in Amber. “With Trapped in Amber, He has taken sounds that are so bizarre that in isolation could be used by enterprising town councils to scare away feral pigeons.” (Folk Radio UK) Sounds barry tae us!

https://jonniecommon.bandcamp.com/

KirstinInnes

KIRSTIN INNES!

Kirstin’s debut novel Fishnet is published by Freight Books this month! Fishnet is about sex work, sisterhood and everyday economics, and is the result of three years’ worth of research.

‘Bold, sensual and unflinching, Fishnet lays bare a world too often misjudged and misunderstood. Kirstin Innes writes with courage, warmth and real insight. This is a hugely enjoyable and important book.’ – Emma Jane Unsworth

http://kirstininnes.com/

KatyHastie
KATY HASTIE! Glasgow-based writer and performer, Katy Hastie’s work combines strong performance and poignant insights that make for a cracking live show. A unique and engaging new voice!

http://glasgow.academia.edu/KatyHastie

TheCreativeMartyrs
THE CREATIVE MARTYRS!

“Cosmic everymen occupying a perch roughly midway between Vladimir and Estragon and Laurel and Hardy, the Creative Martyrs specialise in satirical songs on ukulele and cello, and the explicit nudging of their audience’s political conscience.” (Time Out) 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Creative-Martyrs/128578897375

Hosted by resident comperes, poets and general players-with-words, Jenny Lindsay & Rachel McCrum. Give us your hearts. xx

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Dance While The Sky Crashes Down (Glasgow)

Rally & Broad present…Dance While The Sky Crashes Down. Sunday 29th March, Stereo, Glasgow. With Apocalypse Redux (Bram E Gieben & Sam Small), No More Tiger, Hannah Jane Walker, Calum Rodger and Josephine Sillars. Door at 230pm, £5.

We’ll always dance. Let’s waltz over the rubble, strike a tango among the debris. Even when the sky is falling and the horsemen are riding in, whether it’s utopia or dystopia we’re facing, or maybe just the end, we’ll be making our steps. Come dance with us.

Joining us for the beautiful endtimes this month…

APOCALYPSE REDUX!

BramSamUtopiapocalypse

Reprising their 2014 battle of optimism and pessimism, poets Sam Small and Bram E Gieben set the stage for the struggle between hope and cynicism for the future of the human race. Bittersweet, passionate, furious. Not to be missed.

http://www.bramegieben.co.uk/

https://samsmallpoetry.wordpress.com/

NO MORE TIGER!

nmt broadcast

No More Tiger sing songs about bus routes, doppelgängers, people lost on desert islands, siblings falling out, local rebels and, according to singer and multi-instrumentalist Flore, about nothing at all. There are echoes of The Andrews Sisters, The Ink Spots, Jonathan Richman, The B52s, The Cookies in their sound and even a touch of Moondog, though they still have a unique and strong musical identity all of their own. There’s a lovely warm very charming easy humour between the members of the group on stage that makes you feel glad to be in their company while they are on stage together. No More Tiger deliver irresistible, pop and are fast becoming one of Glasgow’s most exciting new bands.

http://nomoretiger.bandcamp.com/releases

HANNAH JANE WALKER!

HannahJaneWalkerHannah is a poet and performer from Cambridge, now (sometimes) based in Edinburgh. She has toured nationally and internationally, and has written and performed in two award winning shows with playwright Chris Thorpe ‘The Oh Fuck Moment’ and ‘I Wish I Was Lonely’. She is passionate about engaging people with poetry and using poetry to have conversations and believes that poetry is just another way of talking, that poetry is for everyone and that it is something that we need as we go forward. We love her very much.

http://www.hannahjanewalker.co.uk/

CALUM RODGER!

CalumRodgerWhere to start with the unending fire of inventiveness that is Calum Rodger? Poet, performer, PhDist undertaking research on the poetics of Scottish revolutionary Ian Hamilton Finlay, co wrangler of The Verse Hearse, member of the CENTRE FOR LULZ RESEARCH, TED talker, author of ‘Glasgow Flourishes.’ Aye, well, there’s a start. ‘In my leisure time hedonistic impulses compel me to chase poetic reverie and probe at the outer fringes of poetic possibility by all technological and psychological means available.’ There’s an end, for now. Come marvel.

https://allrealcultureisfree.wordpress.com

…and JOSEPHINE SILLARS! (with the Glasgow launch of her debut EP!)

JosephineSillars

Josephine is a singer songwriter, originally from the Highlands, now living and studying in Glasgow. Her voice is a think of ethereal beauty, and we’re thrilled to be hosting her debut EP launch.

http://www.josephinesillars.com/

See yous at the front. Ours is a visionary sours, with a maraschino Cherry float.

xx

The Ties That Bind…Oh Bondage! Up Yours! at Stereo, Glasgow

Rally & Broad had one of its spraffiest, gobbiest weekends yet, with Oh Bondage! Up Yours! Celebrating all things unchained, liberated, unrestrained and flying free in Stereo, Glasgow on Feb 22nd with Harry Giles, The Jellyman’s Daughter, Rose Ruane, Jim Monaghan and Genesee. There was an Ode To A Buttplug. We’re just saying. xx

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