Monthly Archives: July 2013


Event Review: Neu! Reekie! 28/06/13


Jenny Lindsay reading Sandie Craigie

photo: Ryan McGoverne

Neu! Reekie! 35 

It’s easy to understand why Neu! Reekie! is sold out every month. Based in the cavernous Summerhall, the show is an eclectic mix of award-winning animation, live music and literary talent. The whole operation is overseen by genial hosts Kevin Williamson and Michael Pederson.

The line up on Friday 28 June included animation from Bafta winner Will Anderson and performances from songwriter Momus (aka Nicholas Currie) and Subway Sect punk singer Vic Godard. Red Squirrel Press’s Kevin Cadwallander led a sensitive tribute to Cowgate poet Sandie Craigie who committed suicide in 2005. Craigie’s posthumous collection Coogit Bairns is due to be published by Red Squirrel this September.

Kicking off the evening with animation was good thinking. The audience, many of whom seemed familiar with one another, took time to settle down. Known for his animated short ‘Longbird’, Will Anderson produces acerbic  parodies through the medium of wee boxy birds on the perils of getting a licence for your television or, more accurately, providing excuses for not having one when the authorities come looking for you. ‘I’ve had a lethal injection’ is one excuse most of us hadn’t thought of before.

To hear a poet’s voice eight years after she died is a powerful thing in itself. The audience was treated next to some rare recordings of Sandie Craigie reading her own poems. Cadwallender read a selection capturing the wistfulness that Craigie occasionally evoked. Jenny Lindsay and Colin McGuire, by contrast, tapped into the anger that was at the root of a lot of Craigie’s work. Lindsay found the right mix of sass, humour and rage in ‘Enterprise’:

a want ti buy a phazer

a want ti be able ti say Captain’s Log Stardate…without huvin’ ti think

what folks’ll think ae me, ah want ti meet Spock

a want ti go back, oan an oan ti the seventies, a want ti boldly go, a

want ti f**k Kirk, in fact, a want ti f**k Uhura, come oan Scotty ya

 cunt ye Beam Me Up!

Likewise, Craigie’s poem ‘Bilingual’ was perfectly suited to McGuire’s stage persona which is full of aggressive posturing and gives the strong impression of a character being torn apart: 

I speak in Scots, write in English

I speak in Scots, write in English

I speak in Scots, write in English

I speak in Slang, write in English

I ought not to write with a Scottish accent

I write in English, write in English

Think in Scots, translate…translate…

How does Not mean why

How does Not mean why

Craigie’s poetry is as alive today as it was when she died. Her tribute was difficult to follow and both Momus and Vic Godard had less of an impact. Momus (after the Greek God of mockery – but then you knew that already) wasn’t helped by a sound system that refused to deliver his post-modern lyrics. He was also in competition with his own video work which ran on a screen above him while he mimicked some of the dance moves on display there. There was an embarrassing moment when he circled the floor looking for a dance partner and failed to find one, but Momus discovered his inner Billy Idol and danced on with himself.

Vic Godard is a genial fellow of a certain age now. He went a bit flat at times during a series of slow numbers which he presented unaccompanied or with just a single guitarist to help him along. A Neu! Reekie! audience, however, is nothing if not supportive and both Momus and Godard were given hearty send-offs.

The final mention goes to Electric Al who is a creative engineer at Summerhall. His singing beer cans were placed around the venue. He also has an unanswerable phone (it rings and has a cord but no receiver). You really need to check this guy out.

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