I think I might have mentioned this before, but in case it’s never come up, over the last year I’ve been helping out at and running a poetry open mic in the fine establishment that is the QMU.
On Monday, I relinquish my dictatorial grip on Aloud, the QMU’s literary spoken word night, and go back to being that punter who shows up every month to shout into the mic.
While I’m tempted to spend this entire article waxing lyrical about the other fabulous organisers I’ve worked with, the level of support for spoken word from inside and outside the uni and union, and the awesome performers who come and speak their stuff at Aloud, that would be more self-indulgent than even I could condone. And I’d probably tear up a bit. I kinda like Aloud and the folks who frequent it. It’s good. They’re good. I’ll leave it at that.
Instead, I figured I would share what I take to be my main take-away from the past year.
Back when I started off doing the whole poetry thing, I dipped my toes in for a month or two before taking a swan dive into the scene. It’s only now, over two years later, that I’ve come up for air. This week saw the end of my longest poetry drought since I started regularly attending poetry nights, and fuck me it feels good to be back!
Reflecting on this fact, and on what I’ve witnessed at Aloud, I see just how lucky I am most of the time. For the year of 2015 I managed to attend, on average, between two and three poetry shows a week. I had the time and the money to hop a bus to Edinburgh once a month, to buy a drink at Inn Deep and to take a night off work occasionally when I got offered a big show. This basically meant that I met some awesome people, saw some fantastic performers and played to some kickass crowds.
With time-constraints, finishing up university and general life, that hasn’t been possible recently. And then came the realisation that the only low-key nights I attend these days are at Aloud. Followed swiftly by the realisation that these have been some of the best nights of the last year.
At Aloud I get to see poets who only perform at Aloud. I’ve seen performers tirelessly honing their craft. I’ve seen writers taking the stage for the first time. I’ve seen different styles, forms, levels, characters and so much more. And only in this one night, of which there are plenty more in Glasgow alone. Aloud has taught me a tonne, but its parting gift seems to be that I have taken my foot off the pedal, and I’m missing out. When I can, I need to make that time I once had back, and money… well, we’ll have to wait and see on that one.
It’s important to me that I spend my time doing things like this, and it’s nice to be reminded of that sometimes. Poetry is cool and good and fun and important. I’m lucky as hell that I have the resources to see the amount of it I do, but I hope you don’t mind me here. Standing beside you. Nudging you, gently. Asking if you could be spending more time with poetry.
The last Aloud of the academic year is this Monday, the 18th of April, come and welcome our new organisers!
Also, I know I said I wouldn’t spend the entire article talking about how much I love Aloud, but if you want to see me doing some of that, the wonderful Alan Cunningham made a documentary about us! I do some of that stuff there. Enjoy!