Neu  Reekie


Billing itself as a double header celebrating Robert Burns and local raconteur and agent provocateur Paul Reekie this evening was one in a series of bi-monthly events pulling together various strands of Edinburgh’s burgeoning underground arts community whilst providing it with  a much needed platform. Some idea of the area it occupies could be found in the opening film the landmark short by Kenneth Anger Invocation of My Demon Brother featuring weirdly synthesized electronic loops alongside images of black magic rituals spliced with self styled Lucifer Mick Jagger on stage at the Stones’ Brian Jones commemorative gig in Hyde Park. Getting the evening off to a dark start things moved seamlessly onto celebrating the poetry of Scottish bard Robert Burns  recited  by one of the Neu Reekie founders, Kevin Williamson.

Opening with ‘Address of Beelzebub’ the delivery was pitched perfectly and the contemporary visuals exquisitely synchronized capturing the poignancy of the lines whilst affording them contemporary relevance and gravitas. Five poems were delivered in all including ‘Lines on a Bank Note’-where the punchline was delivered alongside a bank note featuring the instantly recognisable Burns visage- and the ‘Tree of Liberty’ accompanied by images of Nelson Mandela, a Hitler led Nazi rally  and the lone figure bravely standing up to the tanks in Tiananmen Square. The poems may be more than two hundred years old but housed in this setting their currency has not devalued one iota in the interim and the images chosen to highlight this were well selected and sharply perceptive.

The second part of the evening was dedicated to the memory of Paul Reekie who, had he lived, would have been celebrating being fifty this week. Celebration is a good word to describe Paul Reekie who always played the part of the idiot savant  meets raconteur with a hefty amount of irony, skill, humour insight, and unbelievable chutzpah creating ,in the process, a highly admired local legend which only a city like Edinburgh could produce. The films shown to highlight this were skilful in that they covered all these aspects including karaoke versions of ‘Satellite of Love’, a radio interview wherein he baffled fellow interviewees as well as the interviewer, clips of him in front of a home grown marijuana jungle soundtracked by ‘The Green, Green Grass of Home’ as well as thought provoking claims that chill out zones were merely boot camps of interaction.

The last part of the evening was dedicated to musical performance and here another local legend Robert King-of the Scars- provided the goods and delivered a set which was emotional without being overwrought or sentimental. It was a fitting finish to an evening which delivered on several different levels and left most of its attendees salivating at the prospect of the next one.


The next Neu Reekie event is on February 24th at the Scottish Book Trust, 55 High Street . Doors open at 7pm.

  1. Never heard of Paul did that slip under my radar..Thank’s Sadie…I will go check up on him now..sounds interesting.

  2. Great Night except you forgot to mention The Tango Rhums?????

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