Neu Reekie 15


The latest edition of this always captivating and interesting collation of art styles from and around Edinburgh faced strong competition from the unseasonable sunshine and warm weather. Such a rare event in Edinburgh, there seemed to be an initial reticence to come indoors and at 7pm, when usually queues are forming outside, the Scottish Book Trust seemed comparatively sparse. By 7.30 however things had picked up, probably as the stragglers had realised despite the deceptive qualities of the sunshine it was not actually that warm outside. For those making the effort Neu Reekie proved a worthwhile choice as it was, in the main, a highly successful evening with high quality acts and performers.

Opening with animation featuring the perilous escapades of a buzzing fly and its attempts at survival this was followed by further animation featuring a magazine acquiring a life of its own set against an Aphex Twin sounding, pulsating soundtrack which operated in perfect synchronicity. There was a later return to animation further on in the show showcasing an ECA project which although not always wholly successful-although several pieces stood out as remarkable- was never less than intriguing.

The first spoken word of the evening came courtesy of Jenny Lindsay whose poems and delivery were perfectly nuanced, raising laughs and provoking thought in equal measure. Witty, observational and concise her set was perhaps best encapsulated during her rendition of ‘In Scotland We Know We’re Fucked’ wherein all her ideas collided perfectly. Lindsay delivers her poetry in a knowing, self deprecating manner which suits it perfectly and her, seemingly brief, segment was perhaps the highlight of the night.

After this, poet in residence at Edinburgh University, Ryan Van Winkle unfortunately proved slightly disappointing. Lacking Lindsay’s charisma and stage presence his set proved slightly flat and unable to sustain the audience’s undivided attention- at one point they even started chatting over his reading- his set started to drag. This was possibly as his poetry was more introspective than what had gone before and less likely to appeal to an audience who an hour previously had probably been drinking beer out in the sun. Poems about Virginia Woolf and suicide were unable to maintain the previous momentum and although they were interesting I also found them slightly derivative.

Music, on this occasion, came in the form of a solo acoustic set by Dan Wilson of Withered Hand providing another of the evening’s highlights. Impressive in his vocal stylings -very much on a Bon Iver/ Neil Young/ Damien Rice tip-his rendition of ‘Love in the Time of Ecstasy’ was especially memorable and a set highpoint. He kind of let himself down, however, by claiming one of the raffle prizes as his own, much to the chagrin of one of my companions who had her heart set on said prize.

The evening rounded off with an impressive set from house-band Emelle bringing another highly successful evening to a more than satisfactory conclusion. Those who had ventured in from the sun will have found their journey more than worthwhile and from the line-up announced at the end of the evening Neu Reekie 16 looks like repeating this success and then some.

Neu Reekie 16 takes place on April 27th at Scottish Book Trust, Trunks Close, 55 High Street 7pm.

Photo of Jenny Lindsay-above- by Elina Mae

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