Neu Reekie 46
A return to Summerhall after last month’s sojourn in New York for the Neu Reekie team and a bit of a racy one at that thanks, in the main, to Salena Godden whose brilliant tirades about an air stewardess and male genitalia were definitely a highlight of the night alongside the evening’s headliners The Merrylees. Not that any of the other acts on the bill were any slouches but those two were definitely the evening’s high points.
Opening with the usual animation sequence the night’s offerings included Oscar Fischinger’s ‘Komposition in Blau’ which resembled a chocolate ad which Cadbury would have been glad to have dreamt up and this was followed by a controversial film ‘Trusts and Estates’ wherein a group of businessmen sat around making profane remarks including sexual references to each other’s daughters. If the intention of the latter film was to shock and raise controversy then it was more than successful as my companion tut tutted and harrumphed her way through it. It certainly raised the bar for the night but the bar was about to get dramatically higher.
Salena Godden then took to the stage and from the off it was clear that this was going to be no ordinary poetry reading. Her first piece was directed at an air stewardess- a female jobsworth- who had refused to lend the speaker a pen although it was blatantly obvious she had one to lend. The tirade was hilarious, sharply observed and vocalised the frustrations so many of us have met with when trying to deal with simple situations which become problematic due to the sheer stubbornness and awkwardness of those who wish to wield what little power they possess simply to make a point.
This however was just a warm up for ‘The Good Cock’ which was a hilarious insight into a sexual encounter in a car at a railway station and a females observance of, well, a good cock. It was in fact- and this is the most suitable word to describe it-cocktastic! Godden’s delivery was outstanding and the work was a clever re-invention of poetry and how it can be both perceived and delivered. She certainly managed to grasp the audience’s attention, by the balls as it were, and she never let go throughout. It was also good to hear female poetry that whilst still addressing ‘love’ was far from insipid but instead in another time zone completely.
Godden provided a hard act-no pun intended,honest!- to follow so on the same theme Norman McLaren’s ‘Achilles’ animation could also be described as being cocktastic! It was certainly an impressive piece of film and one which fitted the seemingly recurring theme of the evening.
Up next was a series of tributes to Tom McGrath from Cora Bissett, Ron Butlin and Calum Rodger which dwelt with less salubrious subjects such as ‘A Wee Dug’ and a fish supper; a bit of a respite after such high octane subject matter and a chance to gather breath.
Next up was the first of the evening’s musical acts, Bird. Highly proficient, expertly nuanced and on a Cocteau Twins/ Florence and the Machine tip their stage presence and capabilities were undeniable if, on occasion, a little generic. They are young though and there is more than enough talent available within their ranks for them to develop into something much more individualistic.
The Merrylees were up next and first things first let’s discuss the important matter of hair. When it comes to barnets these bands has it sewn up with an impressive array of superbly coiffed styles and, let’s face it, this is the most important thing, although their blend of sunshine harmonies, baritone lead vocals and musicianship run their haircuts a very close second. Their second single is due out at the end of next month and definitely one to look out for.
The seemingly nomadic Neu Reekie is on the move again next month a with a show at Pilrig Church. I don’t know whether it will be as racy or cocktastic as this one but it will certainly not be one you want to miss1