BBC Edinburgh Fringe Poetry Slam 2013

BBC at the Edinburgh Festivals

For the last two years, DorkyDad has hosted the BBC Edinburgh Fringe Poetry Slam. It’s an exciting thing – four nights of heats, with six poets competing in each one, and the winner from each night going on to compete in a grand final.

It has finally cured me of my dislike of poetry slams – I get all the excitement of watching great spoken word, and the pride that comes with watching him on the stage, without the nerves of seeing him compete.

I am super chuffed that he has been asked to host for a third time this year, and looking at the lineup, it looks like the best ever. The Slam features 24 of the best performance poets in the UK – 12 women and 12 men – including UK National Champions, Scottish National Champions, two former BBC Slam Champions and the Scottish Makar.

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Slam

BBC Edinburgh Fringe Poetry Slam

I love the fact that DorkyDad is a poet. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen him perform – in venues ranging from libraries to Jazz bars – and I always come away feeling proud and happy.

Except when he’s doing a slam. I hate watching him in slams. That competitive element takes all the joy out of it for me, and rather than being able to support and encourage him I turn into a jangling, fidgeting ball of nerves. Slams have always made me feel a bit sick.
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BBC Poetry Slam at the Fringe 2012

BBC Poetry Slam Edinburgh Fringe 2012

Whoop whoop! It’s almost Edinburgh Fringe time, and I am hugely excited that DorkyDad has been asked to compere the BBC Poetry Slam again.

The Slam took place for the first time last year, and it was an absolutely brilliant line-up of poets, but this year it’s EVEN BETTER! (It’s actually a bit ridiculous how good it is.) This year it will feature the 2011 BBC Slam Champion, Catherine Brogan; Scottish Makar Liz Lochhead in her first ever Slam competition; and a special guest appearance from the 2012 Paris World Champion, Harry Baker.
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Listography – Top 5 Keyword Searches

There’s a fun Listography going on over at Kate Takes 5 this week, where bloggers are doing posts about the top Keyword Searches that have led readers to their blog. I’ve never done a listography entry before, but this seemed like a nice easy one to start with (much less daunting than the 5 Worst Dates posts that folk were doing last week…).

Excluding variations on my name, DorkyDad’s name, and the blog name, my top 5 searches are as follows:

1. Older Husband. Hmmm, what a shocker! That’ll be because of this post, which was originally published in the family section of the Guardian. I’ve been so touched by all the lovely comments on it, and I’m really chuffed by the number of people in similar relationships who have read it and said that it has been helpful.

2. Kids Photography. Well I’ve posted about kids a few times, and posted about photography a few times, but the only article on here which is about kids photography is this guest one from Sylwia Presley, which came about as a result of the BritMums blog swap. So thanks Sylwia and thanks BritMums!

3. Slam Poetry. I think I’ve got DorkyDad to thank for this one, with all his guest posts during the Slam Poetry World Cup.

=4. Being an Uncle and Lentil Quiche. Two more guest posts that have proved very popular. One is a wonderful post about being an uncle by my friend Adam Ramsay (who also blogs political stuff over at Bright Green), and the other is a delicious lentil quiche recipe from my friend April.

5. Peppa Pig. The number of people searching for Peppa Pig related terms online is very reassuring. Good to know I’m not the only one with an obsessed toddler… I wrote about Peppa Pig back in July. It’s now October, and the love for her is still strong in this house…

Some of the other, stranger terms that people have searched for and ended up on here are:

Sweaty the Jester * you say tomato i saw tomartato * foil wrapped sandwich * it’s all about the dorky dorky dorky * your difficult tim * perfect travel sandwich * i eat peppa pig for breakfast * mum in graffiti * my husband + mini skirt * drinks named after sharks * the perfect raccoon * old letters from paris lovers * ways to rejuvenate a midsize town * child fingers stuck in freezer * i’m in love with ben and jerry’s * fashion disasters for teens * is it dorky to take my boyfriend a flower at the airport * paris in fancy letters * what is night gatoring

Spoken Word at the Edinburgh Festival

I know you’re all getting a bit sick of me banging on about DorkyDad’s show at the Edinburgh Festival, so I thought I’d balance things out a little by highlighting some of the other spoken word events that I’m looking forward to. I use the phrase ‘spoken word’ intentionally, in an attempt to avoid stoking the ongoing debate about whether performance poetry is really any different to other kinds of poetry… because really, there are plenty other places on teh interwebs for discussing that.

Spoken word is always a challenge because it doesn’t quite fit into any of the neat categories that reviewers like to use – it’s not really theatre (although if it’s good there’s usually a touch of drama), it’s not really comedy (although if it’s good it can often be pretty funny), and it’s not really music (although it is often lyrical and sometimes involves musical accompaniment).

That said, spoken word performances can be some of the most inventive, innovative and rewarding shows of the Festival; props to the PBH Free Fringe for having a dedicated spoken word section in their programme.

Some of the ones I’m most looking forward to are:

Blind Poetics – Weekly Cabaret: Hosted by Edinburgh favourite Texture (of Chemical Poets fame), this is the August expansion of the monthly Blind Poetics night that takes place throughout the rest of the year. Expect short stories, poetry, monologues, music, and lots and lots of beer.

Catherine Brogan’s Poetry Hitch: I haven’t yet seen her perform, but Catherine Brogan is one of those names I’ve kept hearing since last year’s festival, so I’m hoping to make it along this time. The Northern Irish squatter poet (yes, really) will be hitchhiking her way to Edinburgh, and is offering guest spots to poets she meets along the way.

Inky Fingers MiniFest: InkyFingers is another regular Edinburgh night, run by the ever-interesting Harry Giles. The MiniFest is taking place as part of the FringeWords series of events at the Forest Café this summer. There will be an international flavour to the festival, with poets including Daan Doeesborgh and Sergio Garau making the trip across to Edinburgh.

Hydronomicon: Featuring another of the Chemical Poets, slam champ Harlequinade, along with producer Asthmatic Astronaut, this is where to come for your hip-hop fix. Audience members at last month’s Blind Poetics got a brilliant teaser performance of this, and a show that’s described as a rap apocalypse can’t possibly be bad.

UrBanter: Hurrah! Anita Govan has been kinda quiet recently (by quiet I mean she’s been working on a new collection and doing workshops in schools and communities, rather than tearing up the stages of Edinburgh like she was a year or two back…) but she’s back for a week of performances at the PBH Free Fringe. There will be top notch poetry and music, it takes place in a pub, and it’s free to get in. All good.

Utter: Utter is only at the Fringe for three nights this year, rather than the epic 22 show run that they managed last year – but quality over quantity and all that, right? Two of the shows are solo spoken word performances from Utter host Richard Tyrone Jones, and one is the grand finale of spoken word at the PBH Free Fringe, featuring all the festival favourites.

There are a load of other great looking spoken word shows taking place – The Hardly Boys and John Hegley to name just two – so if it’s your thing then do check out the programmes on the Fringe and PBH Free Fringe sites.

(Psssst. I know I said I wouldn’t, but I just can’t help myself… Young Dawkins -What I Know About Women So Far is also taking place as part of the PBH Free Fringe. As well as new poems from the Scottish Slam Poetry Champion 2011, there will be guest spots featuring some well kent faces from the Scottish poetry scene (and possibly even further afield…), along with music from Salsa Celtica’s Steve Kettley, and the Click Clack Club’s Dave Conway. It’s all very exciting indeed!)