I have just had a poem written for me. This has never happened before and while it was not spontaneous outflowing of verse - I had to ask for it and supply my details - I am still rather excited about my ballpoint ode composed in a quarter hour on the Royal Mile.
Michelle Madsen (my poet) is one of several participating in the Poetry Takeaway which will be taking place outside the Tron on a number of afternoons during the Fringe. Amid the clotted crowds, the pushchair tangle of battered upside down maps and bemused faces, they are serving up words, bespoke, day-brightening. Some might sniff at the thought of verse made to carry out like an over-milked cappuccino or a kebab, but it’s a nice idea, a fun way of bringing poetry to people, and very much in keeping with the spirit of a festival that is, this year in particular, full of talented poets with shows of their own.
Tim Clare’s Death Drive (Zoo Roxy, 7pm) is an expert meshing of poetry and stand-up, intimate and energetic with ample space for ukulele-playing and psychic horses. Ross Sutherland’s The Three Stigmata of Pacman (Underbelly, 4.40pm) is full of exhilarating Perecian word play, some eerie video and a time capsule that looks an awful lot like a plastic, flip-top bin. Molly Naylor’s Whenever I Get Blown Up I Think of You (Zoo, 1.55pm) is more of an exercise in story telling, full of warmth and humour, that isn’t dominated by the fact that Naylor spends some of it discussing her experience of the London bombings (she was on one of the tube trains that was targeted), while Polarbear is on at the Forest Fringe later in the week with his spoken screenplay Return, previously seen at BAC.
There’s all manner of slam business going on at the Banshee Labyrinth (Dead Poets, in which a poet faces off with a hip hop artist is high on my list); Tim Key returns with his award-winning Slutcracker (Pleasance Dome, 12.15 am) next week and, from Friday, the overlord of the punk poets, John Cooper Clarke, the bard of Salford, will be in town for a week of performances.