Gerry Farrell: Wham, bam thank you Slam

Vanessa Kisuule tackled racism in her poetry
Vanessa Kisuule tackled racism in her poetry
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We were loitering with intent

at a poetry event.

Elvis McGonagall hosted the event

Elvis McGonagall hosted the event

Not loitering within tent,

we were outside at the front.

A pair ay chancers,

posing as bouncers.

(If a poem doesn’t rhyme

it’s not a . . . not a . . .

not a criminal offence.

they won’t send

the Waffen SS.

If they did we’d get the Iron Cross

for being the boss because

in Germany it’s compulsory

to be first in the queue.

I got a B in German

so I should know.)

On with the show:

I’m mansplaining Spiegeltent

to the missus:

“D’ye know what this is?”

(She’s half-German,

Doesn’t need a sermon.)

“Spiegel means ‘play’”, I say.

“Allow me to remind ye”

says a posh voice behind me:

“It means ‘mirror’.”

He made himself clearer:

“Spiegel, son, not spielen”.

I was beelin.

So when he asks me

“Is this the queue for Brian Bilston?”

I’m like, “Nah, not this one.”

Only at The Edinburgh Book Festival

Would an Englishman

Correct your German.

So who’s Brian Bilston?

You’ll be smitten

By the stuff he’s written:

“27. Take cover from all psychiatrists

28. Do not read poems disguised as lists.

29. Dive-bomb into swimming pools.

30. And never EVER follow rules.”

We’re hosted by Elvis McGonagall

Aye that’s right, he’s called Elvis McGonagall

He attacks that big lump

In the White House, called Trump

In an accent that isn’t from Donegal:

“There’s a cowboy builder in the White House

A racist golfer swinging to the right

An American idiot alchemist

Turning beauty into 18 holes of sh**e.

A hollow man, tiny finger on the button

‘Nuclear holocaust. Bad. Very bad.”’Will this be the way that the world ends?

Not with a bang but a tweet (#sad!)”

The next act, Vanessa Kisuule,

proves that Trump’s not the only racist bully:

“Even now

I struggle to remember his name

But I remember his eyes were dark

As half-remembered dreams

Drowned in shame . . .

I struggle to remember the words of the song


But as he sat they spat out the word


Picked up off parents’ tongues

And scraped off street corners

His face twisted in stoic refusal to show any pain

Nevertheless the stormy skies of his eyes

Started to rain.”

She’s crying as she reads and so are we.

Is it time I manned up

And watched some stand-up?

Well, I’ve spent fortunes on rotten comedy

at the Edinburgh Cringe, but this is free.

(I spelt ‘Fringe’ with a ‘C’ deliberately.)

Our hero is Hera Lindsay Bird

For all the darkest thoughts she has a word.

Parental Advisory Explicit Content,

Rude girl reading in a hot red tent:

“because writing poetry about f*****g

when you could be f******g

is the last refuge of the stupid.

It’s like getting three wishes and wishing for less wishes.

It’s like designing a flag the exact same colour as the sky.

It’s like crying over spilled milk before it’s out of the cow.”

We spill out the Spiegeltent

To catch the last bus home

Still laughing at this one

By Brian Bilston:

“You took

the last bus home.

Don’t know how

you got it through the door.

You’re always doing amazing stuff

like the time you caught that train.”

Gerry Farrell went from bad to verse at The Babble On Poetry Party, Speigeltent, Charlotte Square on Saturday, August 19