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OKAY IF I GO ON FIRST?

I was in New York. 3rd and Madison. 42nd and Main. Something like that. Anyhow, I had to get to Carnegie Hall for a concert. Fast. So I asked a passerby. I knew he was Scottish by the gentle scent of  Cullen Skink wafting from his pores.              ‘Carnegie Hall?’ he said – I won’t do the accent – ‘I certainly do. Cab to JFK. First available flight to Glasgow. Hire a car at the airport. Follow Bute Road to Caledonia Way. Join M8 slip Road at junction 28 towards Glasgow. M8 10.6 miles till junction 13. M80 for 3.9 miles. M876 towards Edinburgh. M9 till junction 7. A876 for 1.7 miles. A985 for 6.2 miles. A994 for 3.0 miles. A907 0.9 miles. Fourth exit off roondaboot and there’s you, pal. Have a nice day now.’             Like a fool, of course, I took him at his word, and I know what you’re thinking. It’s actually 3rdexit off roondaboot.I got hopelessly lost – charming town, Barnsley – arrived at 10.26 for an 8pm start, and missed the entire show. Fortunately, Frank Sinatra was on t…

WORD JAZZOLOGY

A quick reminder of Word Jazzology’s opening night. Stellar lineup as always. I’ve googled them so you don’t have to. 
Graham Pointer enjoyed a brief moment of fame in the late eighties as the 4th Pointer Sister. Flung out over musical differences and her decision – controversial at the time – to grow a beard. There’s also an excellent jazz guitarist of the same name. Could, I suppose, be him. 
Speaking of jazz, Christine Bovill was, it says here, a jazz chanteuse in medieval Lyons. Several centuries ahead of her time, she was charged with offending against the natural order and burned at the stake for introducing syncopation into the Catholic hymnal. Changed times. Jazz is now seen for what it is: a mental illness. Word Jazzology can’t promise a cure, but it guarantees a safe space and a sympathetic ear. 
PK Lynch. PK enjoyed a successful paramilitary career in Ballymena until someone grassed him up. ‘He’s a Catholic. The clue is in the name.’ Relocated to a secret location in Cowdenbe…

ROBERT BURNS RESPONDS TO RECENT CRITICISMS IN THE PRESS

I've been a poet all my life All love's sweet joys I cover A poem each for every wife And two for every lover.
In Edinburgh I'm renowned I've lovers there a-plenty In every city they abound In Perth I've over twenty.
I court the lassies everywhere With conquests ever mounting For instance: scattered over Ayr It's 36 and counting.
In Cowdenbeath I've next to none But otherwise they're legion I got a dose of clap off one She must have been Glaswegian!
I praise them all both high and low In pretty rhyming couplets And once or twice before I go I leave them with quintuplets.
This poet's bargain, lassies learn Is not a thing to shame us We leave them with a fine wee bairn While all we

SLOOT EXTRACT: In Which I, The Author, Voluntarily Lose The Plot

I didn’t really need to be with Hayden at this point. It’s hardly the stuff of classic drama watching someone else writing, particularly if you know in advance what he’s going to write, so I opted for a quick plot break courtesy ofIntersects.Hayden strode on, I popped into the bookshop. Good move. The place was abuzz. Podium at the back. Wall to wall books by Marjorie ‘Bud’ Schultz. No wonder it was billed as a secret signing. Asthescreenwriter’s guru – I’m tempted to say The Screenwriter’s Guru’s Screenwriter’s Guru, but they probably all hate her – she could fill Wembley stadium. Size-wise she’s diminutive, reputation-wise she’s huge. Write Bucks!!! The New Write!!! Both bestselling how-to books. And she’s written others. 101 Movies You Gotta See Before I Kill You!!! Which probably speaks for itself. I could go on – she’s written dozens – but pride of place went to her about to be publishedThey Seek Him There,the long-awaited sequel toThey Seek Him Here: The Chameleon Life of Wolfe Swift…

MACFIACH'S MAP OF IRELAND

It is often said that of all the enemies of artistic promise, politics is surely the most insidious. Who knows what heights Churchill might have achieved if he had refrained from meddling in Germany's plans for world domination. I could so easily have fallen into the same trap myself. That I failed to get sucked into the black hole of making the world a better place was due in no small part to my iron resolve. Take the following. I was fourteen years old and just recovering nicely from my most recent school-induced injury. We had been set the home exercise of drawing a map of Ireland for the great Hibernophile Scully. Once home I set about humouring the fellow before getting down to my real work, but the coastline of Ireland is composed of the most infuriating mix of inlets, peninsulas, headlands, bays and islands, capes, promontories and juttings, seaboards, banks, leas, zigs, zags and squiggles. I had no intention of wasting the whole evening on these absurdities so I made a fe…