Event: Turbo Valve, poetry and prose readings, the Poetry Club, Glasgow
Verdict by Martin Boes, Glasgow: Five stars.
There's a danger that every review of an event at the Poetry Club will begin with a preamble about the venue's remote niche location or its potential as a bastion for independent art showcasing in Glasgow, so let me move right past that, as well as past the ridiculously entertaining design of the place - steam engine smoke machine, fried egg table, rainbow-coloured washing machines, humongous Granny Smith - past all that and to the event itself, a showcase night organised by the people behind Valve: A Literary Journal in anticipation of the release of their fourth issue.
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From 8.30pm, there were poetry and fiction readings, a raffle (prizes: books and booze - a good shout although I didn't win a thing) and tunes.
The first reader was Lucy Ribchester who managed to set the tone for the night, making clear that Valve has a taste for the weird and perplexing, with a story that basically weds Humbert Humbert to a turn-of-the-century sea monster myth. She was followed by Mary McDonough Clark whose semi-fictional parents liked to take in teenage mums to help with the household, and then Andrew Blair who might have just stolen the show with his series of poems about buses, his awkward stage presence perfectly in tune with the comedic character of his poetry.
After the pleasantly frantic raffle (in which, let me repeat, I won nothing), Ryan Van Winkle americanised the night a tad with the customary Ginsberg cadence and poems set in the US. Last to come on was Graham Fulton, whose reading was surprisingly eclectic, jumping from hilarious verses about the decline of a Masterchef competitor to a sincere dedication to a Clutha victim.
It was frankly impressive to see the audience react so enthusiastically to the readings, and the intimate venue was just ideal. For reasons no one bothered to explain the night was called "Turbo Valve." Turbo Valve. No regrets.