Yesterday Eleanor Livingstone, StAnza’s Director, introduced a virtual mini-festival at the Byre Theatre in St Andrews. The first part was a cyber-slam, a contest between teams from StAnza and the Overload festival in Melbourne, Australia. Today’s technology, which often surprises and astonishes me, enabled us to hook up in real time (allowing for a tiny delay) with the other side of the world, and linking Scottish daytime with Australian evening. It worked.
The StAnza team – Robin Cairns, Claudia Daventry, Kevin Cadwallender and Harlequinade (AKA Ali from the Chemical Poets) – battled poetically against a formidable quartet of Australian poets – Graham, Andrea, IQ and Ezra. Tim Turnbull judged from St Andrews, and two Australian judges officiated in Melbourne, before pooling their score cards. Overload won the first round, but StAnza won 2nd and 3rd rounds and emerged (I thought) worthy winners.
The afternoon was a live webcast Open Mic reading from Andrew Ferguson (via Skype from Glenrothes), Etta Dunn, Andy Jackson, Lyn Moir, myself, Anne Connolly, Milton Balgonie, Eddie Gibbons, Iain Gray, Anna Stewart, Brian Johnstone, Harlequinade, Robin Cairns, Eleanor Livingstone and Kevin Cadwallender.
We had a great audience in the Byre’s Studio Theatre, and I don’t know how many others world-wide. A wonderful day in the Kingdom of Fife, to which I have an ancestral connection through my mother’s family – although they were linen workers and bakers rather than poets.