‽ Interrogation – Kirsty Logan

It’s the last INTERROBANG‽ and the last 404 INK event of the year tonight, and we’re both going out with a bang! For the 404 INK Christmas Party, we’re going to be joined by one of the best practitioners of live lit in the country, KIRSTY LOGAN!

and a long, hard stare
Kirsty Logan and a rather nice cameo necklace

Kirsty’s featured in issue three of 404 Ink’s literary magazine – POWER! She lives in Glasgow and is the author of The Gracekeepers, A Portable Shelter, and The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales. Her fourth book, The Gloaming, will hit the shelves in May 2018. It’s a queer mermaid love story set on a remote island that slowly turns its inhabitants to stone. She’s currently writing a collection of horror stories called The Night Tender.

Awesome, right? So let’s hear Kirsty’s reflections on the festive period…. Continue reading “‽ Interrogation – Kirsty Logan”

‽ Interrogation – Ross McCleary

If you were one of the VIPs who was able to snag a ticket to The Ambassador’s Reception, Interrobang’s very exclusive event with Poetry AF, you’ll be as excited as we are to spend more time inside Ross McCleary’s brain at this Friday’s launch party for issue three of 404 Ink’s literary magazine – POWER!

But that's not even The Ambassador!
“The Ambassador’s parties are known for their exquisite good taste…”

Ross McCleary is still from Edinburgh. He has had work published recently by Five2One and Cease, Cows. He is an editor of the spoken word podcast Lies, Dreaming – which has a new call for submissions out – helps run Inky Fingers, and is overjoyed by the return of the Edinburgh Watch twitter account.  His novella, Portrait of the Artist as a Viable Alternative to Death, is published by Maudlin House.

Ross’s Interrogations are always good value, so we’re looking forward to reading his reflections on Power. Continue reading “‽ Interrogation – Ross McCleary”

‽ Interrogation – Helen McClory

This Friday’s launch party for issue three of 404 Ink’s literary magazine – POWER – is also a bit of a coming out party for Helen McClory as a member of the 404 Ink stable.

Saltire Society First Book Of The Year-winner Helen’s The Goldblum Variations is already to order as part of 404 Ink’s zine series with a limited run, and said award-winning collection On The Edges of Vision and her new collection Mayhem and Death are forthcoming in 2018.

Goldbloomin 'eck, Jeff – that's a bit strong!
“No pay, no Goldblum [Variations]” – Jeff Goldblum
We found out more, in a roundabout sort of way, as we discussed “Power” with Helen… Continue reading “‽ Interrogation – Helen McClory”

‽ Interrogation – Siobhan Shields

The talent keeps coming for the launch of 404 INK – POWER. Today, specifically, Siobhan Shields.

Siobhan’s a modern triple threat: Writer. Poet. Filmmaker.

Ricky Interrobang used to have three cats with five eyes.
And don’t forget, owner of a three-legged cat

We have absolutely no idea how she found time to fit in an Interrobang Interrogation. Seriously, check out this bio. Continue reading “‽ Interrogation – Siobhan Shields”

‽ Interrogation – Kaite Welsh

As you may already know, INTERROBANG‽ is hugely excited to have the opportunity to team up with 404 INK again to launch the third issue of their literary mag: 404 INK – POWER.

And this is not least because we get to hear from one of our favourite writers and a star of 404 INK’s legendary Nasty Women, KAITE WELSH.

Kaite Welsh giving it some literature
Kaite Welsh: Superpower – being awesome

Kaite is an author,  journalist and professional lesbian. Her debut book The Wages of Sin, the first in a series of Victorian feminist crime novels starring fallen woman, medical student and amateur sleuth Sarah Gilchrist, was published in 2017. The second novel, The Unquiet Heart, is due out in August 2018. She covers LGBT issues for the Daily Telegraph, agitates for LGBT rights on national radio and has a colour-coded five year plan.

And these are her reflections on POWER

‽:  Knowledge is power. But if you could have any superpower, what would it be?

KW:  Honestly, I’d settle for being to do 100 squats without wanting to cry.

‽:  Oof! That’s bringing a tear to our eye. Moving on…! We love a launch. Can you remember what it was that launched you on your literary adventures?

KW:  These two plaques in the University of Edinburgh old medical school building – one to Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, and one to Sophia Jex-Blake, one of the first women to study medicine at Edinburgh. The idea of a crime-solving lady doctor in the 19th century was born then… (see the answer below for what happened next)

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Unrecorded Sophia Jex-Blake talent: building narrative tension…

‽:  It’s the festive season. What, other than a copy of 404 Ink’s POWER, would make a good gift for a loved one?

KW:  A copy of my debut novel The Wages of Sin, out now from all good publishers. [Well, *certain* good publishers! 😉 – Ed.] Plucky Victorian heroines! Horrible Victorian medical procedures! Feminism! Murder!

‽:  Ricky Interrobang’s partner has already powered through it! Oh well. Back to the drawing board…. There are loads of great songs with the word Power in the title. Do you have a favourite that powers you up? Or failing that, a power ballad that’s a guilty pleasure?

KW:  The entire Girl Power album by 90s pop heroines Shampoo. The title song is this poppy anthem about violence and drinking and female friendship – you think it’s going to be this Spice Girls-eque lipstick and glitter version of womanhood and actually it’s this incitement to violence on alcopops. 

(note: Kaite endorses neither violence or alcopops – it says here – unless it’s the cranberry Archers they used to do in 2001.)

‽:  People are telling us how much they’re looking forward to the launch of POWER. Without giving too much away, can you tell us a little bit about what you’ll be sharing with us?

KW:  Vlogmas with a difference. And by ‘difference’, I mean ‘cursed advent calendar’. 

Sounds scary! But we’ll all get through it with an alcopop or two. Find out what happens when Kaite opens the doors of her cursed advent calendar at the launch party for 404 INK’s Issue 3: POWER this Friday, 8 December from 7pm at Summerhall. Get your tix here while you can.

‽ Interrogation – The Butler

It’s less than a week till the most exquisitely tasteful event of the festive season – THE AMBASSADOR’S RECEPTION!

But how does one put together such a function? Today, we’re going all Lifestyles of the Rich Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous as The Butler of the great event talks with Andrew Blair.

Possibly not, sir
He was very happy to take a few minutes away from the preparations

‽:  The Ambassador’s Receptions are noted for their host’s exquisite taste. How do you spoil the guests at one of these famed functions?  

TB:  Care and affection. Creating a calming and welcoming environment, where all guests can flourish.

Then we play The Resistance and yell ‘SPY!’ at each other until someone falls over.

You're Michelle Of The Resistance Dubois, right?
The game of secret identities, deduction, and deception

‽:  If you were a chocolate confection, what chocolate confection would you be?

TB: Right, so first you need a baguette. You cut the end off and put it to one side. Get a big one and cut both ends off if you’re cooking for two. With the middle bit, make whatever savoury sandwiches you want with the big bit, and once you’ve enjoyed that, you tear out the bread from inside the baguette end, then get a packet of Lindt and take out one of every kind, put them inside the baguette end, stuff the bread back in, then microwave it for 20 seconds (800W). Congratulations. You’ve now had a delightful savoury sandwich and finished off the meal with a bespoke, handmade pain au chocolat.

I’m aware this doesn’t technically answer the question.

‽:  The holiday season approaches. Can you give us an example of a seasonal advert that makes you want to rush out and conspicuously consume/throw up*? (*Delete as applicable)

TB:  The Coke advert. It’s like a fucking Judas Goat.

Judas Goat. Like a Jesus Lizard, but scarier
Don’t get in the truck, kid. It’s bad for your teeth.

‽:   From James Last to Demis Roussos to Rene and Renata, continental Europe is famed for its contribution to popular music. What’s your favourite Europop?

TB:  I just heard this in a film called My Life as a Courgette, which you should watch if you like heartwarming animations about overcoming trauma.

‽:  We’re beginning to get the impression that modern butling isn’t what we expected at all. 

Finally, The Ambassador’s Reception will be filled with luminaries from the worlds of politics, diplomacy, and art. Who are you hoping will turn up?

TB:  The person who is reading this..

That’s YOU. Come to THE AMBASSADOR’S RECEPTION and find out what it is to be lavished with care and affection in a calming and welcoming environment absolutely free of death and murder. There certainly won’t be any intriguing murders to solve as part of an immersive theatrical whodunnit.
____________________

THE AMBASSADOR’S RECEPTION will take place in one°below at six°north on 24 November at 7:30pm. Space for this exclusive event is limited and tickets are going fast, so book your place now.

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‽ Interrogation – Mauricio Bustos Rivas

It’s only twelve days until the most exclusive, high-end event of the year – THE AMBASSADOR’S RECEPTION!

In case that all sounds a bit highfalutin, we thought we should introduce you to a few of the A-listers who’ll be there. But first, here’s an INTERROBANG‽ Interrogation with the bodyguard to the establishment, Mauricio Bustos Rivas.

Bodyguard not pictured
The Bodyguard With A Body To Die For

It’s Mauricio’s job to be inconspicuous, so he’s asked us to use a stock photo. And his words are spoken by  INTERROBANG‽ co-host Ricky Monahan Brown. They’re very… interesting…?

‽:  The Ambassador’s Receptions are noted for their host’s exquisite taste. How would you spoil the guests at one of your parties?  

MBR:  I’d probably tell them a few interesting stories about the history of diplomacy. Mother says my stories are always interesting. For example, did you know that some of the earliest known diplomatic records were letters written between the Egyptian pharaohs and the Amurru rulers of Canaan during the 14th century BC. Fascinating, right?

Maybe that's *too* interesting
We tried to warn you

‽:  If you were a chocolate confection, what chocolate confection would you be?

MBR:  Well, they used to say that if Graeme Souness was chocolate, he’d eat himself. And I am the The Bodyguard With A Body To Die For, so I should pick something I ‘d like to eat. A Clif energy bar, I think. That would be sensible.

‽:  The holiday season approaches. Can you give us an example of a seasonal advert that makes you want to rush out and conspicuously consume/throw up*? (*Delete as applicable)

MBR:  My body’s a temple, so I wouldn’t want to conspicuously consume. I do love those John Lewis adverts, though. The covers they do of those classic songs are great!

I'd skip a track to Grounds For Divorce, kid
My ears! For the love of god, make it stop!!

‽:   From James Last to Demis Roussos to Rene and Renata, continental Europe is famed for its contribution to popular music. What’s your favourite Europop?

MBR: Oh, that’s easy. James Last’s Mornings at Seven. It’s Mother’s favourite.

‽: Music for die ersten Stunned des Tales, right enough. Finally, The Ambassador’s Reception will be filled with luminaries from the worlds of politics, diplomacy, and art. Who are you hoping will turn up?

MBR: I can’t really talk about the guest list. But from the world of art, I’d love to meet Phil Collins.

Thanks to Mauricio for those riveting answers to our INTERROBANG‽ Interrogation. We’re sure that when you come to THE AMBASSADOR’S RECEPTION you’ll be in safe hands, and there won’t be any intriguing murders to solve as part of an immersive theatrical whodunnit.
____________________

THE AMBASSADOR’S RECEPTION will take place in one°below at six°north on 24 November at 7:30pm. Space for this exclusive event is limited and tickets are sure to go fast, so book your place now.

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5Qs with Nat Raha

At the end of this week, INTERROBANG‽ will be co-hosting and -producing an evening of trans and non-binary performance organised through LGBT Youth Scotland and Beyond Gender as part of Scottish PEN’s Many Voices project that aims to amplify voices that are silenced and marginalised.

As well as the talented young people who have participated in the I Write, I Rise workshops and the US-based writer, speaker, activist, teacher and poet Eli Clare, the evening will feature the poet and trans / queer activist Nat Raha.

Nat’s poetry includes the books [of sirens / body & faultlines], countersonnets, mute exterior intimate and Octet. She’s performed and published her work internationally, and is undertaking a PhD in Creative & Critical Writing at the University of Sussex.

Poet and trans / queer activist Nat Raha
Nat Raha

So it goes almost without saying that we’re delighted Nat has taken a bit of time to answer some questions relating to the night, and share some thoughts.

‽:  You’re going to be sharing some words with us at the I Write, I Rise event, part of Scottish PEN’s Many Voices project. How did you become part of I Write, I Rise?

NR: I’ve been leading the I Write, I Rise creative writing workshops in Leith, working with a group of talented and open-minded (creatively!) trans and non-binary youth, between the ages of 17-24. I was lucky to be chosen by Scottish PEN to undertake this work!

‽:  What does the phrase I Write, I Rise mean to you?

Maya Angelou, Still I Rise

NR:  The phrase, of course, builds from Maya Angelou’s Still I Rise. For me, writing – writing poetry and essays – has been key to expressing, documenting, advancing, reflecting, sharing, and building my thoughts and feelings, alongside those of the communities and collectives I’ve been a part of. To Rise from the words we find and put to paper, together, is to build our lives, our being. The two verbs work together: we ascend through our expression.

‽:  The I Write, I Rise workshops and event were produced in association with LGBT Youth Scotland. Are there any LGBTQ writers who are particularly important to you?

NR:  My relationship to poetry and literature has primarily been through LGBT writers of the 20th Century and contemporary – Frank O’Hara and Virginia Woolf were first loves. I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by and spurred on by queer and trans writers since I started writing poetry seriously – namely Mendoza aka Linus Slug, Sophie Robinson and Verity Spott, each of whom works through questions of identity, voice, language and queer desire in extraordinary ways.

Linus Slug: Type Specimen, Contraband Books
Linus Slug

In the past year, I’ve been fortunate to be connected to a number of trans writers based in North America, who have written through much that’s been on my mind the past 10+ years – in particular, Trish Salah and micha cárdenas articulations of trans/transfeminine desire through formal (re)invention have been important to me. Their work feels like a literary affirmation of what I was trying to do myself five years ago in my countersonnets.

Queer and transfeminine Vietnamese American poet and teaching artist Chrysanthemum Tran
Chrysanthemum Tran

During the I Write, I Rise workshops, I brought to the group work by trans, genderqueer and non-binary writers that I felt was fresh and exciting – including the work of Spott, Slug, cárdenas, TC Tolbert, Chrysanthemum Tran, alongside the epic Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry anthology edited by TC Tolbert and Trace Peterson.

‽:  Can you tell us a song or a piece of music that might resonate with what you’ll be sharing with us –or that will inspire you – on 9th September?

NR:  A teen inspiration for me: Roses in the Hospital by Manic Street Preachers.

‽:  The Manics seem to strike a chord with a number of the writers we work with! Finally, without giving away too many spoilers, what else can you tell us about what you’re going to be sharing with us at the event?

NR:  My most recent poems are of trans resistance, desire, strikes against bourgeois cis-normativity, escape from dailiness, and the Firth of Forth.

Thanks to Nat for sharing these thoughts and a shed load of art to check out!  If you find that little preview as exciting as we do, you can hear more from Nat and the young people of I Write, I Rise at the Scottish Poetry Library on 9 September at 6pm. Register for a free ticket here – but note, tickets are limited. 

Mr, Mrs, and Kevin Bridges
Come and build some bridges with us!

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5Qs with Eli Clare

INTERROBANG‽ are very happy to be co-hosting and -producing an evening of trans and non-binary performance organised through LGBT Youth Scotland and Beyond Gender as part of Scottish PEN’s Many Voices project that aims to amplify voices that are silenced and marginalised.

As well as the talented young people who have participated in the I Write, I Rise workshops with Nat Raha, the evening will feature the US-based writer, speaker, activist, teacher and poet Eli Clare.

Eli weaves hope, critical analysis, and compassionate storytelling together in his work on disability and queerness, insisting on the twine of race, class, gender, sexuality, and disability.

Eli Clare: writer, speaker, teacher, activist, and poet
Eli Clare

What’s more, Eli’s been kind enough to answer some questions relating to the night, and share some thoughts.

‽:  You’re going to be sharing some words with us at the I Write, I Rise event, part of Scottish PEN’s Many Voices project. How did you become part of I Write, I Rise

EC:  As a white disabled trans and queer writer-activist, it’s quite an honor to be invited by PEN to participate in I Write, I Rise.

‽:  What does the phrase I Write, I Rise mean to you?

EC:  My work as a poet and essayist is fundamentally about community, survival, resistance, and dreams. Art, including writing, can help us rise individually and collectively, move us toward justice, and shape our visions of liberation.

‽:  The I Write, I Rise workshops and event were produced in association with LGBT Youth Scotland. Are there any LGBTQ writers who are particularly important to you?

EC:  I came of age as a U.S. poet and an activist in the mid-1980s reading and studying lesbian feminist writers—Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, Gloria Anzaldúa, Beth Brant, Cherríe Moraga, Judy Grahn, Paula Gunn Allen, and Pat Parker to name a few—who combined genres with abandon, insisted on the personal and the political, and knew race, class, gender, sexuality,
imperialism, and capitalism to be deeply intertwined.

Women are powerful and dangerous
Audre Lorde

Their work resisted so many constraints and borders. My work is indebted to these writers, many of them women of color.

‽:  Can you tell us a song or a piece of music that might resonate with what you’ll be sharing with us –or that will inspire you – on 9th September?

EC:  Mary Chapin Carpenter’s Why Walk When You Can Fly and Isreal Kamakawiwo’ole’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

‽:  Finally, without giving away too many spoilers, what else can you tell us about what you’re going to be sharing with us at the event?

EC:  I will be reading about gawking and disability, resistance and gender, history and love.

Thanks to Eli for sharing some inspiring words, sounds, thoughts and dreams. You can hear more from Eli and the young people of I Write, I Rise at the Scottish Poetry Library on 9 September at 6pm. Register for a free ticket here – but note, tickets are limited. 

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The ‽ Interrogation – Martin Geraghty

It’s Monday – BOO! But according to Facebook, it only four days till Friday and the Edinburgh launch of Chris McQueer’s brilliant short story collection HINGS at the Biscuit Factory – YAY!

The latest performer to submit to the INTERROBANG‽ Interrogation is Martin Geraghty. He’s a man of fine taste.

If you’ve seen Martin as an open mic-er at our pals Inky Fingers, then you’ll know why he’s a great match-up for the HINGS launch.

If you haven’t, well – read on…

‽:  We reckon Chris has assembled just about the best spoken word/live lit/poetry line-up  that anyone can see this year for the Edinburgh HINGS launch event. We’re super-chuffed to be hosting it. How did you come to be on the bill?

MG:  I STARTED WRITING JUST OVER A YEAR AGO. I WAS WRITING A NOVEL WHICH WAS QUITE HEAVY AT POINTS, LATE ONE NIGHT, NEEDING A BREAK FROM WRITING I WENT ONLINE, I STUMBLED ACROSS CHRIS READING SHIFTSWAP AT INTERROBANG, I WAS BLOWN AWAY. I WENT TO BED BUT HIS STORY GETTING SWIRLING IN MY MIND.

Yeah. That’ll do it, right enough.

IDEAS FOR SHORT STORIES SWIRLED IN MY MIND, UNABLE TO SLEEP I GOT UP AND WROTE MY FIRST SHORT STORY. TWO WEEKS LATER, I READ THE STORY AT INKY FINGERS. I WROTE ANOTHER STORY & WENT BACK TO INKY FINGERS THE FOLLOWING MONTH, CHRIS WAS HEADLINING THE EVENT. I READ MY SHORT STORY & CHRIS CONTACTED ME AFTERWARDS SAYING HOW MUCH HE LOVED THE STORY. HE LATER ASKED ME TO READ IT AT HIS LAUNCH NIGHT.

‽:  A picture question – have you seen all the awesome HINGS photoshops on Twitter? If you haven’t, you can check them out here. Which one’s your favourite?

MG:

‽:  Funky! Hot Chocolate’s Errol Brown/Interrobang’s Ricky Brown. Coincidence‽ We think not! Is there a particular story of Chris’s that you’re hoping to hear in the flesh at The Biscuit Factory on Friday? And if so, why that one?

MG:  THE SHED. I’VE JUST READ IT THIS MORNING. ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT

Sam's aff her heid on eccies, min.
“I know, right? Levels. They’re having a right fucking rave-up in there, by the way.”

‽:  The HINGS launch is going to be a bit of a party, so we’d like to play some walk-on music for you. Care to nominate a HINGS-y tune?

MG: PREDICTABLE AS HECK BUT IT’S GOT TO BE ALL THESE HINGS THAT I’VE DONE: THE KILLERS

‽:  We’d probably have picked All The Hings She Said, so you’re alright. Finally, without giving away too many spoilers, what can you tell us about what you’re going to be sharing with us on Friday?

MJ:  I SHALL BE READING A STORY ABOUT A WEE MAN CALLED CAMMY AND HIS OBSERVATIONS ABOUT HOW OUR TOWN CENTRE STREETS ARE NOW BEING DOMINATED BY CERTAIN TYPES OF BUSINESSES.

Well, colour us intrigued!  Thanks to Martin for indulging the Interrobang Interrogation!  By the way, we’re hoping to have a wee Shiftswap-shaped surprise for you on Friday…. 

Already got your copy of HINGS from 404 INK or a good bookshop near you? Then book a free ticket for the launch via Eventbrite.

Not got a copy of HINGS? Book a £3 ticket, also via Eventbrite, and enjoy a discounted £5 copy of Chris’s awesome debut.