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.

The Interrobang Interrogation – Leyla Josephine

If you haven’t guessed already, we’re super excited to be hosting the Edinburgh launch of Chris McQueer’s brilliant short story collection HINGS on Friday at 7pm at the Biscuit Factory. And we’re not the only ones – spoken word and performance artist is looking forward to being part of the night, too. She tells us a little bit about why in her INTERROBANG‽ Interrogation…

That's a given
“…and let me totally kill it at the HINGS launch…”

Leyla Josephine is an award-winning performance artist and writer from Glasgow, Scotland. She has been featured on BBC Social, the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival, Huffington Post, Upworthy, Gutter, The High Flight, the Prague Fringe and The Guardian. We don’t have room for all of her other awesomeness here, but you can read more here.

And here’s how she answered our questions:

‽:  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?

LJ:  I met Chris at The High Flight. I literally was pishing myself with laughter. He also enjoyed my set, I’ve got a couple of poems which are similar vibes to his stuff so I think that’s why he asked me. I’m buzzing to be asked.

I SAID, WE'VE BEEN LISTENING TO SUPER INUIT REALLY LOUD!
Chris McQueer and Leyla Josephine meet on The High Life. Eh? Oh.

‽:  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? LJ: Haha omg, definitely Jack and Rose on the Titanic.

‽:  Ha! That’s definitely a HING!  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?

LJ:  I can’t wait to hear about The Forge tatt again. Or Knees. But also the ones I haven’t heard yet!  My maw was with me the night I saw him perform and she goes on about him all the time. I think she’s a bigger fan of him than she is for me!

‽:  Knees definitely seems to be a favourite! 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?

LJ: Can I please have this? Might need to start it kinda in the middle cause it’s a long way until  the chorus.

‽:  That should get the party started! A bit more danceable than the Ricky Interrobang version, obviously. Finally, without giving away too many spoilers, what can you tell us about what you’re going to be sharing with us on Friday?

LJ:  I’m currently working on my new fringe show Hopeless, so there will be some brand new stuff that’s never been shared before. You can also expect poems about Vienetta, washing your face, feeling depressed and travel pillows.

Awesome – we can’t wait! Thanks to Leyla Josephine for getting in the spirit!

Do poems about Vienetta sound right up your street? 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. Viennetta not included.

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The Interrobang Interrogation – Ross McCleary (HINGS)

For the Edinburgh launch of his brilliant short story collection HINGS on Friday at 7pm at the Biscuit Factory, Chris McQueer has assembled a bunch of his favourite writers and spoken word performers. And we’ve subjected them to the INTERROBANG‽ Interrogation so you can learn a little bit about them before the big night…

If you’ve ever seen Chris and Ross McCleary interact on Twitter, then you’ll know that we’re in for something a bit – Well, read on….

Or shoulders. Or head. Whatever.
Ross up to his shoulders in art

Ross McCleary is from Edinburgh. He has had work published recently by Five2One and Constellations. 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 obsessed with Flat Earth memes and the Edinburgh Watch twitter account.  His novella, Portrait of the Artist as a Viable Alternative to Death, is published by Maudlin House.

Saboteur Award nominated Portrait of the Artist as a Viable Alternative to Death And here’s how he answered our questions:

‽:  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?

RMcC:  How I got here, how I was selected, and what I choose to interpret as the reasoning for these decisions cannot be shared. What I will say is this. I get a head. I am shoulders above everyone else. All other information is provided on a knee to know basis and you, dear audience, do not knee to know. Suffice to say, though, I toe the line.

Mmm, spare ribs... 🤤
Wait – can you say that again, slower?

‽:  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?

RMcC:  The Rafiki / Lion King one is wonderful.

‽:  Innit? Sarabi looks a little nonplussed, though. Guess you’d expect a queen to be classist…. 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?

RMcC:  Chris is a head of the pack, as we all know, and he’s shouldering his way into the Scottish literary scene whether people think they knee to read his work or not. That’s the way it toes. And if you open yours eyes and ears, and think of the way that the mouth moves and the nose twitches at the bodily nature of Chris’ work, you’ll figure out exactly what I’m doing well in advance. You don’t knee any more clues than that I shouldn’t think.

‽:  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?

RMcC:  On Bended Knee by Boys II Men.

‽:  We’ll hold you to that. OMG. So much dramz. Finally, without giving away to many spoilers, what can you tell us about what you’re going to be sharing with us on Friday?

RMcC:  I am a member of the order of knights who say knee.

Thanks to Ross for… whatever that was‽

Want to find out more? 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.

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Interrobang Interrogation – Ricky Monahan Brown

Since we started INTERROBANG?! Ricky’s quietly fantasised about getting to do an Interrobang Interrogation. And with our exciting We Are Watching show with Scottish PEN just around the corner – Friday, 30th June at 7pm, at the Bongo Club – this seemed like a good time to take the plunge.

They're less easily noticed
Short people are watching…

As well as curating and hosting the adorably edgy INTERROBANG?! –  winner of the Saboteur Award 2017 for Best Regular Spoken Word Night – with Beth Cochrane, Ricky’s fiction and non-fiction has been published in various books, magazines and journals, most recently 404 Ink’s The F Word. He’s also in the world’s most science-literate band with Stephanie and Paul. Take that, Prof. Brian May!

And here’s how he answered the questions in our latest Interrobang Interrogation:

?!:  You’re a writer, an artist, and you’ve been granted the opportunity to be a fly on the wall anywhere, any time, and collect material. Where do you go?

RMB:  

We had a similar question for our Now Is Not The Time show, and folks tended to want to go back in time. I think I’d like to go to… 2030. Things are so different to when I was in my early teens – from domestic and international politics to how we watch TV – I’d love to see what a kid born today would be seeing in thirteen years.

"Hey, I'm only 11 at that point!"
The future from the perspective of Ricky’s birth?!

?!:  We are watching – a piece of theatre, TV, cinema, performance art to chill out before the show. What is it?

RMB: 

I dunno about “chill out”, but I’ve always been intrigued by the BBC’s BAFTA winning Edge of Darkness. That chilly mid-eighties drama vibe seems to resonate with some of the themes of surveillance and investigation. (Actually, watching that sort of thing is exactly how I chill out.)

?!: What’s the secret that you’re keeping close? The internet won’t tell anyone, promise! 😜

RMB:  

I don’t believe you, t’internet. But I will tell you that there is a secret I’m keeping right now, and I drove co-host Beth mad with it until I unwittingly spilled the beans ‘cos I was so excited. Stay tuned…

?!:  Wait! Someone’s listening in on your secret! You put on a piece of music to drown it out. What are we listening to?

RMB:  
The Hood remix of Mogwai’s Like Herod. The quietquietLOUD aspect of it should blow out the mic or the headphones or something.

?!:  The spooks are listening in to learn about what you’re planning to share with us at We Are Watching. Without being too spoiler-ific, what can you tell us about what they hear?

?!:  

It’s two short bits. One’s a quite light-hearted piece – called History, I think. The other probably involves props?!

Thanks a lot to Ricky for indulging the INTERROBANG?! Interrogation! (You’re welcome Ricky!) Ricky’s going to be introducing some fantastic talent at INTERROBANG with Scottish PEN: We Are Watching – and some surprises, too.

Find out more at the Bongo Club’s event page, and save 17% on admission for spending on tasty, tasty booze.

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Interrobang Interrogation – Jonatha Kottler

Now is not the time for even more talent, surely?!

‘Fraid so – the latest guest for INTERROBANG: Now Is Not The Time?!  on Saturday, 24th June at 2pm, at The Biscuit Factory is Jonatha Kottler. Jonatha is from Albuquerque, NM where she was a lecturer at The University of New Mexico. She is a happy member of Edinburgh’s Write Like A Grrrl community and runs a reading and writing group for the local charity ECAS. She read a piece at Story Shop in the EIBF 2016, has an essay in 404 Ink’s Nasty Woman, and has written for The Guardian.

Don't even think about shaking that bough!
More talent than you can shake a bough at!

Phew! And amid all that, she somehow found time to respond to the Interrobang Interrogation for Now Is Not The Time. Let’s find out her secret!

?!:  If now is not the time, in what era would you prefer to live and why?

JK:  I’d love to live in the 1960s in the US, when there was a lot of activism that was changing things for the better.  Either that, or be a really rubbish Jane Austen character.

DISCLAIMER: Interrobang has no opinion on the quality of the Bridget Jones series
I think you’ll find that role’s taken, thank you very much!

?!:  In whatever time you live, you’ve been granted the power to slow down time. What are you going to do while time is stopped? Run through a field of wheat? Or something less naughty than that?

JK:  Slowing down time would really improve the efficiency of my binge-watching.

?euqinhcet naihcyL ti si ro ,nwod dewols emit sah – gnilrad ,llet t'nac I
I can’t tell, darling – has time slowed down, or is it Lynchian technique?

?!:  What’s that thing you’d really like to do that keeps getting put off until another time?


JK: I always have to be careful, or it’s the writing that keeps getting put off to another time. Also, answering these questions.

?!:  Hey! OK, now that’s done, it’s time to share your work with the Now Is Not The Time audience! What’s that piece of music that’s putting you in the mood for the right here, right now?

JK:  Straight up the theme to the new Wonder Woman movie.

?!:  Boom! Use that slow motion machine when you take the stage! Now, as you gaze out into the audience, they’re ready for you, they’re present. It’s time. Without being too spoiler-ific, what can you tell us about what they’re going to hear?

JK:  They are going to hear things that I really mean, and hopefully find my jokes funny. I like to contrast between what is ridiculous and what is meaningful.

Ridiculous and meaningful? That’s exactly the vibe Interrobang goes for! Thanks a lot to Jona for indulging the INTERROBANG?! Interrogation.  If ridiculous and meaningful is your thing too, come along to INTERROBANG: Now Is Not The Time?! at The Biscuit Factory on 29 April (£5 suggested admission) and  find out what she has to share with us. Thanks!

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Interrobang Interrogation – Becca Inglis

Say kids, what time is it?!

It’s almost time for INTERROBANG: Now Is Not The Time?!  We kick off on Saturday, 24th June at 2pm, at The Biscuit Factory.

We’re delighted that Becca Inglis will be joining us – Becca’s one of our favourite people on the Edinburgh arts scene, and if you’ve read her blazing intellect and insight at work in 404 Ink’s Nasty Woman, she’s already one of yours, too.

Break glass in case of fire
CAUTION: Blazing intellect at work!

Becca Inglis is an Edinburgh-based writer who regularly reviews theatre and poetry for TV Bomb, with a special focus on women writers and artists. As well as Nasty Women, she’s also been published in the Dangerous Women Project and blogged for Hollaback!, Linguisticator, and Lunar Poetry.

And here’s how she answered the questions in the Interrobang Interrogation for Now Is Not The Time:

?!:  If now is not the time, in what era would you prefer to live and why?

BI:  Definitely the 90s – being a 90s kid is a bit rubbish because we were too young to make the most of all the good pop and underground music that was going around at the time. If I could shift my birth date back a decade and go to even just one original jungle night, I would.

Settle down, old fella!
Someone’s talking Ricky’s language!

?!:  In whatever time you live, you’ve been granted the power to slow down time. What are you going to do while time is stopped? Run through a field of wheat? Or something less naughty than that?

BI:  Can you walk on water when time’s frozen? That sounds fun. Otherwise, walking from one end of Princes Street to the other without all the tourists slowing me down would be pretty satisfying – I like to dream big.

?!:  What’s that thing you’d really like to do that keeps getting put off until another time?


BI: Do you mean putting away that laundry that now just lives on a drying rack in my kitchen, or buying a plane ticket to Japan?

?!:  Let’s push the boat out – both! When you’re done, it’s time to share your work with the Now Is Not The Time audience! What’s that piece of music that’s putting you in the mood for the right here, right now?

BI: How about Soul Time by Shirley Ellis?

?!:  Awesome! We think the number of Northern Soul fans we have as Interrobang guests reflects well on us. Now, as you gaze out into the audience, they’re ready for you, they’re present. It’s time. Without being too spoiler-ific, what can you tell us about what they’re going to hear?

BI:  A true story about the time British politics seemed weirdly in sync with my personal life. There’s a message in there somewhere about making bad decisions actually being really good for you.

Please note: does not apply to Brexit, or anyone named Boris.

Thanks a lot to Becca for indulging the INTERROBANG?! Interrogation. What could her story possibly be about? We can’t wait to find out! Come along to INTERROBANG: Now Is Not The Time?! at The Biscuit Factory on 29 April (£5 suggested admission) and you can find out, too. Thanks!

Interrobang Interrogation – Jen McGregor

Is it time? Is it time?! Well, almost. Kind of?! INTERROBANG: Now Is Not The Time?! kicks off on Saturday, 24th June at 2pm, at The Biscuit Factory.

And we’re thrilled to welcome Jen McGregor back to INTERROBANG?! after her triumphant turn at the Hidden Door Festival with Ghosts Of The Citadel.

GEDDITTT?!?!
Jen gets into the, er, spirit

Jen McGregor is an Edinburgh-dwelling Dundonian raised by Glaswegians. Her plays have appeared at the Piccolo Theatre in Milan, the Traverse, and the Festival Castel dei Mondi. She has been published by New Writing Scotland, Bare Fiction, and 404 Ink. You can find her at www.jenmcgregor.com and on the Tweetie box: Jen McGregor

And here’s how she answered the questions in our latest Interrobang Interrogation:

?!:  If now is not the time, in what era would you prefer to live and why?

JMcG:  During the Enlightenment so that I could hang out with David Hume, convince Deacon Brodie that his criminal gang needed a token female, and nip down to London to find out how many of my suppositions about Mary Wollstonecraft are correct. Plus, the clothes!

Beauty tips with Mary Wollstonecraft
“Let’s talk about hair, girlfriend!”

?!:  In whatever time you live, you’ve been granted the power to slow down time. What are you going to do while time is stopped? Run through a field of wheat? Or something less naughty than that?

JMcG:  In my chosen time or my actual time? If I could slow down time in the 18th century I would hang around the great writers of the era, waiting for them to reach the point where they’d almost completed their great works, then I’d steal them, slow down time, copy them out, destroy the originals and publish them as my own. If I could slow it down in my own time I’d probably just fit in more Netflix binges and video games, not gonna lie.

?!:  What’s that thing you’d really like to do that keeps getting put off until another time?


JMcG:  Crossing Russia on the Trans-Siberian Express. Someday…

?!:  It’s time to share your work with the Now Is Not The Time audience! What’s that piece of music that’s putting you in the mood for the right here, right now

JMcG:  Muse – Our Time is Running Out.

?!:  The lads are getting their Dr Strangelove on, we see. As you gaze out into the audience, they’re ready for you, they’re present. It’s time. Without being too spoiler-ific, what can you tell us about what they’re going to hear?

JMcG:  It’s a little piece of speculative fiction about people whose days are numbered and the importance of not killing the vibe, and it’s called Party Time.

Thanks a lot to Jen for indulging the INTERROBANG?! Interrogation. We can’t wait to hear more about Party Time – she never receives a less than rapturous ovation when sharing her stories. Don’t miss out! Come along to INTERROBANG: Now Is Not The Time?! at The Biscuit Factory on 29 April (£5 suggested admission). Thanks!

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Interrobang Interrogation – Aurora Engine

It’s almost time to journey into inner and outer space! INTERROBANG: Lost in Space?! blasts off tomorrow – Saturday, 29th April at 2pm, to be precise.

As evidenced by our Lost in Space Interrobang Interrogations, we’ve assembled something of a dream line-up. We’ve been mad keen to have the brilliant AURORA ENGINE on the bill since we were blown away by her at the Hidden Door festival‘s contributors’ party!

(3) Awesome dresses!
Things INTERROBANG?! love: (1) harps; (2) Aurora Engine

Aurora Engine is a harpist / singer-songwriter / electronic musician living and working in Leith. Originally from County Durham, she sings in her dialect – something between Geordie and Pit Yacker. Her live performances bring harps, loops, effect pedals, vocals and synths, woven together to create ethereal sounds. She has over 100 songs, some in her head, some in the cupboard at home and some on general release.

Aurora Engine loves the north, steam trains and the stars. Which seems fair enough, right?! You can find her at www.auroraengine.com and on the Tweetie Box @AuroraEngine.

And here’s how she answered our questions:

?!:  You’re packing before blasting off with the Interrobang Space Cadets. What item are you taking with you to represent the human race?

AE:  A harp of course! I have a flight case.

?!: Sitting on the launch pad, you feel like you’re starring in a sci-fi movie. What’s your favourite piece of science fiction?

AE:  Does Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind count? If yes, then that. If not, Batteries Not Included.

We'll have a cracking time!
Of course it counts!

?!:  Bring them both – it’ll free up packing space for Interrobang! As the Space Ship Interrobang pulls away from the Earth, you look down and see the curve of the planet. You play a piece of music to accompany this incredible moment. What is it?

AE: Samuel Barber’s Dover Beach.

?!: Matthew Arnold’s poem could hardly be more a propos.

?!:  The world lies before us like a land of dreams, indeed! When the track ends, you look down again and see home is a little blue marble. For some reason, you’re hit by a vivid memory of a time you lost something down there. What was it?

AE:  Probably my purse and keys.

Star Child! What have you done with my keys?!
Have you tried behind the bed?

?!:  Back on the spaceship, you’re looking forward to presenting a piece of poetry or prose or music to the weird-looking people you’re going to encounter with the Interrobang crew. Without being too spoiler-ific, what can you tell us about it?

AE:  It’s straight from space!

Thanks a lot to Aurora Engine for indulging the INTERROBANG?! Interrogation. We want to see your faces when you hear her, so come along to INTERROBANG: Lost In Space?! at The Biscuit Factory on 29 April (admission free, £5 suggested donation). Thanks!