A grey Sunday outside, but inside at Aberdeen’s Blue Lamp an afternoon lit up by words, music, laughter and friendship.
This was Pushing Out the Boat’s first post-Covid lockdown event face-to-face. More importantly, it was our first chance to say a big ‘Thank you’ to retired but long-standing crew members Freda Hasler and Martin Walsh, who did so much over the years to keep this particular boat afloat.
As if their work for the magazine weren’t enough, Martin also agreed to curate the afternoon’s readings, so very much a personal choice, and one that worked perfectly. Most of the prose and poetry was taken from past issues of the magazine and is listed below. In addition, special guest and friend of Pushing Out the Boat Wayne Price read an extract from a tense piece about adolescent fear he’d started during lockdown.
Thanks must go to the afternoon’s other readers, Eleanor Fordyce and Alison Green, and to singer Alastair Eddie, who entertained us pre-event and during the interval with a selection of standards from the great American songbook.
It would be invidious to highlight individual pieces by any particular author or reader in the face of so much good material. For those not present, there was an instructive lesson to the author of this article from sight of Martin’s running order and its single word characterisation of each piece as ‘sharp’, ‘earthy’, ‘poignant’, ‘playful’ and so on.
In keeping with Martin’s well-judged taste, two of his own pieces listed quite rightly as ‘humour’ opened and closed the programme – Long Haul Flight (not in any issue of the magazine), and New York Dialogue, his weel-kent conversation between a Central Park squirrel and a migrating Mexican humming bird, who he miraculously summonsed from the audience in the shape of Lou Parra Lazcano. They both appear in the photo at the head of this post.
It was a great culmination to the afternoon’s entertainment, and was followed by a presentation of gifts to Freda and Martin on behalf of all POTB crew members by current magazine editor Lily Greenall.
Oh, and finally the afternoon raised almost £200 from donations and sales, a useful adjunct to our recent online crowdfunder (of which more anon in a forthcoming blog post). Our thanks to Lewis at the Blue Lamp who generously provided the venue for us, and of course to all our contributors and audience.
Anyone interested in their feelings about the magazine and their input to it over the years can find separate Q&A posts on this blog with Martin and Freda, as well as a heartfelt tribute to them by Lily and POTB trustee Judy Taylor.
Work from Pushing Out the Boat read at the Blue Lamp, Sunday 24th April 2022. Copies of all the issues concerned are available from our online shop.
Eleanor Fordyce – Bidin
John Hargreaves –Deep in a Russian wood
Maureen Ross – A Woman writes to her Imaginary lovers
Auld Yin – Peeweets
Heather Reid – The S Word
Martin Walsh – Momadu and the Sardine Fishers
Martin Walsh – Oot o a botle
Rapunzel Wizard –Urban Shaman
Maureen Ross – The Love Calculations of the Gentleman Spider
Eleanor Fordyce – Wish You Were Here
Alison Green – The Six Wives o Harry Troup
Stephen Pacitti – The Possom Spider
Eleanor Fordyce – The Lost Shoe
Martin Walsh – New York Dialogue
A C Clarke –Poems I Don’t Want to Write
Sheila Templeton – The Iceberg that sunk the Titanic