Rab Wilson at Burns Monument Centre


I now have a new word for my rejections (thanks Janice!) – my back catalogue! So when Ross, the organiser of Rab Wilson’s workshop on Feasts, Festivals, Parades and Pageants phoned to ask if I could submit something on that theme, I had a rummage through my –ahem – back catalogue and found a piece I’d written about when my granny used to take us to Govan to watch the Govan Fair from the windows of her friend’s room and kitchen.

I wasn’t too sure what Rab intended doing with it but we all duly turned up at the appointed hour, five out of the ten participants being from the club. Rab pointed out that many poets had written about festivals including Burns and one, John Ramsay, who’d written The Sports of Fasten’s-E’en, a long poem about a long forgotten festival held in Kilmarnock. It had some scurrilous comments about the inhabitants of the small towns round about and by the descriptions of the behaviour of local folk, it’s no surprise it was dropped from the calendar of events.

Then to my effort. Rab read bits of it out and showed a clip of an old film of the Govan Fair in the 1950’s. There was the procession heading up Langlands Road and folk watching from the pavements and the windows, and if only the camera had panned up the street a wee bit, there would have been my brother and I hingin oot the windae tae!

After tea and cakes (though two poor souls went on an enforced diet, seeing as how 10 cakes into 12 doesn’t go) and some warm up exercises, we got down to some writing based on the piece of film which we’d viewed several times over. We only had time to hear a few of our efforts but excellent they were, and with a bit of lick and polish some will most definitely be successes for their writers.

An excellent afternoon which got us all writing and all for a fiver (including the tea and cakes. Sorry Pat!)

Ann Burnett

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