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Book launch review - Jenny Lindsay's 'This Script'

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This past Friday marked the official release of Jenny Lindsay’s - one of Scotland and the UK’s leading spoken word poets -  newest print release: This Script.

The launch party took place in Edinburgh's Bongo Club and was not only a celebration of the release of the collection itself but was also the wrap-up party for the ten months of work going into the creative project that had brought ‘This Script’ into existence.

Image courtesy of Flint and Pitch

Following a successful funding bid, ‘This Script’ now exists across three art-forms: in film, print and soon, on stage and the release night successfully showcased two of these already leaving a positive taster for the upcoming stage show.

The room was glowing in a hue of pink and blue light. Tables covered with flowery tablecloths and the book's bright pink cover was projected on to the screens on-stage as people young and old, male and female took their seats for the upcoming show. The décor and the lighting, however, were not representative of what was to come.

Opening the show was the film poem ‘This Script’ – a part univocal poem in, and about, ‘I’ and the title poem of the collection. As the room went dark and the show began, all eyes were fixed on the flashing images of the colourful video along with melancholic music by Novasound and Lindsay’s thought-provoking words stunning the crowd into silence. ‘This Script' within three minutes did show not only the variety of platforms used to portray Linday’s work but also represented Lindsay's ability to discuss controversial themes in a provoking yet engaging manner.

Lindsay herself exclaimed: “It is an interesting time to be a feminist", and while the title poem can definitely be linked to the topic of feminism and collective (female) action, it is not the only topic highlighted in Lindsay’s book.

This Script goes further into controversial contemporary debates surrounding sex, gender, feminism and the aftermath of the #MeToo campaign as well as themes of grief, loss of collective solidarity, mourning and love.

When it came to Lindsay taking the stage herself, she told the audience about her "tortured relationship with the page" back when she published her first book in 2011. Instead of a formal introduction, Lindsay had used her poetic talent to write an introductory poem – ‘A Margin of Error'. The poem dives into Lindsay's usual role as a performance poet on stage and how writing a book is "a different game".  Regardless of what it may seem, Lindsay further stated that this poem is "No apology, but a caveat.”

Image courtesy of Flint & Pitch

Linday’s readings soon showcased her extreme talents as not only a writer but a performer. Readings such as the poem ‘Lighter' left the crowd listening in silence to the breakdown of a friendship in as little as 200 words. Other readings had the crowd roaring in laughter such as the poem ‘PornHub' - a poem based entirely on comments underneath videos on the site – or ‘Take Off to Mid-flight Somewhere Across the Atlantic' – a poem describing an in-flight experience and the notion of panic at take off, then ending in the realisation that "it is love that makes this sadness and that makes the sadness bearable.”

All other performing acts that night showcased the incredible talent of the Scottish creative scene. Music was provided by the power duo ‘The Girl Who Cried Wolf'- the night being their stage debut - and the dreamy-sounding ‘Josephine Sillars + The Manic Pixie Dreams.'

Jen McGregor, the director that is bringing ‘This Script' to stage, read two of her narrations and more than proved why she is the right person to be directing Lindsay's stage show. The crowd was giggling as McGregor managed to even make something as morbid as visiting a loved one's grave for the first time a laughing experience.

Throughout the night, what became apparent was that Jenny Lindsay's work not just on ‘This Script' was praised and loved by many. Performers were thanking Lindsay for her support and ambition not only for her own but other projects.  Later, as host Sian Bevan asked who had attended one of Lindsay's events before, the room filled with cheering and clapping.

What can be taken from the launch is that Lindsay’s work is many things: It is fun and full of laughter, it is engaging, relatable and yet provocative. It gives women a voice in a time where women’s voices are still not always heard enough. It calls for action with less focus on ‘I' and more emphasis on ‘We’. It delves into the importance of love, empathy and understanding.

‘This Script’ is now available for purchase here, and from August onwards will be coming to stage during the Edinburgh Fringe.




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