On Friday the 13th of January 2017 I attended my first Burns Supper of the season, hosted by Helensburgh Burns Club. I will complete my third year as secretary for the club in May and, as we draw performers from a selection of guests and from within the club, that meant I was invited to do “whatever I liked” by this year’s president, Geoff.
That’s quite an open remit, but when I was asked earlier the previous year I had a good idea of what I would like to perform. The first Burns’ poem that I learnt was To a Mouse and I have always been fond of it. In early 2016 I had the idea of writing a reply on behalf of the titular mouse and this eventually became my poem, Fae a Mouse. So that and the work that inspired it became the core of what I would do and as fortune would have it, with our club supper being so close to the festive season, I could open with I’m Really Glad Xmas Is Over which I had written during the festive season of 2015.
At our St Andrew’s Night I had to read the poems I performed because I just wasn’t confident enough in my ability to recite them off by heart. The fact I did drew some gentle criticism which I happily accepted. I really had no excuse for not learning my own poems properly!
This time around I had put a lot more practice in and could probably have done all three without any cues. That’s tempting fate when you’re drinking though, so I printed my two out and put extra effort into getting To a Mouse learned. In the event I stumbled once on that one – it was going so well it seemed too good to be true, so I checked I was doing okay with one of our past presidents!
I received some really good feedback on my poems. A couple of people asked for copies and a lady who is performing at the Edinburgh Fringe asked for a copy of Fae a Mouse because she wanted to use it there.
I couldn’t be much happier with how my part of the night went. It’s both rewarding and a relief when you perform something you’ve written and have it be so well received.