Words Per Minute

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I mentioned this on Monday in the gig guide, but that’s no reason not to bring it up again, particularly as organisers Anneliese Mackintosh and Kirstin Innes were kind enough to answer some questions about the event, making them the first ever victims of an Aye Tunes interview in the process.

Would you care to introduce yourself, and tell us a little about yourself?

A – Hello, I’m Anneliese, the German-born/English-raised/Scots-descended half of Words Per Minute. I’m a writer of novels, short stories, plays and short films. I’m currently working on a novel called Watch Yourself, and a short story collection called Dedicated. I get very excited about performing my work, and have done so at Glasgow events DiScOmBoBuLaTe at the Arches, Manifesto and TBC Cabaret at the Tron Theatre, OMG at Offshore, and Edinburgh events A Night In the Gutter at the National Library, Golden Hour at the Forest Café and as support act for musician David Ford at Cabaret Voltaire. At the moment I’m finishing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow, and so soon I’m about to get a real, real job. You may see the panic this causes me reflected in my recent (foreboding?) short stories about abusive workplaces.

K- Hello. I’m Kirstin. I write stories and newspaper articles.

A – Oops. Kirstin is also far more modest than I am, it seems.


Tell us a little about Words Per Minute?

K – There’s loads of work being made in Glasgow just now that doesn’t necessarily conform to one genre – it’s not just ‘writing’ or ‘music’ or ‘film’ or ‘theatre’. We wanted to put on an event that showcased that. We’re both writers who perform our own work (Anneliese makes animations, too), so we decided to put together a collection of people who use words in different ways and see what happens. We’re also hoping to introduce audiences to different kinds of work — spike a literary crowd on some electronica, bring really good writers to a live music audience, screen artist films to theatre-goers. That’s the plan, anyway.

A – We’re also giving people the opportunity to try out something completely new. If, for instance, an established novelist decides he wants to try his hand at animations in an open-minded environment before unleashing it to the wider world (yes, that’s you, Ewan Morrison, at WPM1), then our event is the perfect place to do it. If artists are looking to seek out new collaborators in alternative art forms, we provide an ideal hub for that sort of thing too. In terms of what the audience will get out of it – for very little money they’ll get a snapshot into the artistic scene in Glasgow and beyond – a bit of film, literature, music, theatre and who-knows-what-else at each event, and each one will be exciting, vibrant and unique. What better way to spend your post-roast Sunday afternoon?


The first event is coming up on Sunday, who can we expect to see performing?

K – Martin O’Connor, a playwright and theatre-maker who I’ve been keeping an eye on for yeeears now is going to try out some new work. Ewan Morrison, who’s best known for his deviant and quite frankly filthy novels (Swung, Distance and Menage) has started working on a new short story collection designed for e-books, with embedded animations, and he’s going to be screening and narrating them. Then there’s fast-living rock diva/writer/hurricane Lisa Foad – I met her at a literary festival in Toronto and loved her writing. Unfortunately, we can’t afford to get her over from Canada, but thanks to the miracle of modern technology she can be there in video form.

A – Plus there’s the lovely Colin Begg, whose poems are influenced by the Scottish people and landscape, and feelings of (not) belonging. He recently described his work to me as ‘some poems the head wrote about the heart, or vice versa’. He’s also written short screenplays and plays, and is currently co-editor of Gutter, a brilliant new literary magazine, going soon into its third issue. The live music act for the first event is Miaoux Miaoux, an electronica musician listed on BBC Scotland’s Vic Galloway’s 50 Scottish artists to watch in 2010. His new EP Blooms was launched in March, described on the Ayetunes blog as ‘positively bursting with energy’. (Jim – it’s true, check here) It’s Postal Service meets Apparat meets Lali Puna and they all go for a drink with Mogwai and have a nice time. Miaoux Miaoux, aka Julian Corrie, is also going to be WPM’s resident DJ, playing a one-hour set after every event, whilst people chat, mingle and relax.

K – Anneliese and I are also going to do five minute sets of our own stuff, just for the first night. We’re not going to get into the habit of it, though: we’re running this night to celebrate what’s happening in Glasgow just now, not to promote our own work. Too much.


Why did you choose Creation Studios as the venue?

K – I was working on a project in the Trongate and Merchant City, and Roddy (Creation Studios head honcho) approached us looking to be included in that. After going up for a meeting I was really taken by the café/performance space – it’s got a great atmosphere about it, so when Roddy mentioned he was looking for spoken word events, it seemed like a pretty good fit with the night Anneliese and I had been dreaming up for the past few months. It’s a lovely, open space, the staff are ace and interested in everything, and as somewhere that already promotes emergent visual artists and musicians, it felt like the right place to unleash our cross-genre vision on the world!

Words Per Minute is a nonprofit event, do you have any plans for what to do with any money raised?

A – The £2 ticket money will go straight back into promoting the events – we need to buy posters each month in order to give the performers the best possible chance of publicity, but we will also be collecting money for Cancer Research UK on the night. My dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer two years ago and I think it’s really important to keep providing money for the much needed equipment and resources for cancer care. Making art is about making a difference, both onstage and off.


Going forward what plans do you have for Words Per Minute, and for yourselves?

K – We’re already planning lineups for WPM2 and 3. We’ve just confirmed Adam Stafford for next month: as I’m sure Ayetunes readers already know, he creates these amazing, slow-building soundscapes with just a loop pedal and his voice, then sings wild-man blues over the top. Sophie Cooke is also performing – she’s a well-established novelist and short story writer, but she’s also a glittering, diamond-hard performer.

A – We’ve also got newcomer Craig Lamont confirmed for WPM2. I saw him perform at the Mitchell Library during the Aye Write festival as part of the University of Strathclyde Creative Showcase, and was blown away by his work. We’ve also had all sorts of interesting submissions for future events – keep them coming, folks!

K – We’ve got a fantasy wishlist of people we want, and we’re already talking to some of them. Everyone from beatboxers and short filmmakers to Booker-nominated novelists and former members of seminal Falkirk-based bands now pursuing their own spoken-word projects. We’d also like to open things up to visual artists a bit more – we’re not sure exactly how, yet, but we’ll take any suggestions going.

A – As for my own plans, I’m hoping to punt my novel around by the end of the year, and I’m in the process of getting a short film made with a production company in London. I’ve also got some music collaborations on the horizon.

K – I’m currently writing a novel and a play, and collaborating with US-based composer Tony Marasco, who’s setting a couple of stories I’ve written to music (I think I’m then going to record myself reading over the top – we’re doing the whole thing over the internet, so haven’t quite worked out the logistics of that bit yet).

A – We’ll probably try and fit in a nice long rest at some point, but not just yet.

Thanks a million to Anneliese and Kirstin for taking time to answer my questions, from the sound of it that long rest will be well deserved. Now, get along there on Sunday!
Words Per Minute takes place on Sunday May 2nd 2010, from 4-6pm, plus a Miaoux Miaoux DJ set from 6-7pm at Creation Studios, 16 Trongate, Glasgow. Tickets: £2 on the door.
For more information on Words Per Minute visit their website, http://www.wordsperminute.org.uk, and say hello on Facebook or Twitter.