England mini-tour, Spring 2017

I’m doing a little self-described tour – definitely not grandiose – over the next few days. Would be good to see listeners, watchers, friends at the following three events. I’ll be reading from my Art Talk Notes poems, among other things (including a guest pop-up in Nottingham from Leiza McLeod!)

1) Nottingham

Reading at Five Leaves Bookshop on Wednesday 29 March, 7pm. Entry £3. With mon ami Colin Herd, as well as Vicky Sparrow. Thanks to Lila Matsumoto for organising this one.

2) Bristol

Back at my old haunt Arnolfini contributing to a reading series called Anathema for Moot, Hesterglock and Sad Presses. Friday 31 March, 6.30-9pm. Entry by donation. Co-readers are Redell Olsen, nick-e melville, Anne Laure Coxam, Sally-Shakti Willow & Joe Evans

3) Manchester

Not actually reading here, but attending the launch of this year’s Other Room anthology, which I’m in. Wednesday 5 April, 7.30pm. Free event. Seemed to me like a great excuse to catch up with friends there as well as hear readings fromErkembode, Juxtavoices and William Rowe.


p.s. This is all great and all, although I am sad to be missing CA Conrad and Sophie Robinson with home-girl Jane Goldman in Edinburgh. If you’re in Edinburgh, go to this! Embassy Gallery, 6pm, looks free.


Thinkin’ on the Beats.

Just watching this video of excerpts from a discussion held at the Philadelphia Kelly Writer’s House. That place is such an engine of interesting thinking around poetry at the moment. The more and more I see/hear from there, the more I want to take wing and get over there for some conversing.

Anyway, the class this video’s from is about the Beat Generation, and takes my head back to the ‘Gimme The Beat Girls‘ show I worked on and performed with Leiza McLeod in Bristol a few years back. One of our source texts, Women of the Beat Generation ed. Brenda Knight, gets a massive and deserved plug. Would love to take the work I was doing over there to see what the response might be and what discussion would be prompted, especially because now I feel like I have a bigger picture than I did at the time, after seeing Amiri Baraka read in Glasgow before he died, for example, and after having explored Ginsberg’s poetics more in my own work.

So, enjoy this great video. Thanks uPenn!

Pic from Forest Centre+ reading last week

Just sharing my favourite photo taken by Ana González Chouciño of my reading on 24th Nov. It was a sort of closing event for the Warm Up exhibition at Forest Centre+’s new gallery space, Interview Room 11. I was happy to have the chance to read alongside my installation of the This Is Not The Place collaborative text I made with Leiza McLeod, not least because it let me put the spoken voice back into the work. I read along with the film of Leiza and I stating the text in the same space back in April before it was turned into a gallery. You can’t see it really, but on the little DVD screen there are mini-versions of me and Leiza. I even wore the same cardigan! #continuity

Before the reading, I unfurled the ribbons of text, attached to the pamphlet of the whole text, so that they stretched the length of the gallery. This felt like a release of the pent up energy in their coiled bundles (how they’ve been presented in the exhibition for its duration) and I liked the sort of flare, sort of outburst that this seemed to let them stage. Once I’d done that, I waited silently for the DVD to reach the point in mine and Leiza’s reading where the text located to Edinburgh, reading in my head along with the Bristol section. I liked the element of reading in my head alongside the recording of my voice reading out loud. I want to think about that more. Also, I enjoyed then reading out loud with my own recorded voice and playing with the possibilities of phasing/echoing/falling into step.

Anyway, Ana’s picture. Thanks to those who came.

Iain Morrison performing This Is Not The Place. Thanks to Ana González Chouciño for photo

Loved Stephen Paterson’s wire installation too, by the way. He was manipulating this invisibly from the wings all night so that bundles of hanging electrical cables jerked like puppetless strings and gradually withdrew back into the ceiling.

Looking forward to the next Interview Room 11 exhibition, which I think is by Nick-e Melville.

This Is Not The Place: Reading at Forest Centre+ 24/10/13

or this one


I’m part of a trio of performers helping to bring the Forest Centre+’s inaugural exhibition to a close this coming Thursday. The new Interview Room 11 gallery space has hosted its ‘Warm Up’ for more than 3 weeks and the building has been enlivened by surges and trickles and drops of visitors to the exhibition, moving the Forest project ever forwards and upwards. I’ve loved being part of it.

Here’s the poster for its closing event…

TINTP Closing poster

…at which I’ll be reading at about 7pm. The event starts at 5.30pm, so I’m hoping to get there for then, work allowing, to enjoy the other things going on. nick-e melville will be up to something, and so I believe will Stephen Paterson.



I’ll be reading from the walking texts that make up This Is Not The Place, a knot of writing I produced with Leiza McLeod. It’s been present in the Warm Up exhibition in booklet form, and also as long ribbons of paper. I’m doing my best to magic something of Leiza there from Bristol via technological wizardry (we’re talking wizardry level 1 at best, though possibly with merit).

IMopening work 4

Hope to see some of you there. More details on facebook for the detail-driven.



‘Warm up’, opening exhibition at Forest Centre+

Earlier this year, I took up a residency at Forest Centre+ for a month. I blogged about my activities here on this blog. Mainly I was writing about my Emily Dickinson reading performance. Now that I’ve been asked to contribute to the opening exhibition of Forest Centre+’s gallery space, I’ve gone back to a different aspect of my residency.

The work I’ve put into the exhibition is from a collaboration with Leiza McLeod. We’ve worked over a long period of time on a text called This Is Not The Place, which records walks taken simultaneously by the two of us. Instead of walking alongside each other, we either converge on a point or diverge from a point. It’s literally an exploratory process, and we record our thoughts and observations of the things we see as we go into a dictaphone, to be transcribed and edited, then turned into a performance script.

When Leiza was last up in Edinburgh from Bristol, during my April residency, we performed a version of this work inside the empty Forest Centre+ in the space which is now partly the Interview Room 11 Gallery. After reading the This Is Not The Place script, we unravelled two long paper ribbons of text (one with Leiza’s words, one with mine) out of the windows of the Forest Centre+ building into the ever-present wind pushing up the tall building between it and the castle rock.

The April This Is Not The Place performance was filmed, and in the exhibition I’ve put in an edited version of the footage, alongside the retrieved paper ribbons, now attached to a printed pamphlet of our text.

I’ve been in the gallery, installing over the weekend and am delighted with the quality of work I’m showing alongside. There’s a good range, including sculpture, painting, film and interventional installation. One thing that’s already apparent about the new Gallery space is how much more is possible with it than at Forest’s previous, tiny, TotalKunst art gallery. It really gives everything room to disclose itself, and allows conversations between the different work in an uncluttered way.

The exhibition opens on Tuesday night, 5.30–7.30pm 1st October 2013. It would be lovely to see any of my Edinburgh folk there. The entrance is at 38 Castle Terrace, EH3 9SJ.


Here’s the poster,

Forest Centre+ Warm Up poster


here’s a working shot of my piece during installation to give you a flavour,

Iain Morrison This Is Not The Place

and more event details are on facebook here.

(West Port late on a Saturday night. Someone’s making monkey noises outside in the street, not threatening. Not sure what that’s all about.)

Paris has burnt

I’m sharing a couple of pictures from mine and Leiza McLeod’s Paris Is Burning performance in Bristol last week, as Cheap Glam, which I blogged about in my previous post.

I should say, this activity is definitely at the more hysterical end of my creative spectrum …and what fun we had! Mind you, when the process involved sending videos of each other ‘s dance routines back and forth from Edinburgh to Bristol, there was always room for things to get a little wacked.

For example, here’s me posing with virtual me in Leiza’s living room.

Iain Morrison posing with virtual Iain Morrison


And here, are a few pics from our final performance at the Beacons, Icons and Dykons night itself.







Tom Marshman was a wonderful, wonderful host. We loved meeting Harold Offeh too. He gave good face. And it was a treat to see so many friends in the sell-out crowd at Bristol’s Cube. If anyone fancies  contributing to Cube’s campaign to fundraise enough to buy its building, please think about donating here. It’s such a fantastic resource for Bristol’s creative scene and I hope it continues to see many more out-there nights lurching across its estimable stage.

Thanks to Jeremy Horwood for the pictures and to Auntie Pam Tait for the costumery.

Till the next time!



Cheap Glam tackle Paris Is Burning

I’m popping up in Bristol next week as one half of a performance duo with Leiza McLeod. We’ve been through various incarnations, and this time around it will be as Cheap Glam that we take to the stage at The Cube Microplex.

We one of the acts preceding classic gay film Paris is Burning at one of the Beacons, Icons and Dykons nights run by that master-mistress of laconic mischief, Tom Marshman.

photo by Oliver Rudkin

Tom Marshman, photo by Oliver Rudkin

The Paris is Burning film documents the Black and Hispanic vogueing scene in 80’s New York, and it’s a feast of costume and reinvention with an arc which skillfully brings out the joy of defiance against a never distant backdrop of tragedy.

Leiza and I will be doing our best to warm-up the audience for the film, without dropping any spoilers, although spoilers has possibly acquired a new meaning in our attempts at vogue dance moves….

You can find out more about the night here on facebook, as well as on the Beacons, Icons and Dykons wordpress page.

To give you a taste of how it should be done, here’s vogue’s real deal, Willi Ninja. I was going to embed his Deep In Vogue video for Malcolm McLaren, but I just came across this fun appearance from the late 90’s where he brings on some other extraordinary dancers to join him on stage. The video quality isn’t great, but a decade after Paris is Burning, it shows something of the evolution and diversification of the vogue style, it’s appropration by others, and maybe hints at the reasons why wide audiences are still attracted to the Paris Is Burning film today. One being, I think, that vogueing has become too organically big to be claimed by any one group I think.

If you’re in Bristol next Thursday night, come along for an interesting night. Leiza and I will do our best to entertain you in our little segment!

Iain Morrison residency @ Forest Centre Plus

Basically every part of what’s written below is overexciting me….

In April, I’ve been invited to do a text-based residency at the new Forest Centre Plus space in Edinburgh.

For those who don’t know it, the Forest is a volunteer-run arts collective which used to have its base in an old Methodist Chapel in the centre of Edinburgh. That building was sold by its owners Edinburgh University a year or so ago. The much-loved Forest cafe has more recently found a new home in Tollcross, but space for the previous levels of creative activity was lacking in the new arrangement. Until now, that is!

The Forest have taken over several floors of Argyle House, a modernist 60’s office block opposite, as it happens, my flat. That was one plank of fate lining up to connect me to the new enterprise.

Also Mirja Koponen, Forest committee members and general power-house, saw a performed reading I gave with long-time collaborator Leiza McLeod on the delivery platform at the back of the office building, in 2011. Our reading was of a text Leiza and I produced called This Is Not The Place. We first wrote this in 2008 in Bristol, recording walks we took from each of our homes to a location picked because neither of us had ever been there. In the 2011 performance, we added material describing a walk both of us took from Argyle House to somewhere we’d never been before. So the first walk was a convergence and the second walk, a divergence.

Mirja saw the performance, and it must have stuck in her mind; when she was planning the Forest’s move to the new space, she asked if I’d be interested in doing a performance or something else in there. Apparently I was the only person she knew who’d actually noticed the building beforehand, which I think tells you something about the cleverness of its construction given that it’s 10 stories tall and has 3 wings!

This has come together into a plan, now that the space is up and running. I am looking at doing a few different things in Argyle House over my residency month of April.  I’ll write more about these as they approach but broadly they are:

1) a revisiting of the This Is Not The Place material, possibly making a connection with the inside of the building and the place outside where Leiza and I performed in 2011.

Screen-shot from the facebook page for our 2011 event 'This Is Not The Place'.

Screen-shot from the facebook page for our 2011 event ‘This Is Not The Place’.

Leiza and I reading This Is Not The Place, 2011 at Argyle House

Leiza and I reading This Is Not The Place, 2011 at Argyle House

Above the platform from inside the building

Above the platform from inside the building

2) an attempt to read all of Emily Dickinson’s poems over 4 Mondays. I am having my talented friend, and other Emily, Emily Goodwin adapt a white dress for me to wear during this.


3) some sort of poem writing directly onto the walls of the building inside. Using it like a sketchbook is the idea, working to a final draft.

4) Holding a meeting of PiP, the poetry workshop group to which I belong, in Argyle House at some point during April.

I’m really looking forward to this. Forest Centre Plus is currently a very hot new arrival on the Edinburgh arts scene, and I’m grateful to circumstance and Mirja for opening its doors to me. I’ve looked at it for three years, and now I get to play inside.