It was sad news for spoken word fans everywhere when the glitzy cabaret duo Rally & Broad announced their break-up in May this year. Lucky for us, Jenny Lindsay has made a speedy return to the spotlight with her new project Flint and Pitch. Launching today at the Festival of Politics, Flint and Pitch showcases spoken word in all its forms (music, theatre, and poetry).
Three types of events will be produced under the project’s umbrella: the Revue, a late night cabaret; Presents, where either a group of artists will “riff” on a theme or a solo artist will perform a full-length set; and the Lyceum Variety Nights, which will introduce new artists to Lyceum audiences. Presents kicks off the project, featuring musicians Dog on a Swing and Lake Montgomery and spoken word artists Rosanna Hall and Bram E. Gieben.
This year’s Festival of Politics is united under the theme “Architecture of Democracy”. Flint and Pitch has responded accordingly by inviting its artists to perform material under the title News from Nowhere. Taking inspiration from William Morris’s utopia novel of the same title, the event covers topics to do with place, home, and politically charged dystopian commentary. The range of the artists’ responses to the brief is impressive, from Dog on a Swing’s bittersweet song about long-distance love to Gieben’s stirring and anarchical “cosmic take on post-capitalism”.
With a theme like today’s, it is no surprise that the material onstage is at varying points incredibly rousing and inspirational. Montgomery captivates the audience with her song “I Believe There Is a God”, a deeply soulful piece in which she innovatively uses her guitar as a drum. Gieben shows himself to be an astute critical thinker in his poem about capitalism, where he calls on us to burn all our money with equal parts humour and revolutionary fervour. It is remarkable, as he comments, that an anarchical nihilist like himself could be performing in Scotland’s centre of power. He puts this down to Scotland’s democracy being closely intertwined with unconventional thinking, especially since his subversive poem also won the Scottish Slams last year.
At a time when the arts sector is facing a number of economic challenges, this sort of event that gives artists another platform to reach new audiences is extremely commendable. Flint and Pitch’s next event will be a Revue at Unbound, taking place on 28 August at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.