New and Selected Breakdowns E​.​P.

by Kevin P. Gilday



New and Selected Breakdowns E.P. brings together the poems performed at the ill-fated Edinburgh Fringe show of the same name in 2015. Drunk on a combination of grief and bitterness, I decided to write a divisive and uncompromising hour of spoken word and something approaching stand up comedy. This collection of poems is the fruit of that labour.

'Not unreasonably bitter' - A fan review.


released February 19, 2016


all rights reserved


Track Name: Why I Fucking Hate The Edinburgh Fringe
A city full of attention seekers
Certified cunt-convention
Confidence black hole
Wild dreams of audience retention
Mental exhaustion
Relentless and tiring
Being flyered by arseholes
Being the arsehole flyering
Self inflicted scurvy
Soggy chips on the menu
Performing in a bona fide cupboard
PBH putting you on in this fucking venue
Every square inch an advert
Billboards obscure the greenery
Being forced to endure
Amateur Sunday actors chewing the scenery

August in Edinburgh
Someone get these clowns an editor
They're charging money for an hour of this pish
Earnest self importance is rife
The Guardian supplement come to life
A capital terrorist attack my parting wish

Fannies on unicycles
Wankers on stilts
You've got your auld maw crying in her quilt
Performance artists
Part-time magicians
Your Da canny work under these conditions

Stop being an embarrassment
Failed child actor
Those dance lessons were a bust
Now you've taken up being a wanker
'But mime is in my blood' you cry,
'This art is my compulsion'
Just a few grand in government grants
And we'll really see some propulsion
But it's simple supply and demand my friend
And this festival is ruthless
There's no room here for soggy fops
Artisans, naive and toothless
So don't feel downhearted if your audience halves
When some cunt goes to the loo
After all, they're only in town to see that comedian
From 'Have I Got News For You'
Track Name: Shitebag
There's a word that's been following me around
Stalking my every movement
Clinging to me, barnacle-like, wherever I go
And that word is...

You see, I'm a shitebag - or so I've been told
My whole life, for refusing to be bold
For being unable to throw caution to the wind
For allowing my inherent rationality to rescind
The order, for some reckless endeavour
Which seems like a good idea until you measure
The risk, to this porcelain skeleton
Brain chewing it over like a beef wellington
Before delivering the report – this shit is unsafe
Danger blows me away like a waif
Or a skinny girl, hungry for my attention
This is not how you combat hypertension

I don't know how I got like this
Forever standing at the foot of the tree
While untold splendours reside above
Reserved for those lofty enough to see
The unfiltered spectrum of possibility
Life's rich tapestry being woven
With courage and conviction
And absolutely nothing to be proven

If only this cowardice of body would temper my thoughts
Questionable ethics tying me up in knots
My penis has no regard for sexual equality
Overrules my brain like an unelected minority
I wouldn't skydive from a plane but tailspin into drama
Plot the script's turning points on a handy diorama
Drink ten pints of Guinness but never change a fuse
Self-assigned credibility too valuable to lose
Consciousness aching with unrequited desire
Ephemeral longing turns me into a liar
Scarred by jealousy, sick of pretending
Will this poverty of spirit be simply neverending?

But how would you like to be held to others standards?
Values assigned to your behaviour?
Maybe my circumspect code should be applied to all
Apprehensive living might just be your saviour...

You're staying out til late, aye?
Partying 'til your eyelids sag
Can't handle going home early eh?
You're a shitebag

So you've downed 13 vodkas?
Drinking 'til you boke and gag
Can't handle your water eh?
You're a shitebag

I'm a grown man apparently, done with peer pressure
So why should I justify what gives me pleasure?
A good cup of tea and an early night
A few pints down the pub and then exit stage right
My crazy days aren't behind me, they never began
The unremarkable confessions of a sensible young man
Casual alcoholism excepted I'm pretty straight
Fear and anxiety tend to conflate
So suspend your moral judgement and bilious barbs
Panes of expectation reduced to shards
Against perceived wisdom I'll plant a flag
Yours sincerely, a shitebag
Track Name: Jubilee
God save the queen! God save the queen!
I can't comprehend a sentence quite so obscene
As an omnipotent superbeing using heavenly powers
To protect an old woman with a couple of towers
A person, a family who have done nothing of note
Except to attain positions of power without a single vote
These repugnant recipients of our hard earned taxation
Rule this fairytale laughingstock that we call a nation

A spurious, spineless parasite
Worshipped by the sad and delusional, the bitter and unusual
Vapid, flag waving goons
Delusional, tea pot collecting loons
Coffin dodgers with hands on heart
To celebrate the birthday of a fellow old fart
Worshipping an old woman for her inherited wealth
While we scrape and starve and fear for our health

They parade their riches, revel in extravagance
Ornate palaces and jewel encrusted crowns
Sprawling estates and lavish gowns
Professional wavers, fox chasers, stupid toffs
Architect bothering, caviar swallowing, here come the moths
Drawn to the flame – they're to blame for this incessant bore
Parasitical oafs, born with it all and feeling entitled to more

A cultural embarrassment, an irrelevance
An institution worthy of our contempt, certainly not our reverence
They take our money and give us nothing in return
The great british swindlers with cash to burn
And we're expected to be grateful, grateful
For their mere presence
For a meagre wave, for a stilted handshake
Well I want penance

It's time to throw off the shackles of establishment tricks
But I won't be satisfied 'til I get heads on sticks
Track Name: Glasgow Overture
Impassioned by a Gorbals sunrise
Glasgow greets the world
Fully formed
Streets of perfect symmetry invoke
A higher power
Erstwhile civic omnipotence

The city crashes into motion
Pumped full of population
An intravenous injection
Of humanity

While in the west, young mothers
And absent fathers
Besiege the dear green places
With earnest exercise
And frivolous gossip

The remnants of the shipyards lay exposed
Titans acquiesce to atrophy
A history of rust has colonised
The powerhouses of the Clyde
Once the envy of the world

Tourists grunt and groan over a bridge of sighs
To a hill pockmarked with graves
In the distance stands two cathedrals
Worshipped with a fervour no god could match
While John Knox looks down his nose
At the dead

By this river we flourish
In these streets we find courage
Gold amongst the grit and the glamour
This contradicting reality
Our beautiful duality
City of the pen and the hammer

Drumchapel and Bearsden sit side by side
Posterboys of modern inequality
A living case study
Just a street and twenty two years
Of life expectancy between them

George Square sits resplendent in the rain
Where the tanks once rolled
To turn guns on their own
Red Clydeside threatened to turn scarlet
As the workers stood unbent
In Bolshevist flirtation

Merchant City four by fours
Shop for blood
The new bourgeoisie
Gentrifying all they see
With media fuelled disposable income
And dreams of being everything
Their parents were not

Nomad artists head South
Fleeing West-end rent hikes
And student encroachment
Occupy ragged bar stools
Beside luminous jackets
And the whimpering ghosts
Of professional drinkers
Reduced to speaking in tongues

The new towns creak under the weight
Of broken promises of regeneration
Artificial settlements, abandoned
Architectural brutalism, beseiged
By retail parks and outlet stores
The exactitude of corporate living

While in a bleak council dwelling
Chilled by the Eastern winds
A lady of a certain age
Gathers china in porcelain hands
And curses her late husband
With a loving nod
With a wry smile

By this river we flourish
In these streets we find courage
Gold amongst the grit and the glamour
This contradicting reality
Our beautiful duality
City of the pen and the hammer
Track Name: I've Fallen Out Of Love With Poetry
I've fallen out of love with poetry
It's not me it's you
That spark has gone wandering
Amidst countless painful open mics,
Anxiety inducing slams, clique politics
The complete absence of ever being paid

I've fallen out of love with poetry
Because of your fucking whiny voices
And your earnest subjects
Contrivedly crafted for universal agreement
I'm glad we've sorted out that racism is bad -
I was a wee bit sketchy until you took the mic

I've fallen out of love with poetry
With your mid-atlantic inflections
and borrowed speech patterns
Because you all learned to slam
From Americans on youtube
Instead of saying what you feel

I've fallen out of love with poetry
Because your body issues are not important,
Unlike mine
Of course you're an outsider
You're reading fucking poetry
This is a club for weirdos
This much we know

I've fallen out of love with poetry
Because you write too many love poems
And they don't come easily to me
Grand metaphors like quixotic sculptures
Hewn from the marble of your affections,
Or something

I've fallen out of love with poetry
Because rhyming is seen as uncool
Despite it being a useful linguistic tool
A literary device taught to kids at school
Yet I stand up here like a mawkish ghoul
Because my poetic preference marks me out as a fool,
Or something

I've fallen out of love with poetry
Because these young people -
Are actually quite good
And I'm not sure if there's a space
For a grown man's wearisome compositions
And chronic oversharing

I've fallen out of love with poetry
Because it's fallen out of love with me