Words Per Minute, Tested

Feature by Keir Hind | 25 Jul 2012

Words per Minute is the Glasgow-based event which focuses on spoken word, but also can include music, film and other types of performance. The trick is that performers only get 10 minutes per spot, or else. Started in 2010, it operated every month until recently, when it changed to occasional performances, one of which will be at Unbound. The event was first set up by Kirstin Innes and Anneliese Mackintosh, but currently Kirstin Innes is the lone mastermind running the show.

Mastermind, eh? Well, since she helped hijack the other piece she featured in on this page, it seems only right that we get her back, Mastermind style. This should double as a short exploration of what can happen at Words Per Minute. So:

Name: Kirstin Innes

Occupation: Writer

Your Specialist Subject: Words Per Minute.

What, Kirstin Innes, has been the most random occurrence that has happened at Words Per Minute?

Occasionally the techies would be testing the sound system in the Arches and a pounding beat would burst through some emotional climax.

Correct, if a little non-specific. What has been the most unconventional performance?

When Ian Campbell sat and ate a packet of crisps, and played static on an old radio, then said ‘Hello Words Per Minute, I’ve made a piece for you’ and unwrapped a piece and jam. And ate it.

Em, that one sounds pretty correct. Who has been the wittiest performer?

Martin O’Connor always tickled the funny bone. He does short monologues called The Govan of the Mind, which are five second to two minute stories, which are almost always hilarious. He’s the first person that comes to mind as the wittiest.

Correct. Which performer has gone longest over ten minutes?

Ewan Morrison. 26 minutes. In our first ever event. He promised me his stories, which were early extracts from Tales From The Mall, were the right length, but no. I should say that I love Ewan, and he’s great, and I’m not having a got at him at all. But from then on we were extra strict.

Correct. What has been the strangest coincidence?

[A long pause on this one only leads in the end to a…] Pass.

What will happen at your Unbound event?

It’s going to be about sensuality, about the things that make you feel… stuff. Not just in a sexual way, but all kinds of stuff, because sensuality can be about all the five senses, or emotional senses. We’ve done sexual themes before, so this time we’ve broadened the subject out. It should be pretty good.

Correct. Kirstin Innes, you score 5 points, with one pass. And yet time has run out before we could get to this year's line up, So, a quick glance should mention that the event will feature Sarah Hall, author of two Booker nominated works, Jenni Fagan, writer of the acclaimed debut novel The Panopticon, Alan Bissett, who generally hangs about these things, and Two Wings with the music. Whatever you do, don’t pass on this. [Keir Hind]

Words Per Minute will be getting all sensual on Mon 13 Aug, 9pm, in the Guardian Spiegeltent, Charlotte Square. It will be FREE!