From Bad to Verse. (The Renfrew Rhymer)


As it's UNESCO 'World Poetry Day' I've decided to break cover on a wee personal project I've been working on, about the late comic poet, Walter McCorrisken. The plan was to launch my film at the Girvan Folk Festival in May and then with live recital of poem and song at Renfrew on Film in June, but obviously events have rather overtook us. I have a voice-over to record when I'm able, and a couple of rights to clear, but we are 99.9% there. Hopefully I'll be able to share the full film soon! In the meantime here is a wee taster..

Below is the text of the speech I planned to read ahead of the screenings to tee up the film. "Around four years ago a clip popped up on my facebook thread (shared by a local friend, Margaret McCormick). The clip was from the BBC.. an 'on this day..' type clip, of the Michael Parkinson Show from 1979, and featured - along with huge stars of the day such as Andy Williams - the Renfrew Rhymer, a man who I had never heard of before, called Walter McCorrisken, who shuffled on stage looking like he had wondered onto set on his way home from work, a carrier bag and over-coat, slightly nervous, slightly serious delivery.. all a conceit as I would learn. He went on to have the seasoned Parky – and me watching nearly 40 years later - in tears of laughter with his comic poetry. Walter was much in the Bud Neill and Chic Murray style of gentle, parochial humour that I already adored so much, self-effacing, clever with language, slightly surreal, immediately disarming. Hilarious. Intrigued, I did a google and found.. well not much.Walter was 'discovered' in the mid 70s, and most active from then until the mid 90's, so just missing the internet age. Indeed most of my research was via microfiche, cuttings, vhs tapes and the books that he published. As a film-maker, and with this specific Renfrew on Film event in mind, I'm always looking for interesting local stories to tell, and Walter seemed an interesting local character, so after a bit of digging around I made contact with Walters son, Richard, who has been very gracious with his consent, guidance and personal family archive. Before I go any further I should thank everybody who gave of their time to help tell Walters story, and those who allowed me to use their archive recordings in bringing Walters performances back to life.In our early conversations around my planned project Richard McCorrisken told me that Walter was not just his Dad but also his best friend. Having learned more about the man, I can fully understand why. Thank you Richard for trusting me to make this film."

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