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Bishop's Stortford College Festival of Literature: Ian McMillan's not short of wit

By Sam Gallagher

Poet Ian McMillan at Bishops Stortford College Festival of Literature
Poet Ian McMillan at Bishops Stortford College Festival of Literature

Bishop's Stortford College student Sam Gallagher was entertained for an hour by one of the funniest people he has ever met when poet Ian McMillan performed at the school's Festival of Literature on Monday evening. Here's his review..

Poet Ian McMillan at Bishops Stortford College Festival of Literature
Poet Ian McMillan at Bishops Stortford College Festival of Literature

Funny, witty, bonkers: All words that come to mind as I write this review of poet Ian McMillan’s performance.

When I first walked in, I expected someone a bit taller than the person I saw handing out postcards at the start. What he lacked in height, however, he made up for in sheer jolliness and humour.

After pointing out that he was pleased to see a “younger one” in the audience (me!), he discussed some of the funniest signs he had come across in village halls around the country. He continued in this fashion for almost 30 minutes and never seemed to pause for breath, nor let the audience either, for the laughter never ceased.

He then proceeded to tell hilarious anecdotes behind some of his poems, such as his Uncle Jack and his infamous rubber tarts.

With this humour, however, came a very important message for the younger generations. A strong advocate for language and poems, McMillan believes everyone can write poems, even if they think they cannot. It is this message that I believe is imperative for the younger generations, to expose their inherent creativity.

It is also with this message that I acknowledge the demographic of the audience. For a wonderfully witty man with such a powerful message, there were all of two people below 18. I implore younger people either to follow his message or find a way to see him – you will not be disappointed.

McMillan signs off with a question time, and was asked if he would ever write a novel. He replied: “No, I don’t have the intellectual capacity for that.” From what I saw from his performance in Bishop’s Stortford, I wholeheartedly disagree.

All in all, this was a brilliantly packed hour led by one of the funniest people I have ever met.


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