Interview with Kevin Williamson, Neu! Reekie!

Writer, poet & Creative Director of Neu! Reekie!   Twitter @neureekie  Website

Since the global economic crash of 2008 we’ve moved into an age defined by anxiety, tension and uncertainty. Art has to reflect this or it loses its relevance. This isn’t the 80s or 90s and art operates in a very different context now.
— Kevin Williamson
photo by Jannica Honey

photo by Jannica Honey

What 3 words would you say best describe you? (max 3 words please)

A free-range chameleon. 

Neu! Reekie! What does it mean? 

There are layers of meaning. The historical nickname for our home town of Edinburgh is Auld Reekie (which means old and smelly). Neu! is a hat-tip to the influence of the 70s German electronic outift of the same name. Reekie derives from a poet friend of mine, Paul Reekie, who died in June 2010. Neu! Reekie! was launched 7 months later.

What do you enjoy most about running Neu! Reekie!? 

We get to work with incredibly talented people and mix things up in unexpected ways.

Where would you say the Neu! Reekie! style of presenting literature came from?

In some ways there is continuity with events I produced when I was running Rebel Inc in the 90s. Each show is presented as segments but is conceptualised as a cohesive whole to take participants and audience on a 2-3 hour journey.

Tell us how you got into doing what you do

Being in the right place at the right time and having the suss to be aware of it. The rest is a combination of vision and blagging.

What's an important piece of insider knowledge you have as a creator, maker, performer?

You can get away with anything if you've got coherent ideas, the courage of your convictions, and a brass neck.

What creative masterpiece do you wish you had written?

Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. It's more than the sum of its pages. It was a weaponisation of working class culture and internationalised the legitimacy of the Scots language.

Tell us about an upcoming project that excites you

Our Where Are We Now festival in June - part of in Hull as UK City of Culture - is a coming together of artistic pioneers and trouble-makers. We're taking the pulse of the UK's counter-culture.   Twitter @neureekie  Website