BILLY Stark has long been one of Selkirk’s best-loved poets and story-tellers and so it will be no surprise if his new DVD, featuring poems and songs from the Borders, flies off the shelves when it is officially released at the beginning of December.
The official launch of the DVD, entitled Stark Choices, will be on Saturday, December 3, at the Scott’s Selkirk Concert in the town’s Victoria Halls.
Billy told us: “We are lucky to have such a rich repertoire of poems about the Borders and I hope people will enjoy hearing the verses and songs selected for this DVD. Reciting poetry is something I’ve always liked doing, and hopefully it helps ensure this part of our heritage is not forgotten.”
Of the 13 poems featured on the DVD, three have been written by Billy – Yarrow Vale, The Floo’er O’ Freendship and It’s the Flags – and three of the DVD’s four songs have also been penned by the talented octogenarian. These are Selkirk Evermore, The Borders for Me and A Sang o’ Selkirk.
Works by the “tramp poet” Roger Quin and Scottish essayist J. B. Selkirk are also included, as is an adapted poem by Hawick raconteur Ian Landles, entitled Doon Oor Close and Up Oor Stairs, which reflects on life in the “auld grey toon” in bygone days.
A keen angler, Billy also recites two fishing poems: the ever-popular Doo’s Delicht, and the less well known Dave’s Dream, composed by Selkirk exile “Honolulu Bob” Anderson.
The world of sport is represented by Auld Reekie’s Lament, a poem inspired by international footballer Bobby Johnstone’s move from Hibs to Manchester City, while The Rhyme o’ the Rugger Men, by Alex Stewart, commemorates the exploits of Selkirk’s rugby players of the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Four local singers make an appearance on the DVD – Hilary Bell, Mark Hislop, Tommy Knox and Alan Pearce. Additional material includes footage of the 2011 Selkirk Common Riding celebrations. All 13 of Billy’s recitations were filmed at locations in and around the Selkirk area.
Proceeds from the DVD, produced by local company Lindean Lore, are to be shared between Scott’s Selkirk and the Borders Cancer Centre.
Copies of Stark Choices (priced £10) can be bought at the Scott’s Selkirk Concert on December 3, or can be pre-ordered at the Scott’s Selkirk shop in the town’s Market Place.