THERE are many Spam Valleys across Scotland, the poet Kevin P Gilday has discovered.

These are usually newly built estates where working-class people have bought a house in order to “move up” in the world but only have enough money after paying the mortgage to buy Spam for tea.

“It’s a very Scottish kind of insult,” said Gilday, who was brought up in Glasgow’s East End.

His show, Spam Valley, is based on his own experience of growing up in a working-class home but he found out that the tag resonated with many of his audiences who all thought he was referring to their neck of the woods.

“Everyone thinks that theirs is THE Spam Valley so it seems to be a thing all over Scotland,” he said.

Gilday has just finished a near sell-out tour of the show and is next month taking up a residency in a former bank in the shopping centre in Springburn where he now lives.

This is part of a pop-up arts hub which will also see comedian Karen Dunbar introduce Karen Dunbar’s School of Rap, a new BBC Scotland documentary about her unique musical mission to help a group of five elderly women from North Glasgow unearth their inner rap star.

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It will be one of the live performances that will be staged at the hub in April, starring a host of Scottish artists as part of the National Theatre of Scotland’s Neighbourhood Project. Visitors will also be able to order a bespoke poem from Gilday about any subject and collect it 30 minutes later.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what mad things people ask for,” said Gilday.

He stressed that while he wants residents of Springburn to experience the events in the former bank building, he is also keen for people living outwith the area to come along and explore it.

“As a Springburn resident, I want to have a space to connect with the amazing community I see around me in our vibrant neighbourhood but I also want to invite the world to us – to open up the doors to a part of the city that has been cut off and neglected for so long,” he said.

“This is an invitation to join us, to create with us, to discover the rich history of one of Glasgow’s most important areas and there is a diverse and exciting programme that wouldn’t be out of place in an esteemed city centre venue.”

For Gilday, it is a chance to introduce the power of poetry to people who might otherwise not encounter it.

“I wish I knew when I was younger that this was something I was allowed to do,” he said. “I didn’t know you could choose to do this because I had never met anyone that worked in the arts and never met anybody that made a living from it.”

Instead of writing poetry, he began writing lyrics and singing with bands that invariably split up. Then he went to a poetry night one night and was blown away by it.

"I thought it was great because basically you get to read your lyrics out loud but you don’t have to bother about anybody else and you don’t have to carry anybody’s base drums up a big set of stairs,” said Gilday.

“Right away I realised there was a performance side to it that could be really exciting.

“The minute I realised that I thought it was for me and it turned out that all those years of writing lyrics for bad bands I had actually been training myself to be alright at poetry.”

Before long, Gilday began to be noticed, with gigs and tours quickly following.

“I think my style was unique,” he said. “I stood out because I was talking about a load of contemporary issues that maybe did not come up in most poetry – stuff that people my age could relate to.

“I talk a lot about class and masculinity and the way people expect you to act, dress and talk. People really connect to the idea of having a working-class upbringing but not feeling comfortable with working-class culture.

“Loads of people said they had struggled to articulate it and suddenly there was a show where someone is talking about it really openly.

“I found it has really resonated with people because that is their life.

“People think working-class culture is monolithic – that there is a massive block of people who are all the same but of course, they are not. That’s impossible but when people don’t fit into it they feel they are doing something wrong.

“I also talk about how it feels to be in situations outside your own class and how you maybe change your voice to fit in with places.”

Gilday’s life has now come full circle as he has ended up writing lyrics and singing songs in what he describes as a “wee musical project” called Kevin P Gilday and the Glasgow Cross, which has already produced two albums with another due this year.

At the moment, however, he is looking forward to his Bank of Springburn residency.

“I want people to come and visit Springburn, see what I am up to and have a look around,” said Gilday.

“We’ve got a brilliant programme and it is going to be amazing.”

This voice is a currency
A value attached to a global economy
My stock rising and falling by destination
Its nuances dissected for a weakness 
That is easy to find
The history between the syllables
This voice heralds monsters from lochs
And parts pounds from Americans
With the implicit understanding
That this is an authentic experience
Ye olde facsimile
Nessie in sheep’s clothing
This voice got my head kicked in at school
Too working class to be middle class
Too middle class to be working class
So, in retaliation
I swallowed a dictionary
Started coughing up words my classmates found hysterical
Hoping one day they’d reach ears attuned to their power
This voice is a cultural commodity
A verbal conversation piece:
In Spain it is an invitation, 
A honey trap for horny middle aged women
In England, a 3am threat
In Edinburgh, an unintelligible weegie alarm
In North America, a link to the past
In Catalunya, a broken promise
This voice caused me to say the word chips
Five times in a London pub
With a different intonation
On each occasion
There’s only so many ways to say the word chips
Before you point to the menu
In exhaustion
‘Aw, chips mate’
This voice is the embodiment of the Scottish Cringe
Change the channel if you hear
Your rare timbre reflected back
What a beamer, what a riddy
The embarrassment of a brogue
Pushed to the margins
Reduced to a punchline
An oppressed sound
Struggling to be heard
So demoralised
That it imitates hate
This voice is an international invitation
To imitation
A cordial proposition
For your best Sean Connery
It’s a fetish that makes your grannie swoon
Every time I say the word
Switching between modes of communication
With consummate ease
Finding just the right frequency
For each situation
Just how Scottish would you like me today?
This voice made Brigadoon appear from the mist
This voice willed Shrek to emerge from the swamp
This voice mopped the hallways of Springfield academy
This voice was responsible for the film Highlander
This voice burned the tits off Mrs Doubtfire
This voice beamed up Scotty
This voice ate a baby
This voice filters the fragments of my being
Shapes them into a guttural noise
That expresses my need
To be treated as more
Than the sum of my vocal chords
This voice is Scotland incarnate
To be met with derision from my own
This voice can’t seem to stay quiet
Even when no-one is listening
Kevin P Gilday