The second annual Burns Night took place last week and saw a capacity crowd attend The Drum Labs in Shoreditch.
With the financial support of INVNT, the traditional Scottish celebration was hosted to raise funds for Brixton Finishing School in support of diversity in our industry. The audience was treated to an evening of food, drink, music, poetry as well as speeches to Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns.
The night started with whisky cocktails (Ai Fond Bliss – courtesy of Pernod Ricard) in the bar as the sound of the bagpipes, and the piping in of the haggis, signaled that it was time to be seated for dinner.
Former editor of the Sunday Mail, Noel Young, traveled from Glasgow to give the address to the haggis, while Claudia Stephenson of INVNT gave the Selkirk Grace – the signal to tuck into the soup, vegetarian haggis, and traditional Cranachan desert.
The Drum’s CEO Diane Young was the host for the evening. She was joined on stage by co-founder, Gordon Young, where they gave a rendition of Burns song Ae Fond Kiss and led the guests in a singalong of another Burns classic, Willie Stewart.
Graduate of the Brixton Finishing School and now creative and spoken word poet, Muskaan Nazran, recited one of her own poems, while Nick Jones of Seen and Unseen gave the Immortal Memory speech.
Dave Birss performed a barn-storming Toast to the Lassies – which was written in rhyme – followed by Mel Henson, creative director at Optimizon, who replied from the lassies, also in rhyme.
The evening finished with a performance from Thomas Binns, founder of The Guitar Social, who rocked the room with some modern Scottish bangers.
Diane Young commented: “It’s great fun for us to reflect our Scottish roots and combine an entertaining evening with the chance to support the work of Brixton Finishing School. I am so grateful to INVNT, further donor Mike Lander of Piscari, Pernod Ricard who donated the whisky, and everyone who bought tickets. Further thanks are due to a couple of unwitting supporters – We Are Social and Jen Faull, editor at The Drum – as a Christmas hamper from the former to the latter that did not reach its intended destination, was repurposed as a prize for a fundraising game on the night, contributing £1,400.”
Next year’s Burns Night will take place on January 25 at The Drum Labs.
Gordon Young, co-founder of The Drum, added: “The evening commemorated the birth of Scotland’s national bard 264 years ago. In homage, I asked the most contentious writer of our time, ChatGPT, to write a poem on the night’s highlights in the style of Tam O’Shanter:
“In the land o’ Shoreditch, a grand night was had,
The Drum Burns Night did raise, a fair sum o’ cash, so glad!
With the help of INVNT, a merry crowd did gather,
To celebrate Scotland’s bard, in traditional style, and together.
Whisky cocktails flowed, in the bar above the din,
And soon the pipes were heard, signalin’ dinner was to begin.
The haggis was piped in, with a toast from Noel Young,
And Claudia Stephenson did grace, the gathering with a song.
The soup and veggie haggis, did fill the hearts of all,
And dessert of Cranachan, left a sweet taste, before the fall.
Muskaan Nazran recited, her own poem with such grace,
And Diane Young and Gordon led the guests in Burns’ embrace.
Nick Jones and Dave Birss, spoke in rhyme, with wit so fine,
And Mel Henson replied, with a toast from the lassies, divine.
The night was finished off, with Thomas Binns on guitar,
Playin’ Scottish bangers, and all did sing, under the bar.
Thanks to INVNT and Pernod, and all who bought a ticket,
And to We Are Social and Jen, for their hamper, all did pick it.
Next year on January 25, The Drum Labs will host again,
The Burns Night celebration, with merriment, food, and gin.”
Originally featured on The Drum.