Love & Aid ceilidh

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Love & Aid is an organisation I am involved with which seeks to remove distance from world events, encouraging people to see disasters in remote parts of the world as local, directly affecting the families and friends of those we live with, work with, study with or know. The goal is that we would see events that happen in Damascus as if they were happening in Glasgow and that this would elicit a local response.

For the last few years we have been organising fundraising events for Syria, including quite possibly, the greatest ceilidhs on the planet. This one is set to be the biggest and best yet. Previous events have allowed us to raise thousands of pounds for the Disasters Emergency Committee (an umbrella organisation for big UK charities like Oxfam, Tearfund and Save the Children) appeal for Syria. Come along on November 14th to St Silas church at 7:30pm and be part of the story!

For me the enthusiasm of the band, the venue and the volunteers in supporting this endeavour has been inspirational. Previous events have had up to £1000 of the money raised matched by Barclays. This time around we’re asking ordinary people if they would like to match say £50 or £100 or whatever they can afford as part of a community response to what is happening in Syria. If you would be interested in helping out please drop me a line.

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10p Mix


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Well, this happened. This being the launch of Glasgow’s newest arts journal from Northern Renewal. The first issue is entitled 10p mix and is on sale at selected venues around Glasgow, including the Project Cafe, and online via etsy. It contains some delightful contributions from artists and writers, including an excellent love story called Deek by someone called David Forrest. One to watch I think. On a serious note, one thing that runs through the magazine is a sense of voice. From Stephen Watt’s Orange Carbon Junkies to Mark McG’s Foodie Forcefield, there is a strong quality of writing tempered with a satire that doesn’t allow the reader to take themselves too seriously. It’s a bit Scottish that way.

The launch night was held at the aforementioned Project Cafe and it was my first ever visit. The venue was bright and colourful and the crowd pretty friendly despite being limited to standing room only after the first few minutes. Amy and Katie did a great job of hosting the night. One could easily tell this was a labour of love for them, there was a spiritual energy to the event. This was creativity, the highest form of expression, their heart for Scotland and the arts. It was a privilege to be invited to take part.

I brought a few pals from work who had never been to such an event before. Glasgow’s grass roots writing scene seems to have grown exponentially over the last few years. It feels as though you are participating in something that has a purpose, direction and narrative, that is finding new ways to share itself. That seems to be close to the heart of Northern Renewal, and I encourage you to check them out on facebook.

And if you do drop by the Project Cafe pick up a copy of 10p mix from their inhouse bookshop. Whilst you’re there, why not also pick up a copy of Gutter 10 – released a little earlier in the year, I hear it also features some writing by that remarkable David Forrest fellow I mentioned earlier.

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Faith/Unbelief Poetry Competition

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On Saturday the 28th I will be performing at the Faith/Unbelief poetry competition which is being run in Hillhead Baptist at 3pm as part of the West End festival. Faith/Unbelief is a project run by Jim Ewing which encourages people of all faiths and none to share and discuss poetry with a spiritual theme, whether from a perspective of faith or unbelief.

I think this is the first ever Faith/Unbelief competition so I’m not quite sure what to expect but I am looking forward to it. I quite often make it along to the regular monthly Faith/Unbelief open mic events which, as well as providing an informal and inclusive environment for people to share, also allows for some friendly discussion around issues raised by a poet’s work. If you’re interested in sharing your own poetry or would just like to come along and see what its all about, come along on Saturday.

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Last Monday at Rio

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I’ll be standing in for Robin Cairns as the host at June’s Last Monday at Rio – a regular spoken word event which takes place on the last Monday of each month at the Rio Cafe (27 Hyndland Street). The event kicks off with an open mic session featuring poetry, very short story, comedy or even occasionally song. Newcomers are welcome and it’s a really friendly and encouraging atmosphere. So 8pm, 23rd June at Cafe Rio!

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