Read Raw Blog

Read Raw Blog

Mo's a Mill Girl

Welcome to the BlogPosted by Read Raw Sat, June 23, 2012 15:31:55

During the Weaving Musical Threads Festival this year, I was one of the Mill Girl Poets, along with Tracy Patrick, Gwen McKerrall, Kathryn Daly, Ann Scriven. We wrote and performed poetry before a full house at Paisley’s Thread Mill and our aim was to honour the girls who once worked in Paisley’s mills. The mills are gone now. Ferguslie Mill, a building once honoured for its very fine architecture was sadly left to rot and then it was demolished. Anchor Mill was converted into a block of flats. The thread mills functioned for over a hundred years, and acquired world-wide fame.

We only hoped that our poetry could emulate some of the incredible history of many of the ex-Mill Girls. It was a very humbling experience. The girls we met were great fun and many of their stories were hard won memories. I have put one of my poems, A Streak of Gallus, up on the Rolling Poetry page, which only gives a small idea of the Mill Girls’ sense of fun.

Spring is sprung

Welcome to the BlogPosted by Read Raw Wed, March 28, 2012 12:23:50
The start of spring and the Blog comes back to life. The gap was not due to Winter hibernation. Wullie has been busy writing, performing, singing(in shower and in public) and being classic car nurse, Ian writing, performing and workshops, Mo writing, performing and doing her Mlitt studies, George writing, performing, setting up a couple of websites(actually this is a lie for Wullie did the work on these), and some success on the writing front as he won the Scottish Writers’ Centre 2012 Open Poetry Competition. All four were involved in events for the Weaving Musical Threads arts weekend in Renfrewshire. We will be involved in the 2012 Renfrewshire Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival. This is in October so there is a bit of time to go but the initial planning will include some open mic so hopefully we will get to meet some of you then if not before. As the saying goes …watch this space.

Poet Laureate and Published

Welcome to the BlogPosted by Read Raw Fri, December 23, 2011 22:40:01

The Scotia Bar Poet Laureate competition has came and went. Wullie, Ian and GW made it through the heats and into the final. Ian is now somewhat richer having come second. John Savage was the man on the night and is now the Scotia Bar Poet Laureate

Mo, despite being up to her neck with her MLit course is progressing with her novel.

Sebastian Symes and the Case of the Hungarian Foot by GW has been published as an ebook by Mx Publishing is available now on Kindle UK -

Wishing everyone a very happy Chrismas and all the best for 2012.


Welcome to the BlogPosted by Read Raw Sun, December 11, 2011 13:23:19

We have let the blog slip as there have been all those pressures of life and writing that beset us all. However time for some catch up. Book shop has gone victim of the High Street doldrums. Mo has started the Mlit at Glasgow Uni. Ian has just brought out the second edition of Unspoken Water. All four of us have been taking part in the Poetry Competition at the Scotia Bar in Glasgow.

We have finalised an anthology of the Poetry from the work we did with Renfrewshire Council in 2010 celebrating the work of Robert Tannahill and hope to have this launched early next year.

Things what we have been doing included taking part in the SMHAFF doing workshops and performances during the festival week. Ian and Wullie were invited performers at the West End Wurdz at the Ashtree Hotel in Paisley, Ian reading a selection of his poetry and Wullie in a change of tack sang some songs.

Personally I am on a bit of a high for I have an ebook coming out. It is being published, if that is the right term for an ebook, by Mx Publishing, Hopefully it will be out soon and I will of course plug on the site so watch for Sebastian Symes in The Case of the Hungarian Foot ( especially any Sherlock Holmes fans )


Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival

Welcome to the BlogPosted by Read Raw Wed, October 05, 2011 12:39:07

The Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival is on during October and Renfrewshire is staging many events as part of it. The opening event was on Saturday in County Square in Paisley. Despite the rain the enthusiasm of performers and audience shone through. Read Raw are taking part and we are reading at The Bankhouse, Gilmour Street, Paisley on 6th October between 8.00 and 9.00 followed by a band. Also we will be at the Paisley Museum on 19th October, 12.30 to 1.30. If you can come along we will be delighted to see you.

Details of the festival can be found on or download the Renfrewshire programme from

GW went to London, not to see the Queen

Welcome to the BlogPosted by Read Raw Wed, September 14, 2011 21:05:05

Sometimes it is good to be crazy. I submitted a flash fiction entry to the ‘Fishy Tales’ competition for the Thames River Festival. It was selected for display on Southwark Bridge and I was invited to read it on the bridge on Saturday.

I have long had an ambition to take the sleeper to London and this was the opportunity. So Friday night I caught the sleeper to London. Good journey down and on Saturday morning walked along the Thames to Borough Market close to Southwark Cathedral. Great to wander through the market and then sit for a full breakfast under the walls of the Cathedral. Spent the rest of the morning in Tate Modern and then on to Southwark Bridge. Read at various times between 1.00 and 3.30 and in addition to my own story read extracts from Moby Dick then walked to the Tower before back to Euston and the train home. Such a good time I may do the trip again.


GW let out by himself

Welcome to the BlogPosted by Read Raw Fri, August 26, 2011 22:18:14

Trying to recover from the Edinburgh trip yesterday. Decided to catch up on the new look National Museum of Scotland. I am definitely out of touch. Building is beautiful but the exhibits left me cold other than the model ships. Too much space. Too much big writing. Motor bikes half way up a wall. Auto gyro hung vertically. Why can you not go and loose yourself in an atmosphere anymore? Everything has to be an ’experience’ and boy are we told what to experience.

Better was the hour I wandered in Grey Friar’s grave-yard now that was worthwhile. Probably because there was no big sign saying ’This is a grave yard’

Earlier I went to the Scottish Poetry Library afternoon reading at the courtyard steps. I had not intended to read but could not resist. It was a small crowd but good fun.

Evening event was the Gutter Magazine poetry reading in the Fruit Market Gallery. Very enjoyable. Jim Ferguson, Jim Carruth and Graham Fulton were the reason I decided to go and they exceeded my expectations. What with the chat, some libations, I missed last train home from Glasgow so bread and water for a few days to pay off the taxi.


Raindrops and Pittenweem

Welcome to the BlogPosted by Read Raw Sun, August 14, 2011 13:19:38

Well, Read Raw set off for the Pittenweem Arts Festival in sunshine and good spirits. Ian and family were staying in a house and the rest of us spread between a camper van and tent in St Monans.We arrived early in the afternoon at the campsite in the shadow of the ruins of Newark Castle with stunning views across the Forth. After a happy day of wandering about we returned suitably fed and refreshed to the campsite and settled into our various abodes, Ian and family retiring to cosy beds in a nice wee house.

About 1 am the rains came with a vengeance. In the morning the campsite was waterlogged, Mo was floating on an airbed in her tent and the rain kept going sideways. Discovered GW had lost his phone and after a search decided it had been lost while returning the previous evening. The fruitless search, which included wandering around a waterlogged graveyard, resulted in getting soaked. This was recurring feature of the rest of the day. Headed into Pittenweem and after a wander round some of the galleries went to collect our tickets for the events we had booked only to discover the the Poetry Cafe on the Thursday night had been cancelled due to the performers being unable to get there due to the weather.

Wandered around a bit more, resoaking the bits of us that had dried out, had a delicious fish supper, a couple of beers and went to see the Khartoum Heroes & the Fence Collective with King Creosote.A brilliant event with excellent supporting acts. As the rain was still going sideways and a serious lack of dry socks etc was manifesting itself it was decided to make a strategic withdrawal and return home the next morning. As Mo's tent was now doing an impression of an indoor swimming pool Ian and family tok pity on her and let her stay with them while GW and I returned to the campsite for another noisy night of beating rain and the wind howling round the ruined castle.

Next morning we collected Mo and made a discreet, if soggy withdrawal.

All in all, despite the rain, it was a great couple of days and no doubt we will return next year while making offerings to the rain gods to go somewhere else.

Our next outing is to the Callander Poetry Weekend where all the Read Raw crowd have slots on the Friday programme. More details here:-

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