Balloch Open Mic: Something from the Archives

balloch house hotel

Balloch Open Mic Blog, November, 2020

Trawling through some past writings I came across the following. Thought it might be of interest to those new to the Open Mic or thinking of paying a visit if/when. (Mary Irvine)

Thanks are due to those who came at the beginning and continued to support the event on a regular basis.

Open Mic Hits the Sticks

room-open-mic-alexandria-balloch room

It was quite exciting.  Ann Mackinnon, Catriona Malan and my good self were eating in the newly furbished function room of the Balloch House Hotel, 5th February, 2018. Apprehension accompanied what was an excellent dining experience. One hour to go – would anybody turn up? George will definitely be here. I know most of the Leven Litts said they were coming. Some of the Dalmuir lot said they’d be along… I emailed all the usual suspects plus a few more on the off-chance.

The meal was over, the fire blazed in the function room. The setting was perfect but the list marked with five minute slots lay pristine on the table.  The door opened. ‘They’re in here.’  They hadn’t let us down.  Eighteen people had come to declaim. For the next two hours we were regaled with all genres/styles of writing on different subjects and topics. Some made us laugh, some made us cry. Others provoked private thoughts and open discussion.

Rolf Campbell – Top of the Bill

rolf campbell

‘Top of the bill’ was poet Rolf Campbell who displayed the breadth of his artistry. Fun poems, risqué poems, serious poems and my personal favourite, the poignant ‘Falling’ which evoked the cruelty of the island and the harshness of life that once existed on St Kilda.
(Sadly Rolf died in 2019)

Second Balloch Open Mic


 One month later there was some concern. Would the second event be as successful as the first? There had been five days of heavy snow, public transport was intermittent (if running at all), cars were still being dug out. But – they came, twenty two braving the elements. One drove in from Cumbernauld, one from Glasgow; a car load came from Dumbarton, others took the train from Dumbarton and one came from Cardross by train – no mean journey at any time! The more local walked or shared taxis. Such dedication I salute!!

Again the readings were varied but the high standard achieved in the first meeting was sustained. A great atmosphere with people staying on to chat/discuss and peruse, even buy, the booklets/pamphlets on display. We were ‘off’.

Mary Irvine, November, 2020.

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This section: Blog: Balloch Open Mic, Books, Talks, Poetry and Creative Writing Events

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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