You don’t have to be a Proclaimer and walk 500 miles … we’re only asking for 48!

Are you up for the challenge during your daily exercise?

The team at Renfrewshire Leisure are challenging you and your household to walk 48 miles in four weeks throughout the month of June.

(Why 48 miles? Because that’s the total distance of the boundary of Renfrewshire…walk that far, and you can say you’ve walked the whole of Renfrewshire!)

Walking is great activity, whether you are young or older, and it’s good for both mental and physical health.

Whilst practising social distancing at all times, we challenge you to walk as far as you can – may it be around your garden if you are currently shielding, or around your local area where government guidelines allow.

This is not a competition or a race – it’s a personal challenge!

 

Click on this link to sign up and take part:

Renfrewshire Leisure Walking Challenge

Get ready for a bumper weekend of activities across Renfrewshire.

The first-ever Paisley Book Festival comes to a close on Saturday, so make sure you don’t miss some of the fantastic events taking place before the big finale.

Plus, with sports, family fun and adventure trails (weather permitting) there’s so much for everyone to enjoy over the next few days.

Take a look at what’s on with our handy guide – and make sure to keep a regular eye on the Paisley.is website for all the goings-on across Renfrewshire.

 

Glasgow Clan v Manchester Storm – Braehead Arena – Friday – 7:30pm

Glasgow Clan take on Manchester Storm at Braehead Arena tonight in one of the biggest games of the ice hockey season so far. The race for the EIHL playoffs is hotting up with four teams battling to make the final eight – and there’s only five points between Manchester in 7th and the Fife Flyers in 10th. Don’t miss this 7:30pm face-off. Tickets are available at the link below:

https://clanihc.com/tickets/game-day-tickets/

 

Alan Bissett presents…Chris McQueer – Callum’s Cavern – Friday – 9pm

Chris McQueer has become a sensation in Scottish literature, earning a reputation on the back of Hings – his debut book, now a BBC Scotland series – as the most surreal, funny and authentic of new voices. Given the success of its follow-up HWFG, catch him before he goes supernova. Catch him at Callum’s Cavern in Paisley tonight – ticket link below:

https://renfrewshireboxoffice.ticketsolve.com/shows/1173599492

 

Paisley Book Walk with Jules Verne – Paisley Abbey – Various times

Travel through time with intrepid explorer Jules Verne and discover Paisley’s secret past. Explore the very start of the written word, all the way through to a mysterious, ghost-filled graveyard. This immersive experience will surprise and delight all ages. After booking via the link below, you will receive instructions and a tour map via email.

https://renfrewshireboxoffice.ticketsolve.com/shows/1173599499

 

Spring Scavenger Hunt – RSPB Lochwinnoch – Sunday – 10am – 4pm

If the weather looks good on Sunday, why not head out and enjoy the stunning sights at RSPB Lochwinnoch – but with a difference! This weekend you can explore the reserve’s woodland trail and see how many items you can find on a fascinating scavenger hunt. Perfect for families, you can do it at your own pace and in your own time. Just pop into the visitor centre any time and the friendly staff will get you started.

https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/events-dates-and-inspiration/events/details.aspx?id=tcm:9-475657

The first-ever Paisley Book Festival got underway this week for 10 days of fantastic events for all ages to enjoy.

The colourful and diverse programme will see acclaimed authors from across the UK take part in panel discussions, storytelling, workshops, masterclasses, live performances and much more.

In this special What’s On guide, we take a closer look at some of the great events taking place during the first weekend of the Festival.

Plus, you can see the full line-up here.

 

They Felt the Fear and Did it Anyway – POP at Piazza – Saturday – 11am

One for the kids! Squeaker the wood mouse doesn’t let the overbearing grouse change him into someone he’s not. Cameron the capercaillie can’t dance but he learns to feel the fear and do it anyway. And Rosie the Crime Squirrel Investigator is determined to discover who ate her nuts. Join author and CBeebies screenwriter Emily Dodd for songs, stories, science and a water squirting squirrel. Book places at the link below.

https://renfrewshireboxoffice.ticketsolve.com/shows/1173599478

 

Janice Galloway: Transfiguring the Commonplace – Paisley Arts Centre – Saturday – 7pm

Since the publication of her debut novel The Trick Is To Keep Breathing thirty years ago, Janice Galloway’s lyrical, radical voice has cut through Scottish culture. She talks to Kirstin Innes about her life, work, and anything else that takes her fancy. Tickets available at the link below.

https://renfrewshireboxoffice.ticketsolve.com/shows/1173599071

 

 

Showcase Sunday – Paisley Central Library – Sunday – 10am – 4pm

Pop into Paisley Central Library, where a whole day of fun family activities will be taking place, challenging your preconceptions of what goes into a library. Don’t miss Dip into Digital workshops, Virtual Reality sessions, Bookbug songs and rhymes, and crafts and storytelling abound. This is a free, drop in event.

https://renfrewshireboxoffice.ticketsolve.com/shows/1173599482

 

Nikesh Shukla – Paisley Arts Centre – Sunday – 7pm

Nikesh Shukla is the author of books including Meatspace, Run, Riot and The Boxer, as well as editor of the critically acclaimed essay collection The Good Immigrant. Join Nikesh in conversation with Lisa Williams, of the Edinburgh Caribbean Association and the BAME Scottish Writers Network, some of whom will also be performing in this event. Tickets available at the link below.

https://renfrewshireboxoffice.ticketsolve.com/shows/1173599074

The first-ever Paisley Book Festival begins this week with 10 days of fantastic events and activities for all ages.

Based around the central theme of Radical Voices and Rebel Stories, the Festival will take inspiration from the 200th anniversary of the Paisley Radicals and explore how we can honour their challenging ideas and vibrant energy.

The colourful and diverse programme will see acclaimed writers from across the UK taking part in discussion panels, masterclasses, workshops, storytelling, performances and much more.

You’ll be spoiled for choice with the range of events taking place over the 10 days – but we’ve picked out five that you definitely won’t want to miss.

 

 

Nikesh Shukla

Image of Nikesh Shukla, who will be at Paisley Book Festival

Sun 23 Feb

7pm-8.30pm

Paisley Arts Centre

£10/£6

Buy your tickets now

The author of books including Meatspace, Run, Riot and The Boxer, as well as editor of the critically acclaimed essay collection The Good Immigrant. Join Nikesh in conversation with Jay G Ying, co-founder of the BAME Scottish Writers Network, some of whom will also be performing in this event.

 

 

The Fountain’s Evening of Rebel Poetry

Image of Hollie McNish, who will be performing at The Fountain's Evening at Paisley Book Festival

Thurs 27 Feb

7pm-8.30pm

Paisley Arts Centre

£12/£8

Buy your tickets now

The Fountain introduces some of the UK’s finest poetry, including Michael Pedersen reading from his recent collection Oyster, plus new works; Sarah Stewart with her publication Glisk; and Hollie McNish, who shares openly from her latest work, not for the faint-hearted. Wash it all down with a refreshing G&T from Isle of Harris Distillery.

 

 

Alan Bissett presents…Chris McQueer

Fri 28 Feb

9pm-10pm

Calum’s Cavern

£10/£6

Buy your tickets now

Chris McQueer has become a sensation in Scottish literature, earning a reputation on the back of Hings – his debut book, now a BBC Scotland series – as the most surreal, funny and authentic of new voices. Given the success of its follow-up HWFG, catch him before he goes supernova.

 

 

Paisley Book Walk with Jules Verne

Paisley Arts Centre

Sat 29 Feb

10am-11am, 12pm-1pm, 4pm-5pm, 6pm-7pm

Meet outside Paisley Abbey

£10/£8 (under 12s go FREE)

Buy your tickets now

Travel through time with intrepid explorer Jules Verne and discover Paisley’s secret past. Explore the very start of the written word, all the way through to a mysterious, ghost-filled graveyard. This immersive experience will surprise and delight all ages. After booking, you will receive instructions and a tour map via email.

 

 

Alan Bissett presents…Kevin P. Gilday, Magi Gibson & Imogen Stirling

Image of Magi Gibson, who will be at the Paisley Book Festival

Sat 29 Feb

4.30pm-5.30pm

Bull Inn

£10/£6

Buy your tickets now

Catch three of Scotland’s brightest poetic talents! Kevin P. Gilday is one half of duo Sonnet Youth and acclaimed in his own right. Magi Gibson has been a mainstay of the scene for nearly thirty years and continues to inspire. They’re joined by award-winning slam champ Imogen Stirling in a unusual, intimate event.

See the full line-up

Check out more fantastic events in Paisley

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Join us for this week’s What’s On guide with lots of fantastic options, whether you’re looking to make some last-minute plans with your other half or spend some time with friends and family.

Scroll down to see just some of the exciting things to do across Renfrewshire over the next few days.

 

Public skating at intu Braehead – Now until 1 April

Still looking for something romantic to do this Valentine’s Day? After treating your partner at the shopping centre, why not hold hands and enjoy some romantic ice skating at intu Braehead’s fantastic ice rink. Skating sessions are available throughout the day and they’re suitable for skaters of all abilities. Plus, they’re also perfect for families and friends looking for a fun day out or a break from the shops. Click the link below to find out more.

https://www.braehead-arena.co.uk/shop/public-skating/

 

 

Glasgow Clan v Guildford Fire – intu Braehead Arena – Saturday – 7pm

If you fancy adding some spice to your Valentine’s weekend, then enjoy some red-hot ice hockey action with the Glasgow Clan. It’s a huge game in the race for the playoffs as Clan welcome Guildford Flames to Braehead Arena on Saturday. Clan games are famous for their electric atmosphere – and you can be part of the singing, chanting, drumming and flag waving at the 7pm face-off. Click the link below for ticket availability.

https://clanihc.com/tickets/game-day-tickets/

 

 

Tannahill Weavers – Paisley Arts Centre – Saturday – 7:30pm

Taking their name from Paisley’s historic weaving industry and local poet, Robert Tannahill, this is traditional Celtic music at its best! With fire-driven instrumentals, topical songs, haunting ballads and a good dose of humour, the variety and range of the material they perform is matched only by their enthusiasm and lively Celtic spirits. This is one concert not to be missed at Paisley Arts Centre!

https://www.renfrewshireleisure.com/the-tannahill-weavers-2020/

 

 

Sunday Continental – Paisley Arts Centre – Sunday – 11am

There’s nothing better than a laid back, easy Sunday morning – and Sunday Continental at Paisley Arts Centre provides just that! Head along to the cafe area to enjoy live music, great chat and some tasty refreshments. This month, you’ll be treated to music from the fantastic Okapi Duo, who will be performing a mix of flute/classical guitar. Find out more below.

https://www.renfrewshireleisure.com/sunday-continental/

Valentine’s Day is upon us and the less-prepared amongst us will be scrambling around trying to find a gift for our better halves.

With restaurant tables and special Valentine’s themed events likely to be fully booked, the task of planning something special is now almost impossible, isn’t it?

Well, not exactly. There are a range of quirky places to visit, gifts to buy and romantic things to do in Paisley and Renfrewshire to make your Valentine’s Day a success.

So, don’t panic – just scroll down and see some helpful last-minute Valentine’s Day ideas that’ll have you covered.

 

Grab the perfect gift

Valentine's Day

If you’re still looking to buy a special gift for your partner, then look no further than Renfrewshire. The area is home to a number of fantastic boutique shops where you can grab unique keepsakes, including the InCube Shop, which is home to beautiful jewellery, accessories, prints, fashion, hats and even bridal accessories, and The White Cart Co, whose motto is “gifting a little bit of love”.

Find out more about some of these stores here.

 

A spa day treat?

Pampering essentials in a spa with a young woman in the background

What better way to treat your loved one than with the pure indulgence of a spa day? Get away from the daily grind and enjoy some rest and recuperation as one of these fantastic places to choose from in Renfrewshire. Plus, if they’re fully booked on Valentine’s Day, why not plan for another date or even buy some vouchers to enjoy a five-star luxury spa experience?

See the range of spas and offers here.

 

Soar at intu Braehead

Enjoy date night with a range of activities at Soar at intu Braehead. From a romantic evening of ice skating to dinner and a film, there’s lots for you both to enjoy. Plus, if you fancy a more adventurous Valentine’s Day, then why not try out some indoor climbing or take to the slopes for some skiing at Snow Factor?

Take a closer look here.

 

Adventure seeking at The Experience

Go karting at The Experience

Another one for the adventure seekers – race along to The Experience in Hillington. Whizz around the fantastic indoor electric karting track, challenge each other to a laser tag duel and enjoy a tasty treat at the Refuel Café restaurant – winner of VisitScotland’s Taste Our Best award.

Find out more here.

Paisley has an understated beauty. Paisley is the confident, attractive character in the room that doesn’t need to shout about it but still lets you know it’s there. Paisley is a great walking town and you are always likely to discover something new in the streets whether you are exploring for five minutes or five hours.

Gary Chittick
Photographer

Celebrate the school half term break in style with an action-packed weekend of activities across Renfrewshire.

From half term fun days, amazing sports and events to spectacular stage shows, there’s plenty for everyone to enjoy over the next few days.

 

Glasgow Clan v Manchester Storm – intu Braehead Arena – Saturday – 7pm

Get ready to ‘Rave the Rink’ this Saturday as Glasgow Clan welcome the Manchester Storm to Braehead Arena. If you haven’t experienced it, the electric atmosphere of Clan’s home games makes for a thrilling occasion. Plus, tickets are still available for the chance to be part of the singing, chanting, drumming and flag waving in the famous Section N. Check the ticket link below for availability.

https://clanihc.com/tickets/game-day-tickets/

 

February half term fun – Soar at intu Braehead – Saturday 8 – Tuesday 11 February

If you’re heading to the ice hockey, make sure to stop by Soar at intu Braehead for lots of free family fun this February half term. Enjoy science-inspired activities and demonstrations from 12noon – 5pm on Saturday 8 – Tuesday 11 February. Kids and adults can learn all about the science which goes on around us with experiments, including cloud, lava lamp and hot air balloon making. Find out more at the link below.

https://intu.co.uk/braehead/events/february-half-term-fun

 

Fault Lines – Paisley Arts Centre – Saturday – 7.30pm

Experience a fashion show like no other! Navigate your own path through a performance featuring five strong women from different walks of life. Using your mobile and headphones, choose between music and stories, offering contrasting positions on the parade of costumes and identities on stage. Curate your own journey through a runway show of people like you, with a soundtrack selected by you. Click the link below for ticket availability.

https://www.renfrewshireleisure.com/fault-lines/

 

Guided Wildlife Walk – RSPB Lochwinnoch – Sunday 9 February –

Learn all about the amazing animals that live in the local area with a fascinating Guided Wildlife Walk at RSPB Lochwinnoch. The experienced guides will take you on a stroll around the nature reserve, sharing their knowledge and pointing out the interesting wildlife to be found. Aimed at all levels of experience, this two-hour stroll focuses on seasonal highlights and is designed to help take your nature knowledge to the next level.

https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/events-dates-and-inspiration/events/details.aspx?id=tcm:9-475651

February is almost upon us… and so is the weekend!

Join us for this week’s guide to some of the best events and things to do in Renfrewshire over the coming days.

 

The Absolute Jam – The Bungalow – Friday 31 January – 8pm

Don’t miss Scotland’s tribute to The Jam at The Bungalow this Friday. The Absolute Jam take pride in capturing the raw energy and sound of The Jam’s early punk roots, whilst delving deep into the band’s stellar back catalogue. You’ll hear everything from Going Underground and Town Called Malice to That’s Entertainment and much more. Perfect for the avid Jam fan and those only familiar with the hits. Click the link below for ticket availability.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-absolute-jam-in-paisley-tickets-76775943915

 

Love bugs (& other wildlife) – RSPB Lochwinnoch – Saturday 1 – Saturday 29 February

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, love is in the air! On RSPB Lochwinnoch’s love bugs woodland trail you can see stunning scenery and learn more about how different types of animals try to attract a mate. Collect the ‘love letters’ along the way before un-jumbling them at the end to find a creature that the RSPB love. This fascinating trail can be done in your own time, with friends and family. Just stop by the visitor centre from 10am until 4pm and the friendly staff will get you started on the trail. Find out more at the link below.

https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/events-dates-and-inspiration/events/details.aspx?id=tcm:9-475926

 

Glasgow Clan v Dundee Stars – Braehead Arena – Saturday 1 February – 7:00pm

Glasgow Clan face off against another Scottish rival in Elite League Ice Hockey action. This weekend sees Clan welcome Dundee Stars – and the home side will be looking to secure a victory following a 3-2 loss in the last league encounter at Braehead Arena in November. Fancy heading along to cheer on the Clan? Click the ticket link below.

https://www.clanihc.com/tickets/game-day-tickets/

 

Don’t miss… Fun facts you didn’t know about Paisley…

You’ve tested your knowledge on all things Renfrewshire with our quiz (click here if you missed it) – and now you can find out some things that you possibly, didn’t know about Scotland’s largest town. You might be familiar with the town’s famous names, such as Paolo Nutini, Gerrard Butler, David Tennant, John Byrne or Pam Hogg – but did you know that Paisley is the birthplace of a number of ground-breaking inventions? Or that you can even see an Alien at Paisley Abbey? Have a read of these fun facts to pass some time if the weather isn’t looking so pretty this weekend. Just click the link below…

https://paisley.is/listing/10-facts-you-didnt-know-about-paisley/

Who’s ready for an action-packed weekend of family fun in Renfrewshire?

Kids and adults can enjoy everything from family-friendly music shows to brilliant sporting events and nature trails in the area over the next few days.

Plus, keep an eye on what’s happening across the year in Renfrewshire by visiting the Paisley.is website.

 

Princesses of Pop – The Bungalow – Saturday 25 January – 1pm

The amazing “Princesses of Pop” show returns to Paisley with top tributes to Little Mix (Little Mix Magic) and Ariana Grande (Simply Ariana). Perfect for the kids, this family-friendly matinee show takes place from 1pm – 5pm on Saturday. The brilliant concert features Little Mix’s biggest hits, including Shout Out to My Ex – and the brilliant Simply Ariana will thrill the audience with a host of chart-topping hits. Click the link below to check for ticket availability.

https://www.skiddle.com/whats-on/Paisley/The-Bungalow-Bar/NNE-Presents-Princesses-of-Pop-/13650562/

 

St Mirren v Aberdeen – Sunday 26 January – 12:30pm

Scottish Premier League action returns to the Simple Digital Arena on Sunday as St Mirren host Aberdeen. Both sides will be desperate to pick up the three points to boost their respective campaigns, which should make for a thrilling encounter in Paisley. Tickets are on-sale at the St Mirren Ticket Office and online from the link below.

https://smfctickets.co.uk/

 

Glasgow Clan v Fife Flyers – Braehead Arena – Sunday 26 January – 4:30pm

It’s one of the most anticipated encounters in the Elite League Ice Hockey calendar – and you won’t want to miss it at Braehead Arena this Sunday. Glasgow Clan welcome Fife Flyers in what’s usually a feisty fixture. Clan picked up a 4-3 win over their rivals in the last meeting at home and will be looking to chalk up another victory at Sunday’s 4:30pm face off. Click the link below to check ticket availability.

https://www.clanihc.com/tickets/game-day-tickets/

 

Snowman Treasure Hunt – RSPB Lochwinnoch – Saturday and Sunday – 10am – 4pm

Enjoy a wintry treasure hunt – with a difference! Explore the stunning woodland trails of RSPB Lochwinnoch and keep an eye out for some wooden snowmen along the way. Find them all, collect the letters, solve the mystery word and complete challenges as you go, before returning to the visitor centre to claim your special reward.

https://www.facebook.com/events/503251666982010/

Contact

The Fountain’s Evening of Rebel Poetry

Thursday 27 February
7.30pm
Paisley Arts Centre

£12/£8 + booking fee

+(0)300 300 1210

The Fountain’s Evening of Rebel Poetry will feature some of the finest UK poets – including Michael Pedersen, reading from his recent collection Oyster and other new works.

Ahead of his visit for Paisley Book Festival, Michael shared this blog post with us:

 

“So there’s poetry and there’s Neu! Reekie! and each has its own twisted orbit but both are very much part of the same constellation.

Poetry for me, fire-started with the Scottish writer Tom Buchan. I plucked his pale yellow slim volume off my mum’s book shelf in the year 2000 — it contained the inscription: Happy Christmas Janis. Love Barbara 1972. I was already a fan of Christmas.

What followed was gas into the Bunsen burner for poetry that was political and profane; poetry peppered with humour and lexical savagery. It catapulted me into me reading aw sorts of texts with fresh eyes (free from my own classroom bias). Alasdair Gray, Liz Lochhead, Tom Leonard amongst them.

I published my first poetry chapbook on (the stridently Scottish sounding) Koo press in 2009. A wee Aberdeenshire press ran by poet Doug Gray — his own chapbook simply called ‘The Drink’. It was both too soon and not soon enough in my eyes.

You get hungry for the first publications, at least I wiz — only so long you can read at hoose parties and live off plaudits from pals. Zine to magazine, journal to chapbook and (oomph) into the so-called first full collection. It’s the paradigm for poetic progression I’d read about / hud seen those more erudite than me trotting off on. When yer writing ardently and restless, this was the way.

Both my collections found a home with Polygon Books and that’s worked well for me. Steadied me. They published Liz Lochhead (our Makar at the time) and some other favourites, with books on their list by Edwin Morgan, Norman MacCaig and Sorley MacLean. Bingo.

My first, Play With Me (2013) was illustrated by Carrie May; and the second Oyster (2017) illustrated by and built into a live show with Scott Hutchison (ma forever favourite). I liked the weird cross-over between the illustrations and the poems and the antagonistic suggestions these made in presenting the work as a live outing.

I’m constantly ruminating how to keep the carousel spinning on this one. I’ve ended up churning out: Five Minute Theatre pieces for National Theatre of Scotland; longer plays for Edinburgh Art Festival (co-written with Alan Bissett); film script with Robert McKillop; and indie pop songs for a band I heled zipped together (Jesus, Baby!). I’m now working towards my first prose book — past knee-deep, now thigh high.

Neu! Reekie! is a dexterous galvaniser fur new ideas — keeps me (all the artist involves) prodding at the ribs of things.

Neu! Reekie! was founded in late 2010, the impregnation stage, with a due date / first show to follow in January 2011.

It started with me and Kevin Williamson, whom I knew as the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the late great Rebel Inc. Rebel Inc, now defunct, having started as a magazine, bore the banner ‘Fuck the Mainstream’, became an imprint of Canongate and went on to publish over 50 books. I’d missed aw their raucous live events but caught up with a good heft of the printed material. Them and the louche stories.

Now that we’ve cantered into 2020, Neu! Reekie! are entering our tenth year programming events/festivals/books/’hings. We started as a poetry night punctuated by short films — in particular animations — at the Scottish Book Trust, down Trunk’s Close in Edina.

Neu! Reekie! #1 involved contributions from: Zorras (Sandra Alland and Y Josephine); Carla J Easton; Sacha Kahir; Craig Finnie; me and KW; & more. The poster was black and white and listed names only; (as far as I remember) three went up: Scottish Poetry Library, Elvis Shakespeare (Leith Walk) and The Windsor’s Buffet. Job done, it filled.

Over a year at SBT and we’d grown too big for this box, so evolved into Summerhall in 2012 — itself the new kid on the block — becoming their first regular night.

Rumour has it, the first show out the cage at Summerhall involved us setting-up a semi-legit raffle ticket bar with crates of Stella and boxes of wine from ASDA. You see…it predated the opening of their bars and café. In our defence, there was a veritable ‘raffle of the absurd’ with hand sculpted prizes (sometimes meat) by a pal called Pete.

My mum had worked the door for the first 18-months of the shows and was none too happy about being replaced by the Summerhall box office. The old boy, the wily cad, demanded severance pay. We came to an arrangement.

Moving over to Jim Lambie’s poetry Club in Glasgow was the next tranche of the Neu! Reekie! evolution. This, too, was not yet running as a public venue / was just a clandestine whisper on the lips of those that attended the inaugural event there: a Jim Lambie & Richard Hell (of Voidoid’s fame) exhibition bash.

A little series of shows at The Poetry Club between us and Jim Lambie (& Jason McPhail) saw us unshackle: Young Fathers, Liz Lochhead, Primal Scream, John Giorno and more into this ickle space (Primal Scream hit the small-time The Herald headline read). The venue is worth exploring as much as a sumptuous Jim Lambie installation as anything.

Since then, we’ve unfurled many more show, over 200 in total. These have been all over Scotland (Orkney to Shetland; Thurso to Skye; Ullapool to Hawick; Dingwall to Durness); plus Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Wales, England, Spain, France, New Zealand, Indonesia, Japan, Malawi, the United States. Some have been take-overs for national galleries, national museums and major festivals; most have been our own grassroots core shows.

Some of my favourite poets, writers, artists and film-makers we’ve showcased include:

…… (deleted this bit as it was too tricky and I risked rebuked or upset)……..

………We’ve been lucky and had best sellers, cult heroes, chart busters, the fanciest of the fancy prize winners, cutting-edgers, lush pusses all round.

Perhaps more pertinent……some Neu! Reekie! performers who’ve been key in starring our ether / graced our stages, that the world has lost include: Scott Hutchison, Tom Leonard, Alasdair Gray, Ciaran Carson, John Giorno, Jock Scot.

Me and the full steam of Neu! Reekie! were rare and roaring behind the Paisley for City of Culture 2021 bid. In 2017, we curated a behemoth / our first festival for Hull City of Culture — events exploring counter-cultures and sub-cultures. A long weekender, spread across some of Hull’s finest haunts, from: the massive Town Hall to a local cinema; outdoor bandstands to an old fruit packing factory. We blasted oot upon the city the likes of: Charlotte Church, Young Fathers, Stanley Odd, Mark Cousins, Akala, Sabrina Mahfouz, Darren ‘Loki’ McGarvey, Hollie McNish, Linton Kwesi Johnson & many mare. In Hull, we met Jean Cameron and whet our appetites for what could be done north of the border. The fuse still fizzes. Having read at Book and Writers Festivals all over the world, it’s tremendous to be part of Paisley’s inaugural and surrounded by such literary bobby-dazzlers. Coruscation awaits.

Here’s a poem:

Rollercoasters

Eighteen and the c*nt shot
you clean in the coupon.
You lost yer left eye,
it’s glass noo, colour-
matched and still moves
wi the optic nerve but
deid nonetheless — pupil
doesnae dilate, twitches
not a scintilla. 2K compo
in 1973, that’s it, oan yer way.

2K compo put doon on you
and ma’s first flat in Abbey
-hill. A different type a’ justice
wiz employed by your older
brither Harry, a deft boxer,
mair brutish than you, slab-
handed and no so subtle.

Da, you ken ah ken yer
family struggled like nowt
ah’ve known: social services,
collecting sheep shite off
Arthur Seat for coppers
lifted back off ye, deid sister
afore you met yer teens,
five of you, all scattered. Poul,
yer own Danish faither,
was fierce fires, broth of
bile, a pot boiling ower
at the best o’ times; went
blind in his forties, kept yis
crawling roond the council
estates; kept yis, just. Nae
wonner you were so often
warring wi the warl, jumping
doon the throats of shadows.

Aboot that time at Universal
Studios in Florida when I
didnae ’hink to sit oot the 3D
Back to the Future ride
and we laughed kenning
the glasses wouldnae work
on you . . .

Find out more