Diary of a self-styled Mistress of Glamour and Sleaze

Guest blog by Rose Ritchie

Hope that caught your attention! Yes I am writing a blog for the first and hopefully not last time about the recent inter-community work at Inky Fingers.

It happened on a cold October night in 2010, when there was a chance to get up and perform some poetry at the Forest. I did and the rest as you might say is history. I signed up as a volunteer for Inky Fingers right away. I was completely hooked with the grassroots attitude of this wee group of volunteers.

Open mics came and open mics went as well as an anti-valentine night at The City Café. I realised at this event the incredible revolution of spoken word events. I needed to be part of it all. Poetry, performance poetry and all.

One day I moved to Craigmillar and met a rather gregarious gentleman called Johnni Stanton. There was no stopping him or me. We decided in about a day we were going to work together to put on an inter-community event involving Inky Fingers and Craigmillar Writers Group. I asked my fellow volunteers and they especially inspired confidence in me that this was a fab idea.

World Community Arts Day – February 2012

The inaugural inter-community event for the World Community Arts Day in February 2012 sowed the seed for well known poets on the circuit to continue, support and encourage inter-community collaborations with other community writers groups all over Scotland and further afield. We saw appearances from Eleanor Livingstone, Director of StAnza, and other well known poets such as performance poet Milton Balgoni, storyteller Andrew C. Ferguson, and rising talents Dickson Telfer and Jordan Butler – not forgetting our Inky Fingers crew and Craigmillar poets!

Angela Wrapson, Chair of StAnza is now part of the steering group based at Craigmillar. The Adult Learning Link and local librariesare now climbing on board, impressed thus far with the grassroots work that continues to generate unusual spoken word events and diversity.

February to June

The excitement had been building over the past few weeks for another inter-community collaboration after the success of Global Conditioning.A conversation at this event with artist Andrew Crummy and actor James Brannan paved the way for yet another community collaboration for the 3 Harbours Arts Festival, this time at the prize winning community arts venue the “Goth” in Prestonpans.

21 poets from Tyne & Esk, Craigmillar Writers Group and Inky Fingers got together in the Prestonpans Goth on 3rd June to celebrate the 3 Harbours Arts Festival, the Battle of Prestonpans and the Prestonpans Tapestry. Co-organiser Colin Will said, “It was great to get together with the other groups, and to hear the varied and diverse voices reading and performing their work. The workshop in the middle of the day produced an excellent poem, which is now going to the Festival organisers, and we’ll be discussing possible publication”.

Johnni Stanton, Director of Craigmillar Writers Group praised the efforts of all the participants on this splendid inter-community day: “Fantastic people, fantastic venue, fantastic time … We gotta do it again. I think I speak for all my group when I say a great time was had by all.”

Final say from Rose and future plans

After now living in Craigmillar for a year these collaborations continue to flourish in a very natural way and it is great to be a part of it all. Not only am I proud to be a part of the Inky Fingers collective, I am also now part of the Craigmillar Writers Group as Inky Fingers crew support and nourish the inter-community plans by offering ongoing support, thanks to the support and commitment of the Inksters. Also to the fantastic Johnni Stanton, without him none of this would be. Our next exciting inter-community projects hope to involve poetry exchanges to other areas such as Glasgow. So watch this space! Also the local libraries will be involved in a special event in October to mark National Poetry Day.

Furthermore, you are all cordially invited to The Rainbow Skull in the ArtSpace Theatre in SPACE (the former Craigmillar Primary School) on July 11th at 7pm. It is the finale of our Annual Poetry Competition (open to all Edinburgh residents) with readings from local Craigmillar poets. MC’d by brilliant performance poet Jenny Lindsay, it features the talented TV , star, poet and comedian Viv Gee, followed by the announcement of prize-winners and performances of the winning poems. How can you even contemplate missing it?