By Mary Irvine

The seed for an Open Mic was sown on a car journey home from a Glasgow speakeasy. Ann, George and I were bemoaning the fact we had to travel so far to showcase our work. Discussion led to an initial meeting in December 2017 in Dumbarton after an open invitation was offered to local writers.

Everyone was in favour of an Open Mic. but where? Several potential venues were explored but found to be unsuitable – health and safety, too small, no food/drink facilities, accessibility. There was also the problem of money. We hadn’t any! We are still unfunded and make no charge for ‘slots’ or ask for contributions. Everyone involved, including our headliners, are volunteers.

Fortune smiled on us for our first Open Mic took place  in February, 2018, in the Function Room of the Balloch House Hotel which was offered free of charge. Our first ‘headliner’ was Rolf Campbell who entertained with serious and emotive poetry as well as his more amusing pieces.

All the five minute slots were quickly filled and once again local writers displayed a variety of genres as well as their talent. We have gone from strength to strength, meeting the first Monday of the month – apart from Bank Holidays when we meet on the Tuesday following

Apart from attracting the local writing talent – of which there are many – we have had visitors from across the border (Helensburgh and Cove) and the far reaches of Glasgow. There is usually a ‘headline’ act after the break and everyone invited has so far agreed, and often return to book a slot. A big Thank You is due to all of them.

The content of the readings is eclectic, poems, prose, articles, funny (sometimes scurrilous), serious – in English or Scots. What is rewarding most of all is the comment that we are such a welcoming group which makes for a pleasant and entertaining night out. People are even turning up just to listen.

We meet every first Monday of the month apart from Bank Holiday Mondays. Slots are bookable from 6.15 p.m. and we start promptly at 7 p.m. We used to finish around 9 p. m. but the finish time is slowly becoming later. Next meeting is Tuesday, May 28th when the headliner will be the fantastic Linda Jaxson. Hope to see you all there!   Reminder: Book festival:                                             

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