Telt it

I am long overdue to post about the third incarnation of Tell it Slant, the poetry specialist bookshop I’ve been trying to set up for a while, along with many very helpful volunteers, poets, donors, friends and influencers! Well, it’s third time lucky at 134 Renfrew St, I do believe. In our first incarnation, popping up in the empty furniture shop at Fleming House, Glasgow, along with a great art show run by Creative Banter, we opened on Friday the 13th December 2013, fate-temptingly, to a fantastic party involving readings and music and lots of booze, only to come in next day to a roof fallen in, and storm water pouring! Superstitions abound, but I suspect it was a reaction to too many poets under one roof, such as Mirrorball‘s Jim Carruth is always warning against. Fortunately, the kind owner of the onecubeortwo next door, Robert Singer, an artist and visionary who wanted to start up the next Third Eye Centre (original incarnation of the CCA on Sauchiehall St.) , invited us to camp in his cafe. Tragically Robert was unable to fulfill his vision due to illness, and the cafe was closed in early January this year. I was pretty upset, for Robert, the cafe staff & loyal customers, and ourselves, and so were the landlords, who really wanted the cafe to remain open, and asked if we’d consider staying. Then a synchronicity occurred. I got in touch with Reuben at Locavore, a fantastic Community Interest Company based on the South side of Glasgow which specialises in supporting local sustainable food hubs, and selling the resulting produce. I knew a cafe was part of their eventual vision, but for Reuben it was a bit too early – except that a woman called Eilidh McKay had just been in touch, saying that they shared Locavore’s ethos, and wanted to start a vegetarian cafe based on sustainable food sources. She and her business partner Tiril Planterose had run the Project Nomadic Cafe in Ullapool for a good while, and were looking for a permanent home. To cut a long story short, after a couple of meetings, some involving beer, the three of us have flung ourselves into a heady relationship, and after a series of one-night-stands, such as Locavore Honesty Box Canteens, Project Cafe Parties, and Tell it Slant poetry readings, we have decided to move in together. The result is Project Cafe, a lovely and welcoming space, with art from students of the Glasgow School of Art on the walls, a Locavore Store up front, and Tell it Slant poetry bookshop tucked cosily in the rear among the comfy seats, with plenty of instruments for visiting musicians to pick up and play. We stock poetry in all forms and many languages, and there will be book and album launches, exhibitions and kids events. We are having our first open mic this Friday 25th, and hope to make this a space where people can come and read, write, sing, play, make art and enjoy lovely fair trade coffee, homemade cakes, and healthy food. It is reasonably wheelchair-and-buggy accessible, having been road-tested by a Paralympic champion no less, as well as several local mums and wheelchair users. And there’s ample parking for bicycles. We are sure this will turn out to be a sustainable partnership! 



Reuben GFT



About Pedalling Poetry

Writer Ellen McAteer is founder of Tell It Slant poetry bookshop in Glasgow, General Manager at Poetry London magazine. She was a visiting lecturer at the Glasgow School of Art, and a mentee of the Clydebuilt Verse Apprenticeship Scheme, under Alexander Hutchison, and a singer with the band Stone Tape, as well as a solo singer who won a BBC Radio competition with her song Blue Valentine. She was Director of the Poetry Trust, which ran the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, a director of the Scottish Writers’ Centre, a visiting lecturer at Oxford University's MSt in creative writing, and a member of the core group of performers at the Hammer and Tongue spoken word collective in Oxford. She is a qualified Librarian.
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