|Nothern Renewal Issue 1|
Northern Renewal's first issue was 10p Mix.
Not all pamphlets are created equally. Some pamphlets are first forays into print for young writers, or the output of their writers’ group. Others are combined or solo efforts, stapled and photocopied produictions which allow the participants can see how they appear in print, and allow them a feel for publication.
In Word Power Books in Edinburgh earlier, I was able to pick up a copy of Northern Renewal, which is all of these things and more.
Northern Renewal’s 10p Mix in fact came with a mission statement, and in many ways was more ambitious than the regular chapbook, and despite its only running to 18 pages, it manages to include poetry, fashion design, illustration and most novel of all, local enterprise.
In its own words, 10p Mix aims to capture ‘the groundswell of activity that’s in motion across this wee patch of green, without exclusion or elitism.’
Fortunately these days, that is both easily said and easily done and with this fine intent Northern Renewal offers a position paper or snapshot record of creativity in the west of Scotland, 2014-style.
The local enterprise aspect is great. Profiled in this publication you'll find an artisan home bakery, hwich began as a collborative project but which now offers home delivery across the south-side of Glasgow. That’s bakery47, if you would like to know more, although you find out plenty reading this great four page article, which details roasted nuts and rhubarb, while also namechecking some other small bakeries to watch out for — Habibi Kitchen and Mary’s Milk Bar, to name two.
It makes a welcome break to read articles like this between the usual poems n stories — and it is frighteningly up to date. Says bakery47:
Our Instagram feed shows our personal life as well as our bakes and makes. Our life and who we are informs our baking and branding of bakery47 in the same way that an artist’s life may inform their creative impulses and practice.
There is also some great artwork and poetry in 10p Mix which need also be namechecked — most especially the work of Stephen Watt from Dumbarton, whose Orange Carbon Junkies is an onomatopoeic riot of ginger and juice, as well as being the psychedelic story of a girl who just can’t give up the fizz.
Shona McCombes' meditation on the Glasgow subway is also as bang-up-to-date (‘Work as if you live in the early days of a better subway’) as it is sweet, and is a short essay ultimately fearful of the consequences of undergorund existence. David Forrest rampages up and down the page in Deek, in an eedgit Scots that dips into the earliest ages of the language for its inspiration, while still sounding quintessentially modern Glasgow.
I was also extremely taken with Lucian Moriyama’s CC, a Galashiels-based pastiche of Ciaran Carson and deconstruction of the phrase ‘sour-sanding’ as it applies to the surface material of those fondly recalled sweeties, Coke bottles and soor plooms, and there in the middle of the 10pMix, is an almost necessary paean — Claire Barclay’s illustration of a bottle of ‘Beautiful Buckie’.
So I am sure there will be more of Northern Renewal, and it is certainly one to watch out for. This issue contained: Stephen Watt; Vanessa Lang; San & Anna Luntley; Shona McCombes; David Forrest; Anton Zhyzhyn; Claire Barclay; Lucian Moriyama; Mark McG and Craig Allen.
Warning: approaching 10p Mix in any bookshop or gallery, you will most probably assume that it is going to cost you ten pence. There’s nothing anyone can do about this — it is a habit of the eye to read and accept the most obvious rendering of what it wishes to see. It may therefore be with some disappointment that despite containing much brilliance, 10 Mix costs a couple of quid. It's worth it though.
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