10 Jan 2015

Bleeding Ink No. 4

Bleeding Ink Writers Group Edinburgh
Bleeding Ink - Edinburgh
As I let it be known that I am always on the look out for pamphlets and other evidence of grassroots writing, I have been sent a copy of Bleeding Ink #4, from Edinburgh.  

There are always plenty publications like this on the go and as these booklets usually contain the writers of tomorrow (today!) I find it necessary to collect and inspect them.

This pamphlet is most pleasantly quirky and as a few of these have come out in quick succession, its originators, The New Edinburgh Writing Group, appear to be fairly industrious.

The group that produced this pamphlet, and the others which preceded it are based at Fountainbridge Library, and are made up of Ray Bell, Ann Louise Lowrey, John Robinson, Nick Baikie, Sadie Massie, Alan Savage, Morag MacLeman and Julia Boxer.

The Foreward to Bleeding Ink #4 is excellent.  In championing the grassroots, editor Ray Bell states:
There's life in this city, beyond UNESCO's cheese and wine gatherings, the book signings or the EIBF each August in Charlotte Sqaure.  There's life in the likes of The Leither, PublishED, The One O'Clock Gun, Shavers' Weekly, Bela Lugosi's Incinerator and numerous other lesser known publications.
It is a fair reminder, and contrary to what is generally reported, it is Edinburgh's underground and grassroots scene that makes it what it is. The cover of Bleeding Ink #4, incidentally, is a picture called Poet at Neu Reekie by Michael Conway, Neu Reekie being Edinburgh's best-known spoken word and music night, which had its origins in those same subtratal portions of Edinburgh's literary world.

The writing is of mixed quality, but that's what you would expect. It's not all been flung down carelessly however, but is the fruit of a working writers' group, and there are gems concealed within its pages which is something else you would expect.  The publication process is important and the more it happens in the writers' groups and on the streets, then the healthier the literary world will be.

I am not sure if Bleeding Ink was actually published 'on the streets' as I have it.  But that is what it feels like.  And on the streets, and in the pubs, is the only place you can find copies of Bleeding Ink, which places it in a time-honoured tradition that is still alive in Edinburgh — almost as if it were the literary voice of the mob.

Wherever you are, you are advised at all times to therefore seek out the underground.  At this level, publishing is not a business or an industry it is an endeavour and a pleasure, and this always shows in pamphlets like this, and in publications like those Ray Bell mentions above.