Author: J.A.L

Year 2 is Upon Us!

We celebrated our 1st birthday at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on Sunday 27 August with a Flint & Pitch Revue that summed up entirely why we do this Thing Called Show!

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For the full set of pics from Chris Scott click here!

With the epic A New International, excellent new work from debut authors Chris McQueer and Rachel McCrum, haunting gorgeousness from Laurence Made Me Cry and the performance poetry powerhouse that is Sara Hirsch (plus bonus collaboration between McCrum and ANI with a biting cover of We Call Upon The Author To Explain), our birthday Revue for the Unbound Speigeltent was an epic joy!

And so, pals, we are moving into Year 2….

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Year 1 was a non-stop rollercoaster from the start and taking aw things into consideration, Flint & Pitch has been a mighty success, with 7 Revue shows, 4 Presents shows and 3 magnificent Lyceum Variety Nights, aided by a small but entirely necessary Creative Scotland award for the Revues and Presents series, which were also part-funded by Box Office. The CS funding meant that we could keep entry to our shows reasonably cheap while also paying our artists and the folks behind the scenes properly. We hate to say how rare this is… Hat tipped, CS, and thank you so much for the support in getting off the ground!

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October Revue: Harry Giles, Chitra Ramaswamy, Jo Mango,Finn le Marinel,Hannah Lavery

FINAL DEC COLLAGE

Dec: JL Williams, Teen Canteen, Theresa Lola, Alan Bissett, Malachy Tallack, Harry Harris

JAN REVUE COLLAGE

Jan: Rachel McCrum, Ross Sutherland, Catherine Wilson, The Strange Blue Dreams, The Miss’s and hosts Jenny Lindsay & Cameron Foster.

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March: Sophia Walker, Ryan Van Winkle, Urban Farm Hand, Ellen Renton, Djana Gabrielle and hosts Foster & Lindsay.

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April: Josephine Sillars, Kevin Gilday, Jackie Kay, Craig Lithgow, Katharine Macfarlane

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May: Gavin Inglis, Claire Askew, Heir of the Cursed, Clare Pollard, Declan Welsh & The Decadent West, much Red Stripe, hosts Jenny Lindsay & Cameron Foster

JUNE REVUE

And June, our tie-in Revue with the marvellous 404 Ink: Kirsty Logan, Nadine Aisha, Daniel Piper, RM Hubbert, Roseanne Reid, hosts Lindsay & Foster.

The Lyceum Variety Nights had 4 and 5 star reviews across the board, the Presents series had two sell-out shows, and the Revue series brought acts to Scotland for the first time for full sets including newly crowned UK Slam Champ Theresa Lola for the second of our Revues last December. We also showcased scratch performances from Sophia Walker and Daniel Piper at the Revues, and took relatively unknown names into the 600 seater Lyceum alongside some well-kent faces. We’re delighted to have been part of David Greig’s first season as Artistic Director of ‘The Old Lady of Grindlay Street’ and fair chuffed to have got her dancing so fine on a Sunday evening!

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Our Presents series brought three exceptional touring spoken word theatre shows to the Scottish Storytelling Centre, alongside supporting slots of 20 minutes from a range of new and emerging voices in Scotland-based spoken word and theatre. We’re immensely proud of this part of the year’s endeavours, cos we’re not going to lie… we were nervous! But! Whoddathunk – of course there is an audience and an appetite for a regular series of long-form spoken word in Scotland outwith August! 🙂 Hurrah!

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While we’re super proud of every show, the sold out show for the debut performance of Katherine McMahon’s “Fat Kid Running”, programmed through our Open Call (which garnered over 100 pitches) was one of the most exhilarating moments of the season and continues to bring a tear to oor eyes. Katherine’s show – and the 8 support slots for each Presents show – highlight just how much innovative new work is being made in spoken word in Scotland. It was an absolute privilege to get to showcase it and we’ve ambitions to repeat the Presents series in the future on hopefully a bigger scale!

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As well as that, we’ve done one-off events for Hidden Door, the Scottish Book Trust, Unique Events, the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival and more.

It’s been a heady time for a (very) small team and it feels like a lot longer than just a year to be honest, and so we’re taking things gently for a wee bit….(Maybe. Honest. Maybe…) But, while there is no regular series planned, we’re delighted to announce a series a one-off wonders with a heap of great folks!

We’ve partnered with some brilliant organisations over the next wee while, including our two RECLAIM THIS SCRIPT events for the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival in October (mair on that shortly, compadres); a truly epic event coming up in November with ‘Previously…Scotland’s History Festival’ (keep eyes peeled, compadres), and much more to be announced along the way! (Including outwith the Central Belt…. 🙂 )

Absolutely massive thanks to everyone who has come along to Flint & Pitch events over the last year! There’s plenty more to come for the rest of the year and into 2018! xxx

HOW TO SURVIVE A POST TRUTH APOCALYPSE by Francesca Beard (7/7/17)

Spoken word/ theatre fans! It’s our FINAL Present show of the season, and we’re delighted to say that Francesca Beard, ahead of touring the full theatrical version of the show, is bringing a bespoke version of How To Survive A Post Truth Apocalypse to the Scottish Storytelling Centre! TICKETS HERE: http://bit.ly/2qKULc7 Read on for more info!

Flint & Pitch Present: How To Survive A Post-Truth Apocalypse

by Francesca Beard

With support from Jen McGregor’s ‘Grave’ and

Ross McCleary’s ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Viable Alternative to Death.’

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The Flint & Pitch Revue #7! With 404 Ink/ The F Word! (Fri 23 June)

With RM Hubbert, Kirsty Logan, Daniel Piper, Roseanne Reid and Nadine Aisha Jassat. Hosted by Jenny Lindsay & Cameron Foster. 7 – 10pm, The Bongo Club. £6

JUNE REVUE
It’s the final Revue of the 2016/17 programme from Flint & Pitch, and we’re delighted to have teamed up with the wonderful 404 Ink to co-host their launch party for their new issue, The F Word. Having realised that four of the contributors to The F Word were to be on our stage that evening (Kirsty Logan, Jenny Lindsay, Cameron Foster and Nadine Aisha Jassat) it made sense to join forces with this unstoppable newcomer to the Scottish publishing scene. So come along to see a brilliant Revue, as well as pick up yer copy of The F Word! (more…)

Announcing: The Flint & Pitch Revue #6! (19/5/17)

It’s May, and time for our penultimate Revue show of this, our first season! Where’s the time gone?? Nab your tickets swiftly for a helluva line-up of words, stories, tunes and lyrical wit! Tickets are only £6 – whaaaat? We’re too kind. Get yours here: http://bit.ly/2q4443U

All hosted by resident comperes Cameron Foster and Jenny Lindsay! Read on for more on the acts!

CLARE POLLARD

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Clare Pollard has published five collections of poetry, the most recent of which is Incarnation (Bloodaxe,2017). Her play The Weather premiered at the Royal Court Theatre and her documentary for radio, ‘My Male Muse’, was a Radio 4 Pick of the year. Clare’s new version of Ovid’s Heroines has recently toured as a one-woman show with Jaybird Live Literature.

Her website is www.clarepollard.com

CLAIRE ASKEW

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Claire Askew is a poet whose first collection, This changes things, was published by Bloodaxe in 2016.  The book was shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and the Saltire First Book of the Year Award.  Claire is the 2017 Jessie Kesson Fellow and is also a fiction writer, currently working on completion of her first novel.  She lives in Edinburgh and can be found online as @onenightstanzas and onenightstanzas.com

DECLAN WELSH & THE DECADENT WEST

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The world is quickly changing and Glasgow’s Declan Welsh is here to document it. A singer, poet and performer, Welsh has a keen eye for detail and a no-holds-barred attitude that feels wildly contagious. The 23-year-old is not afraid to plug into the political landscape, from songs about Spanish Republican leaders to performing in Palestine backed by a choir of refugee children. With a refreshingly diverse approach to gigging – his live appearances include T in the Park, London Fashion Week and Bethlehem Live – the future looks very bright indeed for Declan & The Decadent West.

“Punchy, poetic, passionate and profound.” – Tenement TV

HEIR OF THE CURSED

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“Heir of The Cursed is a caulbearer born of an apparition, a primordial memory, a penny drop.”
A musician and songwriter whose haunting, soulful performances will absolutely astound ye, compadres!

GAVIN INGLIS

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Gavin Inglis is a writer of games and fiction. His games work ranges from full-length interactive novels to the snappy audio drama of Zombies, Run!

His stories blend everyday realism with a strong strain of the fantastic and bizarre. He has appeared at the Latitude festival, burlesque nights, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Aye Write!, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, punk gigs, a Hunter S. Thompson tribute event and a roller derby fundraiser and is a member of Writers’ Bloc. He will be sharing new work at the Revue, so come along for an exclusive!

What a line-up! Tickets here, pals – see ye there: http://bit.ly/2q4443U 

xxx

The Flint & Pitch Revue #5! (21.4.17)

Compadres! Get yourself down to our fifth Revue show at The Bongo Club! It’s also our only event in April, so it’s extra, extra special! We’ve got words from the Makar, Jackie Kay, Sonnet Youth star Kevin Gilday and newcomer Katharine MacFarlane! Bringing the tunes we’ve got Josephine Sillars and Band, and the new project from local wonder Craig Lithgow (Emmelle) ‘Mummy’s Boy”! Tix here: http://bit.ly/2n533Yc

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JACKIE KAY!

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(Photo credit: Denise Else)

Jackie Kay was born and brought up in Scotland.  THE ADOPTION PAPERS (Bloodaxe) won the Forward Prize, a Saltire prize and a Scottish Arts Council Prize. FIERE, her most recent collection of poems was shortlisted for the COSTA award.  Her novel TRUMPET won the Guardian Fiction Award and was shortlisted for the IMPAC award. RED DUST ROAD (Picador) won the Scottish Book of the Year Award, and the LONDON BOOK AWARD. It was shortlisted for the JR ACKERLEY prize. She was awarded an MBE in 2006, and made a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2002. Her book of stories WISH I WAS HERE won the Decibel British Book Award. Jackie Kay was named Scots Makar—the National Poet for Scotland—in March 2016.

 

KEVIN GILDAY!

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Kevin P. Gilday is a writer, theatre-maker and spoken word artist from Glasgow, currently residing in Barcelona. He is co-host and curator of spoken word organisation Sonnet Youth. Kevin is an international performer including appearances at the BBC 6 Music Festival, Edinburgh Fringe, Toronto Fringe, Wickerman, Belladrum, Lingo (Dublin) and Glastonbury Festivals. He has supported artists such as Saul Williams, Sage Francis and George the Poet. His series of videos created for BBC The Social have been viewed by over 100,000 people worldwide. Kevin’s theatre work includes several hybrid spoken word monologue performances, traditional theatre, experimental work, cabaret and script doctor commissions. This work has been performed in spaces such as The Tron Theatre, St. Luke’s, Eden Court, Lemon Tree, Beacon Arts Centre, Oran Mor, The Arches and Tarragon Theatre (Toronto).

 

JOSEPHINE SILLARS!

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Originally from the Highlands, Josephine Sillars is a musician now living in Glasgow. Over the past few years she has toured throughout Scotland as well as playing in Europe and internationally, in addition to appearing at local festivals such as Belladrum and XpoNorth. After a busy summer of festivals in 2016, including a slot at Sandvikfest – an independent music and arts festival in Sweden – and a main stage slot at ButeFest, Sillars and her band released new song ‘Problems With Power’ on the 10th February 2017 through Traffic Cone Records. Her EP ‘Ripped From The Wire Spine’ is also a storytelling and music show, which has appeared across Scotland in a number of theatres.

 

CRAIG LITHGOW! (Mummy’s Boy!)

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Mummy’s Boy is the new moniker of Edinburgh singer songwriter Craig Lithgow. Craig has been a regular feature at music and live lit showcases for a number of years, notably with Neu! Reekie! Where his former band Emelle were the house band. In Craig’s words, Mummy’s Boy “uses music, words and artwork to explore various themes, including morality, mortality, relationships, and whatever else pickles me.”

Introducing:

KATHARINE MACFARLANE

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Katharine Macfarlane’s lyrical poetry is rooted in the history and landscape of Scotland. She is currently the Harpies, Fechters and Quines Slam Champion and the Four Cities Slam Champion 2016. Katharine has recently performed with the Loud Poets in Glasgow, at the Belladrum Festival in Inverness and hosted her first solo show, Home Words, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016. Her work has appeared in Untitled, The Grind and The Ogilvie Magazines and has been translated into German as a feature piece in the novel Die Rückkehr der Wale by Isabel Morland.

With regular Revue hosts Jenny Lindsay & Cameron Foster!

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Mon along! Tix here: http://bit.ly/2n533Yc

An Interview With Sophia Walker!

Sophia Walker is a touring spoken word poet and educator who will be headlining The Flint & Pitch Revue on Friday 24th March, with an extract from her new show In Fidelity. (Tickets here)

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Sophia has toured globally with her passionate, political verse and her shows ‘Can’t Care, Won’t Care,’ ‘Around The World in Eight Mistakes’ and ‘Cult Friction’ have gained her much acclaim and many awards at the Edinburgh Fringe festival. She was recently announced as one of the UK writers who will be part of the International Literature Showcase 2017. Her debut collection Opposite The Tourbus is published by Burning Eye Books.

Below, she talks to Freddie Alexander about her work, her views on spoken word, and what on earth this thing called ‘a scene’ is! 

FA: You will be performing an extract of ‘In Fidelity’ at the upcoming Flint and Pitch Revue. What parts of the show will we not get to see?

SW: The bits I’ll write after I realise what’s missing? Hehe.

 The audience at Flint & Pitch will be the first people to see ‘In Fidelity’, so how they react will completely reshape the show. Honestly, I set out to write a funny show about marriage and relationships, and my own terrible history as an awful 20-something having far too much fun.

I’m mostly political in my work and I just can’t handle that right now. I’m not sure audiences want to either. We all need a break. But it turns out this isn’t a funny subject to me. There are funny sections but… I’ve never seen a marriage work, so I don’t know how to achieve that. I just know I can’t fail.

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FA: You once wrote ‘we don’t just need writers, we are in desperate need of builders: people who want to shape, to strengthen, to grow and to expand this scene for all of us.’ There is a temptation, especially among younger artists, to see success in the arts as a zero-sum game. How do you wrestle with the desire to be a writer and a builder?

SW: Once you’ve been in spoken word for about five years, you look around and most of the people you came up with have quit. Five years after that you’re an elder for no other reason than you’re one of the few folk still kicking about. There’s no money in this. 

At a certain point you realise that becoming a scene builder is the only option. We do this partly to diversify income streams, but mostly because without scene builders we would all have to quit. It’s not just about running a night, though that’s lovely and there’s space for that. Being a scene builder is about creating actual opportunity.

Many people run nights for reasons of self-promotion. That’s fine, absolutely. But what we need are the folk who come along and go “hrm…that hop between being a five minute open mic’er and a twenty minute feature poet, there’s no midway point to learn how do that. Let me make it.” That’s a scene builder.

They are the person who notices that, actually, there are loads of nights doing the exact same thing, but not a single one that would allow performers to move up a level. Or none that would provide a proper paycheck. Or none that could book people big enough that the local acts get to see where the bar really is.

I guess it’s not about wrestling with the divide between writing and building. It’s about staying in the game long enough to realise that unless you yourself become builder, there will be no scene to progress through.

 

FA: Is there a ‘spoken word scene’? If so, what is it like? If not, why do everyone and their Nan keep talking about it?

 SW: Depends who you ask and what mood they’re in. It’s complicated.

Some people are performance poets. That seemed to be a particularly British thing, and is what the scene was about ten years ago. This involved a broad age range.

Some people are slammers, and that typically refers to a very specific style of poem. It doesn’t just refer to people who compete anymore, it’s a specific way of sounding.

Some people call themselves spoken word artists. They tend to be under-25, and are very YouTube oriented. Things like ‘number of views’ get bandied about a lot. The fascinating after-effect of that is the change it’s had in promoters. There’s a massive difference between your ability to say one 3 minute poem well to camera, and your ability to actually hold a room.

Promoters are increasingly requesting poets send them footage of gigs. They need to see that performers can actually hold a room, have the skills to do all this live. I’m fascinated that what was a live art-form has, in some corners, become so internet focused that the live performance skills are being lost.

So I guess there are multiple scenes.

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FA: What about the ‘UK spoken word scene?’

SW: I think saying “UK” gets a bit problematic, because there are such geographical divides. There’s the ‘London is the centre of the world’ perspective, and there’s the fact that all the truly interesting stuff is happening regionally. There’s the fact that the Scottish, Irish and Northern Irish scenes are so disconnected from the English scene, in a way the Welsh scene isn’t.

Honestly, the coolest scene right now is Manchester, and that’s mostly because it’s the scene with the least ego in it. If you see a poetry night that seems to have a diverse age range among attendees and performers, go there. That’s the good stuff.

 

FA: What would you tell the young performance poet who is, as you described, ‘working [her] butt off to sleep on the ground for nearly a week, paying 20 bucks a pop for shite food, and inevitably leaving [a] gig over a hundred dollars poorer than you came in’? What would you tell the promoter that has put her in this position?  

SW: I’d say that this is your passion and this is what you need to do to make it work. Tour on your own dime while you have other full time jobs.  It sucks, but that’s what this takes.

To the promoter I ask, are you funded? ”How much did you make off the night?” Promoters, at least the good ones, too often are out of pocket themselves to pay acts. I don’t know many good promoters who get paid for all the work they do.

The system is the problem. We don’t value art enough, the money isn’t there. And where it is there, it often goes to the more business minded people and less to the community minded people.

Promoters often aren’t the enemy. But they should know that every poet they book to headline is doing a headcount, knows the door fee and has done the maths on the back of an envelope. We know when we’re being cheated and we remember.

 

FA: What will you be doing five minutes before your performance?

SW: Watching the audience. Trying to get a gauge on the vibe of the room, what they’re responding to, what they aren’t.

It’s interesting, if you asked me what the most important skill set for a performing poet to have – it’s not writing ability, it’s emotional intelligence. The performer who is best at reading the room is the performer you walk away remembering.

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To see Sophia Walker’s In Fidelity (excerpt) alongside words from Ellen Renton and Ryan Van Winkle,PLUS tunes from Djana Gabrielle and Urban Farm Hand, buy yer ticket now! http://bit.ly/2lGYxxY

Announcing: Fat Kid Running by Katherine McMahon! 12.5.17

FLINT & PITCH PRESENTS…

 

Fat Kid Running

The debut show from  Katherine McMahon

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Fri 12th May, 7:30pm, The Scottish Storytelling Centre

Tickets £10 – here: http://bit.ly/2mCQSnm

(Plus support from Calum Rodger’s Rock, Star, North

And

Belle Jones, Audrey Tait & Lauren Gilmour’s ‘Closed Doors.’

 

About the show:

What does it take to be at home in a body? How do you have fun moving in a world of body shaming and fat burning? Join Katherine McMahon as she takes you cross country on her journey from the fat kid skiving PE lessons, to a fat, fierce, feminist runner. This is not an inspiring before-and-after picture. It won’t make you thinner, or faster. It is a sometimes moving, sometimes funny, always honest exploration of the complicated business of being in a body.

About Katherine McMahon

Katherine McMahon is a regular performer on the Edinburgh spoken word scene, and has been rapidly gaining notice over the last few years for her moving, humorous, yet always radical verse. Her debut collection,Treasure In The History of Things, was published by Stewed Rhubarb Press in 2012, and she has been a feature performer at many spoken word events in Scotland, including Rally & Broad at most recently at StAnza Poetry Festival, 2017. Fat Kid Running is her debut spoken word show.

 

With support from:

“Closed Doors” by Belle Jones, Audrey Tait & Lauren Gilmour

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(Excerpt: 20 mins)

Closed Doors is a piece of theatrical storytelling combining spoken word with music. An exploration of how disparate communities can and do live literally on top of one another in multicultural Scotland, it examines how someone can feel like a stranger in the society they were born into and how one can find a home in a country far from the land where they grew up.

Opening with an unknown police incident preventing residents getting in or out of their flat, the story follows two middle-aged women, from different backgrounds, forced together to take shelter from the cold.

About the writers/ performers:

As the drummer/producer of pioneering Scottish hip-hop outfit Hector Bizerk, Audrey Tait’s critically-acclaimed production saw her as the only female producer shortlisted for the Scottish Album of the Year award. Songwriter/spoken word artist Lauren Gilmour received awards from Calmac Culture, The Scottish Alternative Music Awards and Celtic Connections as one half of Bella and the Bear. She and Audrey will be working with Birds of Paradise Theatre Company later in 2017. Belle Jones trained at the RSAMD where she won the Percival Steeds Prize for Spoken Word and the Norah Cooper Mulligan Award for verse Speaking.

 

And

“Rock, Star, North” by Calum Rodger

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(Running time: 20 mins)

About Rock, Star, North.

‘Come forth into the light of things / Let nature be your teacher.’ So said William Wordsworth in 1798. Calum Rodger wants ‘the light of things’, but he doesn’t need nature. He’s got Grand Theft Auto V. In a high-concept parody of the poetic travelogue, Rodger takes us on a journey through the game-world as he pursues ‘the virtual sublime’. With control pad in hand and tongue firmly in cheek, Rock, Star, North. is a bombastic meditation on reality and fantasy, tradition and technology, video games, poetry, the world, and our place within it.

About the writer/ performer

Calum Rodger is a poet and researcher based in Glasgow, working in performance, print, film and digital media. His work explores Scottish culture and literary traditions with a healthy dose of humour and irreverence. He performs widely throughout Scotland including shows at the National Museum of Scotland, BBC@Potterrow and TEDxGlasgow, runs occasional live poetry night The Verse Hearse, teaches at the University of Glasgow and is poetry reviews editor at Gutter magazine. His chapbooks Know Yr Stuff: Poems on Hedonism and Glasgow Flourishes are published by Tapsalteerie. You can find more of his work at www.calumrodger.co.uk.