On the South Bank

For my latest trip I stayed south of the river, starting off at the Barn at the Crossroads in Laurieston to see the latest works by EJEK and the kids who visit there, EJEK again displayed his love of Stan Lee’s creations with some Marvel inspired pieces on display. From the Barn it was a short walk to Commerce Street in Tradeston where I came upon a fine piece by @sprayprince on the side wall of the Turning Point Scotland building, it paled slightly when I turned the corner and saw the wonderful mural on the front of the building,

Continuing west found me under the Kingston Bridge where I wandered into a little skatepark built there, almost all of the bridge supports had some form of artwork on them, and judging by the layers of grey paint the council and the writers are keeping each other busy, while there I saw works by Frodrik, Mack Colours, OhPanda, Negative Destination and many other regular names from Glasgow’s streets.

I then headed down to the river bank for a stroll along the footpath there until I reached the Science Centre at Princes Quay, there is loads of new developments taking place in the area and I was pleased to find a nice mural by EJEK on one of the hoardings surrounding one development. Crossing the river heading towards town for a bus home, I had to stop on Custom Quay at the Broomielaw to see if there was anything new, to find only one significant piece which intrigued me, on returning home I checked out the artist and his organisation called Make Coffee not War, and the reason for his mural, I found it all, and the drone footage to be quite interesting.

Back in Town Again ~ Part II

My next trip out started in Sauchiehall Lane, where I had been heard of a mural by Mark Worst, I found it at the rear of Broadcast next to another of OhPanda’s Big Heids, I must admit that they are in a location I wouldn’t normally visit, but I thought the work by both of them were worth the effort.

My plan was to go from there down to the Broomielaw and head back into the city along the riverbank, while there it was good to see Smug’s swimmers, a large mural he created for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. I also revisited the mural created in 2019 by the Cobolt Collective, featuring words by Glasgow poet Liz Lochhead, to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of Glasgow’s Doors Open Days Festival.

Further along the Broomielaw I discovered a little monument to the merchant ships lost during the Spanish Civil War, I wasn’t so much interested in the politics behind it, but as an ex merchant navy officer, I thought it was touching how it celebrates those British sailors who, in open defiance of the British Government’s wishes, risked their lives to run the blockade of Spanish ports to deliver much-needed food supplies to Republican territory during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39.  Further along Custom House Quay there is La Pasionaria”  with her arms outstretched and her face raised in a gesture of defiance.  La Pasionaria” (“The Passion Flower”) was the pen name of Dolores Ibárruri, a Spanish Republican politician, communist, and prominent anti-fascist propagandist during the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939. Her statue was commissioned by The International Brigades Association of Glasgow as a memorial to British citizens who served in the brigades during the war.

My trip to the riverbank was finished off by a look at the many pieces of graffiti on the Clyde Walkway, this almost seems like the nearest thing to a legal wall in Glasgow and although to many it looks ugly, I can see some talents emerging, one of whom is Frodrik, his tribute to the rapper MK Doom stands out, he is one of Glasgow’s rising stars, another who pops up regularly is Negative Destination, his cartoon characters certainly add some bright colour to the area, his “The Beast Tamer and his Best Friend” on the hoarding round the Lidl store on Jamaica Street is a bit of fun, his comment on it was “When you see a long wall the only option is to fill it with a long ass painting”.

Into the city for some shopping and lunch before heading for home after another nice day in the city, On the way home I got off the bus in Victoria Road to visit Westmorland Street to see a mural in a little park, depicting what the South Side community means to the local children, the works created by them were faithfully recreated by artist Beth Shapeero and mural artist Ursula Kam-Ling Cheng on the wall of a tenement building where the old Hampden cinema and Claddagh Club once stood.

Ursula Kam-Ling – Westmoreland Street

EURO2020

From the 11th of June until the 11th of July, I was busy volunteering at the EURO’s in Glasgow. Originally scheduled to take place in 2020, the event was postponed and held this year. There were two volunteering streams, one for Hampden and the other for the Fan Zone, which this year was held in Glasgow Green instead of the intended George Square.

I applied for both streams and was lucky to be selected for both. We were all kitted out with a nice uniform and were well looked after during the event by both of the management teams, with meals provided and a free rail travel card for use during the tournament.

I was at Hampden for the four matches held there and had great fun with 2 girls, at one of the main entrances to the stadium greeting the fans as they arrived, once all the fans had entered the stadium we were then able to go and watch the games, I must admit that I’m not much of a football fan, however I suppose the occasion got to me and I did enjoy what I saw.

I was really comfortable in the Fan Zone, in addition to showing the games on match days on three giant screens, there was also a series of concerts and gigs to suit everybody, we had some really good bands, street theatre, comedy nights, a series of concerts by local school kids, who surprised every one with their talent, there was a cinema night and we even had The Queens on the Green Drag Show. I was on duty for many of the concerts as an Artist Liaison, a role I have performed in the past.

As this was, for many of the 300 or so volunteers in the Fan Zone, this was their first taste of freedom following the lockdowns, it was good to see so many happy and smiling faces, although not amongst the Tartan Army, who were a wee bit dejected when their team were put out of the competition.  It was a really fun month and I enjoyed meeting old friends and making loads of new ones.

Lockdown Blues

Being in the midst of the lockdown with not much to look forward to in the near future, I decided to take a look back over the last few months. January was pretty much taken over by my volunteering role at this year’s Celtic Connections, which has become an excellent start to my year and one I hope I am able to continue with.

February was a bit of a mixed month, I became involved in volunteering at athletics events and spend a great deal of time at the Emirates Arena helping out at events for European, British and Scottish Athletics. Again this is a role I would wish to continue, at the Scottish Athletics events I was allocated a variety of roles designed to provide me with the skills to enable me to become a member of the Scottish Athletics support network, some of it was a wee bit strenuous for me, but it was all great fun and very rewarding, I especially loved being up in the gods with the photo finish team.

02 2020 Emirates Stadium

The last week of February and the first week of March found me volunteering at the Glasgow Film Festival, a new one for me. This was great fun, I got to meet a great bunch of people and managed to see some great movies (and a few I wished I hadn’t seen), I really loved Michael Caton-Jones’ “Our Ladies”, an adaptation of Alan Warner’s The Sopranos, telling the story, set in the 1990s, of a group of schoolgirls who get an opportunity to go into Edinburgh for a choir competition, but they’re more interested in drinking, partying and hooking up than winning the competition.  A real fun-filled movie with some great music.  Another favourite this year was “5 Is the Perfect Number” an old fashioned Italian gangster movie, again with a good score. Another music-themed movie was This World Won’t Break it was good to meet Josh David Jordan, the Writer/Director and Greg Schroeder the Actor/Musician who played the main character.  One of the strangest events of the festival though was the concert in the CCA, the Glasgow Percussion Collective Plays Bjork, 3 guys playing various percussion instruments, a Double Bass, and the talented Rachel Lightbody providing the vocals, a weird combination for a film festival, but good nonetheless.  This is another event I think will be added to my rota of annual events.

Film Festival

Following the Film Festival it was straight into Aye Write, Glasgow’s Literary Festival, I managed one attend one event before the festival was cancelled due to Coronavirus, however, I enjoyed my one night with the authors and look forward to next year.

Aye Write

I had many things planned for April, May and June, including foreign travel, a return trip to Orkney, and a couple of street art festivals, all now cancelled or put on hold.

One positive of the lockdown was the time to sort out my collection of photographs from my many travels of the last few years, during which I discovered that I hadn’t posted the photographs of the street art I discovered during my trip to South East Asia last year, I will pop them up online soon.

A Musical Month

I had a musical month in January with the 27th outing of Glasgow’s winter music festival, Celtic Connections. My volunteering role as an Artist Liaison meant that I met many great artists from near and far, heard some fabulous music, and met friends old and new amongst the many other volunteers at the festival, at many of the great venues around the city. A few of my favourites being the MacKintosh Church, St Luke’s and the Old Fruitmarket.

The 18 days of music and events brightened up the dark January nights for me with a great mixture of concerts, late-night sessions and even The National Whisky Festival at SWG3 where good food and whisky were to be found with loads of great food, especially that offered up at Julie’s Kopitiam at the Acid Bar

Americana was high on my list of favourite acts with concerts by Anais Mitchell and The Bonny Light Horseman at St Luke’s and the Old Fruitmarket, Frazey Ford, with support from Edinburgh’s Adam Holmes & the Embers.  One of my first concerts this year was with the Canadian Duo Cam Penner and Jon Wood at the Strathclyde Suite with the London based all-girl Bluegrass band, the Midnight Skyracer.

After listening to so much of it, I have starting to enjoy Traditional Scottish Folk music from bands such as the ever-popular  Ímar, who more than satisfied a capacity audience at the City Halls, Rura, The Ciaran Ryan Band, and many new and up and coming musicians such as Hannah Rarity, a new album was launched on the night by  Chris Gray at Oran Mor. 2019’s Danny Kyle Winners, young talented multi-instrumentalist Malin Lewis the ever-popular (and busy) Sam Mabbet from The Canny Band and Luc McNally showcased new work while supporting Miller, MacDonald & Cormier.

The Finnish ‘Nordgrass’ band Frigg supplied an interesting mix of Nordic tradition and American bluegrass in their music, theirs was a sell-out at the City Halls and judged by their CD sales on the night, were extremely popular.  The concerts are hugely popular with a mix of old oldies and the young, they make for a great fun night out.

The Roaming Roots Revue in the Old Fruitmarket saw a full house (following a full house the previous night at the Royal Concert Hall) being presented with ‘Born To Run’, a 70th-birthday tribute to The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, this was a fantastic night with Roddy Hart And The Lonesome Fire’s house band supporting guest singers such as Lisa Hannigan, Karine Polwart, Craig Finn, Jonathan Wilson, Ryan Bingham, The Rails and Glasgows own Phil Campbell.

I even managed to take in a little bit of soul with the fantastic J.P. Bimeni and his backing band, The Black Belts, who set Oran Mor on fire with a similar tremendous soul-filled set, it was one of the best shows I have seen in a long time, and as another volunteer said: “That guy is a superstar, why have I never heard of him before?”

As usual, some street art appeared through the month with the St Luke’s and the Winged Ox mural by SMUG, and me finding a mural in tribute to late Frightened Rabbit singer Scott Hutchison by Alex Coyle, in Allison Street in the southside of Glasgow. Alex stated that he wished to raise some awareness for the charity Tiny Changes set up in Scott’s name following his death.

Also new this month is EJEK‘s latest in a series of pieces at the entrance of Ad Lib on Hope street, this time it’s a fine portrait of Aretha Franklin, it certainly is worth popping frequently as the mural at the door is changed by him on a regular basis.

Yardworks – The Arches

I recently took a trip down to see how the Arches Project at SWG3, was coming along, it was a really sunny day and it was good to meet up with Gaz, Dan, Barry, Smug, and the rest of guys working away. As usual, I took plenty of photographs, some from the narrow pavement beside the arches and some from across the Expressway.

Some pieces are completed, however many of the pieces are still to be finished and there are a couple of arches yet to be started. Most artists were assigned one arch, but Smug and the Cobolt Collective were each given 2, looking at what has been done to date on them they are making full use of the expanded space.

I was highly impressed with the work so far, but as I’m getting ready to disappear for a wee while, I’ll just have to wait to see the finished articles on my return.

Arch Project

I took a trip to SWG3 today to see how Yardwork’s Arch Project is progressing, it was really great to see a new piece by Inkie, the London based painter and street artist, originally from Bristol.  much as I love Rogue-One’s masterpiece for this year’s Yardworks, I was a wee bit sad to see Inkie’s Glasgow Girls go, his piece on the Arch is almost a homage to the original.  New works from OhPanda, Sledone, and Voyder have been added during the week and add to Mark Worst’s beautiful unfinished artwork I photographed last week.

On the way there I stopped off to see the Cobolt Collective’s 20-metre high piece for this Year’s Open Doors at Brown Street near the Broomielaw,  This and the work completed last week at SWG3 with the Design Kids, a group of recently qualified design students, is up to the usual standard expected from the Cobolt crew, I really love their style.

Back in Glasgow

When I returned from Berlin I had to return to my old employer for a few days, so I was unable to get the blog and site updated.  Whilst out and about on Saturday, I popped into SWG3 for a coffee and spotted the Cobolt Collective passing on their skills to a bunch of design kids fresh out of Uni and a couple of new pieces, one that stuck out was one by Mark Worst on the first of the Arches facing the expressway, I’m not sure if he has finished it yet, but it does look impressive and up to his usual standard.  Whilst going into the city, I stopped on Cathcart Road to see a nice wee mural on the back wall of the Hampden Bowling Club pavilion commemorating a Scottish defeat of England at Hampden Park on March 11th 1882, Scotland won that match 5-1.

I have now updated the pages and they can be seen here,  Travel Blog and Street Art  I have yet to upload all of the images I took whilst I was away.

Berlin Day 2

I had a leisurely stroll into town for breakfast before heading to the meeting place for the street art walking tour I was going on, on the way I decided to go on one of the bike tours of the city, so I booked a 3hr one for Saturday morning.  The street art tour was very good and the workshop which followed was great fun, we got a chance to create our own stencil then used a few different techniques to create our own piece of ‘art’, our guide Alex was very knowledgeable and entertaining.  In the evening I visited the East Side Gallery where there is a graffiti painted stretch of the wall,  usual I took a great many photographs, these and more details of my day will be found on the relevant sections later.

At the Crossroads

I’ve just come back from a visit to the Barn at The Crossroads in Abbotsford Place in the Gorbals, I went primarily to see a new mural by, what appears to be their artist in residence, EJEK. Ably supported and assisted by some of the youths who attend the centre, Danny has created a great mural which reflects the organisations’ aims and objectives, that “everyone should have the right to live gloriously”.  Nick, one of the Youth Workers, also displayed a talent with the can by adding some mission statements on a nearby wall.

The Barn is a wonderful space in the Gorbals and Laurieston area of the city, originally built by Crossroads Youth & Community Association, and the local people as a response to the lack of facilities and opportunities for young people in what was one of Glasgow’s most deprived neighbourhoods.

The dedicated staff and volunteers at the centre work hard to deliver a vibrant, fun, and effective programme of youth work aimed at developing a range of competencies and capabilities to help young people be successful members of their community.

As I had photographed and documented, the many murals, also created by Danny and the young people around the centre and the surrounding area, in a previous posting on the site (My Mural Trail #4), it was good to see this new piece, sponsored by Sustrans, the cycling charity, I really liked the fabby bike rack/planters in front of the mural.  The Barn is becoming the place to visit to see really good street art and murals in the South Side of the city, some of you may remember the wonderful tribute to Marvel’s Stan Lee EJEK created there last year, all of the art is outdoors and visible to the passing public.