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.

Busy Week Gone Past

I’ve had a busy few days recently, I took a trip to Edinburgh with my mate Jim, for a change of scene.  We watched some Fringe performers, had lunch and a couple of beers and took some photographs of the Oor Willie sculptures dotted around the city, we even popped down to the Ocean Terminal at Leith. Our visit to Leith reminded me that I promised to post some street art pictures I had taken there last year, they can be seen here.

This weekend I was volunteering at the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow Green, this is an event I enjoyed visiting in the past as a spectator so having the opportunity to be involved was much appreciated. I really enjoyed the weekend immensely, hearing some good music, met some great people and heard many tales of how some bands were formed, especially Malaysia’s Sri Dasmesh Sikh pipe band who won the Grade 4B championship in addition to the best for overall and drumming as well as displaying best parade, I had a chance to have a conversation with them and they were all a really nice bunch of guys and the story of how the band was formed was very interesting (their story). The premier award of World Champions of 2019 went to Inveraray and District Pipe Band.

 

Back in the city

Back in Glasgow after my recent travels, I noticed a couple of new pieces, 3 good looking portraits by James Klinge in Midland Street, a nice little piece in my favourite pub, The Raven by EJEK and a couple of Giant Pandas loose in the city, one on Sauchiehall Street and another on the hoarding next to the Safe Hands Barbers on Miller Street.

On the Town

I had a bit of a pub crawl on Friday, I had arranged to meet my son Graeme for lunch starting off with a pint in Brewdog’s Doghouse on Hutcheson St. Looking for something different for lunch we went round to Mikaku, Glasgow’s new Japanese Izakaya-style restaurant on Queen St. Lunch there was brilliant, the Ramen and Yaki Gyoza’s were excellent, all washed down with a nice pint of Asahi. The large Blade Runner styled mural by Rogue One along the main wall made it more enjoyable for me.

Graeme had to collect some records from Mono in King St., where I bumped into Nick, a friend from the Barn in the Gorbals, so we stayed a while for a beer with him. We were joined later by some of Nicks mates, including Conzo & Globel, (which reminded me that I hadn’t posted my wide angle shot of their Yardworks piece, you can see it above).

A good few pints later we decided to move onto the Scotia Bar on Stockwell St, this turned out to be a great choice, the beer was very good and we happened to be sitting next to a guy called Danny, Danny, a visiting American music teacher, who had his fiddle with him, was desperate to play some of his traditional music in Glasgow, we eventually convinced the staff there to let him play, we, and the punters in the pub, really enjoyed his playing and he was asked for more and more tunes. After a few too many beers and eventually after getting Danny on a train to Edinburgh, I drifted home after a really great day out with Graeme, I certainly felt a wee bit fragile in the morning.

 

A Quiet Time in the Sunshine

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been a wee bit quiet online lately, following the March for Men we completed on fathers day and my Fathers Day lunch at Drygate, I decided I had to spend some time in my much-neglected garden. The weather was in my favour and I managed to get quite a bit done before it became too hot to work in the sunshine.

I also had a brilliant day volunteering at the Glasgow Mela in Kelvingrove Park, this was a fabulous event, attended by over 40,000 people, luckily the weather was great, there was loads of great music and dance, plenty of good Indian Street food and I met a great and interesting bunch of people.

During this time I came across Oor Wullie’s Big Bucket Trail, which sees sculptures of Wullie, the iconic wee Scottish laddie sitting on his upturned bucket, dotted around the city begging out to be photographed, there are 58 of them in Glasgow and the West, from a total of 200 around Scotland.  Each of the sculptures has been designed by leading Scottish artists, and to date, I have managed to capture around 25 of them, they can be seen on a new page here, I’ll add more as I find them.