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.

Cowdenbeath revisited

I had an interesting day recently, I headed East to Knockhill Racing Circuit with my mate Jim to see the British Touring Car Championships, the weather was kind to us and we had a great day’s racing with loads of thrills and spills.

Like the last time we visited, we headed over to Cowdenbeath after the racing for a meal and to see latest mural by local artist Kerry Wilson. Her new work, in the square in the centre of the town, is opposite the one of the girl with the dandelion clock I photographed the last time we visited, this one is of a little boy playing with some Lego toys and again the scale of the piece and the quality of her artwork in the town is staggering.

I really enjoy visiting Cowdenbeath, as I mentioned the last time I visited, Kerry, assisted by the local school pupils, also produces some striking pieces of shutter art which really brightens up the High Street after the shops close, I have added some of them this time including a nice painting of a  boy at the entrance to the library.  I think I  may have to create a new section of the site devoted to shutter art as more and more of it is appearing these days.

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

Art on the streets once more

Now that things are starting to open up again and the weather has improved a bit, I got out with my camera to capture some of the newest artwork appearing on Glasgow’s wall, I was spoiled for choice.  My first stop was the Viceroy bar at the Paisley Road Toll where Rogue One has certainly brightened up the beer garden, there is even some room for his pets.

I then crossed the river to SWG3 a favourite location for Glasgow’s street art fans, again I wasn’t disappointed, especially with the opening of it’s new gallery “Yard Life”

Out and about on the street also threw up some new pieces, one from Frodrik in Sauchiehall Lane , near Rogue One’s Guitarist was particularly striking.  The Rebel Bear continues to entertain me, this time in the Candleriggs with his falling couple, on my way towards my bus I passed that famous Glasgow landmark where a Katie Smith has created a nice piece on their boarding, it’s just a shame that it is a temporary piece, once on thew southside I headed to the Rum Shack on Pollokshaws Road where I found another of the Southside’s BLM murals by King Listy, this time of the poet Benjamin Zephaniah. 

There won’t be much time for street art this month as I’m committed myself to volunteering at the EURO2020 being held at Hampden and the Fan Zone in Glasgow Green, once things quieten down I’ll share some photographs from the event.

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.

Norwegian Art

As promised, I’ve eventually put together a couple of pages showing the street art I found during my recent trip to Norway, they are just a couple of clicks away.

[Arctic Art]  –  [Urban Art in Bergen]

I have been informed that some people are finding it difficult to navigate through my website, so over the coming weeks, I’m going to redesign it to make things easier. I would welcome your comments and thoughts on what improvements you would like to see.

I would also like to update the Glasgow Street Art section of the site to make it more prominent, again I would welcome your thoughts.

Homeward Bound

Well, that’s me at the end of my trip to South East Asia, I’m currently in Bangkok airport waiting to board my flight home. I think the city wanted to say goodbye to me in a fitting manner, I drove to the airport during a massive thunderstorm and torrential rain.

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I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I’ve enjoyed myself immensely, more than I thought I would, however, it’s time to come home and spend a bit of time recharging my batteries before my next trip.

While I’m at home, I will update my site with all my stories and photographs of the trip, there have been many requests from my fellow travellers to see it, and too bring back so many memories.  During the last couple of days wandering the city, I did manage to find some street art, these are just off the top of the pile, there are much better pieces to follow.

Leaving Cambodia

I last posted when I arrived in Siem Reap, this final post from Cambodia is also coming from Siem Reap, as this is where I get my bus back to Bangkok tomorrow morning.  Since my last post, I’ve visited many places, we left Siem Reap for Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, I didn’t think much of the city, too busy and very messy, I did a 16 km trek searching for some non-existent street art, which gave me a new set of blisters!

Before leaving Phnom Penh, we visited the infamous Khmer Rouge prison, S21 and the nearby Killing Fields, which seemed strange to find it in a peaceful lakeside location, both of them were very sobering visits and gave me an insight into the terrible events of the Khmer Rouge regime. This certainly was a different part of Cambodian history that should be remembered and never repeated.

We then made our way South to Kampot, a sleepy little riverside town, we arrived in time to board a riverboat for a sunset cruise,  as usual we didn’t get to see a sunset but the cruise was very nice and relaxing.  Fortunately the next day was a free day, which gave me the chance to have a bit of a lie in before a leisurely breakfast.  Kampot is not too large, I wandered about to see what sights it had to offer. I eventually found some paint on walls in the town, most of it pretty basic , but there was a couple of really good pieces.Our final visit in the Kampot area was to the Kep Gardens on the outskirts of Kampot,  this was a great visit, it was to a community education project, set up and run by an elderly Australian couple, we were shown round by Janiine and we then spent the next few hours teaching English to 6 and 7 year old kids, it really was great fun, I don’t know who enjoyed it most, the kids or us, I was blown away by how clever some of the kids were and how well they responded to us.

Following our visit to Kampot, we returned Phnom Penh, as we had a bit of a late night, there were a few sore heads first thing, mine included, I had a wee wander around the area in the afternoon as I didn’t really like the city much, my second visit didn’t change my mind.  As I was leaving the group in the morning,  we all gathered for our final dinner together,  we chose Friends the Restaurant, a collective project restaurant where all the profits are returned to the community, it was a nice way to finish off our trip together.

As I said, I did however discover little pockets of good street art, only one or two in each place, but it was good to see that some are trying, despite the local government crackdown.

I was picked up in the morning and taken to the bus station, where Tra Tra and I boarded our Mekong Express Limousine coach to Siem Reap,  my final destination in Cambodia.  I’ve enjoyed my time here, it’s a country full of happy friendly people, despite the visible poverty, the only time we felt threatened was in Phnom Penh as we had been told there were bag snatchers about.  The countryside and history is fascinating, it really good to spend some time amongst the villagers and normal expletive not jus the ones in the tourist pots.

Bangkok to Chiang Mai

I have now left Bangkok on the next stage off my trip. I met up with the rest of our small group, and last night we took the night train to Chiang Mai in the North of Thailand.   The journey was interesting to say the least.

The train was very clean and efficiently run and shortly after we left Bangkok an attendant changed or seats into reasonably comfortable beds, however I didn’t get much sleep during the night.

Now that we are out of Bangkok and are in the more rural north, I hope to see more of the true Thailand.  I did discover that they quite like street art in Chiang Mai, but it was a bit unfortunate that I was too late to take a Bicycle Tour around it when we arrived, I did manage to find some during my walk around town though.

Bangkok

At the start of this year’s big trip, I arrived in Bangkok an was picked up and taken to my hotel, which is near the middle of the tourist area of Khaosan road. As expected it is very warm and humid.I expect to take plenty of photographs while here and I will only post one or two on the blog, leaving the rest for a dedicated page on the site later.I did find a little piece of street art outside my hotel, it has quite a simple style.