Getting back out again

With the weather turning brighter and lockdown being eased slightly, I decided to venture out last week with my camera to see if there was much happening on the street art scene.

My first stop was of course Yardworks at SWG3 where I was not disappointed, I discovered some new pieces by some of my favourite artists, Mark Worst, Rogue One, Chelsea Frew, Artisan Artworks, Conzo & Globel and Smug. This time around though there were some very good pieces by new, to me, artists such as Molly Hankinson, Lightbody107 and David Speed UK.

On the way home from the SWG3, I ventured further towards the East End stopping off at The Barra’s to see the Cobolt Collective’s new foot high mural inspired by Douglas Stuart’s winning novel Shuggie Bain, featuring the line from the book “You’ll not remember the city you were too wee, but there’s dancing. All kinds of dancing”. I then found a newish piece on the side of Barras Art and Design before heading to Dennistoun to capture Conzo & Global’s iconic Visit Dennistoun sign.

A short trip down Abercromby Steet then took me to the stunning and colourful mural by Mark Worst depicting St Thenue, the mother of Glasgow’s patron saint St Mungo, located on a gable at the bottom of the street.

Mark obviously studied the life of St Thenue before starting work on the mural, as he has added many features with strong East End connections. The shawl which St Thenue is wearing features 29 motifs in the fabric – in recognition of the nearby Templetons carpet factory disaster in 1889 when a wall collapsed onto a weaving shed killing 29 young women and girls.

Mark Worst – Abercromby Street

Crossing the river back to the South Side, I came across a nice mural by King Listy, incorporating drawings from the Govanhill Youth Club, representing the importance of the younger generation in the fight against racism. The mural is located at the new Govanhill People’s Pantry on on Carfin Street at Cathcart Road.

My next stop on the way home was at Lochleven Road at Battlefield Road, where a ‘Barrowlands’ themed mural has appeared on the side wall of the Common Ground Café, created by @scottishgraffitimurals, it certainly bring a bit of colour to the area. Just along the way at Battlefield Avenue is a mural tribute to the NHS on the side of the All Floors Carpet shop, I don’t know who painted that one.

That’s all I’ve got for today, during the weekend I was drawn to Shawlands where I took plenty of photographs, I will upload them later in the week.

What a difference a year makes

I was checking my emails this morning and noticed one from Google Maps which visually displayed the difference the pandemic has made to me, and no doubt many others.

My travels in 2019
My travels in 2020

I thought I was brave in 2020 to travel as far as Cumbernauld to buy some timber for my garden and the exotic trip to Barrhead was to the council rubbish trip, those were the highlights of my year.

My 2020

What a year we have all had, I’m sure you would agree.  From what I could read or see on TV reports, things in other parts of the world weren’t much different to what happened here in the UK.

I had planned to do a great deal of travelling again in 2020, I had trips to Spain, Germany, Austria, Turkey and Azerbaijan all cancelled and I was forced to stay at home. 

At the start of our lockdown in March, I began to have a daily walk in my local area, discovering parts I never realised were there. During these walks I decided to have a stab at a little project I had been planning to do, a few years ago I came across a little package with a collection of photographs of Clarkston, my home town, dating from around 1900-1910, so armed with my camera, I tried to take photographs of the same scenes today whilst out and about, this project grew to cover a few neighbouring areas and I ended up with almost 40 little videos, I’ve added a shortened YouTube version of the combined Clarkston ones.

Clarkston 1900 – 2020

From the legend supplied with the original photographs describing where each was taken, it made it relatively easy to find them, and the lack of traffic due to the lockdown meant that I could try to replicate the scenes, over 100 years after the originals were taken.  I then turned them into short video clips that I uploaded to a local Facebook page, they were popular enough that I started to get requests for shots of other parts of the town, this then expanded into other nearby neighbourhoods.  This was an interesting project that certainly kept me occupied during the early part of lockdown period.

Once the weather improved, I spent some time tidying the garden, doing jobs I had put off for years, once I had started, I really got to enjoy it and the place looks a bit better now.  One thing which became apparent during my gardening endeavours was the fact that my garden shed was in a poor state of repair and really needed replacing. 

I placed an order for a slightly larger one from a local supplier and started clearing out the ‘Glory Hole’ the old one had become, fortunately I was able to off-load the junk and cleared the site awaiting the arrival if a shiny new shed. 

I was determined that the new one would not become a dumping ground and that I would fit it out as a small workshop. With help from Graeme, we insulated the walls and roof, lined and painted the interior and fitted a couple of benches, where I installed tools I had for years but was unable to use to their best due to limited space.  I then became the local version of the ‘Repair Shop’ (a TV show on BBC), repairing bicycles, power tools, kitchen appliances and vacuum cleaners for my neighbours, and using my tools to build bits for the garden from timber reclaimed from the old shed.

The start of the wintery weather saw me start a new hobby, I decided to purchaser a CNC Router, which enabled me to combine my CAD skills with machining experience to produce parts whilst indoors, despite my previous experience it was a steep learning curve, but one I thoroughly enjoyed, it has been great fun making Doggie Fridge Magnets, Fairy Door, little gifts and ornaments for friends and family.

Once I felt I had mastered working carving wood, I decided to try my hand at working with acrylic to make some 3D effect LED lamps, I managed to source a good supply of material from a company in Ibrox (from their scrap bin) and eBay was able to supply the bases. Because it was around Christmas time, trees were top of the list followed by night lights for children.

A new addition to the lamps are 3 camera based ones, which I really like.

The Lumix one I created for my neighbour’s son Max, a talented filmmaker and photographer, his new YouTube channel is very impressive with some spectacular videos taken around Scotland, feel free to check it out.

Max Carnie – YouTube

Clarkston through a lens – Part 2

Following my earlier post of 6 images from the collection shown above, here are the final 6 photographs and their modern equivalents.

Image #7 “Railway Station, Clarkston”, this image shows Clarkston Station, looking eastwards towards East Kilbride, it is thought that the photograph was taken in 1910, around 40 years after the station first opened,

Image #8 “Sheddens, Clarkston”, This image shows a row of houses, mainly unchanged in today’s image, the only difference would possibly be the difficulty of children playing in the middle of the road nowadays.

Image #9 “Carolside Gardens, Clarkston”, again a view of houses largely unchanged, externally, over the years, I wonder if the same could be said of the interiors. It is interesting to note that the name Carolside Gardens is still referred to today.

Image #10 “Eaglesham Road, Clarkston” I must admit that I took today’s photograph of this scene quite a few times and I still think it could be bettered, perhaps another time.   I was sure that the original photograph had been taken from outside Friel’s Opticians at the corner of Eaglesham Road and Authur Street, but on examining the image closer, I now think that it was taken further along the road where the lane beside the Co-Op shops is now.

Image #11 “Eaglesham Road, Clarkston” Another view of Image Eaglesham Road, this time looking towards the Sheddens, very little change can be seen in this image, however, the road has been widened considerably and a great deal more houses have been built in the area.

Image #12 “Roodebloem Gardens, Clarkston”  This image shows a view of the terrace of houses on Busby Road running from near the railway station to the corner of Strawhill Road, again these houses are largely unchanged externally today.  The name Roodebloem is interesting though and appears nowhere today.  The only reference I can find to it is of an estate in South Africa, and a reference to a battle by the Royal Scots Grey’s there during the Boer War.  What the connection to Clarkston is intriguing, to say the least

That finishes off my exercise for a wee while, I may try to find out the South African Connection, or try and find some more old photographs to replicate in the future.

Clarkston through a lens – Part 1

A couple of years ago I came across a little package with a collection of photographs of my home town, Clarkston, dating from around 1900-1910.  During my daily exercise walk, I have tried to take photographs of the same scenes today.

From the legend supplied with the photographs describing where each was taken, it made it relatively easy to find them, and the lack of traffic due to the Coronavirus lockdown meant that I could try to replicate the scenes, over 100 years after the originals were taken.

Image #1 was described as “Eastwoodmains Road, Clarkston” this one was very easy to find and I’m sure the white building on the left is the O’Haras accounting business at the corner of Golf Road.  If you look closely you can see the 3 mullioned windows on that building as a recognisable feature.

Image #2 was the most problematic of the images, it was titled “Golf Course Clarkston”. I assumed that meant the Williamwood Golf Course on Clarkston Road, and due to the club being closed I was able to get onto the greens to try and find the location this image was taken from. I was unable to find the exact location and after further research, it looks likely that the image was taken on The Busby & Clarkston Golf Course which existed near the Eaglesham Road between 1897 and 1951. I have added a similar image from my visit to Williamwood Golf Course, which was a pleasant place to visit during the lockdown.

Image #3 titled “Birds Eye View of Clarkston” took me south towards what is known today as the Sheddens, after much searching I discovered that the image was more than likely to be taken from the steeple of Greenbank Parish Church looking towards Arthur Street.  Unable to access the steeple I manage to capture a reasonable representation of the image from the church grounds. The roof of the white house on the left is clearly visible on both images.

Image #4 “Busby Road and Clarkston and Eaglesham Road”, this area displayed the most change over the years. The original photograph, thought to date from around 1900, shows the Buck’s Head wine and spirit vaults” which later became the Buck’s Head Tea Rooms at what is known today as the Sheddens.  The name Sheddens comes from the Scots word “shed” meaning a parting or division.

Image #5 “Eastwoodmains Road, Clarkston”, this view looking north east towards Clakston Toll with the Clarkston Bowling & Tennis Club on the left, the view hasn’t changed much over the years, although most of the large trees have been removed.

Image #6 “Clarkston Road“, this view shows the building at the corner of, what is now named, Busby Road and Mearns Road at the Clarkston Toll shopping area.  The tenement building on the left remains, however, as can been seen, there has been significant change in the area around the toll, the large building on the right being the only one remaining.

That’s the first six of photographs from the collection, I will post the remaining six later.  As I said, I really had great fun with this project, it kept me busy and active during the Coronavirus Lockdown, one benefit of which meant that I was able to stand in the middle of the road for some of the shots.

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.

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.

North Norway – Completed

Since Jim & I returned from Norway, I have been busy volunteering at the LEN European Short Course Championships at Tollcross so I haven’t been able to devote much time to the blog, now that it’s over I have eventually worked my way through the many photographs we took during our time there.  Rather than starting a new page, I have appended them to the page for the first half of the voyage, the completed page can be seen here.

I took many photographs of the Northern Lights and the street art I found whilst we were away, I will add further pages at a later date.

Our Nordic Adventure

Many of you will know that my mate, Jim Lewars, and I have been on a Nordic Adventure cruising up the Norwegian coast on one of Hurtigruten’s postal boats, the MV Finnmarken.  This is a 12-day voyage along the Norwegian coast, spending 6 days travelling North, reaching Kirkenes before turning South for the return voyage to Bergen.

I have completed the journal, with photographs for the first stage of the trip, which can be seen here, the journal will be added to on completion of the return leg.