Glasgow is jumping right now because of the XX Commonwealth Games, but its not just sport that’s taken over the city. There are all kinds of events and attractions with things to look at and enjoy everywhere you look.
It’s a very sad day today in Glasgow as the iconic Glasgow School of Art, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh is burning in a huge fire believed to have started when a projector exploded in the basement and the resulting spark set alight some foam being used for an installation. Fire has ripped through the building, destroying work by students who were preparing for their end of year art show. It is believed that the library and archive have also been destroyed.
If you clicked on the link in my last post, you will have seen that a decision had been made to include the demolition of five tower blocks, known as the Red Road flats, as part of the opening ceremony. Following major protests, including petition of more than 17,000 signatures, the demolition has been cancelled.
To find out more about why the plans have been changed, follow this link.
The city of Glasgow will be hosting the Commonwealth Games this summer. The organisers have come up with a very unusual way to get the opening ceremony off with a bang. Read all about it here.
Would be very interested to hear your opinions on this. Is it a good or a bad way of showcasing Glasgow?
This statue of the Duke of Wellington sitting on his horse, Copenhagen, is a familiar sight in the city of Glasgow and is much photographed by tourists. It’s the fact that for the last thirty years, the Duke (and sometimes his horse too) has generally worn a traffic cone of one sort or another on his head that is the cause of all the interest in what is a fairly standard statue. Students on a drunken night out or protesters of one sort or another climb up and pop a cone on the statue’s head every time the Glasgow City Council removes it. The image of the statue with cone even features on postcards sold in the city
Now the Council has caused outrage by announcing that they are going to raise the plinth , at a cost of approximately £65,000, in an attempt to prevent people climbing up to crown the Duke with a cone. The announcement was made yesterday, 11th November 2013 and within hours a ‘Keep the Cone‘ campaign was started. A Facebook page of that name already has over 53,000 likes with more being added by the minute andTwitter was alive with tweets, some even from City Councillors.
Whilst it may not be particularly reverent to the late Duke, hero of the Battle of Waterloo, the cone has become part of the city and the sheer size of the ‘Keep the Cone’ campaign shows how strongly the citizens feel about it.
The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow is staging a retrospective to celebrate twenty years of Scottish artist Jack Vettriano’s career. Born in 1951 in Methil, Fife, he left school at sixteen. It wasn’t until a girlfriend gave him a set of watercolour paints for his twenty-first birthday that he started to take an interest in painting and taught himself how to paint in his spare time.
1989 saw him submit two paintings to the Royal Scottish Academy, both of which sold on the first day. From there his career has rocketed with exhibitions in Edinburgh, London, Hong Kong and New York. He has painted portraits of Zara Phillips and Sir Jackie Stewart and been commissioned for a series of paintings for the Monaco Yacht Club. He has also painted a series commissioned by Sir Terence Conran inspired by the life of Sir Malcolm Campbell and his world land-speed record-breaking car ‘Bluebird’. He was awarded the OBE in 2003 for services to the visual arts.
His work is hugely popular with ‘The Singing Butler’ perhaps his best known work. Famous collectors of his work include the actor Jack Nicholson and Sir Alex Ferguson. The art critics, however, have not been kind to him, with The Daily Telegraph describing him as the “Jeffrey Archer of the art world”. There are those who feel that his work is almost pornographic and the artist himself, in an interview in the Daily Mail, says that he is obsessed by sex: “I grew up in the Methil Docks in Fife. There was a particular hotel where the prostitutes used to work. I was always fascinated by them. I used to visit a sauna in Edinburgh too. I took photos of some of the girls who worked there and later did paintings of them.” He describes himself as melancholic and said that the press criticism has hurt him. Despite this, he is Scotland’s best known living artist.
One hundred of his paintings have been brought together for the retrospective including ‘The Singing Butler’, some of the ones from the Monaco Yacht Club and two from the ‘Bluebird’ series.
Joining a long line of people walking past the paintings, I find myself drawn to the works. Not knowing much about the artist apart from seeing ‘The Singing Butler’ on prints, posters etc, it was a delight to learn more about him through the video interviews playing in different spots and through the self-portraits. My personal favourite was a work called ‘Portrait in Black and Pearl’ painted in 2010. It depicts a woman wearing a black hat, with a grosgrain black ribbon around it, and a fur collar. The eye is drawn to the pearl earring she is wearing, glowing amongst the black. For those critics who have said that Vettriano is a ‘paint by numbers’ artist, I say try producing a work such as this.
The exhibition at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is on until Feb 23 2014 and costs £5 for adults and £3 for concessions.
It’s all happening in Glasgow as the annual Glasgow Fair gets underway.
Originally the fair was a time when people could bring goods to a market held in the precincts of Glasgow Cathedral, or bring livestock to be traded. The origins of the Fair can be traced back as far as the 12th Century.
In the 1800s, the Fair was moved to the much bigger area of Glasgow Green and gradually became a time when Glaswegians would take their summer holidays. The Glasgow Fair now extends over a fortnight. After the Second World War, it became traditional for factories and businesses to close so that workers could enjoy the holiday. Thousands would head for the coast either by train or on paddle steamers, a tradition that became known as going “doon the watter”.
These days, only the Monday is a local holiday. However the Fair Fortnight is a time of fun and frivolity in Scotland’s largest city with everything from life music, street theatre and continental markets to the fair itself on Glasgow Green with its scream-inducing rides, popcorn and candyfloss.
For information about events taking place, click here.
The Southside Fringe Festival will take place in over 20 local venues on the south side of Glasgow from the 10-26 May 2013.
The festival will cover everything from live music, to comedy to theatre and art exhibitions. For more information on events, venues and times, visit the website here, or follow on Facebook here.
This is a perfect opportunity to enjoy quality entertainment south of the River Clyde.
The very first thing I posted on this blog was a photograph of a building that reminded me of some of the Gaudi buildings I had seen on a visit to Barcelona. I have a habit of wandering around looking up at architecture which is not very smart as I need a walking stick to walk and there is always the likelihood of falling down the many potholes that litter the streets of Glasgow.However, you see some amazing things when you look up rather than at the pavement!
Having taken the photograph, I decided to find out a bit more about the building itself. It is situated in St Vincent Street, Glasgow and is a very narrow building. It was built from red sandstone in 1899 with lavish use of what was then a novelty, wrought iron and lots of glass. The architect was one James Salmon who was a contemporary of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
The building is ten stories high and has the strange cupola made of lead that you can see in the photo. Many people thougt it looked like a hat rack, so the building has been known as such ever since. Despite the narrowness of the building, the architect managed to squeeze in more than forty windows including a drum shaped stained glass window which has a sailing ship design.
The building was renovated in 1990 and is now an office block. I didn’t manage to go in but according to letting agent blurb, the lifts are still in the original wrought iron art nouveau style but presumably with up to date machinery.
The Willow Tea Rooms have been a tourist attraction in Glasgow for well over a hundred years. Designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the tea rooms are a part of Glasgow’s heritage. The current tenant is starting a campaign to try and raise funds to buy and restore the building. This is the article I wrote on the subject for Digital Journal.