Today I meant to take a picture at the Hidden Gardens, where I spent a very pleasant afternoon reading articles, thinking about thesis corrections, drinking tea and eating tray bakes, but I managed to bring the camera but not the memory card so that plan was scuppered. So this evening I wandered down to the park and took a few pictures of blossom and daffs and things, but my favourite picture is of these doors along the road which runs round the park’s northern edge. There is a terrace of tenement flats which arc round the park, with doors set in groups of 3 and each group has doors of the same colour, it looks really lovely.
In other news, since changing my blog theme I have got tons more spam than before – I wouldn’t have thought the theme change would have made any difference, but it is really quite noticeably more. How very odd.
When I got home from work I took a quick walk in the park to the little pond to take some pictures. I thought I was going to show a picture of Mama Coot on her nest, but then the ducks started getting a bit frisky. Here’s one showing off to the laydeez.
We had a very pleasant afternoon this afternoon cementing our middle age by strolling round the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) property of Greenbank Gardens in Clarkston, about 6 miles from Glasgow City Centre. It was raining a bit when we got there but not torrentially so I took the risk and took pictures anyway – there’s a set on flickr here. The rain eventually (more or less) went away for a bit so we didn’t get drenched, and I was able to practise taking close-up pictures of plants. It was one of those places I thought it might be nice to take my pastels to sometime, seeing as flowers in gardens are pretty much the only thing I can draw!
The garden is quite formally laid out, but it managed to not feel as po-faced as some formal gardens can. They also sell excess plants from the garden, so it’s probably just as well we haven’t got a garden at the moment as I would probably have bankrupted us!
For this week’s Gallery (week 19), hosted as ever by Tara at Sticky Fingers, the theme is the legendary Rolf Harris-inspired catchphrase Can you tell what it is yet? This photo isn’t actually that difficult, but I enjoyed getting close up (and actually this is a much better picture than any of my pictures from a distance). Can you tell what it is yet?
I think the most surprising thing for me with this picture is how flimsy it looks. In case you can’t tell yet, it is a block of flats in the process of demolition. A lot of Glasgow’s high rises have been demolished already (I think the aim is to get rid of the majority of them and replace them with better housing). A couple of years ago I watched Stirlingfauld Place being demolished (flickr set here), and must admit that seeing the huge blocks levelled in just a few seconds was really quite a sight. I remember at the time musing on the idea of home, and how many memories those levelled walls must hold, if only they could talk. The flats in these photos are not far from where I work (I can see them from the entrance way to my office), near to Ibrox football stadium, and rather than being filled with dynamite and then blown up in a few seconds, these are being taken down bit by bit. I suspect this is because they are so close to the M77 motorway and a railway line (not to mention a petrol station) that blowing them up probably wouldn’t be a very good idea. There were originally three blocks, one is now no more, and this picture is from the second which is about half-way taken down now. They are such big old solid looking things that it was quite a surprise to me looking at this picture how flimsy and thin the walls and floors look – it almost looks like it was made of cardboard. It’s quite sobering to think that these funny cubicles were real homes, and how despite the many social problems associated with these high rises, for many people they were a step up and represented a real community. I wonder what tales this building could tell.
I’ve added a couple of pictures below to show a wider view.
After a few days of being miserable and not myself thanks to the evil tummy bug, I felt well enough today for HD and I to take a restorative walk round Queen’s Park. The sky was blue, it wasn’t particularly cold, and it was really good to get out for some fresh air, and I was pleased at how I managed (yesterday I went to the post office and back – probably less than 2 minutes walk from my flat – and had to lie down afterwards as it wiped me out!). I was also pleased to see *lots* of signs of spring – no leaves on the trees yet, but lots of crocuses, and the daffs will probably be in flower in the next week or so. At the pond we found plenty of frogspawn, and *millions* of frogs (I’ve put up a few other photos on my Glasgow photo blog, starting tomorrow for 3 days before the blog goes back into hibernation). I also took the chance to try out my new zoom lens and was really pleased with the result. Sorry about lowering the tone with this X-rated froggy action (“frogging”?)!
On the lower, bigger pond I was hoping to get some good photos of the two swans, but they were studiously ignoring both me and each other, and were also surrounded by the local thuggish seagulls. I did manage to capture a duck couple though – hopefully later in the year we’ll see lots of ducklings.
This final picture might seem a bit bizarre, but there’s a bit of a story behind it. Now I’m one of those people who usually really struggles to see shapes and forms in waves and mountain tops and things (you know, the ones which are supposed to look like a reclining woman or a lion poised to go in for the kill or whatever), but on our last walk through the park HD and I stumbled across this fallen tree and we both had the same thought at the same time.
It’s a hairy coo.
Seriously! Here’s a real-life one (handily pointing in the same direction) to compare.
Brrrr it’s cold! After a (rather graceful, for me) slide onto my backside earlier in the day – luckily just outside my flat, so I didn’t have too far to go to recover – I dug out my walking boots and headed into town to do a bit of shopping and (most importantly) visit the Celtic Connections box office. There was ice on the river, and I also noticed that Wellington, rather than sporting his usual traffic cone, was today wearing a much more appropriate and suitable scarf and bobble hat.
I’ve recently discovered the website of the North Kelvin Meadow Campaign. I don’t know if you remember we had our lovely little community garden near here where I used to add my food waste to the compost, but which was evicted and the land given over to developers last year. It looks like something similar is happening here, with the added ridiculousness of the locals being taken to court for the heinous crime of creating a wildflower meadow and growing their own veg. I’ve signed the petition and would encourage any of you to do the same (top of the left hand side bar).
I was a bit sad and subdued this morning, listening to a programme on Radio 4 about Shetland. I know I did the right thing not taking the job, the timing was all wrong, but an island life away from the rat-race is still a dream. But at least while I’m in the city I can try and support the green oases of calm we have here, while we still have them.
Today HD and I met up with some friends from York who are staying in Scotland for a couple of weeks to relax prior to the (very imminent) birth of their first baby. We met at the Gallery of Modern Art, which is currently the home of an exhibition called sh[OUT] which is of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex art (some of the art is sexually explicit but there’s nothing explicit at that link) as part of GoMA’s biannual social justice exhibition. There were bits of it that I enjoyed more than others (as with any exhibition) – some things I just thought “eh?”, other aspects of the exhibition were a bit pseudy, and others I liked more. Part of the exhibition wasMade in God’s Image which was a selection of art exploring the intersection of sexuality and religion, the bulk of this featured photos of members of the Metropolitan Community Church interpreting various Biblical stories (the link shows the photo of Ruth and Naomi). There was also a piece featuring a Bible, which was asking people to add their stories by writing in the Bible themselves (the point being that many LGBTI people feel they have been removed from the Bible, or at least from standard interpretations of it). Unfortunately (and I am amazed they didn’t see this coming, but anyway) all that happened was that the Bible ended up full of offensive graffiti, and so now the Bible is in a glass case and there are some blank pages next to it which are added to the Bible every so often. There was another bit with pages of the Bible torn out and screwed up, and a photo of a woman with pages of the Bible in her mouth and up her nose etc – have to say I found that gratuitous and offensive to be honest, I didn’t see its value as either art or as a statement on discrimination but it felt like it was being offensive for the sake of it. They also had a small amount of art from people from the Muslim community (though as they said in the blurb, the relatively small amount compared to Christian communities probably attests to the difficulty that many in other religious communities have in exploring and discussing sexuality). There was one set of photos, 3 I think, of a Muslim guy which related to his everyday life as a Muslim and as a gay man, which I found very moving in particular.
As we left the museum, there was a protest by a small group of Christians with banners and posters with Glasgow’s extended motto (“Let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of Thy Word and the praising of Thy Name”). I’m not sure if it was a one-off protest or if they are protesting there regularly for the duration of the exhibition, but it was the strangest juxtaposition – it reminded me very much of the Father Ted Down With This Sort of Thing protest, and (similarly to how I felt when I went to the service where Bishop Gene Robinson preached at St Mary’s Cathedral last year) the contrast between the humour and hurt and reality and creativity inside in the exhibition and the dour, joyless protest outside was really very striking – as one of our friends said, it was almost like it was an extension of the exhibition (and, probably more eloquently than any of the art, highlighted the exclusion and hatred that many people face as they try to face and live who they truly are). I don’t know – I think I understand why they are protesting (though I think they’re very wrong), but I just wish if they’re going to claim to represent the church and the Christian faith that they’d be less miserable and dour about it. Protesting against something you believe to be wrong is one thing, but to be so sour about it does the church no favours, and to be honest I think is counter-productive. Plus it’s probably doing more to publicise the exhibition than if they stayed at home and ignored it.
So, sh[OUT] – worth a look I’d say if you are in town, though I wouldn’t take children unless you (and they) are ready for a very frank conversation about birds & bees, birds & birds, bees & bees, etc. The main part of the exhibition is on till November, and the Made in God’s Image bit is on till 22nd August.
Our gig last night was to the O2 Academy in Glasgow to see Aussie band The Cat Empire, with support from Paprika Balcanicus. What a fantastic night that was! I’d seen Paprika Balkanicus before, they were one of my highlights from WOMAD last year, and HD had seen The Cat Empire at WOMAD a few years ago and introduced me to their music once we started going out, but I’d not seen them live before. I think the audience consisted of every single Aussie from within a 75 mile radius, plus us two! I kind of suspected that from the start, but the queue in the ladies confirmed it – what venue full of Brits would have such a chatty loo queue?!
Paprika Balkanicus are from Romania (violinist), Serbia (accordion & guitar) and Slovenia (bass), and play traditional Balkan music, very energetic and they had us all up dancing. They also joined TCE for the final song of their set (apart from the encores – which managed to include a bit of “Billie Jean” amongst all their other stuff). TCE are quite difficult to describe – think jazz, think brassy, think salsa, think reggae, add in a dash of prog rock occasionally, and then imagine a bunch of Aussies just out there having a great time playing really fun, infectious music. Actually we had one of their songs as our first dance at our wedding reception (possibly a clue that we’re not always the world’s most conventional couple: dancing to a song called “Miserere”!!!!) (it worked really well, the only problem from my perspective was that it is over 6 minutes long, which is an awful long time to be dancing with everyone looking at you!). Sadly they didn’t play that one, but they did play quite a few I recognised, as well as some of their new stuff.
Both bands definitely recommended if you ever get the chance. Though I was almost deaf by the end as TCE are very very very loud!
We went to the Dr Who exhibition at the Kelvingrove Museum on Friday, it was really fun. Unfortunately we managed to be walking to the Kelvingrove at exactly the same time as Glasgow’s heavens decided to open, and got utterly drenched – there was so much rain we just had to laugh, there was no way we wouldn’t get soaked!
The tardis marks the entrance to the exhibition, and I was amused to see a bride having her photos taken by it – they were obviously having their wedding reception at the museum, as later on I saw her and the groom emerging from one of the galleries (the one with Sir Roger the elephant) – I have to say I would *love* to see their wedding photos! (“Me by the Tardis” “Us below the Spitfire” “Us with Elvis” etc).
Anyway back to the exhibition. It’s pretty much all an exhibition of the more recent series – it featured costumes and props from the series featuring Christopher Ecclestone and David Tennant. I think I would have liked to have seen some stuff from earlier series as well, but apart from this touch screen thing where you could see the opening sequence from the Dr Who era of your choice (the one in this photo was from the Tom Baker era) and a poster which featured all the pre-Tennant Doctors, that was it. It took us about 3/4 hour to go through the whole thing, stopping to look and read some exhibits and not spending ages on others.
As well as costumes and models of some of the various baddies and other characters, there were also sections on how they create special effects and on the art and costume designs. I really enjoyed it I must say – it was very clear that the days of wobbly sets and low-budgets are now well and truly over! If you’re a fan I’d say definitely pay it a visit if you can (I think you can buy tickets on the day from the Kelvingrove shop, but probably best to book tickets in advance to make sure).
Once you get through the exhibition you find yourself in the shop, where they have a whole heap of Dr Who tat to buy. I was particularly amused by the inflatable daleks, who, well let’s just say certain bits were a bit flaccid! (I think some Dalek Viagra might be in order!).