Added on Monday 22 Jun 2009
It's been a hectic few weeks with lots of invites and outings and also been busy with the Glasgow West End Festival. I went along to the Opening Parade and Party with Ryan on Sunday 14th June, this year the parade went down Kelvin Way and the event was held in Kelvingrove Park. A lot less congested than Byres Road and we had a great time; we had a super view of the parade at the park gate the top of Kelvin Way and it was heartening to see so many local community groups involved so well done Michael Dale.
After the parade we headed into Kelvingrove Park and I have never seen it so busy. We had a leisurely stroll about and and enjoyed watching Bombskare on the main stage before moving down to our favourite spot at the swing park, where we had a little picnic. Then Ryan played and I sat back and relaxed in the sunshine. It was lovely to see so many people of all ages all out enjoying themselves together.
We then had a wee wander along to see Sub City entertain the crowd with their great sounds and we watched the dancers (children and adults) strut their funky stuff. Some of them more of a vision than others and I had a little chat with Rico from Sub City. The skies clouded over around 5 p.m. and we headed for the exit at the bottom of Kelvin Way, where Michael came and picked us up. Luckily there was no rain all day but not so far away in Dumbarton the skies opened and there were floods .
We really had a lovely day out and enjoyed the party atmosphere and I haven't heard too many disgruntled voices so all in all I think the switch from the Byres Road location has been considered a success. Although, Roy Beers was not convinced!
Lots of people have been singing the praises of The Lismore, where there was entertainment and a great atmosphere so maybe the local pubs should do their own thing on the day and contribute to the atmosphere.
We (Jim, Ryan and I) enjoyed Open Day at The Allotments on Saturday 13th, and spent the whole day there. En route to Kirklee we stopped off for a wee while at St Luke's Greek Cathedral to pick up some of the lovely baklava and other Greek delicacies on sale. I was delighted to spot my friend Costas Papamikial serving behind the counter and met up with him and his wife Jeana for a coffee in Tinderbox later in the week.
At the Allotment we helped entertain visitors by providing information and letting them have a look around our plot. We also enjoyed a wee wander around ourselves, admiring some very spectacular crops and for the first time we took a peep into the beehives - we were fascinated watching the beekeeper busy at work.
Last week-end I went along to Gibson Street Gala and then The Glasgow Mela with my brother John and his carer, Allan, both events were very enjoyable with lots of people watching opportunities. We thought the line dancing cowboys and cowgirls in Gibson Street were great fun and it added to the festival atmosphere when they got some of the children, and adults, in the crowd joining in. More dancing in the street would be no bad thing.
We enjoyed some tasty food at The Left Bank Barbecue, sticky chicken wraps and spicy noodles and chicken and pepper skewers. All we had to do was sat back, lick our lips and enjoyed the scene.
Local people really got into the party atmosphere for the occasion and we had a laugh with Sandy Welsh of Felix and Oscar and River City fame, who looked very fetching prancing around in costume selling fairy cakes.
There were some lovely stalls and along the river bank at Westbank Quadrant and lots going on in the GOW Triangle - the best back court in Glasgow.
The Mela is always a very colourful spectacle and this year was no different - lots of lovely bright saris on display and the Asian dancers were absolutely amazing. Not such a big crowd as at the Festival Party but seemed to be much more for people to do.
Also part of the West End Festival, The Folk, Blues and Beyond, acoustic festival has been going very well and watch out for some great gigs right up until the 28th June. We had a super time at The Aragon, with Issi, Maggs, Stephanie, Davie, Matthew and Ciaran, who came along to see Jim play. Also on the bill were Crawford Smith and Outi Karhula, arguably Glasgow's sweetest duo, who charmed the socks off the audience. Dochan MacMillan and his Ballachulish Hellhounds were also in fine form. Chris Rodgers, (Hercules Mandarin) who hosts the evening, also treated us to a few numbers.
The Free Candy Sessions at The Liquid Ship, which take place three times a week, are always enjoyable gigs and last Friday was no exception - on the bill were Jim, Ciaran Dorris, John Alexander and Patrick Monaghan and his band. The audience was very appreciative and attentive and we were in raptures when Patrick, who normally sticks to his role as soundman, got into full flight with his rock 'n' rolling blues. Nice to see Eva and Matts there and Julie and Tam also good to catch up with Paul Tasker from the Dog House Roses - just back from a great tour of Slovenia.
Another venue participating in the acoustic festival is The Hidden Lane Cafe. We had lunch there for John's birthday after a little jaunt down to The Tall Ship then we stayed on for the evening's entertainment. A lovely way to spend a day in Glasgow.
Partick Folk Festival was a great success and Mick West did a marvelous job pulling together some amazing performers. We went along to St Peter's Church Hall for the opening of the festival and had a great night listening to some Glasgow Vernacular entertainment from Peter Nardini and Adam McNaughtan accompanied by Finlay Allison. We laughed until our sides were sore.
Rallion will perform at Partick Folk Club on Friday 26th June, St Peter's Hall, Chancellor Street. Get yourself along you will love it. BYOB and enjoy some fine entertainment plus homemade soup. Could you ask for more?
We've been along to a few festivals apart from the West End Festival and enjoyed our trip down to Moniaive and also had a lovely time up at Mugdock Festival, Jim performed a couple of short spots at Mugdock so we had plenty of time to relax and enjoy the other acts. We were particularly pleased to catch John McCusker, Kris Drever, Heidi Talbot and Roddy Woomble perform some great songs. I particularly like Kris Drever singing Harvest Gypies.
Lately Jim has been lucky enough to have the opportunity to play with some very fine musicians and enjoyed his gig with Otis Gibbs at Glasgow Festival of Americana, when he was joined by Paul Baird, that much sought after guitarist. My friend Anne came along and also Margaret and Agnes so we all enjoyed a bit of a hoedown.
We also went through to the Edinburgh Folk Club, where Jim opened for Hans Theessink, who is the most incredible blues player and a very charming man. Jim's sister Anne came along with her friend Margaret and we all loved the show at The Pleasance. It was an absolute honour for Jim to play with such a talented musician as Hans and he was also delighted when Paddy Bort, who books the acts at the club, asked him back to perform again at both The Pleasance and The Wee Folk Club.
It's only been a year since Jim changed musical direction - doesn't seem possible as we've been so many new places and met some great people. We had a great time at the Moniaive is a lovely village and we'll be looking forward to visiting again as Jim has been asked to play at the Guitar Festival in August and also at The Marquee Club next February.
Mary Kathleen Burke of Celtic Music Radio did a great hosting the open mike at Moniaive and she looked a picture in her blue wellies. We caught up with her again, and also, Ciaran Dorris back in the West End at the Outside Broadcast at OranMor.
There was some excitement when Ciaran had Jim on his show at Celtic Music Radio the following week with a bit of a panic when he disappeared out of the building just as the show began. I could have warned you, Ciaran. Still all eventually went to plan and he also arrived back in one piece from Dorris Island.
We got together again in the West End with Paul, Andy and Stephanie and put the world to rights over a drink down in Byres Road. Then did this all over again back at Stephanie's when she threw a lovely little soiree at her place in Hyndland. Lots of interesting guests including the artist Richard Whincop and his partner Shirley from New Brunswick in Canada. The evening ended like all good Glasgow shindigs with a singsong in the kitchen.
Apart from all this world of music and festivals I've been having lots of wee jaunts around the West End and had a few trips along to the heart of Bohemia on my bicycle. I caught up with Nicola, the new manager at The Aragon, to find out all about her exciting plans for one of the West End's favourite bars. All soon to be revealed.
Afterwards I had a little look around James Ingles' lovely gallery (West End Gallery) just next door on 121 Byres Road. I'm not among the most knowledgeable of art lovers but I was very impressed by Jennifer Paley's work and there is currently an exhibition of her work at the gallery.
While in the area I popped into Pattison and Sim to catch up with David Howat but I had just missed him so I had a wee chinwag with the delightful Maureen Ferguson instead. I'm starting to feel very drawn back to the heart of the West End so interesting learning about what's happening in the world of estate agents.
These sunny days Ryan and I have been out and about a lot, along to the Botanics and down to Kelvingrove sampling the joys of various swing parks. We also had some fun at the Subway Festival and saw the snowboarders in Kelvingrove. On one of our excursions we enjoyed a very nice lunch in Sonny & Vitos en route and I enjoyed a wee chat with the charming Sally Howitt, who plays Scarlett Adams in River City. Ryan was quite taken with the idea that she was a 'lady on the tele'.
Ryan and I have been having lots of little outings and at his suggestion we went along to Kelvingrove to the Dr Who Exhibition, it wasn't exactly value for money as he was terrified so we whizzed past the Daleks and some very scary baddies in a matter of minutes. I should maybe have realized that the age group they were aiming at was not five year olds. However, we didn't have the same problem in the shop and I had a bit of coaxing to do to get him away from the merchandise.
On the way home we popped in to see Maxine in Handbags and Gladrags and I picked up a beautiful dusky pink summer top for a few pounds. Always the best place to find a bargain.
Another day I had a wee wander down Ruthven Lane and had a rare auld blether with Anna in Starry, Starry Night. She was setting up a rail of beautiful Victorian and Edwardian gowns for auction - absolutely exquisite. I also had a chat with Bethsy Gray, who continues to produce some of the loveliest designer jewellery in Glasgow.
Afterwards I picked up some goodies from Little Italy and had a wee chat with Paulo and James then cycled home through Hyndland, happy in the knowledge that there would be no cooking that evening.
I've also whiled away some time chatting with the man who has injected some pizzaz into Anniesland life, Mr Rossano McCulloch. I've known Rossano from way back when he ran his restaurant Trattoria Trevi along at Kelvinbridge and he now has Rossano's at Crow Road, Anniesland. The food is fabulous and it's great fun having a coffee with Rossano of an afternoon and listening to his mile a minute stories and being shown all the wonderful images he has of Italy. He almost had me heading straight home to book a holiday on the Amalfi Coast - still haven't given up on that idea.
On the opposite side of Great Western Road, I caught up with Roy Beers at Ecco, David and Sandra Ianucci's restaurant on Crow Road, to find out all that he has been up to recently - you can read all about it in his Dining and Drinking Column. We had a rare auld chinwag over some tasty bruchetta and lots of cappuccino. Roy is very impressed by Allan Mawn's new restaurant Velvet Elvis' down in Partick, although, unfortunately we didn't hook up at the opening.
I had a very enjoyable evening at the opening party when I went along with my friend Kathy Sharp. It's great to see new places appearing when there is so much glood and doom around and going by the samples on the night - it's going to be a great success - the perfect place for some very special fish and chips. Right next door to Allan's other great eaterie 'Pinxto's, 562 Dumbarton Road.
Lots of familiar faces to be seen at the bash including Tom Shields and David Belcher from The Herald, Felonius Monk from Sunny Govan Radio, Robin Morton from Brel and very nice to see Colin Beattie from OranMor, whom I haven't ran into for ages and I also enjoyed a wee blether with Martin Gray.
I also managed along to Nasreen Aksi's new restaurant 'Tapaz International', which has replaced 'Spice of Life' down on Old Dumbarton Road at Yorkhill. I went along on my own but joined a lovely young woman and her family and we had a very nice time. Everything served was delicious and the restaurant looks lovely. Could be the perfect solution for a party where some prefer Asian food and some would rather opt for European.
The same evening I hopped in a taxi down to the Merchant City to meet Andy Quinn and catch Dinny performing. Very enjoyable and I love when she sings those tunes from the 60s like 'Girl Don't Come'. I was a tad too ambitious that evening as I also stopped off at The Lismore to try and see Milwaukee Dave in action but I was about three hours too late!
It was fun catching up with the huge Venditozzi clan at Luisa and BJ's Engagement Party - good luck to the happy twosome. I hope you manage to hang onto that fantastic flat up in Wilton Street. The view from the window is amazing.
We had another enjoyable excursion and chance to meet up with friends and family when we went down to Old Kilpatrick to The Ettrick, where my friend Ann Morgan and her sister Claire had organised an event to raise cash for The Butterfly Memorium Garden. It's a lovely idea, although, based on sad events as the garden is in memory of all those people who have lost their lives committing suicide by jumping off the Erskine Bridge.
Ann had asked Jim if he would write a song for the occasion and he was a bit worried about this task. The two of us tackled it together and I gave him a bit of a hand with the words as there is reference in the song to Hamish Murdoch, a close friend who jumped off the bridge. It's a lovely, sad and simple song.
There was tremendous support for the fundraising event and it was really a great night. Chris Barratt (the fabulous 'Pookah' and member of 'Brawth') came down from the West End to perform and David Rodgers came over from the South Side with his new Mandolin. All the Old Kilpatrick talent was also on display with Johnny Russell and Sharon in excellent form.
The villagers, including some of my brothers, cousins, nieces and friends, threw themselves into the occasion with great gusto. They all sang along to The Butterfly Song and Jamie and other percussionists then joined Jim and David on stage for the more upbeat numbers. Chris performed some of his own stuff, John Martyn's 'Over the Hill' and when he sang some Johnny Cash tunes the girls were not only jiving but a perfect handstand was performed by one dancer for the finale.
We also had a wee family get-together with the Byrnes when we went through to Edinburgh for Nicola's First Communion. Nice to catch up with everyone including the contingent up from Newcastle.
Should be another event before the summer is over so we will definitely be heading back to the Village. Also lots more great events coming up: I recently met Iain Hunter and Ciaran Dorris at Smug in Great George Street to hear all about the Folk Boat 09 on 17th July, when The Waverley sets sail down the river for a lovely sail and a fantastic show. A fundraiser to keep this historical ship on the Clyde. Don't miss it.
Apart from all this there's lots of new stuff on the site: