Blossom and Festival Time in Glasgow
Summer seems a bit reluctant to arrive and we’ve not had too many good days. However, the city has been looking fabulous just the same with all the blossom and tulips. Anyway, I can’t complain as my holiday season started early: last month I spent a couple of weeks in Canada with my sister, Catherine, and her family and now I’m off to Nerja with my son, John, and grandson, Ryan. We usually just have a long week-end somewhere in Scotland and we’ve had great trips to Rothesay and Portpatrick but this time we’re off to sunny Spain. I’ve never been to Nerja but I hear it’s lovely – Val came along for dinner last week and gave me all the low down.
Festivals in Glasgow
I’ll be back in good time for the West End Festival, now in it’s 20th year and looking more amazing than ever. You can see some of highlights on the website including the Mardi Gras Parade on Sunday 7th June.
Another event not to be missed is the Gibson Street Gala on the Sunday 31st May. A perfect lead up to the West End Festival.
Also don’t miss Queen Margaret Drive Street Festival – 21st June
When I was in Canada I missed some of the Aye Write Glasgow’s Book Festival. Before I left I enjoyed a chat about the event over a coffee at The Mitchell, with festival programmer, Bob McDevitt. This was Bob’s first year in charge and what a great job he did. Fortunately, some of my writer buddies, Maggie Graham, Mary Irvine and Ciara MacLaverty, were more than willing to go along to some events and write reviews. I also caught up with Maggie and Ciara when I went along to see Sara Baume and Margaret Montgomery.
Coffee with the Writers
Ciara also sent me one of her poems Past Love in The Transport Museum and kindly gave me a lift when we went along to The Hidden Lane Cafe for the Hobsbaum Writer’s Workshop. Maggie and I also had a good catch up in Nardini’s Byres Road, where we bumped into more Glasgow Writers – Laura Marney , invariably in the best of form, and Maggie MacRitchie, the writer and actor.
Mary Irvine has also been keeping busy, we caught up over coffee in the University Cafe, where she talked about her friend, and writer, Margaret Harrison 1918 -2015, whose work she’s been researching.
I had a super night out at another University of Glasgow, Centre for Open Studies event, A Tribute to Margaret Atwood – check out some more events coming up this summer.
Dining Out in Glasgow
When I met up with my friend Margaret for lunch in Booly Mardy’s I also ran into Avril Paton – sadly with a group of friends meeting to console each other over the death of the well known West End artist,Rita McGurn.
Issi and I met for lunch at St Louis at Thornwood – we fairly enjoyed the Thai fishcakes and goats cheese bruchetta. It was also fascinating hearing all about Issi’s latest project The Whiteinch Bike Club. Before this summer is over I hope to join them.
Gillian, Jackie and I had a very convivial chat in Tribeca, the American Diner, which has been in Partick for years now and has a new place in Park Road. The sharing platters are very tasty – particularly the home made spicy sausage.
I’ve always loved Cafe Gandolfi and Frances and I had a lovely lunch in the upstairs bar when we went along to Literary Lunchtimes. Afterwards we had a stroll around the Merchant City and down to Trongate; I never quite see the latter as part of the MC, but it’s a fascinating area and getting better all the time. I picked up some treats from the deli/cafe Rose and Grants and we also had fun browsing in the retro and vintage shops around Parnie Street and King Street. I bought Jim a lovely forest green hat. Same colour as our car. 🙂
Some Special Outings
We’ve had a few very enjoyable outings lately. Including a drive up to Drymen with Ryan. The plan didn’t exactly work out quite right as it had been our intention to see Phil Sakerski’s The Flatt River Band, but I’d got the date wrong. That was disappointing but nonetheless we had some tasty sandwiches and soup in the venue – The Drymen Potter and Ryan and Jim had a game of football on the village pitch. We’ll catch the band another time.
Ryan and I also went along to the Hollywood Bowl at Springfield Quay with the Robertsons and Jim’s dad, Jimmy. Ryan was champion of the first set and Sean won the second game. He’s on a winning streak as he’s just been accepted into Glasgow School of Art. Well done, Sean.
We had another treat in store when we went along to The Hydro to the Disney on Ice Magical Ice Festival. I was a bit apprehensive when I saw all the wee tots in their ‘Frozen’ outfits but Gail, Caitlin, Ryan and I had a super time. It was a spectacular show and Ryan was delighted to spot Leigh Griffiths, the football player, so Gran got sent to ask for an autograph. Need to tell Ryan to treasure that as I see Leigh has just been picked for Scotland.
Jim and I also had a wee day out by ourselves recently at The Burrell Collection. We’ve not been there for a few years and it really is quite wonderful. It’s easy to forgot how astonishing and varied the collection is. Glasgow is so lucky with its Galleries and Museums. We’re never going to get tired of them.
I spent a very pleasant afternoon in another beautiful place. The home of Malcolm Lochhead, textile artist and designer. Emeritus Professor of Visual Design, I’ve been trying to pin him down for a while and I’m delighted that at last I’ve added him to my list of West End Characters.
Jim’s been along to a few gigs with his buddy Graham but I’ve not caught to many musical events this past while. However, we had fun at St Louis watching Indigo Blue, with Linda Jaxson, Graham MacIntosh and Calum Imrie plus friends and family.
And we were back again the following Sunday for the Wee Literary Festival, where Graham Fulton was the main act. We also enjoyed listening to the other poets including Stephen Watt and Maria Venditozzi.
Jim provided the music and was delighted to sell some CDs. You can listen to his songs on www.songsbyjimbyrne.com
Thinking about gigs, I was a bit startled when I walked past the old Halt Bar last week. We had such great times there over the lifetime of many of Jim’s bands such as The Hemmingways, Loris and Dexter Slim and the Pickups. The bar has now been replaced by a very swanky restaurant/bar West On The Corner. A total transformation. I was with some of my writing group and we all stood outside in a bit of a forlorn state before we ambled off to the more familiar atmosphere of The Doublet. I may return once I’ve got over the shock.
Shops and Galleries
There seems to be loads happening in the West End with galleries popping up everywhere. Art Pistol is now established in De Courcy’s, Ashton Lane. They have Jody Kelly Solo Show running until 24th Mary.
Also watch out for Alison Cowan Landmarks Exhibition at Christos from 5 June to 3 July. You can check out the new Thistle Gallery, Park Road and other local galleries at West End Festival Art Trail
Also check out Allan’s Art at Janet and John
Have now added many new Scottish Designers to their list. Check out some of their fabulous handcrafted gifts and designs – upstairs in De Courcy’s.
The Hoodie Stop
Has expanded and is now right at the front of De Courcy’s with a fabulous new gift section Angel Box Gift Shop . Pop in and check out their great new lines for summer and treat yourself to some Scottish fudge.
You’ll find great furniture deals at The Nancy Smillie Shop , Cresswell Lane – including amazing tub chairs now reduced from £350 to £165. Also indulge yourself and pop into Nancy Smillie Jewellery Studio, 425 Gt Western Road. You’ll love the fabulous summer statement necklaces.
What’s New on the Website
Glasgow Shawfield Riot of 1725 – Wee Scotch Whisky Tales by Ian Mitchell
Have a great summer,
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