Glasgow West End, Glasgow Festivals, Bicentenary at the Botanics, Art, Eating Out and Shopping

the west end vibe

Glasgow is a great city for festivals, no sooner has one finished that another one appears on the horizon . I had a fantastic time at both Glasgow Film Festival and Aye Write! Glasgow’s book festival.

Glasgow Film Festival 2017

lauren howes and bart simpson filmmakers

Bart Simpson and Lauren Hawes

I managed to see some very good films at  the festival including Handsome Devil, the gala event. I really loved this film about the unlikely friendship formed between two boys at an Irish boarding school – Handsome Devil, my review . Another film I enjoyed, also party set in Ireland was Celtic Soul, a documentary about another couple of pals, Eoin O’Callaghan and Canadian star Jay Baruchel. Both  fans of Celtic Football Club, the two of them make the journey from Canada to Ireland to look for Jay’s Irish roots before coming to Glasgow to catch their team play. The camaraderie between the two is well captured and this is what makes the film special.

One of the best things about the festival this year was the opportunity to meet some of the producers, directors and actors in an informal setting at breakfasts at Citizen M, the festival hub.  I was lucky enough to spend some time with Canadian Filmmakers, Lauren Hawes and Bart Simpson,  I met the very gregarious Paul Ireland and John Brumpton – John stars in Paul’s film Pawno, for me another highlight of the festival.  The darkly comedic film captures one day in the lives of  the locals of  Foolscray, a down at heel area of Melbourne.   My review of Pawno

Other films I saw at the festival included the ‘Berlin Syndrome,’ which was very scary, ‘Marija’, an absorbing film about the life of a young immigrant in Germany, Paul Verhoeven’s provocative film ‘Elle’  – with the fabulous Isabelle Hubert, ‘Rules Don’t Apply’ where Warren Beatty plays Howard Hughes with considerable relish.

‘Alankrita Shrivastava’s Lipstick Under My Burkha won the Audience Award

Keep up to date with my frequently updated What’s On in Glasgow Cinema watch out for new GFF Cinemasters Strand all year round at GFT

Aye Write 2017

home ground bookj

Aye Write was fabulous. It’s impossible to fit in all the events you’d like to see but those I caught were great.  In particular it was an absolute treat to attend Home Ground, new writing inspired by Glasgow’s Homeless World Cup. This anthology was a fantastic achievement by a whole team of writers, students, mentors and, of course, people who had experienced homelessness. 

Apart from the actual events, there’s a great atmosphere at The Mitchell Library, where there’s a good chance of seeing famous and well kent local faces.  I went to most events on my own but invariably ran into friends including, Donal McLaughlin, the musician, Jamie FlettZoe Strachan, Louise Welsh and Bob McDevitt, festival director.  

It’s always great to discover new writing and I  very much enjoyed events introducing debut writers – I was particularly impressed by Polly Black and Karl Geary, just finished reading his brilliant book Montpellier Place,

This year the festival spread out to include other venues including the Royal Concert Hall, and CCA, Sauchiehall Street, where I went along to hear J David Simons and Sara Sheridan give a very lively talk on  complex characters. 

I also enjoyed the Lions of Lisbon, celebrating the golden anniversary Celtic winning the European Cup. Prof Willey Maley, Paul Cuddihy and Martin McCardle were in good form but what I particularly enjoyed was hearing about the memories of the event from the audience.   It was also a pleasant surprise to run into my cousin Stephen McColgan and Eileen.

britt smith start signing

Britt Smith Start provided an injection of glamour, fun and the outrageous – and no-one can accuse her of taking herself seriously.   Cathi Unsworth and Martin Cathcart Froden provided very different incites into London Noir, which I went along to with my friend Anne.

It’s always a shame when this great festival draws to a close but keep your eyes open for upcoming Aye Write events at the Mitchell Library  including:  Jo Nesbo and Chris Brookmyre

Also lots of information about books launches and talks in Glasgow on my website.

I can thoroughly recommend Creative Conversations at University of Glasgow, watch out for the next programme of events at the fabulous University Chapel, Monday lunchtimes

Ten Writers Telling Lies

ftont cover ten writers telling lies

We are thrilled to finally have the book and CD for our own Ten Writers Telling Lies project in our hands. The launch will take place at Cottier’s Theatre  on Thursday 27 April. Hope to see some of you there.  However, if you can’t make the launch then watch out for details of other upcoming events on the website this includes 9 May at Scottish Writers Centre, CCA , Booked! West Dunbartonshire Book Festival on Saturday afternoon 13 May at Dalmuir Library and back at West End Festival in Waterstones Byres Road on 8 June.

Work In Progress

group bernard

I went along to the launch of Work In Progress anthology by thi wurd at STUC. It was a super night and great to see so many familiar faces including: Brian Hamill, Frankie Gault and Ciara MacLaverty.  Bernard MacLaverty was the special guest and it’s always a treat to hear him read hius work. Samina, Rani, Taro and I enjoyed a chat with him after the event.

Art in Glasgow

eric j coolen

Eric J Coolen

Glasgow is blessed with fabulous galleries and an everlasting, diverse range of exhibitions. Not least of all in my favourite local gallery, Thistle Gallery in Park Road, where you can currently see the exhibition A Tale of Two Cities : eleven Glasgow artists portray their city in oils, acrylics and photographs featuring the work of Cecilia Cardiff, Paul Kennedy, Kristina Dickson, Peter Nardini, Irene Gall, James Somerville Lindsay, Leanna Dawson, Stephen Murray, Michael Murison, Peter Murray and Andy Hurst. The exhibition runs until 23 April, 2017.

I’ll be going along to Kelvingrove to see Frank Quitely’s The Art of Comics – it looks brilliant and plenty of time to catch this one as it’s on until the 1 October, 2017

Alphonse Mucha: In Search of Beauty was absolutely amazing.

That West End Vibe

the west end vibe

Currently running until 7 May is Art for Heart Sake http:an art fundraiser with exhibits by over fifty Scottish artists at The Store Interiors, Anniesland.  Jim and I went along on Sunday and we were delighted to catch up with Lynn Howarth, one of the artists whose work is on show. Recently Lynn painted That West End Vibe based on one of Jim’s photographs from his favourite haunt at Kelvinbridge.  The print arrived today and it’s fabulous. Thanks, Lynn.

Before heading along to the exhibition at The Store, Jim and I visited Holmwood House on Glasgow South Side, a fantastic home designed by Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson – it’s described by the National Trust for Scotalnd as: ‘A classically inspired villa of outstanding artistic importance’.   It was an absolute treat and we’ll be going back during the summer to check out how the restoration work is progressing.

The Hunterian – The Art of Power

art of power

We intend catching The Art of Power, Masterpieces from The Bute Collection – fa abulous joint venture between The Hunterian and Mount Stewart House, Isle of Bute. I love the Hunterian and plenty of time to go also arrange a trip doon the watter as the exhibition  runs until  January 2018

Bicentenary at The Botanic Gardens

glasgow botanic gardens bicentenary 1817 2017

Recently I went along to see Ewen Davidson, Manager of Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens to hear all abut this year’s Bicentenary Celebrations.  There will be a big event on 20 May with .   The Kibble Palace also has a fabulous exhibition taking you on a walk back in time through the history of the Botanics.  Watch out for the piece of art by Allan Richardson, commissioned especially to mark the centenary.  

Bohemia Magical Secret Garden Fair

a delightful art fair

This fabulous arts and crafts fair will take place in The Kibble Palace at the Botanic Gardens on on 14 May, 2017 

Eating out in Glasgow

bungalow cafe poster

Can’t wait to try  The Bungalow Cafe, a new venture by Mother India, especailly the home made ice cream. Opening soon

I’ve enjoyed dining in quite a few of Glasgow West End’s cafes and restaurants. One of my favourite places is Eusebi in Park Road, where I meet up with writing friends every Tuesday evening. I also had a very enjoyable lunch and great catch up with Mick, one of our Ten Writers.
Watch out for their great lunch deals to take away.

I met up with Gillian to try out Glasgow new vegan and vegetarian restaurant The V & V Cafe on Great Western Road – delicious food ad lovely surroundings.  We had another lovely lunch at Dandy’s Deli in Clarkston, when we met up with Samina and Rani.

Little Italy is always hard to resist with their super tasty Italian fare – I enjoyed lunch their with Maggie Graham and Donal McLaughlin.

Tantrum Doughnuts at Yorkhill is quite a wicked attraction but surely every now and then  a crème brûlée doughnut is allowed – as a very special treat.

You can catch the Vegan Festival at Trades Hall 27 and 28 May, 2017 

Other events to watch out for:


Mayfesto at The Tron Theatre, 9 – 31 May, 2017 

May Day 2017 March from George Square to Kelvingrove Bandstand, 30 April, 11 a.m.

Russkaya Cappella’s Summer Concert, Hyndland Parish Church, 11 June, 2017

Shopping in Glasgow West End

No sooner is Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day behind us than we’re seeking out wedding, graduation and father’s day gifts. And, of course, there are always birthdays.  No point in trailing into town, fighting the crowds and paying a fortune for parking when there are so many fabulous independent shops on your doorstep.

Worth checking out are:

flower vase

Nancy Smillie, Janet and John, Stevenson Jewellers, Spirito Gifts, Blair and Sheridan and you can always shop online, including, for Mo McQuillan’s handcrafted silver jewellery and Shona Fidgett’s amazing designer jewellery.

New on the Website

Meet our new blogger Jane Sweeney– revealingl some of Glasgow’s Hidden Gems.

New addition to Glasgow Writers – Alistair Braidwood, who runs the fabulous website and podcasts at Scots Whay Hae!

Check out Sweet and Sharp Stories and Poems for Summer

Helen Rose walking in Lowther Hills

Cheer yourself up and find your voice with Community Singing at Woodlands Community Cafe 

Get involved in Kiltwalk – need to sign up now.

I’m off to Spain for a week – catch you when I get back. In the meantime don’t forget to check out What’s On and What’s New and get in touch if I can help you promote your business or event –both on my site and social media. 🙂  [email protected]

Jim's Photo Gallery March 2017: Glasgow University, Ayr beach, Lion and Unicorn Staircase, Park area
Last Open Mic at Rio Cafe with host Paul Ross, 30 March, 2017

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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