Glasgow West End: West End Festival, The Mela, Ten Writers Telling Lies, Galleries and Gardens

 We’ve not had the best summer weather but we’ve made the most of those good days.

The West End Festival

ten writers group

The West End Festival was fabulous even though we had no parade this year.  It got off to a flying start with a fantastic programme of events  – see the first and second week  . In particular I loved The Ideal Hut Show at the Botanics, Queen Margaret Drive Street Party and Kelvin at The Kibble.

Ten Writers Telling Lies

Best of all was our own project Ten Writers Telling Lies, each of the three events went very well and thanks to everyone who came along. We were delighted that some people enjoyed themselves so much that they returned for second helpings. We were knocked out to get a write up in the Wild Man of Blues, Dave Arcari’s blog:

The cafe is a nice space for an event like this and there’s a good crowd in. Jim has collaborated with ten writers who’ve written pieces inspired by songs they’ve collaborated on – the evening starts with five of these writers reading their work. Now if anyone had told me I’d enjoy spoken word/poetry/prose I’d have said a big ‘no chance’…but I found myself being drawn into each section and really enjoying it. I guess I never really entertained the idea of listening rather than reading, but why not? Especially when it’s the writers themselves delivering their work. It was enlightening and inspiring.

Looks like we are hitting the spot with our aim of attracting people who wouldn’t usually go along to this type of gig.

It’s now onwards and upwards as we move into the next phase –producing  the book and CD – watch out for us appearing at various festivals and events.  You can keep up to date on Ten Writers Telling Lies on Facebook


Galleries and Gardens

Glasgow has seen some wonderful art exhibitions this Summer. Not least of all the  Summer Breeze Exhibition at The Thistle Gallery.  It runs until 4 September, so you’ve still got time to make your way along to this fantastic gallery in Park Road.

Another super exhibition can be seen at By Distinction, Byres Road – runs until the end of August.
Adrian Wiszniewski’s solo show – The Craft.

We had fun when we went along with Jim’s dad, Jimmy to see his grandson Sean’s and other Glasgow Art School Fine Art students who participated in the 25% exhibition at the Laurieston Arches

Another two exhibitions that I really enjoyed were the Kelvin College Degree Show and the Glasgow School of Art Degree Show  Check these out plus other exhibitions at What’s On in Glasgow: Art and Exhibitions.


coach house jim

I had a laugh when I shared some coffee and great home baking with Catherine, Jack, Hans and Malcolm  at Kew Terrace Private Gardens and it was another great year at Wilton Street Garden Fete.  Scottish Gardens Open Day at Glasgow Botanic Gardens was also worth a visit.

Jim played some music at The Coach House Trust Open Day – there was a bit of a delay as the pouring rain created some concerns about the equipment problems at the open air gig but eventually the show did go on.

Books, Writing and Launches

james kelman signing

Jim also performed at the launch of the Sometimes I Radiate Booklet featuring writers from Langside, Glasgow in The Ivory. I enjoyed running into some of the Venditozzi girls, Margaret and Donna O’Neill, whom I hadn’t seen for decades. The event was organised by Linda Jackson, who hosted another very successful event at St Louis, Partick, where Brian Whittingham and Finola Scott also performed.  You can catch Brian at his Creative Writing Workshop on 20 September at Titan Crane, Clydebank

Pauline Lynch – in conversation at Waterstones, Sauchehall St was fun. Always a pleasure to hear her talking about her debut novel, Armadillos, and she must have been pleased at the long queue of people wanting their books signed.

I was back in the shop for the launch of James Kelman’s The Dirt Road – what a sensational writer and fascinating to hear him discuss his life and his writing. 

I’d like to thank all the talented writers who contributed to  Sad and Happy Summer Stories and Poems by Glasgow Writers
I was inspired to contribute a piece of writing A Glasgow Graduate from Syria when my friend Issi and I met a young graduate celebrating with his family in Smug Cafe.

Stuart Cosgrove is my latest addition to Glasgow Writers. Ryan and I had a smashing chat with Stuart, when we went along to meet him at the BBC at Pacific Quay.  His books Detroit67 – the year that changed soul and  Young Soul Rebels: A personal history of Northern Soul are both well worth a read.

Catching Up With Friends and Dining Out

doreen pat frances

I had a lovely lunch in Hotel du Vin, One Devonshire with Sylvia Rossi and met Gillian Mayes one sunny day, when we dined  al fresco at Project Cafe in Renfrew Street and I’ve been enjoying sitting with Katrina in her beautiful garden and meeting the new dog, Sunny. There was a lot of lowdown to be shared when I caught up with Margaret Brady and Rosemary Venditozzi for coffee in Cresswell Lane and what a laugh Frances and I had with Doreen in Avenue G, when she was home from Aberdeen. I’ve also been popping into Eusebi (I hear they’re about to launch a new menu) with my writing buddies after class at University of Glasgow, Centre for Open Studies. 

You should check out the restaurant and the new Autumn courses at the Uni.vinyard

New Places To Eat In The West End

Some new places that I’ve visited include Fika – the Scandinavian style coffee shop and community space in Keith Street, Partick. Lovely and spacious and very relaxing. Rhys, one of the owners was very civil and welcoming. I didn’t recognise his Welsh accent and took him for a Viking.

I also popped into Elena’s, the Spanish Tapas restaurant in Yorkhill – it looks lovely so must try it out soon.

The Vinyard28 in Viniecombe is proving to be very popular and the newly pedestrianised area is a very welcome spot to stop of for a rest.

Glasgow West End Shops

There’s been a lot of changes In Glasgow’s West End on the shopping front.

Pink Poodle, Vintage Guru and  Glorious have all moved or disappeared from around Byres Road.  Sadly, Vintage Guru has gone for good (or at least for the time being) – however, watch out for Colonel Mustard, a traditional takeaway selling build- yourself-sandwiches, homemade soup and ice cream etc – opening on 23 August. The official opening of Colonel Mustard.

Pink Poodle has now moved to De Courcy’s, Cresswell Lane and Glorious has moved from Ruthven Lane – this great vintage/retro shop can be found on Great Western Road at Kelvinbridge

New shops that I’ve stumbled across include Tantrum Doughnuts – a speciality doughnut shop doing a brisk trade in Old Dumbarton Road, Yorkhill.  On the same stretch you will find the lovely gallery and gift shop, Who Art Thou

Watch out for the expansion of Blair and Sheridan Great Western Road’s amazing jewellers.

You can find updates on all our favourite shops on the website, including Nancy Smillie, Nancy Smillie Jewellery Studio, Stevensons Jeweller, Shona Fidgett, The Thistle Gallery, Allan’s Art, Janet and JohnCassiopeia Gift Boutique Plus more,  at Best in the West

Summer Trips
buncrana summer


We’ve not had a holiday so far this year but I have managed to fit in two short trips.  I had a lovely time in Co Donegal when I went to visit my Irish cousins. I never tire of the craic nor the lovely countryside. I also caught up with my friend Nina Quigley, you can read some of her writing on the website.  Her poem ‘Summering’ perfectly captures that feeling you have after a hot day on the strand.


John, Ryan and I went to Dunoon last week for a few days.  It was great to meet up with my great-nieces Ashlyn and Kayla and we had fun at the Riverside Pool. They even coaxed me onto the flume.  John was very patient teaching Ryan the art of casting, we had lovely fish and chips at Anselmo’s, a delicious Italian meal at Rio’s, enjoyed a browse in the quirky wee museum and we did a lot of walking in the rain.

Some Great Glasgow Events

The Mela in Kelvingrove Park was fantastic. Colourful and vibrant – I was delighted to hook up with Ann and Sonny and we were well entertained by the Bhangra performers at Kelvingrove Bandstand. No doubt about it  – Sonny has some fantastic dance moves.

merchant city festival

Merchant City Festival

The festival was as pleasurable as ever and we particularly enjoyed watching Howlin’ Radio perform at Brunswick Street Live, where we met up with some old friends Dochan MacMillan, Meg Curran and Annemarie McGregor. I also picked up some fabulous goodies from the many stalls.

homeless world cup
The Homeless World Cup

This event was an absolute triumph for the city. I went along to George Square just to lend a bit of support and stayed for ages, it was so exciting. The attendance was impressive and the players were sensational.

I was back in the square for the Independence Rally and I think it’s fair to say that the issue has not gone away.
indy ref 2 girls

Back to School

The children have now returned to school. Ryan has gone into first year at the big school and Erin and Sian have just started primary. We enjoyed all their visits during the holidays; the O’Neills and McIlaneys came to see us and Caitlin and Ryan popped up before setting off for Cyprus. Gail also brought Tai up to see me. We thought he might like Ryan’s wee cars and he got so excited he had his first crawl.


Paul Rutherford – Personal Trainer

Apart from all entertaining guests and days indulging in dining out, I have decided to try to get fit and Paul Rutherford, Personal Trainer has proved to be the perfect inspiration. He’s been providing me with great advice and motivation. I can thoroughly recommend him – after only a few weeks, I feel better already.  Keep up to date with my progress.

kelviin hall

Revamped Kelvin Hall

I’m working my way up to a game of table tennis at the newly refurbished Kelvin Hall. I popped in for a sneak peep prior to its opening and it is fantastic. Opens on 22nd August, 2016. You can also see some exhibits from  The Hunterian.

calum maclean

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The Kelvin Hotel


Visiting Glasgow? Check in at  The Kelvin Hotel at the heart of the real West End

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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.

One response to “Glasgow West End: West End Festival, The Mela, Ten Writers Telling Lies, Galleries and Gardens”

  1. Mary Irvine says:

    You are a busy lady, Pat! Just wish I could get to more events. Glasgow is such a culturally vibrant city!

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