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Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Some Mean City: Just Another Saturday In The Capital Of The World

And so, another Saturday and another ~Streetlamp~ assault on the cultural spread of our favourite city (that's Glasgow in case you've not been paying attention).
We congregated in front of Monorail Music, just in time to see a seven foot Amazonian 'Tank Girl' arranging the outside clothes-rack in front of retro fashion emporium 'Mr Benn'. Griff remarked that his day was already complete and we needn't progress any further. But progress we did....we headed across to The Scotia, Glasgow's oldest pub for a little early afternoon sustenance. The Scotia is the very birthing pool of many of Glasgow's most noted Folk and Acoustic musicians, including Billy Connolly, Gerry Rafferty, Rab Noakes and Hamish Imlach. It's a place that regularly jigs and reels to mass Folk jams, but unfortunately it was too early in the day when we arrived but we've already agreed to go back one night.

Passing through the consumerist belt we headed up to the GoMA with the intention of catching Katy Dove's exhibition of short films, accompanied by the music of Katy's band, Muscles Of Joy. Before we headed up to see this we caught Karla Black's breathtaking Turner Prize nominated exhibition on the ground floor. This consisted of 16 TONNES of various sawdust arranged into a huge, yet fragile looking slab. All three of us resisted the temptation to jump into this massive and inviting looking spectacle. 

Then it was up to see Katy Dove's enchanting and hypnotic films. Griff has already proffered a full Blog on this exhibition which you can read here....
In the other galleries there was a running theme of 'life in the city'. This included a video installation by Emily Jacir that showed parallel life in New York and Ramallah. Simultaneously occurring images from a call centre, a food stall, a hairdressers and a public bar. We were really impressed by the way everything, right down to the lighting and positioning of the people in the dual shots matched each other.
By the time we left the GoMA, the blazing sunshine we arrived in had been replaced by pouring rain....

The rain clouds, so soon after the bright sunshine, bathed Glasgow in a surreal light that recalled the otherworldliness of Bertrand Tavernier's eerie Glasgow based Sci-fi 'Death Watch'; a film long unseen that's about to be re-issued....thank goodness!
We decided to head over to The Lighthouse, which meant walking through Buchannan Street. The street was filled, as usual, with awareness raising stalls, street entertainers and people peacefully protesting. Griff chatted a while to the people at the Refugee stall whom he had met up with at the rally a few Sundays ago. Ray and I shot the breeze with the guys on the Socialist Worker stand, whilst all around us people did football based acrobatics, and the guys from Anonymous walked about in their V For Vendetta masks....

Our main reason for visiting The Lighthouse was to stand in the viewing platform, from which you can look over the whole of Glasgow. On the way up the stairs we came across a small exhibition called Craig Johston's Apiological Network. This is an entire false world in which Scotland has developed a major industry based purely on the cultivation and manufacturing of honey. It included a bogus TV documentary which was very effective, and the whole thing had the feel of one of those early 1970s creepy TV series like 'The Changes' or 'The Stone Tape'. I found the whole project surprisingly woozy and moving, and it was one of my favourite things of the day.
National Apiological Network from Archiprix International on Vimeo.

Up on the viewing gantry we laughed in the face of Ray's vertigo as we gazed out over the rooftops of this mean city, the fractured filmy light rendering a chiaroscuro shimmer to the domes and steeples that spread out for miles. Looking over, we spotted that the adjacent MacKintosh Tower was even higher, so we sprinted up that to get an even better view of the metropolis. As we looked down onto the rooftops below us, Griff began enthusing over-verbosely about wanting to live in one of the shacks on the roofs, much to the amusement of the foreign tourists who were sharing the platform....
Back on the streets, we wandered through the Merchant City where the Yuppie Scum and affluent tourists attempted to dine alfresco as the Weegie Weather snarled unforgivingly at their indifferent arrogance. We in turn scoffed at one establishment's offer of soup-and-sandwich-combo for £5:00, whilst the aforementioned Scotia pub offered up a two course meal for £4:95!! Austere times my friends!
All this smell of food made us aware that we ourselves had not had lunch yet so we headed away from the overpriced nonsense, and found a small eatery unfortunately named MacDonalds (no!... not THAT one) where we ate heartily for a pittance. The cafe was just around the corner from Monorail Music so we decided to pop in for a scout around.
Whilst Griff and Ray just milled about the shop, I bought a few CDs including the new album by Laurel Halo which I was keen to hear (Griff: are you sure it wasn't because it had Japanese schoolgirls on the cover?).

We jumped in the car and headed for the South side of Glasgow. I shoved the Laurel Halo Cd in the car's music player and the glacial electronic ethereal music filled the car like perfumed nerve gas; a perfect accompaniment on this strangely lit afternoon as we headed down the unfamiliar streets South. A sudden abundance of Halal butchers and shops with signs in Arabic told us we had arrived, so we parked in front of the Tramway.
Ray has already posted a fine Blog detailing the main event we went to see at the Tramway; Antonia Hirsch's Komma, and you can read it here
The two charming female members of staff in charge of this section were impressed that we lasted the whole 16 minutes of the performance and chatted enthusiastically with us about the other exhibits that were on. We took in the installation 'Dissonance & Disturbance' by Lis Rhodes which included a short film called Dresden Dynamo, which is a 'film made without a camera'. This transpired as a strip of celluloid which had been defaced so that when it played through the projector you witnessed the animation effect coupled with the 'music' the film played as it ran. It made an ideal companion piece to Katy Dove's experimental films, and don't tell Griff And Ray this, but I actually preferred Lis's film to Katy's, especially when I realised the music was being created by the film itself.

After this, we took a stroll through the hidden gardens at the back of the building. Here we found a 'Wishing Tree' where people had hung their wishes from the branches. The rain had caused some of the wishes to dissolve, but we hoped that this was because they had been granted. The wishes veered between the moving and the avaricious; someone wished they could spend a little time with their Dad once again, others wished for world peace, some wished for extreme wealth and fame, and one or two wished they could marry Liam from One Direction! Crazy, I know....I don't know what Griff and Ray were thinking of!!

And that pretty much was that! As we said our 'goodbyes' we watched Griff head off through the back streets of the South Side, we aimed the car at the Kingston Bridge and 'Pastel Blue' by Sister Vanilla (another track from one of the CDs I purchased) patterned in the air as we left Glasgow on the M80 ramp and headed away from our favourite city....back to reality....another Saturday well spent....


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