Thursday, 22 March 2012
Doors open day was on Sat and Sun last September.Various events are on and buildings that you normally don't get to see are open to the public once a year for a day.
I set off from my house to be bang on time for the start.I had a big list of buildings I wanted to see Inside between 10am and 4pm. First up were the three churches around St Vincent street.St Columba Gaelic Church of Scotland,The St Vincent Street Free Church and up on Bath Street Renfield St Stephen,s Parish Church. This is inside the Free Church with Alexander Thomson,s typical shells and sea frond details.Not showy but very powerful."You are King Neptune" it declares".Go out there and kick me some ass boy."
If you had to stand in front of this backdrop every Sunday you,d think the sermon given would have to be a roaring affair indeed .Its the Iconic film set of its day. That was certainly Thomson's intention as he was a religious man and no doubt liked to see habitual sinners squirm under the blow torch of a good preachers ire and hatred towards the evil lurking in our midst.All three of these churches visited are worth a look,each has a different style, and they have a statement effect on entry even for a dark soul like mine to feel but No room for more pictures alas.
I already know most film work consists of long hours of setting up a day's shoot to capture a five minute scene in a movie. And that,s on a good day.She got a bit of lighthearted banter from our media for being so wrapped up in what for us were two lovely hot days but she,s a typical golden coast girl used to 80 degrees and a few lengths of her pool before breakfast. Also the actors are the cream on the cake or the bride and groom.They sit about a lot...waiting, and are usually the last to show up once everything else is ready underneath and they have a platform to stand on.
Certain people sparkle onscreen.They just do. It's not really something you can learn.Certain folk just have it from an early age like having a head for numbers.If they go to film land and stand in endless lines of humiliation, rejection, contempt and temptation to take the express route to where they want to go they might eventually get to stand in front of a camera.Sometimes it's more of a shock to them than it is to us and they can,t handle it and go off the rails.A million dollars hanging on one five minute scene brings its own pressures I suppose. We like to watch people that can,t hide their feelings. Most of us wear several masks through life and have learned from an early age to control or smother any giveaway expressions and true feelings. Film stars are the opposite.They burst open with emotion, vulnerability and expression, perhaps from a childhood background fostering a desire to be liked and loved at all costs.We all have a particular cross to bear in life.No photos therefore of a woman tenderly breastfeeding a hot water bottle.No...I didn't have the heart to take a photo then or to tell her that she was not in San Fransisco.....or that a stranger had just crashed her large American car, albeit very slowly, into another one nearby while we watched.
The star appeal was working as I just wanted to take her home......... .care for her and make sure she was happy and fulfilled in life. Besides... I'd just lost my mummy and wanted a new one to feed me my meals.
Unfortunately the hard working security guards discovered me at that point and escorted me back over the perimeter fence set up to stop entry. Damn these skillful feet and paws, but good to know that the old parkour talents are still available if required.
Another one I like is the Swimmer mural under the Kingston bridge.
Two weeks earlier,in the fairyland make believe of Philadelhpia (Actually George Square) I,d spotted Brad Pitt and his Zombies filming World War Z.Brad,as Hollywood royalty, had a proper working trailer though, no hot water bottle in an unheated car for him. Hope the films good. Mind you every Friday/Saturday night in Glasgow you join the cast of the walking wounded and dead for a few blocks so that's nothing new. Famous for its deep fried Mars Bars, Mental Nutters and Urban zombies of its own so it is.
My next stop on the journey to see as many places as possible in one day was to visit The Arches,A place I,d heard about but never been in as it tends to run clubs and arts venues I consider I,m too old for like techno,dub,retro nights and what they would simply call in the old days "hip experiences".It sits right under the Central Station Bridge.
The reason for the Arches originally was as a weight bearing buttress to help spread not only the load of Central Station and its massive steam trains above but also this monolith....The Grand Central hotel.
Down in the bowels of the arches however its impossible to ignore the thought of this colossus rising so high above you.
Inside it was just as interesting.with stained glass portholes,Squares and dark marble throughout.This was where the sailing ships received instructions from and the rules of the river maintained..
Eventually on the stroke of 4 pm a very weary and footsore me got the bus back home.
As full on as any hill day.
Finally a word must be said about the sheer number of Actors/actresses filming in Glasgow and surroundings this past year.I could hardly go out the front door without tripping over one.That young upstart Scarlett Johansson was the worst culprit.
You see I like to get up very early in the morning and go running through Kelvingrove park and the Botanic Gardens. She, when she was over here,did also.Who,d a thought that then? Go Figure. I was forever bumping into her down there with her personal trainer.Got on my nerves after a while.
Also she and the Brad/ Angelina extended family and entourage must have ordered deep fried Mars Bars every night from chip shops in the west end as they think that,s what Glasgow Punters eat every day.That,s 200+ bars away right there.
Speak it softly so the American,s and others don't hear but I,m the only Glasgow man I know that has a hankering for a triple deep fried mars bar supper for my tea most nights as it's not a popular item. As a result of them hovering up my small supply of deep fried treats however I was left without and had to settle for deep fried Jamaican ginger and syrup muffins instead.Bloody disgraceful. Made a hell of a mess of the pan.
Under the Skin is about an alien roaming around Scotland harvesting body parts from hitch hikers and random strangers.Its by the same Dutch writer,living on the Black isle that penned The Crimson Petal and the White,a recent TV production.
When I bumped into her in Glencoe, or someone very like her, still hurting over missed melted Mars bars and the lingering taste of ginger in my mouth it was the last straw.It looked as if she was harvesting animal pelts as well as human parts..She had fur lined boots and a mega furry jacket on and looked as if she was just about to say something when I walked across her set to get to my hill of choice on the A 82 just short of that village.She,d closed the entire road as well. Bloody cheek of it!
I got in first.
"Sexual predator my arse! "I told her."You look like a cut price doughnut standing there with that dead yak on your shoulders..And I hope those are not Scottish beaver furs covering your own.Those poor wee animals have just been re-introduced recently,they,re not here to cover your pampered pelt.
By the way, get rid of the black hair for the next film as its doing nothing for your star appeal.You look like a tired old drag queen in that get up."
Several police officers got involved at this point but I soon showed them a clean pair of heels over rough ground.The old legs have still got it up the mountains over a distance.I swear to God she,s actually stalking me.She,s a worry.
Anyway, what with Emma T and sweet Dakota going period in Perth with "Effie"...The new school drama "Waterloo Road" series relocating from Rochdale to the former Greenock Academy....Timothy Spall filming in High Blantyre... well .....its all been happening.
Mind you I,ll be glad when they all bugger off and get back in the screens again where they belong. Except for Emma of course,bless her, as she,s clearly doon the watter sometimes.
Anyway, seems getting the right streets in a city location then getting someone else willing to shut them all to traffic over several days is not that easy which is why the films were shot here.In the past decade Film and TV work in Scotland has brought in an estimated £150 million to the economy.This last year alone these three films have brought in more than 5 million between them and should raise the profile of Scotland as a result.
We may yet see tourist pilgrimages to visit Wishaw High Street. People......I have a dream....
Monday, 19 March 2012
Others in our club climbed Geal Charn the Munro in the Monadliath while Alex and Myself Picked nearby Geal Charn Mor,a Corbett not far from Aviemore and directly facing the Cairngorm Plateau.
I,d never heard of the Scottish Burma Road before this hill but it ran straight,steep and mighty from the valley floor to the heights above taking us up 2000 feet fairly quickly.Even the view from the bottom was stunning.
A couple of keen cyclists were a stones throw ahead of us.This is a tough road to walk up as it is so unrelenting but on a bike it must be very hard indeed.Although we were going at an easy stroll they did not pull away from us,legs going round in lowest gears like the clappers for each foot of height gained.On this occasion walking looked far easier.
They stuck at it though and were rewarded by easier ground eventually.It must be a big tick on a bike if you can reach the brow of this road pass without getting off.
I wasn,t fooled by this though.If there is nothing remotely interesting about a summit, guidebooks always say it has good views. Oh yes I know all the ploys.
Happily Alex has only 40 Corbett,s left to do now so the end is in sight for both of us.Him to complete his tally......me to dig a giant deep suntrap in the garden as celebration with thermal heat retaining bricks and a glass roof keep the rain away forever. Toasty!
It was seeing Ratho Quarry covered over that first gave me the idea.Instead of energy sapping bouldering and climbing overhangs though I,d have mud baths, palm trees,fester chambers, flower filled basking bays,slumber sofas , daily pampering and oiling sessions and handy tips on perfecting good yet easy blubber maintenance.Food ,sweets and drink mega waist harnesses would be clipped on at entry to save on tiresome walks to the bar and kitchen and I,d maybe have a few naughty girls on the payroll too for those duller days.Now that,s something to get inspired about!
What would I call such a paradise on earth? Why" the tropical beach underground "of course.
I didn,t miss the last three though,more than happy with my heat and blue skies again.
Just get those students running up and down the Burma road before every meal.That,ll get them fit and save shed loads of wood ,bridges, hoops and tyre swings.
Monday, 5 March 2012
After ten long weeks away from the mountains I was finally fit enough leg wise to get back into hillwalking again.Our club had booked a climbing hut near Kincraig under the 4000 foot wall of the Caringorm Plateau( This reaches 1309 metres in height on Ben Macdui ,the second highest mountain in the British Isles after Ben Nevis at 1344 metres and is part of the largest single area of high ground above 4000 foot anywhere in Britain.) Seven of the 10 highest summits in the nation reside here on this tundra like expanse of windswept granite domes and cliffs .I,d missed the last two trips up north but I was determined to go on this one.Alex was also keen to bag two new Corbetts in the area so we motored up on Saturday morning and two and a half hours later found ourselves in the small Victorian resort town of Kingussie.This has some nice period main street buildings and some unusual modern style domestic housing with large porthole windows which always catch the eye. There is a necklace of small towns just off the main A 9 hereabouts but this one has the best portholes.Newtonmore and Aviemore Lie either side of Kingussie, each a few miles away.
Reminds me of hobbits.But maybe that,s just me.
Hot snack for driver Alex,Big sticky bun for me.
Even though friend Satan is always at our side these days you,ve got to give him time to do his stuff.
Inside the shop two pretty young Saturday teenagers were serving us wrapped up in big woolly jumpers, fleece jackets and scarfs.Due to the warming effects of the Gulf stream(Actually the North Atlantic Drift here)You tend to forget Scotland is at the same latitude as Kodiak in Alaska,Hudson Bay in Canada and Moscow in Russia.
Although they were smiling and cheerful I felt a wee bit sorry for them.When you,re young like that you should really enjoy a childhood filled with loads of memories of T shirts,shorts and long summer days.Poor wee girls.
Some of my best memories come from those times.Summer is such a brief affair up here though.(Its not too great in Glasgow either come to think of it outside of our Devil,s circle of eternal heat and golden glow.)Poor wee Glasgwegian,s as well..
Alex meanwhile could go at his own pace up his Corbett of choice nearby without me holding him back.I didn,t fancy it much anyway as,being higher, it was buried under a thick blanket of dark cloud.
The route to the top was straightforward. Bang on time at 12 o'clock the sun came out and I sat on the grass with my lemonade and another big sticky bun (this one filled with jam) admiring the views.God bless you Satan! Old forked tail comes to the rescue once again.
Why they were right under it of course.Drawn like liitle multi layered magnets towards the pull of these mighty Munros.
Later in the hut they told us of skidding across this very plateau over ice covered slopes towards the waiting cliffs,struggling to make any progress against the howling wind.
"Tell me about it" I said.
I knew all about howling winds myself.Sunbathing on the edge of the cliffs on nearby Creag Bheag I lost the best bit of my bun to a playful gust right over the edge when I put it down to take my fleece off.Talk about howling!
I met the same guy on the way back down the loch while he was coming up and we had another short chat about bothies in the area.
person tonight.You,ll never regret it.Souls are for suckers!
This is the fine path down the loch side.A walk or cycle I can thoroughly recommend.Those less confident on a bike may have to walk very short sections of lumpy bumpy stuff but that's no hardship here with this scenery.
The track leads past the Big House and golf course then follows the minor tarmac road down the left hand side of this back to the car.A long enough day for me to start with.Just a slight limp developing after four plus hours but nothing major in the pain stakes.Alex was only 30 minutes behind me and had bagged his Corbett.
Happy we headed off to the hut for our tea then a long meeting with our club mates and our good freind Major Swally who usually joined us on these occasions from his ship docked nearby.... the HMS Liquid Cargo.