Friday, 5 May 2017

West End. Part Two. A Love Affair With Colour.

                                                 ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.
The second and last part of my spring photo gallery set in Glasgow's West End district. This is Ashton Lane off Byres Road, a tiny minor back street full of trendy bars, restaurants, shops and a cinema. The main reason this can survive and thrive here is that it backs straight onto the University of Glasgow Campus which is 50 steps away from the end of this lane. A morning delivery here as normally this place is busy with people so awkward for good polite photography without getting random faces rightfully glaring at the intrusion of privacy.
Indeed if you walk to the far end of this short lane you are faced with this wall of buildings ( University of Glasgow) but a passageway underneath and some stairs leads you into the heart of the university grounds. Grey on this side----
Brighter on the other. A 'secret garden' of sorts with the 'flowers' being an education and hopefully a well paid job at the end of it. University Library in the black tower behind. The university art gallery is also here with the museum just across the street in the older buildings. Both are open to the public for well behaved visitors and are worth inspection.
The University gardens are not extensive but they pack a lot in around the various buildings and of course you have Kelvingrove Park and The Botanic Gardens five minutes walk away.
Botanic Gardens spring display.
Kelvingrove Park. The 'Rose Red City' is usually a term associated with Petra in Jordan but in this view Glasgow's West End  has a minor claim to the title as well with massed rows of Old Red Sandstone tenements clustered around 'the crown' of the city's Indian sub- continent inspired Museum and Art Gallery- with one of the UK's finest collections inside. It even has a district called Jordanhill close by so maybe the city father's made the connection as well with the local red building material they were using as Petra was 're-discovered' by western cultures in 1812 with  Glasgow's showpiece museum taking shape by the end of that same century. Both architectural wonders.
Maybe they were fed up with imitating Greek and Roman styles by then and  just fancied a more exotic eastern flavour.
Another view of the university.
And the main entrance where most graduates line up to get their photos taken.
Another view of the lanes district- this time Cresswell Lane further up Byres Road.
A famous upmarket Glasgow bar and restaurant in Ashton Lane. When Alex and I went to remote Knoydart  a couple of years ago and camped at Inverie village, the pub and clientele there reminded me strongly of this place. Dozens of folk, obviously very affluent and well heeled chomping down on elaborate seafood platters while Alex and I propped up the bar on the only seats left in the place, munching a packet of crisps and bacon fries respectively. With visiting yachts moored in the bay, stockbrokers and investment bankers talking shop inside, and hundreds of pounds changing hands for food bills it did not strike us as 'The Remotest Pub on the British Mainland' in any way, shape or form. It's fair to say we were slightly disappointed as we both remembered Knoydart when it was completely off grid and unknown-  just sheep, sheepdogs, deer and occasional scruffy backpackers wandering around in a god forsaken boggy wilderness in the days when a tenner bought you a full tank of petrol and a week's worth of mountain bagging. Parts of Glasgow felt less populated than Knoydart that particular weekend... and certainly wilder.
Ashton Lane. A colourful place and rarely as quiet as this early morning photo suggests.
Great Western Road now near Binghams Pond. This wide highway that runs from the city centre to its western boundary does live up to its tag and is a real joy in spring and summer with hundreds of different flowering trees and over a million daffodils lining the route.
Daffodils en an impressionist painting.
Binghams Pond. Still marked on recent maps as a boating and skating pond it used to be run by several generations of the one family from the late 1800s to around 1960 but these sports ended and part of the pond was filled in to build a Reo Stakis Hotel at one corner (now renamed Jurys Hotel) and in recent years it's been remodeled to be more wildlife friendly with small islands and a mix of vegetation covering the banks.
With the nearby Gartnavel Hospital, a place I know well now, seen here, it provides a green lung of water beauty beside Great Western Road and is a nice short contemplative walk for anyone receiving bad or positive news to come to terms with, helped by nature's soothing tones.
Mallard Duck. Male.
Mallard duck. Female... with near perfect camouflage matching the autumn leaves still lying around the edges this spring.
Moorhen hunting for grubs.
Tufted duck spinning in tight circles, hence the nice ripple effect.
Spanish bluebells in the West End.
A period street typical of this district with grand mansions and high vaulted ceilings. You usually need large ladders to change interior light-bulbs here... one drawback for older residents.
A grand terrace and wildlife haven in the heart of this old district.
The intensity of flowers.
Looking down Great Western Road in the direction of the City Centre and St George's Cross district.
Underneath the clock tower on the right hand side is the building that once held Coopers grocery store, an early and prestigious supermarket catering for this area ( now a pub and restaurant but still retaining many of the grand interiors of the period old store) and on the left what used to be Cleopatra's nightclub, famous for decades and popular with nurses, students and off duty police apparently.

The reason for the title will become apparent in this video. Most folk like colour presumably.. but it doesn't consume them. With me it always has. I've been heavily drawn to vivid colours since early childhood, like a moth to a flame, so this description fits perfectly with my whole existence. I've always had a powerful love affair with colour in my own modest way. My lifelong main addiction. It explains my philosophy on the world from a young child on-wards. I simply live for colour. No surprise then that throughout this blog I've been obsessed with it, hence the blog name itself and my love of sunshine which only enhances the beauty of the surroundings around me. I'm like a miner willing to spend hours and years underground in the pursuit of rare sparkling gems and golden gleaming objects as I've often gone to extreme lengths just to get a new colour or look for my photographic online scrapbook on here.
Mostly, I've been an instinctive natural seeker of visionary wonders in the wildlife and landscape spectrum so this video was something of a revelation to me that filmmakers have established set patterns to follow and work with if they wish to do so. For my part I never follow any rules in colour themes, even basic ones, as until now I didn't know they even existed. Just 'like' and 'dislike' works for me as I'm pretty thick at times spotting the bigger overall picture. I learned a lot from this short video and many of the films featured in here are my personal favourites but certain others are not.
 'The Road' for example- cold, grey, grim and utterly depressing yet the same basic story worked for me in The Last of Us - full of warmth, beauty, colour and hope yet set in a similar apocalyptic setting.
The Grand Budapest Hotel. -full of colour but a jigsaw puzzle of falling pieces at random with no real substance, arty clever sets but devoid of human emotions throughout or a compelling story-line in favour of quirky individual snapshots...or that's how I viewed it anyway. Lasted less than an hour in watching it -twice.
Moonrise Kingdom. Same director but with an added warmth and a coming of age story that gripped me 20 minutes in despite the usual annoying quirks that inhabit all this director's work. Cracking film saved by two child stars with sparkle and a great storyline that overpowered the quirky style and turned it into his masterpiece instead. A great story is always a starting point for my tastes in films with anything else built on top of that. Educational stuff though about deliberate use of colour palettes in films through the decades... for me at least.



Rosemary said...

I am curious about the bright red Callistemon (bottlebrush) plant. Is it growing in a glass house? I have one in my garden but it will not flower for maybe another six weeks.
My husband did his PhD at Glasgow University, so I thought that I knew all of that area around the University, but for some reason I just cannot recall those attractive lanes around Byres Road.

Anabel Marsh said...

More of my local stamping ground! I love living here.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Rosemary.
It's in a glass house in the Botanic Gardens as I required vivid red for my own take on the colour wheel rotation for this post. The lanes have always been there since the 1920s but 40 years ago they were semi derelict and empty until the chip bar opened in the mid 1970s then trendy shops and the cinema soon followed its lead. Ruthven Lane still has an old farmhouse building dating from the late 1800s to this day although now its a restaurant. Recently the shop owners in this district got together to fight the modern trend of online shopping and out of town retail parks which are killing most high streets UK wide. Easy parking for shoppers has always been an issue around Byres Road.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel,
I used to know a girl from that area who thought she was really slumming it living in a townhouse in the West End as she grew up abroad on a large private estate with servants and groundskeepers everywhere. She did learn to cope with the tragic drop in standards though--- eventually :o)

Rosemary said...

Thanks Bob - that explains it, I left Glasgow over 40 years ago

Kay G. said...

Love affair with colour? Why, I do believe that I must be the same way.
And in your HONOUR, I will even spell it with an "h"!

When I asked my son what I should say my blog is all about, he told me, "That's easy, you search for truth and beauty."

I have a very nice son!

Lovely photos, as always.

Linda W. said...

Gorgeous university buildings and lovely gardens! I too have an obsession with color. Not a huge fan of black and white photography.

Linda said...

What gorgeous colours and details in your photos!!! Thank you so much for sharing this lovely tour.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Kay,
My spelling might not always be perfect but I always spell honour with an h. I ain't 'enry iggins' or Eliza Doolittle. Maybe you meant "U", missing in color or honor (USA spelling) as I have a theory that an early ship carrying most of the "U's" to America tragically sank in the North Atlantic which might explain why you use so few of them over there compared to us :o)

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Linda W,
There was a line in that video- "this director has a love affair with colour" that immediately resonated with me and summed up my obsession perfectly. I took a photo of a painting I stumbled across months ago and was going to say when I posted it- 'this is how I see the world'- but the love affair quote explains it better.... even to I now know what I have in one sentence- like a professional diagnosis of an illness.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Linda,
more to come in that department as I'm having a 'Spring Splurge' at the moment, capturing my favourite season.

Anonymous said...

Loving your photo tours and tributes to Scotland's fine cities. Opening my eyes to the delights of city wandering. I should do more (and will be doing in Europe on my summer hols)
You've rather spoiled my mental image of Inverie though (I've never got around to visiting). I thought it may still retain some vestige of the lonely spot frequented by farmers and scruffy backpackers like me. The thought of sharing the pub with a stockbroker from his yacht is not a pleasant one! One my list for a backpack next Easter

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Andy,
You may be lucky and get it much quieter as several large groups were there at the same time and it was during a summer heatwave. About 150 visitors all told around the one village street and crocodile lines of hill-walkers marching up the Munros. Probably average for Highland Scotland these days in good weather as Inverie has featured in a lot of colour supplements and bucket lists over the years as one of the essential places to see before you snuff it. Nice campsite and very scenic area though.