Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Another Autumn. Adventures Around the Clyde Coastal Towns. Sunlight and Obsidian Gallery.

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This is a gallery of photos taken along the Firth of Clyde highlighting the different moods of it's coastal towns from bleak, miserable conditions of week long rain and dull grey skies, to fog banks, to nightfall to bright sunshine. Coastal places have a certain magic to them and Scotland would be a much poorer place without them. Mind you, as a recent survey of coastal towns UK wide showed many have far lower rates of job opportunities, lower incomes to spend locally in the district, high social problems, suicide and depression after a 40 year slide into obscurity and neglect since the tourists, extra ferries, shipbuilding, and money evaporated with cheap airline travel to sunnier places abroad. I love this ever-changing area deeply though. A moody shot from the Bowling district here, above, where many of the small sea going Clyde puffers had a base in the past where inland canal network meets west coast seaboard head on.
Greenock's downtown shopping plaza and a dynamic sculpture of shipyard workers dragging a heavy propeller into position.
The soaring Victoria Tower which, like a man made Matterhorn, draws every eye in the town to its rising profile once ensconced in leafy Greenock. A sight to behold when its upper levels occasionally poke up through an enveloping fog bank into clear blue skies.
Autumn leaves arranged artfully.
Nightfall in a magical setting.
The opposite. Dawn and a weak morning sun. The return of the first fire frosts and darker evenings from now on.
Another mood photo taken at Bowling Harbour.
Clydebank at nightfall.
And a sunset.
Rich carvings adorn the sides of Victoria Tower.
Many of them too high up to see properly without binoculars or a zoom.
Other spires also adorn this seaside town.
But Victoria Tower climbs elegantly above them all and reigns supreme- as befits a queenly structure of Empire.
Another more modern Leviathan. A pipe and cable laying ship sometimes docked around the Inverclyde towns.
A view of Greenock Cemetery. A fairly magical place in itself.
Loads of scenic woodlands here- shrines to the great and the good- dozens of monkey puzzle trees- all combine to make this place rather special.
A well known face and local character. Stately and refined.
A more modern Greenock female shows her 'thrupenny bits' to an appreciative audience. Lively but effective.
"The change" comes to Glasgow. Colour contrasts in the outer suburban woodlands appear.
Back in Greenock cemetery again. A beautiful quiet place- more like an exclusive, seldom walked park. Year round occupants usually well behaved....As above- so below.
Highland Mary's Grave. She died aged 23. Poet Robert Burns had a brief, month long, affair with her  and immortalized her memory in verse (between chasing various other local girlfriends, one of which, his eventual wife, bore him nine children) which is probably the only reason she gets pride of place on the top of this quiet wooded hillside as large headstones are usually the preserve of wealthy clients who expire and she wasn't -being a lowly servant girl and house maid... and allegedly pregnant at the time of her death. Not sure about her innocence up to that point but R. Burns was already well known for his affairs with female companions and left several other children scattered around in his wake despite dying himself in his late 30s. Maybe things were different though in the late 1700s and they might have lived happily ever after as each others soulmate ... or maybe not?
Or maybe by simply dying young herself she retained his lasting poetic affection for her, which may well have waned otherwise had she lived and moved on in her life without him. A tried and tested device that often insures immortality for pop/ rock stars and others of that ilk even today... as then they can no longer disappoint you with their faults/ embarrassing antics, and can take on that 'bright star forever' mantle in minds left behind to grow old and fade away with age. A very simple but thought inducing memorial.
Greenock cemetery entrance gates.
Mary Campbell's view........ ever upwards one hopes from now on.
Other cemetery obelisks.
Although not religious I do have a knowledge of angels residing above me at all times.
Upturned sugar boat off Helensburgh/ Greenock. An old cargo boat still here after decades upended, and a perfect home to various sea serpents, other aquatic creatures, sea birds and passing sirens.

An ornate carved cross.
Raptor of the River. A new coastal/ tidal sculpture near the Erskine Bridge.

Sometimes, in life, an 'Awareness of Angels' above you is all you need.

A few years ago several major Hollywood actor/ actress types arrived in Scotland to make films. Brad Pitt occupied a sunny central Glasgow location for a few weeks during a dry warm September filming zombie apocalypse blockbuster World War Z. Halle Berry and others filmed scenes for Cloud Atlas in the same city in similar conditions. Around the same year but later on Scarlett Johansson rocked up to film in Glasgow, Glencoe, the North West Highlands and Inverness district during the dark, bleak winter months. Many thought then she'd drawn herself a short straw comfort wise as prime filming destinations, revealed daily in the tabloids, included the East End of Glasgow, Parkhead F.C Stadium, an ordinary garage in Wishaw and empty rural industrial estates in the far north. This was intriguing. What the hell was she making in these out of the way locations?
Having seen all three films since then Under The Skin wins hands down for being a truly memorable and unsettling experience. Low budget, art house, deliberately slow, silent and in places mundane it's not for everyone- dark, cold and psychologically sinister, but highly imaginative this remains an underrated gem. Not to everyone's taste though as it is bizarre and very unusual in its offbeat style and nothing really graphic happens in it except the miserable Scottish winter filmed in all its appalling grimness/ glory which really adds an extra dimension to this haunting film. A pretty girl plays an alien life-form wandering in the ankle deep slush on highland pavements but unusually for this familiar 'human meets alien' concept- it really does work to great effect. A strange and compelling cult classic that delivers the goods in a unique way. Some films are instantly forgettable... others are not. Definitely obsidian.

For those who prefer a nice gentle romantic film however set in Greenock and Gourock, beautifully acted and shot with real artistic flair to capture the stunning seascapes in a pastel wonderland of soft, highly memorable, views then this is it. Similar to Gregory's Girl and Local Hero in mood but less well known it's a real delight to watch for anyone. Pure sunlight.
A modern fable that deserves a much higher profile in this age that often steals dreams before they start.


Linda W. said...

Another photographic tour of your country's lovely towns, which I enjoyed greatly.

Anabel Marsh said...

I’ve seen that pipe and cable laying ship several times when driving back and forward to Greenock with my mum. I’ve also picked up a tour booklet of Greenock Cemetery but, as my visits are taking a nonagenarian to visit ger octogenarian sister, there isn’t much chance for exploring it, though my aunt doesn’t live far away. Some day I’ll just need to abandon them for a couple of hours.

Only film you mention i’ve seen is Cloud Atlas. It was weird seeing a street with real buildings that I recognised on one side and complete cgi fabrication on the other.

Linda said...

What a gorgeous place! I love all the magnificent details in your photos.

Rosemary said...

Love all of your skies from blues through orange, reds and deep mauve - we should capture them more often, as you have done - they are so brief, beautiful, fleeting, and change in the blink of an eye.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Linda W.

Anonymous said...

Thought provoking images as always. Under the Skin is on my Watchlist somewhere when I get around to seeing it. Too much good stuff to watch, not enough time :)

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel,
Greenock Cemetery (the old Part) is very beautiful but also very secluded and extensive so it might be an idea to have someone else along.
For me World War Z was ok to watch and 3 stars out of five. I recognized many of the places it was filmed in including Wales but The Last of US has a better script,plot twists, is extremely beautiful in places with its changing seasons and its vivid cast of characters and dialogue is compelling. ( The Last of Us Cinematic Playthrough' on You Tube :o) 5 stars.
I've just got the book Cloud Atlas in a book sale so I might like it better than the film which didn't engage me much as it was just too disjointed with too many different characters, time zones, races, different languages etc.. and I don't usually mind complex films. two stars out of five but mainly because I'd been to most of the locations in it and recognized the various places.
Under the skin is amazing and strange but not for everyone. four stars.
Dear Frankie is a real gentle joy( shot around Gourock)and is worth looking out for. 5 stars. :o)

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Linda,
thank you.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Rosemary,
I'm lucky to live on the west coast where we get good sunsets and I'm not that far from the River Clyde estuary for views. Ten minutes in the car. I'd rather be where you were in winter though as Scotland can be grim at times, weather wise. Under the Skin captures that really well :o)

Edinburgh (of all places) came up recently as the most miserable place to live in the UK with only 16 percent saying they were happy with their life and Glasgow wasn't far behind. No summer, soaking winters,soaking summers, months of darkness and damp do seem to induce melancholy in people as it can't be a lack of things to do. As a visitor I love exploring Edinburgh.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Andy.

Carol said...

Wow! imagine being responsible for all those children by your late 30s! He was a proper slag wasn't he?!

blueskyscotland said...

Yes, it did seem that way to me but it was a man's world then and still is in many ways. Even when you read about the 1960s hippie culture it's mainly male orientated- free love but mostly under the control of dominant men- Charles Manson and his girls being the most obvious example of a 'free love' commune with subjects totally controlled by a powerful leader.... or the Playboy founder guy who died recently.

james hobbs said...
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