Normally I'd run a mile if anyone asked me to go out on a Christmas shopping trip but the caller was Belinda's mum Anne so I said yes. Above is Frasers Department Store in Glasgow's Argyle Street, which occupies the same 'head of department stores' slot as Jenners in Edinburgh. While we were shopping (yawn :o) the trip to see the Christmas lights in Edinburgh last year was mentioned and the observation that the lights there were much better, now that they'd seen both sets to compare. I had not seen much of Belinda and Anne since that time as both have their own circle of friends but recently we had reconnected again.
Radisson Hotel on Argyle Street. Right next to this a brand new hotel is under construction. One thing about Glasgow is that there's always new buildings rising and falling year by year. An exciting component of any large city. Glasgow certainly has loads of hotels.
Anne also commented on the fact that nothing had changed since last Christmas with dozens of beggars dotted around the main shopping streets, some now in tents on the pavements, as it has been below zero this month. People have been giving them money, hence sleeping bags, food and pop up tents but should it really be ordinary people's burden to shoulder? A recent documentary on Panorama about VAT showed that online shopping services from overseas are destroying UK jobs here by undercutting and exploiting VAT loopholes to the tune of over one billion every year that should have went to the taxpayer. I can see why a cashless society and online shopping benefits large companies as it means far less staff employed and higher profits but what does society get out of it in the long run? Services are still getting cut every year and with nearly all the public toilets closed where do all the homeless go to the toilet every day? Surely that's a public health hazard for every city and a mini humanitarian crisis right there not to mention people dying on the streets when they succumb to the cold, disease, and putting people off their own Christmas cheer but the political will to do anything appears to be absent currently with most of the homeless units full or shut due to cutbacks. Homelessness has apparently risen by 120 percent in the UK since 2010 and the very visible evidence of that is apparent on every shopping street.
It turned out this wasn't a major shopping trip after-all with just a few stores visited then a gallery show ( which I enjoyed, thank you) as Belinda's a big fan of graphic and unusual art, as am I. If you wonder what we have in common it's that. We get each other artistically... and that's not an everyday occurrence with people you meet... in fact it's very rare.
"You should do this for a living." I was told by my shivering companions. "You're a natural tour guide."
"Too cold and weather dependent for much profit. Health and safety risk. Very short season." I replied. "I'm surprised hotels don't offer it though- or maybe they do? I am available at a cheap price."
"So I've heard." quipped Belinda.
A lovely video to go with it. A Modern Classic. Fantastic seascape visuals in this. Best viewed full screen.