Saturday, 12 May 2018

A Paisley Gallery. Town Mural Trail. Fountains. Waterfalls. A Muse Musing.

A gallery of Paisley's wonderful murals taken over the course of a year. Autumn Flowers in the town.
Gerry Rafferty. Paisley singer/songwriter. Part of a lane of murals in the town.
Jimi Hendrix. Simply star struck to be in beautiful Renfrewshire in the 2000s. This lane leads to The  Bungalow Bar, Paisley's live music venue (which has had a change of location over the years within the town) featuring up and coming new acts but also a place that has booked loads of well known bands and artists in their early starting out period.
Not too sure about Jimi or John Lennon ever appearing here though but the murals are great.
Singer Paolo Nutini, like Gerry Rafferty another home grown Paisley talent that rapidly gained international success. The actor Gerard Butler being another Paisley celebrity.....and Dr Who's David Tennant (born in Bathgate but grew up in Paisley)... and dozens more...a town punching well above fame percentage levels for population size. Was John Lennon a secret 'buddy' also, I wonder?'
Unusual and distinctive mural in a particular style which could well be another John Lennon mural in 1960s Yellow Submarine cartoon disguise at a guess, hence my very own conspiracy theory. The former Beatle was well known for spending holidays in Scotland visiting family up north in Durness. Did he father a secret child here as well perhaps when gallivanting about Paisley? It could be true! A wee Paisley boy or girl growing up unsuspected. The hidden clues in these ancient murals never lie.
Another unusual mural- this one very close to a Paisley tattoo parlour. So look out for a person wandering around the town with 'Lennon wiz ma Da' engraved on a bare arm or bum. Another blatant clue.
The 'Kingfisher' mural. No shortage of suitable spots in the town for this colourful little bird to rest with a river flowing through its heart.
The waterfalls beside the old mill, once a source of power for industry.
Which this woman would know all about.  Ellen Farmer.MBE. A former mill worker and town historian. This mural is also found in Brown's Lane near the town centre. Paisley has really taken murals to its heart over the last few years and this is just a small selection with projects still ongoing- many painted by well known Scottish street artists fast gaining a world wide reputation.
Paisley has always had beautiful listed buildings though... as seen here on the Russell Institute.
For its size, a large former cotton and textile town, it boasts an impressive range of architecture and sculptures which makes a visit here a worthwhile experience although it narrowly missed out on it's recent City of Culture bid... which in the end went to Hull.
A local smoothie and along with Buckfast Tonic Wine one of your five a day healthy options.  Paisley does have the usual post industrial social economic problems blighting many outlying urban areas throughout the UK where former wealth was more evenly spread across the entire nation in times past instead of being concentrated into one super city/ region- London and the South East,  but it also has a fantastic legacy and industrial heritage.
The recently restored fountain in a local Paisley park.
And back lit water jets sparkling against the sun.
The magnificent 'fountain of the oceans.'  Not many towns can boast an elaborate gem like this one.
An empty High Street shop front tells its own story but a colourful temporary solution to a common problem in this instance. I read an article today about a colony of albatross in the middle of the ocean on a tiny island being wiped out from swallowing plastic parts and feeding them to their chicks as food. I also read an intelligent and well informed comment attached to it.  (Hooray! a very rare event indeed for Yahoo News- the worrying future of information delivery service awaiting the masses once real paper investigative journalism is dead and gone) along the lines of..... 'No one cares about that- ...ordinary people too obsessed with consumerism, excessive worldwide profit margins via deliberate downward social engineering, increasing levels of self interest in individuals before common good, celebrity endorsements over sense, rampant greed and personal comfort placed above everything else... to worry about the future of the planet' which is very true in my book. A few do care but not enough to make a difference. Looking around the world today I do think the human race may be doomed, mainly through its own stupidity and lack of awareness or self denial of any problems until the last minute... and I'm not particularly smart... thick even...average grades in an average comprehensive school. Never set foot inside a university.... So if I think we're completely stuffed, just by studying the observable evidence available over a casual 60 years lifespan and short personal history on earth, looking back in a purely non academic manner at the last five decades and moving it forwards in a logical progression of habitat loss... well.... it's not a good sign. It could be fixed but it's probably too bitter and painful a pill for humanity or governments to ever swallow, involving complex and almost certainly deeply unpopular solutions which would only be taken as a last resort. This in a world where eight or nine individuals have more money and power than the poorest 50 percent of the population put together, a modern trend that's increasing. Rather than sit back and enjoy it though that combination of money and influence more often than not in the past has been used to change day to day reality for the rest of us and not always for the better.

 Despite a huge investment in universities and endless studying from birth to death just to get a decent job and keep us occupied, many folk in general actually seem to be getting less intelligent by the day/minute/hour/ decade... or willingly turning themselves into cyborgs via "indispensable" gadgets. Why would you put spy gadgets in your home for instance I wonder? Or buy expensive cars that are less secure than older models (according to some news reports.)That doesn't make much sense but it's happening and increasingly popular inventions apparently. ( I'm on here every week so I'm equally addicted as well to some things but I do remember a computer free past life before Pandora's Box took me over completely. It takes an addict to spot an addict.) Any qualms about the future are easily lulled with that current popular buzzword 'sustainability' when there's nothing remotely sustainable about any of it due to ever-increasing population demands on limited resources and no appetite by governments to curtail it in any significant way as the entire world economy is based around buying new products and a short life concept of throw away equipment and goods. Thanks to the internet and the five second attention span that goes with it... reading a longer paragraph, (like these two here... put in deliberately just to piss you off if you didn't skip them entirely :o) can be a struggle these days- finishing a proper old fashioned book... a herculean effort for many. Spelling all the words correctly in any given sentence online an almost impossible task these days seemingly even with a spell checker. Even if it's only three words long. ( read Yahoo News and related comments or almost any other internet provider message board to see what I mean. Probably text typed at work... in the dark.... from a tiny hidden smart phone held under a desk I'm now thinking,....hopefully :)

Although its supposed to be the 'age of the nerds' and an era of groundbreaking scientific discoveries we really celebrate stupidity as well side by far greater measure.. in so many different ways.

 More folk than ever seemingly believe we never made it to the moon... the Earth is flat, like a pancake... and so is the moon itself presumably... aliens have taken over the planet in positions of power... and we are all living in a highly advanced computer simulation... ( that last one may well be the real deal, validating the others- we can only hope that is the case for our sake and the planet's recovery. Much easier to reboot from scratch than repair any damage done to the old model.  Especially if it ain't really real- ...  flat or otherwise.

300 years ago they regularly churned out thousand page books in gloomy rooms which became best sellers and established many of the classics we know today and also composed book length poems where every verse and line was studied and analyzed. Starved of any education many miners, ordinary workers and field hands taught themselves to think and wonder by flickering candlelight in draughty hovels, reading after work and on Sundays, page by steady page gaining hard won knowledge about the world around them beyond the next valley. Now, ironically, with a universe of knowledge and information at the click of a button its mental overload time and the vast majority default into trivial pursuits, increasingly conditioned to live a life indoors,  as that's also a part of human nature. Even if you have everything... it's never enough.... or far too much in this case.
St Mirin.  The patron saint of Paisley.
St Mirren football team, a mural depicting winning the Scottish Cup. Note the different spelling.
The well known decorated lions of Paisley.
As well as the murals you can look out for these ceramic animals dotted around the town.
A much older lion in Paisley museum. Paisley folk are often called 'buddies.'  This is 'Buddy' the circus lion. He's stuffed as well. Supposedly, the origin of 'buddies' came from local slang pronouncing  'bodies' as in  "OMG!  nae-bodies in the pub" . i.e. its empty. Nae buddies in the pub.
Robert Burns statue. Fountain Gardens park. Where the fountain resides.
Back to back queens here. Victoria and her unruly subjects. A typical Paisley lass in traditional attire for working in the mills. Clothes get stuck in the machines you know, very dangerous... so far safer to work away bare breasted.... like they did until the 1970s and safety guards came in. Millennials today would never believe the working conditions in previous decades :o).
Gable end mural next to students social club.
And a happy rooster. Although a fair collection more murals keep turning up so a good day out can be had exploring this town. The Museum and Art Gallery, Paisley Abbey and Town Hall, Coats Memorial Church, The old Cotton Mills, and the cobbled streets of the Hilltop Heritage Trail are all interesting highlights worth exploring.

And a beautiful visual wonderland to go with it. If this band and song had existed in 1960s swinging London instead of 1990s UK coastal resort Great Yarmouth they might well be much better known as this song and fan made video is up there with the best classics from any period of music. Often it's 'location location' as The Beatles, Oasis, Mr John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix et all would be proud to call this free flowing liquid guitar delight their own work. A genuine album highlight for any songwriter worthy of the name and not the only classic from this underrated band. Check out 'Heal' ( wildlife vid) and 'I Want To Touch You' (LP version) for further sonic guitar gems on You Tube. Fan made compilation art like this created with love, dedication and genuine feeling or understanding of the subject matter and lyrics is the definition of modern art  for me. You can keep your paint dribbles or a blank canvas with a few pastel lines on it that need expert explanations of what you are actually looking at no matter how high the prices soar. This is real treasure... for me at least and a song that grows on the listener as it progresses with the flowing beauty of an ocean wave. A timeless classic is only a classic if enough people know about it and this fully deserves to be up there on any music or radio playlist.


Anabel Marsh said...

Just read a blogpost on the Maldives - damage to coral reefs, 100s of divers crowding round the whales etc - which bears out your points in the second half. As for Paisley, I have a picture of my mum standing next to the blue lion and that’s it. Been there at least once a week for about 25 years and never photographed it. It’s a shame the shops are so run down. It’s beautiful in the centre otherwise.

Linda W. said...

Wonderful photos of public art!

Kay G. said...

That fountain! I looked it up and read about it...,_Paisley

650,000 pounds to restore it! Daniel Cottier was a famous stained glass artist and designer who painted the original monument. What a fascinating man, he is said to have influenced Louis Comfort Tiffany. Those Victorians...they did so much!

By the way, Paisley...that comes up on my family tree, I will have to look back and see the family name but they were near Paisley. Is that where Paisley print comes from?
Ha! Just looked that up too..
Fascinating! Look what you have made me do, I should be doing housework! LOL!

Carol said...

Some of those murals are really beautiful - the kingfisher one especially - it's astounding. The Hendrix/Raffery/Lennon ones are good too. Wonder how someone paints something so well in such a large size. Those look worth a tour anyway...

T'internet is definitely a double-edged sword. I'm not sure I'd ever want to go back to a world without blogs, Google (which knows absolutely EVERYTHING) and YouTube (where you can find any music you ever liked even if it doesn't have a video to go with it as it's too old). But all the general 'social' media (antisocial more like) of Faceache, Twatter and the newer ones seem like a complete waste of time to me and I think really are destroying society.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel,
Yep, almost every wildlife or nature programme you watch these days ends with 40 percent of forest lost in 40 years, Great Barrier Reef declining...blah blah blah etc etc.
On the plus side they still use Wales as a disaster barometer... a country the size of Wales destroyed... a forest fire the size of Wales... an asteroid the size of Wales etc. That's what happens when your joined with a larger country- same as Brits usually play badddies in American films. Keeps them in their place :o)

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Linda,
there's some nice stuff in Paisley.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Kay,
You've been busy looking up the back story I see. Reputedly, Prince named his Paisley Park Studios after the Design/Town/1960s connection. It's interesting when you can play detective like that. I recently went on an online journey via book illustrations, early Elton John, Swedish Lucia Queen traditions and a rural pub that inspired a famous song. Passed a great two hours linking all the clues together.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
the three and four floor gable end tenements take some huge murals and they do brighten up the area.
The internet does a lot to entertain people but there's a huge price to be paid somewhere down the line. Everyone has different musical tastes but I thought you might like Catherine Wheel video- great guitar work and fine voice.

Carol said...

I gave it a listen - very trippy! I quite liked it but am generally wanting something very lively - I have quite manic tastes!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
Apparently C.W. singer is a cousin of Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson, (also of Samson) so a heavy metal connection at least. Next posted song will be upbeat and lively....

Anonymous said...

An amazing collection of murals - it's a shame that more towns don't encourage/find that sort of thing.
Our daughter came home this week somewhat bemused by a talk she heard from a fellow student (possibly tongue-in-cheek) about the moon-landings having been faked.
The singer reminds me a little of Julian Cope in one of his mellower moods.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Mark,
It's amazing how widespread that fake moon landing story is and how many folk believe it. Do you think the Russians would never have exposed it if it didn't happen or are they somehow in it as well? The internet and social media may well be the death of intelligent thought processes in many ways as mad ideas and notions like that can sweep the planet faster than boring old truth and science.
I have a few J Cope LPs in the house. Wayward guy but a great back catalogue of songs under his belt.

Anonymous said...

I love all those murals. So much talent and skill on display. I like the lions as well. I had no idea that list of Paisley celebrities was so long!

blueskyscotland said...

Most illustrious local of all being National Hero William Wallace, Braveheart himself, from nearby Elderslie.