Sunday, 29 June 2014

Glasgow. Street Art and Sculptures. Pale Man Video.

St Vincent Street Façade
I had to go into Glasgow City Centre a few times recently on the hunt for a couple of obscure books I was after so I took my trusty camera along. Glasgow has so many old buildings in a range of ornate styles but most folk just pass by without a glance upwards at the detail on the rooftops. Mind you, nowadays the majority of pedestrians are so involved in their smart phone life's that they don't seem to have much time for anything in the real world around them. Talking to yourself in public used to be a bad thing but now its perfectly normal for someone in a shop, bus, or train to let you into every detailed aspect of their life via phone conversations... whether you want to hear about it or not :o)
Cornucopia art work seems to be everywhere in the Glasgow of old, as seen here with coins pouring out of twisting horns. Not so much money to go around today.. or is there?

Which brings us to this lady. This sculpture stands on the banks of the Clyde in the heart of the city centre and is passed by many walking or cycling underneath her arms. For years I passed here myself on foot or bike and just thought of her as "that nun" because of her grab. I vaguely knew it was something to do with the Spanish Civil War but never bothered to look her up in any detail... although I always meant to do so when I returned home. Dolores Ibarruri or La Pasionaria. (the Passionflower)
Her story in here.
As I stood underneath her statue reading the words I wondered what they meant today. In the 7th richest country in the world (the UK) we have food banks in almost every town and city now and most large supermarkets have a free food donation box on prominent display yet a whole new range of loopholes have been introduced recently which large companies can exploit to avoid paying tax.
Is this the "Big Society"? It seems like a very polarized nation we live in. Horns of plenty for only the lucky few. Meanwhile an old lady can lie dead in a house for six years before being discovered.
Turned out she was paying her bills by direct debit and I've always thought what happens if you snuff it suddenly? Now we know. Bailiffs found her after her bank account drained dry four years later. Someone always cares eventually if you owe them enough money.
Yet hardly a murmur of protest occurs at this state of affairs. Where's the passion gone? It's regarded as normal. Inevitable, given our increasingly secluded life's. Apparently, two windows had been lying open for all that time. If you live alone with no relatives or friends to look after your welfare you have more chance of being found quicker in a remote desert than if you die in towns or cities these days it seems.
Is the age of outraged protest or taking a stand against so many rights being taken away that previous generations struggled hard to obtain for ordinary people a thing of the past in the UK? Maybe we don't make that kind of person anymore? It's a sad state of affairs when the church has to do the moral complaining for the dismantling of the welfare state and society at large. Or maybe the rest of us are too busy to notice anything going on anymore?
Recently, there have been a few programmes about Scottish Independence (I'm still undecided by the way) which always start with "Why do Scots hate the English so much? Why do they want to leave us?" I can only speak for myself here but I personally have nothing against England or the English at all except for the fact that they vote the Conservative party in every so often who have an established history of routinely making life harder for the poorest sections of society (bedroom Tax, Atos assessments for disabilities) while rewarding the rich elite whenever they are in office. Simple as that and Scotland gets stuck yet again with a government few here would vote for even if they were giving away cash prizes. The Conservative Party are not popular in Scotland and probably never will be. A fact Margaret Thatcher never seemed to understand. Maybe she thought we should have stood up and congratulated her when she crushed the unions, turned Scotland, Northern England, South Wales, and any other heavily industrialised region into a jobless wasteland for decades in favour of building London and the South into a financial and business hub. An inflated bubble that is not representative of the rest of Britain in any way. I shudder to imagine what Scotland will look like if they get in again for another term of austerity Britain. Maybe they will bring back rationing.

A favourite view of the back of the city chambers and the Italian Centre on the edge of the merchant city. John Street Area.
Very interesting to read the reviews about it here.
 I like the architecture in this place but I too thought it was like a modern ghost town setting. I was the only person wandering around in it that day but obviously I'm never likely to buy anything from here myself. Money is  tight these days for the majority of ordinary citizens which makes it even more galling to hear the government taking about Britain's economy booming again. Where exactly... in the NHS?
Any walk around Central Glasgow these days is a walk past rows of To Let or For Sale signs. Mostly due to the internet changing the way we shop and conduct our business affairs making many professions redundant overnight which can only continue at an increasing rate with the growth of Apps. Yet the Commonwealth Games are just around the corner with vast building projects in the east end finishing on schedule. Will the money poured into these prestigious buildings trickle down into the local communities that surround the Games village after all the hullabaloo has ended? Only time will tell but in the last five years nearby Calton has became even poorer than it used to be... which I didn't think was possible to achieve!
On a different topic I took a wander round the University of Strathclyde campus. Beautiful grounds here and interesting modern sculptures. One thing about any large city is that it is constantly changing
and always has new places to discover.
Education is one sector where Glasgow has potential growth and the city has a large student population already, some of whom will no doubt go on to work in call centres after graduation as Glasgow is also a major hub for this industry.
After obtaining my obscure books I took a wander back down via the High Street where some of the student accommodation lies.
Big surprise here. Loads of new modern buildings just completed. Hope it's not another call centre though or I'm going to have to tear out my phone :o) Remember the days when you lifted a ringing phone and expected to speak to someone you actually knew?  (Just discovered after a prowl online that it's part of the massive Collegelands Project.  The High Street, seen here, still looks the same when viewed in an uphill direction.

Glasgow it seems is a place of contrasts, like the rest of Britain, with the divide between the have and have not's the widest its been in modern times.
Can you spot the student accommodation flats yet readers? (Being old I'm always behind the curve even though I paddle like buggery to try to keep up with modern life).They are erecting a range of new structures up around Townhead and down in the Gorbals  and the place was buzzing with cranes and construction workers which should bring some money into the city. Maybe builders like designer handbags and high heeled shoes in their down time? The pace of city life is bewildering sometimes. I think this is Blackfriars student village we are looking at here. The flats look very nice inside on the website. Huge Aldi right beside it for cheap shopping and booze- almost as much a bonus tick as free Wi-Fi.

The student flats look better from the front.
Cheery street murals to end with down by the Clydeside.( Near St Andrews Catherdral/ Howard Street) Bat and Bird in Transit.
Cat that got the canary.
Exotic bird having some internal work done.
Toucan play at that game. (sorry)
The Tiger on the Clyde.
Goosander Chicks on the River.
The Clutha floral tributes photographed about a month ago. Used to drink in this pub a few years back. Wonder if they will ever open it again with old style pubs finding it hard to make a living these days?

Video this week is a film clip....... Pan's Labyrinth. While I really enjoyed this memorable film it was a very strange one about a child's experience set in Franco's postwar Spain seen through her eyes that fell between two stools in my mind. Far too scary and brutally realistic in the real life scenes to be watched by young children yet with a strong fantasy element that might not appeal to practical folk. Needless to say I loved it and this scene in particular. The Pale Man!....... Run! Run!
Reminds me of the original Grimm's fairy tales some of which were very dark indeed and a visit I paid alone to a witchcraft museum in a remote part of Spain years ago which had some truly dreadful exhibits of extreme torture that would cause a public outcry and fainting in the streets if they were ever shown in  Britain. Each country has its own ideas and boundaries and I often find some Spanish language films so different from what the UK or USA would pass in a film.
Not suitable for young children unless you want to give them nightmares. Best watched full screen. For those who haven't seen it this is stunning. Full of unusual invention.


Sue Hayton said...

Lovely pictures - some parts I know, others I don't.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Sue,
I always try and put something different in each week. Learned a lot from this one myself as I don't go into the city centre that often.

The Glebe Blog said...

Hi Bob, just read a little about Dolores Ibarruri, I must admit I'd never heard of her or if I had I'd forgotten. What an amazing woman, I'll bet she wasn't one of Margaret Thatcher's role models.
Wasn't that shocking about that old lady. I'll bet it's a common occurrence but never publicized to often.
Love those murals. I was supposed to get to see the Banksy in Cheltenham on my recent trip, but I was in South Wales before I remembered.
I never got to watch Pan's Labyrinth though I might look out for it now. I seemed to go off films that were so much in CGI until I decided I'd give James Cameron's Avatar a watch after deliberately missing it a few times. I'm still anti vampire though, I don't know why.

blueskyscotland said...

Evening Jim,
Pan's Labyrinth was enjoyable for me on several levels as it depicts the brutality of Franco's Spain at that time which I didn't know much about and it's a good dual story.
A women in Croatia was reported as missing in 1966 and only found recently in her own home dead in front of the telly 40 odd years later. She had been there all that time. On the plus side mummified bodies are a lot less shocking to find than recently deceased ones. Horror films don't scare you much after that ordeal. A lot of suicides happen in the big Glasgow schemes among the unemployed in the summer months for some reason. Not good.
Avatar was not bad but you can still get non CGI films with cracking plots.
The Secret life of bees.
An Education.
Never Let me go.
LA Confidential
The Dammed United
are all worth a look and are normally £3 in the big supermarkets.
I'm willing to bet most folk in your club will like these.