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.

Saturday 16 September 2017

Colour Companions. Sunset Splurge. Most Famous Female in History?

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After last weeks tribute to a special lady here's another. I have to say 'Belinda' has a much better view of the world than I have as she lives on a hill overlooking the city. I'd marry her in an instant but only for the amazing panoramas from her windows. This is not one of them :o)
Pink for a girl. It was on a recent bus trip into Edinburgh that she happened to ask... "Who is the most famous woman in history?"
After a think about it and several suggestions from her I replied "Cleopatra... it's got to be! "
I explained my reasons. "She died over 2000 years ago yet her image is still everywhere around us, in almost every country, despite not really knowing what she looked like. Given that fact it's fair to speculate that she will still be around and known throughout the world 2000 years in the future and still be an icon then if humans still exist. Even robots will know her story. Who else can match that? Will any modern celebrity/ individual be well known and instantly recognized by nearly every person on the planet 2000 years from now?"
The Virgin Mary and Joan of Arc were considered then dismissed. (V.M. demoted as that image of mother and child was apparently lifted straight from Isis and the infant Horus according to many historians and no genuine provable evidence exists of a real women as yet but Cleopatra's image, life and death is verified by countless coins and ancient tablets. Also, V.M. has been heavily promoted for well over 1000 years by the vast machinery of Catholic and Christian churches into every home yet still remains unchanged as a static image. (Cleopatra meanwhile is on everything in modern times from food products to lucky charms to gambling machines- slightly ironic given her unlucky end and is still as famous/ infamous as ever she was yet she also evolves and changes style and even colour/race with each new generation's tastes and attitudes.) Joan of Arc has that as well, just not as much or as universal, being again tied to one religion and a certain static look. In short, she doesn't appeal or fascinate modern generations in the same way.
Once I'd explained why I thought Cleopatra should be number one she eventually agreed. Hence the last photo post tribute to a true immortal.... Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator to give her the full title. Names are also very important in the long lasting memory game. Famous people that have hard to pronounce names do not get remembered past their own death usually. It can be that simple. That and a great back story... preferably with a tragic ending.
So the answer to the post/quiz/tribute last week that no one bothered to guess is.... The Royal Queen of Ancient Egypt. Maybe it was too easy for an answer?
Sunsets can come in a range of colours. Goldilocks evening here on a frozen Lake of Menteith. Belle missed this, which was a real pity, as she can ice skate fairly well.
Cloud reflections on the outskirts of Glasgow near Clydebank. A beauty mirror for a muse.
Flamingo pink dawn over the Western Highlands.
Catkins and cherry trees. Late spring.
Almondvale colours. Loth-Lothian.
Stars fallen to earth.
Wild garlic.
Forsythia reflections. A bush named after a direct relative of UK entertainer Bruce Forsyth. As it flowers very early in spring each year, sometimes with late snow still present, it is often linked with resurrection.
The River Leven at Dumbarton.
Flowering gorse bushes on the Kilpatrick Hills.
Beautiful blue skies and daffodils. Glasgow's glorious western suburbs.
Daffodils in Glasgow park.
First light in the Western Highlands. The Avalon spirit world colours of my own Morgan Le Fay perhaps?
Red sunset on the River Clyde.
The red earth of Loth-Lothian.
Sunset on the River Clyde. Renfrew Ferry. Last crossing of the evening.

As a contrast to feminine pursuits here's a manly, 'band of brothers' style video. A classic modern song I liked immediately it also featured on the compilation CD Western Skies- best new American Music... which has been a favourite on long car journeys for several years now as it features many different bands but not a bad song on it.

Tuesday 12 September 2017

Alma Deutscher.

I was going to mention this child prodigy in passing on the next photo post as I watched this documentary last week on TV and it was a real highlight. I'm not really a fan of classical music or opera so I had never heard of this girl before now which made the recently shown documentary even more fascinating. Stunned to find it on You Tube so quickly and I've no idea how long it will stay in place but it certainly made paying the TV license fee worthwhile as I'm normally underwhelmed by child performances on things like Britain's Got Talent etc (rarely watch reality TV at all if I have control of the buttons), where you have to wade through hours of mediocre dross to find anything of interest.

An exceptional documentary I really enjoyed and well worth seeing even if you don't watch it on here. (Video still available... just not on here. See You Tube.)

Friday 8 September 2017

Ra and Isis.

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                                                This is a tribute to the undying lands
                                                                of immortality
                                                   and the Queen who lives there.
                                                             First and supreme

                                                           Seventh of her name.
                                                  One born over 2000 years ago
                                                        yet one who will never die
                                              as long as the human race remembers
                                                                 she will live on
                                                               Thea Philopator.
                                     Born before the first dawn on this bare dark world
                                                         and destined to live on
                              until the last star in the ocean above falls from the heavens
                                                             Mother of religions
                                                            Daughter of Glory
                                                  keeper of the sacred flame of magic
                                                           A Queen of Kings
                                                                 Sister of Set
                                                               But who am I exactly?
                                                                    And why?
                                                  This should be so easy to answer :o)
                                                 as it's never the end......for her.