Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Reflections. A Glasgow Night Walk.

                                                ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN
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.
This is it here, right next to the central station bridge. The only present I was looking for was a belt to hold my trousers up as the old one was on its way out. £12 was on offer under the bridge for a plastic bling belt so I waited and got two traditional leather ones for £4 pounds each in my local Bearsden Asda which is the nearest one to my own neighbourhood. I think that's less than I paid 20 years ago for the last one. Although there were loads of Christmas shoppers milling around we also noticed that Glasgow City Centre has two types of shops- bargain basement cut rate or high end expensive with nothing in between.
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.
I should just be putting photos up about nice things but I'm a visually orientated  person normally and not completely without human emotions or empathy myself so I do notice it despite growing up surrounded by scenes of poverty, squalor and vices everyday and accepting it as part and parcel of the human condition. Homelessness will always be a small element of any civilized society of course but in recent years we seem to be excelling at it. It is very noticeable these days just how much its grown so to not mention it on a visit to the city centre would be like going on holiday to Rio de Janeiro  and totally ignoring Christ the Redeemer on his mountain top. It is that visible on every pavement and city corner wherever you walk.
Anyway, back to the chocolate box stuff that any popular blog should be about. Bad me again...
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.
This being the case I mentioned the fact that Glasgow could easily be the equal of Edinburgh for visual entertainment in other ways, rather than Christmas lights, and suggested a walk along the River Clyde from the City Centre to Partick as dusk was descending, to prove my point. ( I'd already done a similar walk on the east coast with Belinda separately a few weeks ago that she really enjoyed so this was the Glasgow version. With Mum in tow its the nearest I'll ever get to a proper family invitation in the UK- and that's how I think of them for those wondering.
By luck or judgement we timed it perfectly and with frosty temperatures and light winds mirror reflections in the water were guaranteed. This is passing The Quay entertainment complex on the other side of the river from us watching. Fast food and films on offer. I've been here a few times to see movies in the past though I mostly buy them for £3 quid now and see them at home as it's cheaper.
Still on The Quay complex. There are good walkways/ cycle tracks on both sides of the riverbank here with excellent views of the city although the northern shore, where we were is continuous up to Partick whereas the other side is not. Both Belinda and Anne had been into Glasgow at night before of course, to see films, other entertainments, or shopping, but had never thought of a night walk along the river linking everything together like this. Obviously, it can be dangerous down here at night late on but it's dark around 4pm in the winter months and still busy with workers coming out of offices, shops etc  so safe enough up until around 7:00- 8:00pm. The biggest danger is getting run over by a cyclist as they are completely silent speeding up from behind without warning during the nightly commute. Given Glasgow's rush hour traffic problems it's a popular mode of transport for health conscious city workers stuck at a desk all day though not without risks due to dark pavements and unseen obstructions.
Apartment reflections.
I was switching camera modes from night-time to sunset to auto focus depending on what I thought would give best results and a clear picture having been disappointed with past night efforts in fading light. Night photography is tricky when walking with others that want a fast snap action, attention paid to them and an unbroken stroll along the esplanade. It did give them time to really appreciate their surroundings though. Anderston Complex here- one of my favourites in the city.
The Kingston Bridge carrying the multi lane M8 across the river.
STV Studios. Scottish News and Entertainment TV HQ.
and close beside it BBC HQ Scottish and UK TV Entertainment and News.
A building from a previous age. The former co-op HQ in Tradeston. Used to get excellent cooked breakfasts in here in the upstairs canteen in the 1970s. Hot rolls and sausage.Yum yum. A fantastic period building up close.
Circle reflection. The 'squinty bridge' at Finnieston. Officially known as the Clyde Arc. Note the old Clyde tunnel exit rotunda lit up. This is now occupied by a regular company after sitting either abandoned or used for temporary exhibits for many years.
The Rotunda Restaurant on this side. The original Clyde tunnel entrance/exit under the river. My Dad took me down this atmospheric hole in the 1960s and I still have vivid memories of that incredible experience. Probably why I still love tunnels and dark places to this day. Amazing place and a fascinating city back then. Another age ago.
 "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.
Clyde Auditorium and Crowne Plaza hotel. We were all fascinated by the little glowing pink square going up and down this hotel as it moved guests between floors. Never seen it lit up before although a common feature in American hotels.
A better view here of the pink lift in this 16 floor hotel. Might be four of them in total although we only spotted one in action.
The SSE Hydro. Seating 13,000 people and the world's 8th busiest music venue apparently.
Daily Record and other newspaper publishing buildings.
The Clydeside Distillery- a new project opened recently along the river.
The Riverside Musuem near Partick approaching the end of our walk.
Student apartments and blue underpass. River Kelvin Walkway at Partick.
Glasgow Harbour and the end. Both Belinda and Anne seemed to enjoy it, despite the freezing temperatures, so we queued up in Partick to get the bus home then went our separate ways. A memorable trip of around 1 to 2 hours easy pace.

A lovely video to go with it. A Modern Classic. Fantastic seascape visuals in this. Best viewed full screen.


Anabel Marsh said...

I think Glasgow is lookingvreally fine this year, or maybe my Bah Humbug attitude is mellowing with age. Agree about the increase in rough sleepers: wish I knew the answer. We’ve just visited Amsterdam and i don’t remember noticing any. They must be doing something right.

Rosemary said...

Perhaps if less was spent on all of those coloured lights which must use up lots of energy, then there would be more money to go around and help those who are homeless. Whenever I fly on a journey through the night I am always shocked to see so much unnessary light being shone up into the skies, and this happens in most countries.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel,
at this time of year I often time my walks to include a few hours of darkness as its often more colourful than the daylight hours if its grey dull weather once the autumn colours go and the leaves fall. Apart from any addiction issues I have read that its cuts to benefits and front-line sanctions that are increasing the normal homeless figures with most of the hostels closed that took them in during past decades. It's certainly not an easy option having spent time camping in sub zero temperatures in a tent when I was young and keen in the Highlands. A weekend shaking ice off the tent each morning was enough for me not to want to do it full time.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Rosemary,
I might agree with that if I didn't like colour so much and it does brighten up those long cold evenings in the frozen north. I know light pollution is a big problem worldwide but I love it from a visual point of view. It's exciting to me and one of the reasons I like big city life. A few more interesting night walks to come yet I'm afraid :o)

Linda W. said...

Great night shots of all the lights reflecting in the river!

Kay G. said...

Really nice photos of the lights in the water.

"I never see the boats of night and the irony that runs beneath."
Just a few lines from a poem that I think of when I see lights reflected in water. Can't remember all the poem! Find it and let me know, your brain is better than mine!

Anonymous said...

I love city buildings lit up night. Probably the only that the modern intrusions such as hotels and office blocks come to life rather than looking like a blight as they so ofetn do

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

That was quite a tour, Bob, with excellent verbal observation and photos as usual. I don't think you should avoid 'edgy' stuff unless you want to - it's your site. It saddens me that today people seem to be unable to disagree without getting angry about it; so much vitriol, often targeted in ignorance by bigots, left and right. You'd have to be stupid not to notice the increase in homelessness on the streets, seemingly everywhere. Reasons aside, I don't understand why it is beyond the wit of someone to force the opening of empty buildings to at least provide shelter; it's not a solution, but at least it could provide a roof. On a lighter note, in my wide experience of shopping (!), I think Glasgow City Centre is probably the best centre in the UK. Two big complexes with all the brands and loads of speciality shops in-between and nearby. I've never understood why anyone would want to go shopping in Oxsford Street - it's a scarring experience.

Ian Johnston said...

Great shot of the Squinty Bridge reflecting on the Clyde Bob, really well picked out

Carol said...

Nice to see so much colour in the lights - Skipton's are plain, boring white - ugh! The local houses have that nasty cold blue or white. I like to see at least green, red and gold at this time of year!

I wish the frosty weather would b*gger off though - I just can't keep warm any more and it's starting to make me feel ill! Plus it was lethal walking to work this morning as it rained on top of the ice!

I'm glad my new town has just cheap shops and no yuppie ones like Skipton has turned over to - far better!

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Linda W.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Kay,
when I typed that poem quote into Goggle I got your own blog from 2013 The Tower of Babel post. One of your readers worked it out back then. It's The Age of Sheen by Dorothy Hughes.
I'm sure I've repeated favourite quotes and snippets of remembered info myself on here as its a common hazard of a long running blog. Just as well as I would never have got it otherwise :o)

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Andy,
It's the one thing I like about winter these days... that and snowy mountains. Not too keen on heating bills.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Mike.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Ian.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
Yes, I'm not to keen on cold weather myself as heating bills are one of the few necessities I can save big money on by doing without it most of the time. Only put it on in winter for 20 minutes or so before bed usually. I'm hardy that way... or stupid.