Saturday, 14 July 2018
An impressive war memorial/monument I've always liked is this one in Paisley's town centre. I thought at first, many years ago, it might represent William Wallace who was reputedly born in the nearby village/ hamlet/ estate of Elderslie but before the popularity of films like Braveheart that would have been far too controversial and populist in the 1920s when it was erected on its high granite platform, elevated enough to deter most intruders from attempting to touch it.
William Wallace of course was a 'Scottish Freedom Fighter' to some but not all Scots and also a feared 'Terrorist' and 'Traitor' in most of England. Even in Scotland opinions were split. For major battles Lowland Scots didn't fight in kilts, or so I've read, anymore than modern Scots in cities today stride around wearing kilts in every day life (apart from weddings and football internationals that is, where you may see more) I'm sure many Lowland Scots hated WW and Robert The Bruce with a passion as starving out advancing armies by burning the land in front of them wherever it occurred, in England or Scotland, was a desperate but common practice then so many borderland Scots joined the English Army to protect their own interests and so forth. History is often a murky confused place to visit so it's often simplified in an attempt to clear things up. After all, you can't have a film where both armies dress the same... and it's often not so clear cut as simply Scots against English... more every variation under the sun in-between those two separate poles apart. Similar in many ways to the recent Brexit Referendum vote and the in-fighting going on in the present Conservative Party with traditional opposition, the Labour Party, nowhere to be seen. If you made a film of that with such a tangled web of confusion going on and a shifting kaleidoscope of different views and alliances, both political and at street level, opinions often changing month by month, well... you would need to tidy things up a bit to have any chance of understanding it over a two hour slice of entertainment.
You couldn't have a greater contrast in two grand buildings and each architects differing fortunes over time sitting side by side than this. Perfectly illustrated in this link. Worth a read.
I've walked and cycled around the Clyde Estuary for decades- Paisley, Dumbarton, Helensburgh, Rhu, Garelochhead etc and in this area most of the buildings that really captured my attention with the 'wow' factor had very different names attached, none ending in Mackintosh. Nothing against CRM except for the way vast sums of money get continually thrown at his modest output whereas other notable past architects have a less certain outcome if their buildings lie empty for any length of time. The front view of arts and crafts style Morar House is even more impressive but it had some stuff dumped in front of it on my last visit so no photograph. Hopefully, this empty property may be turned into luxury flats so it might be safe from demolition. It is an A listed building... which doesn't really mean much. Meanwhile a giant transparent cage is being proposed to go over Hill House next door to fix major structural defects to the exterior as money is never an issue there seemingly.
Any time on past cycle rides however when I've stopped suddenly - captured by a truly magnificent building appearing round a corner, or one viewed from a distance... CRM has had nothing to do with it...
William Leiper. Architect. A name that arguably should be just as well known to ordinary punters in the street in Scotland as CRM as he designed famous buildings as well.. and numerous grand mansions.
Incidentally, 29 girls killed in a weaving shed here when an early version of this vast outer wall collapsed on top of them. W.L. managed to skillfully sidestep responsibility for the accident on that occasion. A high stakes profession.Maybe WL should have had a middle initial for lasting gravitas?
Seemingly forever doomed to live in CRM's shadow a 1990s retrospective of his work summed him up as 'The Unknown Genius.' Only in the last 40 years is he gaining belated recognition, again through being a supposed influence on Frank Lloyd Wright. Fashionable thing Art and Architecture- who is currently 'in' or 'out' changes frequently. Sometimes, very little to do with... 'is it any good?'
CRM, for all his current fame, has never been an 'OMG! Would you look at that!' architect for me from the outside, looking at his buildings for the first time. The interiors I do like but they were a joint venture with his wife usually who is also normally underrated as an artist of equal merit. From the outside I've never thought of CRM's buildings as being particularly beautiful or elegant- especially the concrete ones.
And a quick look at modern skyscrapers around the world as of 2017. Most of these will be unfamiliar as well. But fascinating. Some have already been overtaken. With modern methods, materials and computer technology London's 95 floor, 300metre, 1000 foot high, Shard will soon be eclipsed as latest projects developing around the world top 1000 metres, 3300 feet, for the first time- an almost unbelievable distance into the air. Skyscraper gardens and high level parks linking multiple towers together are also on the drawing board so it's exciting times we live in. Greater London alone has proposals for another 200 plus skyscrapers yet Glasgow already tried that for family living with the highest residential flats in Europe in the 1960s at 31 floors high and they are all gone now so maybe the new social divide will be upwards, leaving the crime ridden city streets to the ordinary masses with children stuck below. Time will tell.
Saturday, 7 July 2018
It was always my intention taking the bus to Perth for a day trip to stay around longer and photograph the Christmas lights as I'd been impressed by them in the past but was normally a passenger in a hill-waking group car so any city passed was always a quick mirage through splashes of lights, assorted people, and colour before a return to darkness all around, headlight beams straight ahead, unseen hills, forests, and eventually, hopefully, a remote mountain hut as our destination. The City of Perth above from the River Tay. This time it would be different.
"I'm just here to capture some of Perth's finest treasures." I cheerfully informed two women walking their dogs together as the light disappeared and they came round a corner to find me waiting, rather suspiciously inert.
" No need to worry. Come ahead. Nothing to fear here. Tis only I. An internet photographer! "
I held up my camera helpfully to show I was not lingering in the bushes for any sinister purpose- apart from artistic merit. They scurried off anyway, with the odd glance back.
"Hey, have a look at this beauty!" he proclaimed, brandishing his find.
I always like to treat random strangers politely and fairly if they show the same courtesy to me. A stranger is just a friend you haven,t met yet... is my attitude.
"Now you're talking." I enthused back. "Bring that big thumper closer so I can get a good look at it."
( I had noticed him earlier climbing over the walkway railings to retrieve a hunk of carved driftwood stuck in the sand at the rivers edge so he was not a complete unknown stranger.)
It turned out to be a nicely made sculpture carved from driftwood that had somehow fallen into the water upstream and ended up here. It was a nice find- smoothly shaped and polished with obvious care and attention- made by someone with skillful hands and eyes then somehow washed up here. I congratulated him on his good fortune then went back to my own interests.
Why does Pandora's box matter? Well you could argue the smart phone greatly facilitated mass migration in the last ten years enabling displaced people to view a better life elsewhere with a will and a means to now reach it. Also a useful tool for certain organizations to manipulate mass opinions, sell more merchandise, brainwash, control and create addiction dependant populations, collect detailed personal information about every person alive, and spread untruths... or an alternative version of truth more easily. It's changing society rapidly, year on year, not always for the better, as we simultaneously archive then burn our recent past as if it has no relevance. Bricks and mortar shops, bank outlets, pubs, post offices, cash money etc etc...all going or gone. 'A bonfire of previous generations core values and vanities so hard won and fought for over several centuries of strife and protest.'
Change is inevitable of course but is it ultimately desirable in this instance? Will we still have 'a society' left on the other side? Or just a nation of zombies carefully trained since early childhood to constantly pigeon peck a flashing screen to earn small dopamine rewards?
(Note to gloomily reflective self:- keep posts upbeat. Try to ignore changes happening around you and logical progression of thought outcomes. Happy happy happy!)
A very good link here to exciting bird's eye views of Perth, the river, the islands, and landscaped surroundings giving you a much better idea of my destination/walk. A beautiful city from above and a professional looking video anyone should enjoy. Best watched full screen. Look out for the bleeding poppy display in the middle and the trains crossing the river island I was exploring in Perth. in post one.
And a cracking short link to jays in close up. Very illusive but extremely handsome woodland birds I tried to photograph two posts ago but perfectly captured here along with several other wildlife gems.
Friday, 29 June 2018
After my climb up Kinnoull Hill I still had time for a quick wander around Perth city centre itself. As I said in the previous post I've only stopped here in the past for takeaway meals or a wander along the waterfront on Tay Street where you can park beside the river.
Good to see how far woman have advanced since that unenlightened 1960s overtly sexist age....:o). Actresses are called 'actors' now of course so it's a different time altogether compared to the bad old days. Incidentally, I still like the term 'actress'- nothing wrong with it at all and it's been a hard earned title since the days of Evelyn Nesbit, Mary Pickford, and Bette Davis.
This is a link to Kinnoull Hill- Excellent You tube drone footage of this dramatic public park situated high above Perth and at three minutes long it's well worth seeing. Gives you a good overview of the area and the 200 metre, 700 foot high cliffs and woodlands falling down to meet the river below. I spent a memorable night up here with a long ago girlfriend/ companion/ muse watching the sun set in the evening then rise again in the morning when both the world and our half imagined dreams of future adventures together seemed limitless. Sadly they were not when reality finally intruded/dawned.
Cracking footage here. Never had the nerve this visit to stand beyond the folly wall like these folk are doing. It's a long way down and people have died at this spot. I like life too much to risk it.