Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Mackintosh Building S32

Back in the news, at Holyrood, the Scottish Parliament’s culture committee has been taking evidence on the circumstances surrounding the second blaze at the Mackintosh Building.

On Thursday it heard from independent fire, security and resilience adviser Stephen Mackenzie.

Speaking about the equipment, which relies on cooling mist to extinguish flames, committee member Tavish Scott asked Mr Mackenzie: “The committee wasn’t told it was removed after the first fire and we are all puzzled as to why it would have been removed. Why would it have been removed?”

Mr Mackenzie said: “I’m also puzzled as an expert.”

The MSP asked whether the system should have been retained until a replacement was developed.

Mr Mackenzie replied: “Categorically I’ve stated there should have been a temporary or phased installation and that could’ve been part of that basis.

“I’m incredibly puzzled to now hear that this has occurred.”

The art school said it was advised the system was unusable following the blaze.

The committee also heard ventilation ducts which allowed the fire to take hold in 2014 were still in place at the time of last year’s blaze as they had been due to be rectified at the end of the restoration project.

Contributions continued with further comment from another expert.

Dawson Stelfox, a conservation architect at Consarc Design Group, gave an insight into fire safety assessments during the construction period and suggested the system should be reformed.

He explained: “At the moment the statutory position on that is that a fire risk assessment has to be done, but the focus of that is on life safety, is on getting people out of the building in time, and it’s not on asset safety, it’s not on protecting the building.

“I would suggest to you that it is worth the committee looking at changes to requirements and fire safety assessments during the construction period to also take into account fire asset safety and fire spread.

“Fire-stopping during construction is not an easy thing because it might continually be disruptive and have to be put back into place, but I would suggest to you that there hasn’t been enough focus on achieving compartmentation fire-stopping during the construction process.”

The Glasgow School of Art added information about advice it was given.

Referring to the mist suppression system, a Glasgow School of Art spokesman said: “As a result of the 2014 fire, considerable elements of the system were destroyed or damaged. The GSA sought expert advice which indicated that this system was unusable.

“As you would expect, the GSA wanted to take advantage of improvements in the technology and install the best system for the building.

“The installation time for the replacement system in the post-2014 restoration would have been broadly similar irrespective of the type of system commissioned.”

Fire expert ‘puzzled’ over art school mist system

Interesting to note that STV’s headline stated…

A prevention system that survived the first fire was ripped out before the second blaze.

While the text of its article went on to state…

The art school said it was advised the system was unusable following the blaze.

Frankly, this smells of a common trend I’ve highlighted in media coverage recently, with a ‘clickbait’ headline claim which is NOT backed up by detail in the article.

Expert ‘puzzled’ by Glasgow art school fire system removal

Odd that the media has apparently ignored earlier sessions of the committee’s hearings.

Nothing they could use in those to get a ‘clickbait’ headline, or whip up some ‘Trial by Media’ goodness?

MSPs today heard the final session of evidence in their investigation into the fire which gutted Glasgow School of Art last year.

The Parliament’s Culture, Tourism Europe and External Affairs Committee heard from Historic Environment Scotland and fire safety experts at 9am this morning in its last hearing.

The Committee will now deliberate upon the evidence it has heard and consider the future of the Art School.

MSPs deliberate over Glasgow School of Art’s future after hearing final evidence


No significant changes seen when I’ve been past the building remains recently.

Mackintosh Building Renfrew Street

Mackintosh Building Renfrew Street


20/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kelvingrove organ recital

I seem to have used quite a few of the various pics collected at a Kelvingrove organ recital, but I did have quite a few and needed to clear down the useless/spoiled ones, so thought I might as well make a slide show of what was left.

They’ve picked the wrong link (an archive) for the recital dates and info on Kelvingrove’s web page, this is the correct ‘live’ link for upcoming recitals…

Organ recitals at Kelvingrove

The lighting is interesting, and if you are feeling keen, there’s probably plenty of opportunity to play with the views and be ‘artistic’, as I did with a few, just for a bit of quick fun to see what might come out.

If you see the fairly large gentleman caught in my pics arriving, I’d say you’re in luck. Of the few I’ve managed to catch, he’s probably been the best, and got more applause than the others.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I didn’t notice the monitors above the doors had changed for the recital.

Normally just showing rolling info about Kelvingrove, during recitals they show the manuals/keyboards, and the pedalboard area.

These monitor pics are from a different recital!

Kelvingrove Organ Recital Manual Monitor

Kelvingrove Organ Recital Manual Monitor


Kelvingrove Organ Recital Pedalboard Monitor

Kelvingrove Organ Recital Pedalboard Monitor

Some people…

Mobile Phone Zombies

Mobile Phone Zombies

None wearing earphones 🙂

20/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , | Leave a comment

Nice to see drug-driving legislation with zero-tolerance proposed

I don’t have any time for anyone who whines about being caught and locked up for drug-driving.

Near zero limits and roadside tests will be introduced if MSPs back change in the law.

The plan is to introduce the crackdown, along with roadside testing, from October 2019.

I might as well admit to being somewhat hostile to any sort of smackhead who takes any sort of mind-altering substance and then decides they are safe to get into a car and drive (or even walk along a street in public), especially after hearing some of them argue that they are perfectly safe as they know who to control their use of such substances, object to any sort of restriction or control, and want their nasty little habits legalised.

Given the unreasonable attitude many now have to drink-driving (which I would suggest has led to related legislation becoming ineffective or misguided as it not being properly considered, and being made tougher as opposed to effective), I’m surprised it has taken so long to get proper drug-driving legislation into place, although I do recognise the problem of backing it with proper, traceable, repeatable testing, which can provide the necessary evidence to back up charges.

A zero-tolerance crackdown on people who drive under the influence of drugs is being proposed by the Scottish Government.

If MSPs give it the go-ahead, new laws will introduce near zero limits for eight illegal drugs, based on the lowest possible level where any claims of accidental exposure can be ruled out.

The eight include cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine, cannabis, LSD, heroin, methylamphetamine and benzoylecgonine.

Another eight drugs, including methadone, diazepam and morphine, that may be prescribed by doctors for medicinal purposes, will have maximum levels based on safe levels for driving.

The new laws are designed to make it easier for police to target people driving under the influence of drugs.

Government to launch zero-tolerance crackdown on drug-driving

Existing legislation makes it an offence to be in charge of a motor vehicle while unfit to drive through drink or drugs. The penalties (which are reserved to Westminster) are a minimum 12-month driving ban, up to six months in prison, and a fine of up to ÂŁ5,000.

There are currently no specific maximum levels and police have to prove that a person’s driving is impaired by the drugs to be able to prosecute. The new offence of driving while above specified drug limits will operate along with the current offence of being in charge of a motor vehicle while unfit to drive through drink or drugs, and carry the same maximum sentences.

Police Stop

Police Stop

While I try not to be a cynic (all the time), this really is how I imagine ‘First Contact’ will go…

Drug People

Drug People


This turned up a day too late to go in the original post, but I couldn’t resist.

20/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Today is Camcorder Day

20 January is Camcorder Day.

I’ve already made a post about Camcorder Day, so there’s no real point in writing another one.

That said, if you read the original, you’ll see I refer to a Sony Video 8 camcorder I didn’t have an illustrative pic of.

Now I do, albeit a small one, since I can’t be bothered to dig out the remains and take a pic of mine.

Sony CCD-M8

Sony CCD-M8

The blurb says…

Lightest camcorder in the world when launched, at 1.0 kg. This model is exclusively for recording. The CCD-M8 marked the start of the Handycam series. It is significantly smaller than the CCD-V8. The lens barrel has a sliding cover, and the grip incorporates the battery compartment. Offering convenience and simplicity approaching a fully automatic still camera, the premier Handycam was exceptionally easy to operate with one hand.

And note that ‘exclusively for recording‘ bit. You needed a Video 8 VCR for playback – fortunately, shelling out the best of a grand back in the mid-1980s brought one of those in the same box.

I also found a nice item on the thing at the Museum of early consumer electronics and 1st achievements

1985. Sony CCD-M8E. 1st 8mm camcorder.

It’s almost hard to believe that this eventually led to complete (solid state) camcorders that can live in key fobs, or watches.

Far from costing a grand, they are so cheap the most basic are disposable.

There really is no industry surviving for this product either, as any camera or phone can record video of a quality that makes tape camcorders look like little more than a joke now. Don’t go looking for spares either – there was apparently only one factory that manufactured the spinning heads/drums that made the helical recording on the tape, and it closed years ago.


20/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment


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