Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Sauchiehall Street set for much needed refresh

Until recently, I wasn’t able to get into Glasgow – something of a penalty for someone who not only worked in the city centre, but was also a frequent visitor.

I don’t know how long I was unable to have anything more than the odd obligatory visit on business, but after more than a decade of not really seeing the place, the changes can come as a bit of a shock, and I don’t mean just the demolition and rebuilding seen in some areas.

While those (as I was) who see the place on a daily basis, incremental changes, decay, and just general wear and tear can go unnoticed.

For that reason, I was pleased to see:

MULTI-MILLION pound plans to re-develop Glasgow’s famous Sauchiehall Street to be debated by city councillors.

Members of the city region cabinet have been recommended to approve proposals brought forward by the City Deal team.

Sauchiehall Street as it looks at the moment. Picture: John Devlin

The plans would result in more cycle paths, additional pedestrian walkways, less traffic and more opportunities for businesses.

Work, if approved, would start on the section of road between Charing Cross to Rose Street.

Via: Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street set for £7.2m revamp

I’m sure there will be negative voices against this, but I also suspect they will come from the usual ‘Naysayers’ (those whose response to any suggestions is an automatic ‘NO!’ regardless of the benefits), and from those who see the area on a daily basis, and have just noticed that while it may not be fair to say it is ‘Run down’, it is tired after years of uncoordinated work.

Sauchiehall Street Transformed

Sauchiehall Street Transformed – Image from Glasgow city Council

June 18, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

The illegals – AB11 LTN

I’m not really sure what this is supposed to be.

If this is supposed to be read as BILL, then as a ‘new’ style number I don’t think it’s worth whatever it cost, or worse, the chance of a pull by the police and the resulting fines etc for the illegal spacing of the letters and numbers.

I wish someone would come along with a ladder one day, and fix that PDSA sing on the lamppost. Sorry about the focus, but it was a grey and grimy day when I grabbed this one.

It’s been pointing the OPPOSITE way from the  actual PDSA centre for years – I think it’s loose, as it sometime points in different directions when its windy.

BMW M135I  Auto [AB11 LTN]

Grey BMW M135I Auto [AB11 LTN]

June 18, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Sir Billy Connolly – honourable mention

Although I managed to grab some pics of his birthday murals in Glasgow, I didn’t get a chance to watch the BBC documentary Billy Connolly: Portrait of a Lifetime about their creation, or of the stories behind their artwork until last night.

It also means a trip to the People’s Palace is in order, as the originals are on show there.

And while it may not have been the subject of the programme, my lasting memory of will be a clip from one of is recent stage shows:

I’ve got Parkinson’s Disease. I wish he’d fuckin’ kept it!

Now it’s Sir Billy Connolly

I’m not a great follower of the news these days, populated as it is by too many people trying to get noticed, or absurd opportunist politicians trying to score some sort of points over their opponents – frankly, my Bullshit Detector can’t handle it all, so I just don’t bother.

Bull Det MkII

Bull Det MkII

But I do watch the ‘Bullet Point’ headlines, and the first one I saw this morning was:

‘Hairy rebel’ pleased to be Sir Billy Connolly

Scottish comedian Billy Connolly said he was “pleased and a little embarrassed” to get a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

The 74-year-old Glaswegian said he did not know much about what it would mean.

The star told BBC Scotland: “It won’t really dawn on me until Glasgow people start calling me ‘Sir Billy’ or whatever they come up with.”

He said it felt strange to be welcomed into the establishment as he still thought of himself as a “hairy rebel”.

Unlike some (who are thankfully long forgotten) he didn’t make a great fuss, or protest his hatred of ‘The Establishment’, but simply said:

It’s an honour and I’ll accept it honourably.

The only problem I might possibly see with receiving such an honour these days… is some of the rubbish you have to share it with. there’s some real dross in there this year.

But, forgetting them, it’s really nice to see Sir Billy, who earned hos honour over the years.

Also, I’m not sure who was first, or if they both have ‘Imaginative and original’ writers on their staff (or perhaps neither do), but I saw the appearance of a pair of similarly ‘Inspired’ (Ha!) headlines later in the day:

Arise, Sir Billy: Big Yin gets knighthood in honours list (STV)

Arise Sir Big Yin as Scottish comic icon Billy Connolly awarded knighthood (Daily Record)

June 17, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

Two numbers and two letters – nearly always nice

While I don’t think I will EVER come to terms with the horror that is the SUV (by whatever euphemism), or forgive BMW for working its magic on the X5 all those years ago and making it handle, I’ll also probably always like registrations with two numbers and two letters.

I think it’s nothing more than their neatness (obviously shorter than normal), and symmetry (compared to one number and two or three letters) that makes them notable for me. I could list some more ‘features’ but that’s not my intent. But might add I like the cur-down short number plates too.

In this case, lumbered by a fairly huge, black, 2014 Audi Q7 S Line + TDI Quattro A.

It may have been nice and shiny, but this 7-seater mobile cave was taking up the road to carry a tiny kid almost lost n, and able to run around the passenger footwell and get lost. Do people REALLY need a small private bus to themselves?

Audi Q7 78 EC

Audi Q7

June 17, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

If it’s stopped, it’s parked XII – Dan Dan the parking man

It’s been a while since I saw a decent “If it’s stopped, it’s parked”, and the recent explosion of instant Internet fame, or media reuse as ‘clickbait’ fof a pic or video of a car tyre that has strayed as much as a millimetre outside of a marked bay in a deserted car park (where it matter not one jot), has put me off it.

But then the gems appear, and can re-awaken some interest.

Sure, it’s a quiet side street, but it’s neither abandoned nor derelict, and in use by the folk who live along it.

Could easily have parked against either kerb, and not just blocked it.

I wish I’d had the time to loiter nearby, and maybe got a pic of a car trying to use the junction, but had to move on.

Walking, rather than driving a Privileged Peugeot, means you don’t have time to waste.

Privileged Peugeot Parking

Privileged Peugeot Parking

It is empty and abandoned – I can’t run fast enough to stand in front of such driver and calmly take his pic!

June 16, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

How do you lose…

So, ambling towards The Forge at Parkhead, and watching out for interesting finds lying in the street, I come across one…

But not a find I’ll be collecting or taking home – see the pic:

Shettleston Road Lost Bra

Shettleston Road Lost Bra

As always, I arrive just to late to catch the fun, or whatever.

On this occasion, I’m not even going to TRY and make up a narrative to go with this one.

I’m sure you can come up with own, and probably better than any I could come up with.

June 15, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , | Leave a comment

Doctor Who in Dennistoun

Might be worth a trip to Duke Street (Dennistoun) if you are a ‘New’ Doctor Who fan (I’m not, the pre-publicity for the 2017 series was the last straw for me for various reasons, and this travesty of the classic series is now firmly off my list), and a collector of goodies.

While they’re not exactly giving the stuff away, it is on offer at charity shop prices, so there’s are bargains to be had for anyone serious.

I couldn’t get a decent pic, sorry, but the reflection of the footpath on the glass was pretty strong, even when I processed a lot of it away.

Raid the piggy-bank, and go…

(Click for a bigger pic.)

Doctor Who Charity Shop

Doctor Who Charity Shop

June 14, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Bloody Kids!

Last time I found kids ‘Having Fun’ was when a bunch of them hid behind the wall of Janefield Cemetery (also the Eastern Necropolis or even Parkhead Cemetery on the Gallowgate, which has its entrance just across from The Forge shopping centre.

They’d found an old iron cooking pot and a length of rope, and were using it to launch the pot over the wall into the road – and passing traffic of course – then pull it back in for another go while staying hidden. Fortunately, realignment of the roads here has this section almost deserted, so they never hit anything (or anybody), and like little cowards usually do, eventually ran away over the graves after attracting the attention of a few pedestrians who had seen the pot come flying over the wall as they walked toward the spot where the kids were hiding.

This time, I was surprised when something (turned out to be a pen) landed next to me as I passed Enzo’s chip shop in Shettleston Road last night.

I tend not to react to such things (unless there’s a real need to find cover, or it’s the start of an earthquake or volcanic eruption) since that’s usually what they’re intended to evoke, and walked on until I could sneak a look without being seen. But I know this place well, and other than upper floor tenement windows, there’s little else.

But all the windows were closed – yet I could actually still hear stuff hitting the ground.

And people coming out of Enzo’s were jumping in surprise as ‘stuff’ was hitting the ground around them – yet I could not see an open window.

The answer came when I crossed the road and stood across from Enzo’s and looked up at the building above…

There’s a couple of attic windows in the roof, set back from the face of the building, and therefore invisible from the street below.

I geared up for some pics to catch whoever was at the window, but as you’ll see from the pic and enlargement below, as soon as the kid saw me point the camera at him he ducked out of view and pulled the window shut – never to re-appear. So only only one pic.

Above Enzo's

Above Enzo’s

Blue T-Shirt Kid

Blue T-Shirt Kid

You know who you are… that blue t-shirt probably wants burning now.

And I suspect some neighbours would like a wee word.

June 13, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Mural triplet celebrates Billy Connolly at 75

I have to admit to being a relative latecomer to Billy Connolly’s humour, but found it to be little short of hysterical with its frank honesty and simplicity – not to mention his delivery, which makes otherwise mundane and ordinary tales into side-splitting gems.

I’d never even heard of him until someone let me hear on of his records (that a round black plastic thing) somewhere, then I found him on the radio.

No Internet and search tools to find a quick MP3, stream, or YouTube item back then – but I suppose that could be another story, and one he could probably turn into another side-splitting sketch.

I read about the mural in the news:

Glasgow murals leave Billy Connolly ‘flabbergasted’

And decided it was time for a walk – and six hours and 17 miles later came home with the required pics.

There’s also a 1 hour documentary on them:

Billy Connolly: Portrait of a Lifetime

While two were netted with no problems, I managed to forget where the third was – mainly because its position in the Gallowgate means I’m almost obliged to pass it when I head for home, so I didn’t bother making a mental note of where it was. That was a mistake, and added around 3 miles as wandered around the city centre looking for something to jog my memory. Utterly useless until I turned for home – and THAT finally reminded me.

The murals are not hard to find or see, provided you know where to look.

The day turned windy and dull, with tiny showers, so I had to process the images to brighten them up and recover the colours.

I also corrected them for perspective, removing the slightly annoying narrowing as you look towards their tops.

(Click on any mural for a larger version.)

The last one, in the Gallowgate, is/was particularly annoying to photograph. I’m not sure what the best conditions or time of day would be, but an overcast evening was definitely NOT good. The finish is very glossy and the reflections from the sky behind the camera cannot be avoided, and obscure much of the detail. The other two do not share this problem.

Working from west to east, first up is Dixon Street, just south of St Enoch Square:

This one is slightly spoilt by a metal fence enclosing a seating area at its foot, but you can negate this intrusion by going up to fence and shooting between the railings

 

Billy Connolly Mural Dixon Street

Billy Connolly Mural Dixon Street

Next up is Osborne Street, in the section across from the car park, to the east of the St Enoch Centre, between Stockwell Street and King Street.

No problems shooting here, and you can even get squarely in front of the mural if you wander a little way up ‘Old Wynd’.

Billy Connolly Mural Osborne Street Old Wynd

Billy Connolly Mural Osborne Street Old Wynd

Last up is the Gallowgate mural, pretty (very) easy to spot as you head east along the Gallowgate from Glasgow Cross.

There’s no problem getting below the mural for a pic, but as you can see from this pic, reflections from the glossy finish are hard to mitigate – at least in the evening. Maybe there’s a better viewpoint to be had, but it’s hard to avoid sky reflections if you are stay on the ground/

Unfortunately, not even post-processing for highlight and shadow detail helps, since there is none to recover (recall the problem is the shiny gloss finish and reflections in it).

Billy Connolly Mural Gallowgate

Billy Connolly Mural Gallowgate

June 13, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow Humane Society Lifeboat car – nice one

Nice surprise while wandering around Glasgow Green recently, the Glasgow Humane Society lifeboat car.

Reasonably sure I haven’t come across this before, but with my memory, who knows?

That thought’s added to by the registration number A2 OAR being attached to it, as I’m also sure I haven’t spotted that sitting around either.

Lifeboat Car [A2OAR]

Lifeboat Car [A2OAR]

Interesting – I thought it had suffered a flat tyre, meaning a grotty steel spare replaced the smart alloy as seen on the front, but… BOTH rears are steel.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Adam West tribute

Just saw this pop up on an image sharing web site I watch.

Unfortunately not credited, so I can’t give the proper source either, but it does seem appropriate and worth sharing.

Adam West Tribute

Adam West Tribute

While the later films and animated series may have had higher and more sophisticated production values, I think West’s 1960s TV series was, and is, the definitive conversion of the original comic series, and all the little quirky touches were inspired by that original.

While I get the later ‘darkening’ of the Dark Knight, I also think it made the story too deep and too serious compared to the original.

The original had the right mix of light-heartedness, comedy, and fun, to make the mad super villains that were Batman’s foes work perfectly.

The only other version that really worked for me was an animated series that was shown during kids’ TV on Saturday morning.

Sad to say I don’t know the year, or which animated series it was.

The reason I remember it was when I realised how serious it was, after I had just started watching it as a series for little kiddies.

After a few weeks, I began to see that the episodes appeared to work on two levels: the obvious one that for the kids; but also a much darker theme linking the Batman and his adversaries.

It may just have been me, but while there was the outward fun of cartoon for the kids, I began to see a more serious storyline underlying the obvious., with both the Batman and the villains appearing to stop just short of actions that would, I think, have placed the series not as Saturday morning kids’ TV, but as a post watershed (9 pm in the UK) adult TV series.

 

June 11, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

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