Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Finally – Buchanan Street water top up tap seen in use

Every time I go along Buchanan Street I stop across from the recently installed Water Top Up Tap, in the hope of seeing somebody actually using the thing.

Believe it or not, it’s taken from March until the end of July for me fulfil this simple desire.

So here it is, someone actually filling a bottle from the tap!

To be fair, I knew fine well it was being used (or leaking badly) as there was often evidence of water splashed on the ground around the tap – but never anybody near it.

Buchanan Street Water Tap

Buchanan Street Water Tap

Of course, the REAL pic opportunity arrived just after this, and after my camera was back in my pocket.

Three wee Glesca neds arrived, no water bottles to be filled, and I had no chance to take pics of the wee morons trying to hold their heads UNDER the tap (if it’s not obvious, the water flows from the top of this stand) and drink from it that way, with their heads tipped back.

Yes, THAT’S going to go well 🙂

Find your nearest Top Up Tap

30/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , | Leave a comment

Glasgow’s Forbidden Planet is on the move

It seems odd to read that the Forbidden Planet shop in Buchanan Street has been there for thirty years.

I wonder if that’s correct? (I don’t know – maybe somebody more active in this area can confirm, or not).

I seem to have a recollection of it being in the west end, and wonder if it has been in Glasgow for thirty years in total, with part of that time spent in each location.

I didn’t spend much time there that far in the past, but am sure I saw the shop there, always meant to stop for a look – but never did, and have no accurate idea of the date when I was doing that.

I have dropped into the Buchanan Street shop a few times, but it doesn’t really sell the sort of stuff I’d buy, and it’s also generally quite expensive.

I recently saw a series of B&W books of the Inuyasha series, being sold secondhand for £3 per volume – and there were at least 18 I could see (the set was not complete). I have to be honest, I’ve seen the whole anime series, in colour, for free, and think it was a better than those books.

The new shop is only a few minutes away.

Taking over the former River Island – at 122 Sauchiehall Street – the move means Forbidden Planet will become ‘one of the biggest comic destinations in Europe’. The new store will be around six times the size of the present Buchanan Street shop.

Forbidden Planet group retail manager explained Kevin O’Donnell explained to Glasgow Live: “It’s a dream come true for all of us, it’s absolutely incredible.

“This store is going to be potentially six times the size of our current one.

“Hopefully it will be one of the biggest comic destinations in the whole of Europe when we’re finished. Quite exciting times for us.”

More details will be revealed in due course, with staff targeting an opening date in November.

Glasgow’s Forbidden Planet on the move as comic store reveals expansion plans

That just might entice me through the door again, at least for a look.

One of the problems with the old shop was the space – there wasn’t any!

On the few occasions I visited, the shop’s popularity meant it was like a sardine can inside, with everyone shuffling around shoulder to shoulder.

Bigger premises will certainly help – provided the costs, and the address in Sauchiehall Street don’t bankrupt the owner.

I’ve seen a few happy faces turn sad when such moves turn bad.

Buchanan Street Forbidden Planet

Buchanan Street Forbidden Planet

I wandered along for a matching pic of the new location, but wasn’t familiar enough with the River Island shop mentioned to locate the unit, and the street numbers weren’t clear.

17/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Buchanan Street water tap – seen at last

It’s a while since I mentioned the installation of a public water tap in Buchanan Street, hopefully a first step in reducing the ever piles of disgusting plastic water bottles discarded all over the place by trendies with too much money, and who appear to take one mouthful out of the bottle, apparently find the non-alcoholic contents not to their liking, and toss the almost full bottle away.

That was way back in December, but with my great memory I’ve only just remembered to make the diversion and get a pic to prove it’s there.

Sadly, I didn’t see anyone use it, but the dribble of water on the ground either means it is getting used… or it leaks!

This isn’t actually a proper selective colour pic, but it seems to be close enough to work, and highlight the tap.

The scheme should probably be given repeat publicity, to remind people of its existence.

Buchanan Street Water Point

Buchanan Street Water Point

11/03/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , , | 1 Comment

Honourable mention for… piping and juggling

I took these pics at the start of the Christmas stuff in Glasgow, not of the subjects, but purely to carry out some camera tests, having decided to play around with my usual setting for ‘hand held low light’.

I had been tricking the camera into preferring high ISO (but with the really high values locked out), slowish shutter speeds (but keeping away from really slow and shaky speeds), and wide apertures. It can do what it likes with aperture, since I know there’s really no point in not using wide apertures – stray into smaller settings, and the other two compensate, and the results are never good (for hand held).

I’m not going to comment on their abilities, since I’m told it’s not ‘PC’ to say anything negative about someone doing something you can’t do yourself. I’ve never even tried to play the bagpipes, and have yet to find the ‘magic’ that allows one to juggle.

But they do try, and it seems a shame not to give them a mention.

Buchanan Street Piper Juggler

Buchanan Street Piper Juggler

And a bit wider.

Buchanan Street Piper Juggler

Buchanan Street Piper Juggler

And… just one more.

Taken in a hurry as I turned to move on – I think it came out best of this test.

Buchanan Street Piper Juggler

Buchanan Street Piper Juggler


What’s that in the background, on the litter bin?

Is it an Orwellian 1984 reference?

George Orwell — ‘If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.’

Well, we ARE in the ‘future’.

Buchanan Street Bin

Buchanan Street Bin

It took me a moment to work this one out, after putting it into context with the rest of view.

Sadly, it’s nothing more than one of Glasgow’s new high-tech, foot operated, litter bins.

I kid you not, but I am so used to seeing graphics like that used to indicate accelerator pedals in cars, I really struggled with this at first, and wondered what on earth that symbol was there for.

10/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Ease your conscience – go on a ‘Sleepout’

Since my own circumstances took a decidedly downward trend some years ago, I’ve become pretty cynical with regard to the sort of big high-profile events held by rich (compared to me) and privileged people who can basically (in my eyes) go out and ‘play’ at being poor or homeless for a few hours, or maybe even days.

One such recent ‘game’ was played in Scotland a few days ago.

A great wee party for those who attended, a wee drinky, and a free concert – and lots of nice free social conscience publicity for the wealthy celebrities who attached themselves to these events.

Oh, and helicopter transport too – probably the most expensive way to travel anywhere.

Thousands of people have taken part in a mass sleepout in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee.

Organisers Social Bite said they hoped to raise £4m to help homeless people across Scotland from the event.

The social enterprise arranged for performances from artists, including Amy Macdonald and KT Tunstall, for the 10,000 participants sleeping out.

Both singers performed at all four locations, travelling between cities by helicopter.

The events were held in Aberdeen’s Duthie Park, Dundee’s Slessor Gardens, Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park and Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens.

Charity Social Bite holds mass sleepout to aid homeless


I tend to side with this guy’s view.

However, the event attracted some criticism on the grounds that it is “patronising” to homeless people.

Bruce Forbes, director of Angus Housing Association, said: “I’m not critical of the fact that it’s raising awareness or the fact that it’s raising funds, but I think it is the fact that it now seems to be becoming an annual event which, really in a lot of ways, I think is quite patronising to homeless people.

“They’re having to sleep out every night, are not being entertained, they’re not sleeping in very high quality sleeping bags – it’s really not appropriate to try to replicate.”

It seemed far from realistic or appropriate that Glasgow’s event should have been staged in Kelvingrove Park, in the wealthy west end of the city.

Why not Alexandra Park in the supposedly poverty-stricken east end?

Or maybe in the city centre, where I snapped this nice Christmassy image of Buchanan street.

Christmas in Buchanan Street

Christmas in Buchanan Street

Yes, that’s someone asleep on the road, bottom left corner.

10/12/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Are ALL commenters on The Scotsman’s articles really morons?

While I take the results of most studies made by ‘business and financial advisers’ with a pinch of salt (you don’t have to be a genius to work how easy it is to skew the results by carefully crafting the study itself), I feel less charitable towards the commenters (or ‘morons’, as I tend to think of them nowadays) who seem to have endless time to spout their mindless and ridiculously preconceived views in those Scotsman articles that still allow comments.

I wouldn’t normally even waste the few minutes it will take to rattle this post together on their ramblings, but one stood out as so ridiculous, ill-informed, and biased, I had to stop for a moment.

This story caught my eye, initially to see how it had been fabricated. Probably the result of someone worried about keeping their job, and looking for a way to ‘get noticed’ by the boss, for doing something ‘clever’. In this case, inventing a term called ‘vibrancy’ and making sure Glasgow and Edinburgh came out at opposite ends of the scale.

Edinburgh and Glasgow at opposite ends of ‘vibrancy’ league table

But forget that, what really caught my eye as I sped-read down the page was this moron’s comment.

MLyons1952 • 6 days ago
Passed through Glasgow for the first time in many years last week. Judging by the people on Buchanan Street there is definitely something gone very wrong with the gene pool in the city. 200 years of bevying probably.


I’d venture that MLyons1952 has never set foot in Buchanan Street.

I’m there quite often.

It has some of the most expensive shops to be found in Glasgow.

Passing through it these days, I often feel like a peasant, as it filled with ‘The Beautiful People’ who are not short of a bob or two, are dressed in the latest fashions, and have mobile phones clamped to the ears (or rather their hands, as they seem to spend more time scrolling through social media than talking nowadays).

I’d venture that many of them are tourists too, with many American accents, and others babbling away in languages I can’t understand (and I don’t mean the Polish I’m used to hearing throughout the east end, from my fellow ‘natives’).

Maybe MLyons1952 is suggesting all those tourists are inbred (or staggering around drunk)?

At the moment (if MLyons1952 is not actually lying about being there ‘last week’), it’s also full of street performers, who I doubt would be wasting their time there if those in Buchanan Street were either ‘bevvying’, or suffering from gene pool defects.

I don’t have many pics of Buchanan Street – it’s too ‘kewl’ for me, and I’m so down-market I like to move quickly, for fear of being moved on as I look like a tramp.

Remember my ‘coffee victims’?

I’ve never paid (never would, never will) for a cup of coffee what they paid for those paper cups!

I wonder if MLyons1952 thinks they’re ‘bevvying’, or are inbred?

I think I’d quite like to chain MLyons1952 to a pole in Buchanan Street, with a copy of their comment pinned to their chest, and watch the locals’ reaction.

Coffee Fashion Victims

Coffee Fashion Victims

25/09/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

There’s a Prisoner fan in Glasgow

It’s a few years since I came across the name Jack Kirby a few years ago, then it was a pure fluke that I happened to be looking at a dedicated Prisoner fan’s web site, where they’d shared some ‘lost’ Kirby artwork they had unearthed in a box of memorabilia related to the series.

I’d never even heard the name before, but was intrigued to see the sort of material that had been produced so long ago.

I don’t know if it’s the same material, or different, but I spotted a book (published 2018) of Kirby’s material in the window of one of Glasgow’s science fiction bookshops (Buchanan Street) recently as I passed one night.

By the time I got back at a more reasonable hour a few days later, it was already gone.

Good job I grabbed a quick pic, to remind me I hadn’t imagined it.

Jack Kirby Prisoner Art

Jack Kirby Prisoner Art

There was no price tag, but I see it online from bookshops for between $50 and $80.

This is NOT a look at the new book mentioned above, but a strip by Kirby shown online back in 2014.

Read Jack Kirby’s THE PRISONER!

First page tease.

Jack Kirby Prisoner Comic

Jack Kirby Prisoner Comic

04/09/2018 Posted by | photography | , | Leave a comment


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