Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Unfair to cats!

A recent sortie into the city brought some sad and bad news…

The cats of Howard Street and Dunlop Street have been largely ruined.

Glasgow Howard Street Cat Murals Boarded Up

Glasgow Howard Street Cat Murals Boarded Up

Yes, sure, they were never going to be permanent, but they were pretty good and deserved to be around for longer.

They were certainly nicer to look at than the odd face murals that were created under the bridge at Broomielaw (I haven’t been there, so no pics only for that reason), which I recently read somewhere were beginning to fall apart as water got behind the plaster they were painted on, but they might be repaired.

No such love, apparently, for the cats of Howard and Dunlop streets.

Click the pic below for the originals:

Glasgow Dunlop St cats

Glasgow Dunlop St cats

August 13, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

MCM Comic Con 23-24 September 2017 at the SEC



I usually don’t spot these things until about 10 minutes after the doors close – so this makes a nice change.

I have to confess to missing the old style Science Fiction Conventions we used to enjoy in the Central Hotel.

Circumstances forced me to give up attending for some time, and when I did eventually get back (in my opinion) found that much of the content had evaporated as video and online (early days of the Internet) meant that many of the streams were no longer present.

But nothing stays constant.

I’d probably be running to Comic Con if I was as interested in the material as I was in the Science Fiction days, and from the photo albums I see from the other meetings around the world, the cosplay is impressive, with some participants putting in WAY too much effort – but why not?

One of the nice things about Comic Con seems to be the reasonable cost of entry, at best £24 for the weekend. I don’t think that too far off what I was paying many years ago for full attendance at out local cons, and much less than many other attractions nowadays. I often look   at shows and displays I used to attend regularly, and to use the common expression, the prices make my eyes water.

I won’t be specific, but many events (involving Classic Cars) I used to attend religiously almost every weekend during summer were £5 or so, yet in the past years of low inflation have seen their gate prices double and more. Granted there are some reasons arising from legislation and liability (and a number of events have just folded as they say they cannot raise the money), but it all seems disproportionate.

In some ways, I’m kind of glad I don’t have to worry about attending.

But best of luck to those who do.

See the following for full details of Comic Con at the SEC:

MCM Comic Con 23-24 September 2017 at the SEC

July 30, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Sad to say Glasgow has a problem, and the media have noticed

One of the more light-hearted themes I sometimes run in this Blog is ‘Missed me’, which generally features accident, or similar, sites I come across as I change the routes I walk. As I return to each route after a few weeks, it’s usually obvious that there’s been a crash or some sort of traumatic event where I would have been had I been on the ‘old’ route. At least two I can recall recently involved shots fired at houses, but at least most of those occurred at times when I’d have been nowhere near the scene even if had been on those routes.

But I also keep a list of incidents bookmarked if they happen on any of my routes, in case I’m stuck for something to write about. Thankfully, more normal items of interest keep that list unused, but in recent weeks it has become apparent that there’s been a real surge in violent incidents, and quite a number of stabbings.

Two recent events were close – too close! You’ll regularly find me in them, and at the times given.

And not even at dark’o’clock or in isolated places, but during the day in public places:

Man is stabbed in face at Cambuslang train station

Man stabbed in Glasgow’s Tollcross Park

Some might think something is going on.

Some do!

Apart from one or two people I worked with, I’ve never really knowingly been close to anyone from Glasgow’s underworld or organised criminal side. Although I’ve also come to realise (as a result of digging around for goodies for SeSco) that I’ve been a lot closer to them than I might have imagined.

But it’s not something I have any interest in, and deliberately steer clear of.

The media can take their chances with that, they at least get paid to do that.

It’s rather sad that we seem to be going back to Glasgow being a city that can generate headlines such as this, as seen in The Observer section of The Guardian:

Glasgow’s dark legacy returns as gangland feuds erupt in public killings

It’s s shame that we’ve come so far in improving the city over a number of years, only to be dragged back into the gutter in a matter of weeks.

It’s dangerous out there… Take this:

Police Support Unit

Police Support Unit

Inspired by:

Take This

Take This

July 23, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

GoMA needs to get a grip

I used to enjoy making the effort to get into Glasgow’s GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art) whenever I was in the city centre, but in recent years I’ve begun to wonder why I bother.

All the permanent exhibits have gone.

It has so little to offer it was able to lose the basement exhibition space and turn it into a library.

There used to be an exhibit space on the first floor (there was a Sharmanka installation there) which seems to have gone.

Looking at its web site, all the interesting exhibits seem to be from past years – and I seem to have missed most of them to.

Guess I don’t get the chance to drop in often enough.

But I’m not just ‘having a go’, as the most recent claimed ‘exhibit’ that appeared in the news is really just an insult…

An empty gallery has been unveiled as the latest work by an artist who “cancelled” her exhibition at one of Glasgow’s leading venues.

Marlie Mul asked for no exhibition to be held in the Gallery of Modern Art.

All that will be visible in the gallery are billboards advertising that the exhibition has been cancelled.

People are being invited to “visit and interact with the space” – and suggest alternative uses for the gallery during the five months set aside for the show.

Gallery 1 at Goma will lie empty from Friday until the end of October.

Visitors will instead be greeted by 21 billboards advertising the cancellation of the exhibition by the Dutch artist.

‘Amazing opportunity’

Goma said Mul’s “conceptual gesture” was to act as an “implicit critique of what is displayed within museums and galleries”.

It said that by removing traditional content and opening the space for public use, Mul was “augmenting the institution to question the relevance of an art exhibition in 2017”.

Goma curator Will Cooper said the cancellation was an “amazing opportunity”.

He said: “By removing what would traditionally be considered an art object we are instead presenting the gallery as an empty space, giving us a moment to question the value in turning over exhibition after exhibition after exhibition.”

He added: “We’re excited by the different types of activities that might be on offer during this cancelled show.

Via: Glasgow gallery left empty for ‘cancelled’ exhibition

Since the ‘artist’ cancelled…

Are any sponsorships, fees, or payments cancelled too?

Or are they excluded?

It’s nonsense such as this that turns people off so rapidly when the words ‘Modern Art’ are uttered, and GoMA’s curator commenting that offering an empty space for public use is “amazing opportunity” is just an attempt cover up a disaster by repackaging it an hoping nobody notices.

(I noticed).

I’d say we are being sold short by GoMA these days, and they really should give themselves a shake.

At the moment, the best part is the shop, which is more interesting and inspiring than any of the exhibition spaces – and it’s a lot busier too!



Carl Sagan

Here’s a suggestion, an exhibit dedicate to Carl Sagan and his Baloney Detection Kit!

May 28, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

The Big Safety-Pin at Rottenrow

I suspect I have a better pic of this giant safety-pin, but if I keep on trying to find it then I’ll never include one, good or bad. It’s not that bad, I just find it irritating that I didn’t notice some leaves overlapping, and forgot to include the plaque detail below.

Although its official title is “Mhtothta” (the Greek word for maternity), this 7 metre tall giant safety-pin sculpture is known locally as the “Monument to Maternity”, and depicts a nappy pin in memory of the Glasgow Maternity Hospital that stood on this site.

Made from stainless steel by Glasgow artist George Wyllie in 1996 and originally entitled “Just in Case”, it was originally created for the city’s local Mayfest festival. Wylie then took it to Portsmouth, suggesting it could be used to symbolise attachment to the European Community. It then went to Edinburgh when leaders of the Commonwealth were visiting, implying attachment to that body as well.

But it was as the nappy pin, with a small bird perched at the very top, that it was finally and permanently installed in Rottenrow Gardens, opened in 2004


The Giant Nappy Pin

May 9, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

The intriguing plans for Glasgow’s neglected lanes

It’s a shame that so many people are ready to cast scorn on any initiatives proposed by Glasgow City Council out of hand, without the slightest consideration of their merit. Granted, the council has suffered (and in some cases still does) from the possible existence of ‘Ego Projects’ at the behest of some councillors, but such dismissal is probably as bad as those wayward proposals.

I know, I used to be a member of a forum that enjoyed attacking the council regardless – but then I realised this was just mindless hate on the members’ part, and left.

I’m sure they’ll be having a little ‘hate orgy’ this week, and dancing around burning copies of the Glasgow City Council’s draft strategy and public consultation documents for the improvement of some 90 lanes within the city centre.

That would be a mistake.

While I was initially sceptical after seeing stories about the strategy in the media, actually looking at the detail for myself revealed a sensibly researched review and proposal within this strategy, and one which I hope will eventually come to be financed and adopted.

In fact, the strategy runs to some 90+ pages in a well presented document:

Draft Lane Strategy for Public Commnet (pdf document)

Council approves next stage of strategy for Glasgow’s city centre lanes

I’m familiar with many of Glasgow’s lanes (and seldom venture into them, and certainly not in the dark), and those that come to mind at first are not appropriate for the plan, being the back of many business, or access to their services. They also suffer from one of our good/bad ideas – giant wheelie bins for their waste. Admittedly better than the piles of black bags and waste, they still take up space, and can ‘go walkies’ since few lanes are level – I used to work near West Regent Lane for example. As can be seen, it’s needed for access, and the lane surface is old, failing, and on an incline.

West Regent Lane

West Regent Lane

Similar, but not on an incline, is Renfield Lane, but it has a fine crop of business related wheelie bins:

Renfield Lane

Renfield Lane

These are NOT the lanes of the plan, although it suggests that improving their condition would still make for a better, cleaner environment, provide improved access, and help reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

In fact, taking the time to look at the proposals without an ant-council bias shows the selection of a small number of lanes in areas where they could be developed as attractions, and turned into public spaces with shops, restaurants and bars.

This has happened in other areas of the city, and those lanes have become favourites with both locals and visitors.

With this in mind, it’s now worth reading the media coverage:

Glasgow’s back lanes in line for Melbourne style revamp

World-inspired revamp for Glasgow’s 90 city centre lanes

April 19, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow’s old meat and cattle market is ‘At Risk’

While I was shopping in Duke Street I happened to turn around while climbing the stairs/ramp to one shop and noticed the slightly raised location provided a view over the now almost completely empty site of Glasgow’s old meat, cattle market, and abattoir.

Now little more than an empty field with some remaining covered pens in the distance, the only remaining building is a sub-station, on the left foreground. Not visible behind the covered area are flats built on that part of the site, which also allowed a significant amount of façade to be retained. The covered area was latterly used as a car auction/market, and having been taken there when tiny, imagined I would be able to go there on my own when I was ‘grown-up’. Well, I was wrong about that!

It seems to have closed in 2001, suffered arson in 2003, then was razed in 2005.

The land has been up for sale for years, since the market was demolished – no takers yet.

I was surprised to see that the canopied area and adjacent façade were considered to be ‘Buildings at Risk’, given how little it represents of the whole site, but then again, why not?

For more details, see Building at Risk: Moore Street Meat and Cattle Markets, Bellgrove Street, Calton

One interesting point was the finish of the walls around the market which, when they surrounded the entire site, matched exactly the finish on the small section of facing still surviving on the front of that sub-station.

Glasgow meat market site

Glasgow meat market site

February 23, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

That’s flats over the old High Street bank

My interest in an old sandstone building in High Street was reheated recently, after I mentioned the Old College Bar and the potential threat of demolition it may face if a developer has it evil ways, and naughty lies about the building being unsafe gain traction.

The building stands almost alone (discounting the adjacent Old College Bar for a moment) and is one of the most attractive still standing, dating from around 1895.

It started life as a bank (British Linen Bank), more recently described as a shop in its original B-listing record, but from my own memory of a few years ago I seem to recall signs indicating that it was some sort of seller (but I can’t recall any detail regarding what – for some reason, fruit & veg come to mind (now know… Robert Bell – Wholesale Fruit Merchant).

See an extensive collection of pics from the fruit merchant day here: Former British Linen Company Bank, 215 High Street

There are details captured there that I had never even noticed before. It includes the low extension to the rear, which I thought was just tacked on at some later date, but seeing it in daylight pics show it to be original.

Last time I looked more closely on passing, the ground floor appeared to have been redeveloped as some sort of gallery where small exhibitions were being held, but it was too dark to see any detail, other than the name ‘Civic Room‘. I found: “Civic Room is an artist-led organisation in Glasgow and London that curates events, exhibitions and projects to share a critical engagement between artists, built urban spaces and our communities“.

Also: “The space will be opened up to the public for a year and double as a hub for Doors Open Day as part of efforts to raise awareness and funds for a full restoration of the at-risk building“.

According to the Building at Risk Register, from being abandoned and derelict in 2007, this building now not only has some use of the former bank premises on the ground floor, but the flats above (7-9, odd numbers, Nicholas Street) are also being occupied and let, as confirmed by this pic I managed to grab before the lights went out!


High Street flats occupied

High Street (really Nicholas Street) flats occupied

February 16, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

FW Holroyd Gallery

After yesterday’s post regarding the possible demolition of the Old College Bar I was reminded of some pics I grabbed of the nearby FW Holroyd Gallery building, which would be included as part of the demolition applied for regarding development of that site.

FW Holroyd High St

FW Holroyd High St

I seem to have been looking at this gallery/building all my life (I even have a vague recollection After all, it’s only a few years since the adjacent building was razed, and I was surprised that the demolition did not extend to the gallery building. Although I didn’t photograph the gallery as such back then, I did take pics of the fireplaces left exposed in its end wall following the demolition, the fenced off end wall on the right (out of sight) in this pic.

FW Holroyd George St

FW Holroyd George St

One thing that has often caught my eye over the years is the use the illegal fly-posters and bill-posters have made of this empty premises, by placing their rubbish on the INSIDE of the windows, rather than just sticking it on the exterior.

I wondered if they were doing so legitimately.

I should have known better!

They just broke in so they could stick their adverts inside.

The grille on over the entrance is long gone, and the (original) door lock just burst or kicked in at some point.

There’s something more substantial holding the door locked shut these days, but the reality is that this is MUCH stronger than the door and frame it is screwed into, and a good kick would dislodge the hasp and staple, and protect that nice straight shackle padlock from damage.

FW Holroyd gallery door lock

FW Holroyd gallery door lock

February 7, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

George Square has become a little greener

It’s nice to think of the insane schemes that were proposed for George Square in recent years, and have become nothing more than memories. A reminder that a delusional city council can be held to account when it oversteps its authority and the people stamp their feet.

I’m not even going to dig up the articles, suffice to say we still don’t have any unwanted ‘water features’, or venues only suitable for warm and dry resorts, as opposed to Scotland’s ‘glorious’ climate!

We’re even seeing the back of the ‘Red Tarmac’ (or whatever it was) and the return of grass to the square.

Surprisingly sensibly restored flush to the ground, so (I’m guessing) it can be boarded over to allow events to be held there.

Last time I was there, I think it was still a building site and the work was in progress with the now grassy areas blocked off by fencing, but now all the works seem to be clear, and the grass is ‘open for business’.

I caught this quiet evening view while passing through recently.

While you can’t tell in this small crop, the original has one spooky feature spotted when I was processing the image – the fellow to the left of the bench is staring STRAIGHT into my camera, with a very piercing grumpy or disapproving look. He’s holding a camera too – I wonder if I somehow unwittingly ruined his shot?


George Square grassed

George Square regrassed

February 7, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | 1 Comment

Templeton’s, People’s Palace, Winter Gardens etc

With some odd pics left over from the recent sorties around Templeton’s and the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens, mostly squinty or just a bit random, I wondered if there was anything interesting to be found in them.

Turned out there was, and by chance I learned that it was possible to get all three reasonably arranged in a single shot.

The first pic I played with only caught Templeton’s and the People’s Palace, and was way off horizontal, so had to be levelled, then the buildings still looked as if they were leaning into the centre, so more perspective corrections.

Lastly, a new toy for helping edit out stuff like wires and poles was trialled (not used it before) and once I understood it, found it got rid of a white flagpole and some security and street lights that were spoiling the view of Templeton’s – these can be seen in the other pics, for comparison.

Templeton's People's Palace

Templeton’s People’s Palace

This last pair (which should really just be one, but I noticed something) ended up being an exercise in fiddling with perspective adjustment/correction just to get a final image that looked ‘right’ rather than ‘wrong’.

Nothing is ‘square’ in the view – it may look fine to the eye when seen ‘live’ and in context, but when the unaltered pic is seen alone, with rectangular borders, all the buildings look as if they are drunk. Templeton’s is built on a slope, and the ornamental façade joins the block on the right at an obtuse angle, not 90 degrees. The People’s Palace looks as if has been built off the vertical, while the Winter Gardens seem to be both at an odd angle and can look odd as the frame is curved. Just for good measure, that hedge in the foreground is not straight, but is a semi-circular curve.

The final effort still looks as if the various bits are at slightly odd angles, and lean, but are better than the original shot, which I also manage to take with the camera far from horizontal.

And, no, I did not notice that damned twig on the left!

Templeton's People's Palace Winter Gardens

Templeton’s People’s Palace Winter Gardens

Spot the difference in this bonus pic (it’s not that damned twig – I just decided to try losing it for fun, and was surprised at how easy it was to make it go away):

Templeton's People's Palace Winter Gardens

Templeton’s People’s Palace Winter Gardens

The obvious difference was… the light in the People’s Palace Viewing Gallery was switched off for the few seconds it took to get the second pic. I wonder why?

It was near closing time, maybe a hint in case anyone was up there.

February 6, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

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