Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Is it OK to complain a little about Sauchiehall Street avenues?

I’ve mentioned the project to revitalise Sauchiehall Street via the ‘Avenues’ project, and the sound of irritating whining coming from a few special interest groups who think they deserved special treatment – and didn’t get it (in their opinion).

So, I’m a bit wary of making a complaint myself, but if I don’t, who will?

The project is nearing completion, and the pic I grabbed a few days ago shows the place is really beginning to look a lot better now that the works are finally being cleared away.

Sauchiehall Street Avenue

Sauchiehall Street Avenue

But…

There’s an itsy bitsy teeny weeny problem hidden in that otherwise quite nice view.

Not evident in the pic is the slightly poor finish of the black tarmac cycle lane.

I’ve ridden along it a few time now, and it’s not a pleasant experience – in fact, I usually cycle along the line of the left border.

The border on the right looks similar in the pic, but is actually raised, to separate it from the footpath to the right.

Unfortunately, the tarmacked path is far from level, and after riding along it for a while, if you are susceptible to sea-sickness, I suspect you might end up feeling a tad queasy if you stayed on it.

By way of contrast, the stone paved areas are smooth, and don’t suffer from the pitching induced by the wavy surface of the black-top.

Sorry, but I can only report what I find.

I’m not sure what they might have done wrong here, since tarmac road can be silky smooth, so there’s no reason for this to be wavy.

Perhaps they didn’t use large enough compacting or rolling plant to finish it?

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Jan 5, 2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S31

Was the Mackintosh Building fire a cunning marketing ploy?

Most of the media came up with the same ‘feature headline’ this week, namely the record number of visitors at Mackintosh related venues in this 150th anniversary of his birth.

The BBC…

A record 1.1 million people have visited Charles Rennie Mackintosh venues across Glasgow this year.

A series of events to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of the acclaimed architect boosted visitor numbers.

Visitor numbers were also helped by the reopening of Mackintosh’s Tea Rooms on Sauchiehall Street.

In June a fire ripped through the Mackintosh Building at The Glasgow School of Art.

150th anniversary boosts visitor numbers to Mackintosh venues

STV…

The 150th anniversary of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s birth has helped venues connected to the artist record their best ever year for visitor numbers.

More than 1.1 million people have visited Mackintosh venues in and around Glasgow this year, including Scotland Street School Museum, House for an Art Lover and Mackintosh House at The Hunterian, officials have revealed.

It marks an 8% increase on the levels in 2017 and is up 30% compared to 2016, culture body Glasgow Life said.

The figures were revealed in a year which saw the completion of a four-year, £10m restoration of Mackintosh’s only surviving Tea Rooms on Sauchiehall Street, and a Mackintosh interior forming the centrepiece of the Scottish design galleries at the new V&A Dundee.

Several venues, mostly in the west of the country, were involved in Mackintosh 150, a year-long programme of events and exhibitions celebrating the birth and legacy of the artist, architect and designer.

However the past 12 months also saw a massive blaze rip through the famous Mackintosh Building at The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) for the second time in four years in June, devastating the building and forcing the school to close its visitor centre and Mackintosh walking tours programme.

Mackintosh venues celebrating record visitor numbers

GlasgowLive…

As the 150th anniversary celebrations of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s life draw to a close, venues and attractions in Glasgow have recorded more visitors in 2018 than ever before.

Between January and November, more than 1.1 million people visited Glasgow Mackintosh venues, including The Lighthouse, Scotland Street School Museum, Mackintosh Queen’s Cross, House for an Art Lover and Mackintosh House at the University of Glasgow’s Hunterian museum.

This is an 8% increase in footfall compared with the same period in 2017 and a 30% increase on 2016.

Born in Glasgow on June 7 1868, Mackintosh is globally considered one of the most creative figures of the 20th century.

Figures have been welcomed as a strong indicator of the success of Mackintosh 150 and the continuing appeal of Mackintosh in Glasgow, especially in the wake of the second devastating fire in the Mackintosh Building at The Glasgow School of Art in four years.

Glasgow Mackintosh venues have record year following 150th anniversary celebrations

The Scotsman…

Events marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of Charles Rennie Mackintosh have helped venues connected to the artist record their best ever year for visitor numbers.

More than 1.1 million people visited Mackintosh venues in and around Glasgow – including Scotland Street School Museum, House for an Art Lover and Mackintosh House at The Hunterian – in 2018, officials have revealed.

It marks an 8% increase on the levels in 2017 and is up 30% compared to 2016, culture body Glasgow Life said.

The figures were revealed in a year which saw the completion of a four-year, £10 million restoration of Mackintosh’s only surviving Tea Rooms on Sauchiehall Street, and a Mackintosh interior forming the centrepiece of the Scottish design galleries at the new V&A Dundee.

Several venues, mostly in the west of the country, were involved in Mackintosh 150, a year-long programme of events and exhibitions celebrating the birth and legacy of the artist, architect and designer.

But 2018 also saw a massive blaze rip through the famous Mackintosh Building at The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) for a second time in four years in June, devastating the building and forcing the school to close its visitor centre and Mackintosh walking tours programme.

The record-breaking visitor figure, which includes GSA numbers up to June, reflects the success of the other venues in attracting people through their doors, officials believe.

Venues connected to Charles Rennie Mackintosh record visitor numbers

No Conspiracy Theory stories?

I left ‘The Scotsman’ article to last, since its (surely world-famous by now) Moron Comment section was, I thought, the ideal place to find the Conspiracy Theorists flocking together, and discussing various plans that could have been enacted to boost visitor numbers in the 150th anniversary year.

But, no.

Not a single one,  not even a derogatory comment from any of the trendy/fashionable Mackintosh haters, who could have dug their knives in there.

Still, looking at other stories from around world, which tell of some pretty ruthless people, and of others who just seem to have no clue about the serious implications of what they are prepared to do to achieve their goals, I just can get the image of some little creep sitting in an office, in a marketing and promotions company, coming up with hidden/secret ‘Cunning Plans’ to further their own ends.

Think I’m being silly, or that you’re safe? Husband cut wife’s parachute after she asked him ‘Are you trying to kill me?’ court hears

Christmas Mackintosh

Christmas Mackintosh

Dec 23, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S30

Possibly a little late, STV brought three varied stories from the edge of the fire.

A quote from one’s not enough, and I can’t lift the whole article which is relatively long, so this is just the link.

Probably the sad thing I see in this is the ‘Then and Us’ emotion, rather than some understanding.

There’s been a lot of devastation, it’s a shame there seems to be a continuing rift between some of those involved.

Lives turned upside down by Glasgow Art School blaze

Business are to receive assistance.

Almost £2 million is being used to give business rate relief for companies affected by the fires at the Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh building and Victoria’s Nightclub.

The Scottish Government has announced approximately £1.85 million of its Fire Recovery Fund will be used by Glasgow City Council to provide business rates relief and support recovery efforts following the fire in June.

No business in the immediate fire cordon area, or eligible companies in Sauchiehall Street, will have to pay business rates for the period of January to March.

Some 200 businesses in the eligible area have already received more than £3 million from the £5 million fund, which was announced by Economy Secretary Derek Mackay in July.

The recently renovated Mackintosh library had been due to reopen next year.

In addition, a £150,000 grant will be given to the Centre for Contemporary Arts to assist with its recovery plan.

The Scottish Government has already offered £20,000 of financial support to businesses directly affected by the fires and £10,000 to others in the area impacted by a reduction in shoppers.

It has also expanded its contribution to hardship rates relief and in partnership with the council has created an emergency fund to support displaced households.

Mr Mackay said: “Having already provided a great deal of assistance so far, the Scottish Government is now making the remaining balance of its Fire Recovery Fund – some £1.85 million – available to Glasgow City for further business rates relief.

Businesses affected by Sauchiehall Street fires get £2m relief fund

Mackay said: “This relief will provide much-needed breathing space while businesses resume trade and allow them to focus on the commercial opportunities of the festive period in the knowledge that they will not face any additional business rates liabilities related to the period between January to March.

“The devastating fires at the Glasgow School of Art and near Victoria’s Nightclub have had a significant and lasting impact on businesses, residents and the Sauchiehall Street economy alike.

Government to give £2million to businesses affected by Art School fire

Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said: “The Sauchiehall Street fires had a huge impact on the city, most especially on those who live and work in the vicinity.

“In response to these tragic and traumatising events, and in partnership with the Scottish Government, we ensured local businesses received the support needed at a crucial time.

“Businesses are the lifeblood of Sauchiehall Street and stability continues to be their overriding priority.

“There has been a real acceleration in the physical improvements in the area and this announcement will complement and make a significant contribution to our aims and ambitions for a 21st century Sauchiehall Street.”

Businesses hit by Sauchiehall Street fires get £2m boost

Sauchiehall Street Fire

Sauchiehall Street Fire

Dec 16, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

McLellan Galleries strangeness revisited

I posted an odd pic taken looking in the closed glass doors of the Mclellan Galleries a while ago.

Passing the place again, recently, it came to mind and, since I was carrying a better camera (for low light), I thought I’d take a similar look.

I don’t know what’s changed, it might be as simple as the time of day, but I didn’t seem to be able to find the same spot to stand on to get the same effect.

So…

I just took a ‘better’ pic of the dark and spooky gallery entrance interior.

Sometimes even I’m surprised by what comes up in these shots.

Thanks to the relatively bright light of the street, this view looks almost black to the eye, suggesting the pic will be the same, but the camera sensor can do magic, and lift a useable image from the darkness.

McLellan Galleries Dark Interior

McLellan Galleries Dark Interior

Dec 9, 2018 Posted by | photography | , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S29

I was going to suggest that a new director had been found for the Glasgow School of Art (after, in my opinion, the previous director was ‘persuaded’ to fall on his own sword as a sacrificial offering to the baying hounds demanding a head) surprisingly quickly, such appointments often seem to take a ridiculous amount if time. I’ve never really understood this process – my gut tells me such positions should be filled by someone with intimate knowledge of the job, promoted from within, and selected on the basis of the experience in lower positions in the chain of command.

But I’m generally wrong in that thought, as will be seen if the occupants of such posts are looked at in the case of large companies.

Cynics might suggest in such cases that this is an élite, closed club, where such directors take up such posts for only a few years, as part of a cunning plan. Once they’ve held the post long enough to satisfy their contractual terms, the get a massive ‘Golden Handshake’, and move on to the next one, and so on, until they retire.

However, for the next year at least, it looks as if my preference for someone internal to be promoted to this post is generally satisfied.

The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) board has appointed Prof Irene McAra-McWilliam as the school’s new director.

The professor will fill the role for one year before the GSA undertakes a full candidate search.

Along with Prof Ken Neil she has been acting as joint interim director since 16 October.

Prof McAra-McWilliam joined the School of Art as head of School of Design in 2005.

In 2016 she was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list which recognised her work in higher education, innovation and design.

That same year she was appointed deputy director (innovation).

The professor also established the schools Highland Campus at Altyre and created The Innovation School as the GSA’s fifth academic school.

However, the key phrase in that report suggests she could be out after a year, as some ‘high-flyer’ is found, and parachuted into the role of director.

On the other hand, maybe she’ll do such an outstanding job in that year, and her position will be made permanent.

We’ll have to wait and see.

New director for Glasgow School of Art

Glasgow School of Art has appointed a temporary leader following the sudden departure of director Tom Inns in the wake of a storm of controversy over its stewardship of its iconic Mackintosh Building after it was devastated by two major fires in the space of four years.

Former head of design Irene McAra-McWilliam has been appointed director for the next year by the art school’s under-fire board.

Prof McAra-McWilliam has been a deputy director at the institution since 2016, the same year she was awarded an OBE.

The interim appointment has been announced less than a month after the resignation of Prof Inns amid growing questions over the fire protection measures which were in place when the two blazes broke out.

A statement from the art school said its board would be carrying out a “full candidate search” for a replacement for Prof Inns, previously head at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, who was appointed in May 2013.

It added: “The board wishes Professor Irene McAra-McWilliam every success in her new role and is confident that the Art School will continue to be a successful, independent and internationally highly esteemed art school under her leadership.”

Glasgow School of Art appoints new director as fire recovery continues

As usual, this Scotsman story has attracted the usual moron into it comment area, with this gem appearing there.

Antoine Bisset

“…as fire recovery continues”
What world of insanity is this?
The GSA is a pile of rubble. A pastiche may be built, but that’s it.

Far from promoting any of those associated with the place, they should all be jailed for the rest of their lives.

Read more at: https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/glasgow-school-of-art-appoints-new-director-as-fire-recovery-continues-1-4835090

As I said in the opening above… “the previous director was ‘persuaded’ to fall on his own sword as a sacrificial offering to the baying hounds demanding a head“, only Antoine wants ANY of those associated with the place jailed for the rest of their lives. Does that include the cleaners, the kitchen staff, any students that studied there?

Me, for visiting, looking at the place, taking pics, and writing about it?

I can picture Antoine, at the head of the posse and lynch mob, picking out the best tree for the rope 🙂

Quite what this idiot means by finishing with ‘Read more at:’ is indicative of their level of intelligence, since it’s the link to the SAME article their informed and oh-so-helpful comment is posted after.

 

Dec 2, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S28

Well there you go.

The CCA (Centre for Contemporary Arts) swings from ‘bust’ to ‘boom’.

Last time out, it was crying in its beer and warning everyone it might go under as it wasn’t able to open its doors, thanks to the quarantine thrown up after Mackintosh Building fire.

Now, it can afford to throw a free party for one and all to celebrate the lifting of the quarantine, and return to normal service.

I think somebody should subject the CCA Board to the same sort of scrutiny and negativity which has recently been aimed at the Glasgow School of Art Board – or have it add the words ‘tact and diplomacy‘ to its agenda.

(Oh well, there goes MY free invite.)

Now that I’ve burnt that bridge, I’ll add that this looks like a promotion for the first exhibition after the re-opening, and other events, so the party is really riding on the back of that, rather than being ‘stand alone’.

Fingers crossed they get everyone back, on the other hand, do they really need friends who deserted them in the time of need?

A massive party is set to take place next month to celebrate the reopening of Sauchiehall Street businesses following the devastating art school fire in June.

And next month, they will join forces to “support the revival” of the area at a huge extravaganza – with all Garnethill residents, members of the local community, long-standing CCA supporters and regular visitors invited to attend!

Francis Mckee, CCA Director, said: “This is a party for everyone. We want to celebrate the reopening of our building and bring together all the people who supported us during the summer months and all those who want to support the revival of Sauchiehall Street and the Garnethill area. It’s time to look forward and definitely time for a party.”
Read More

CCA and Saramago Café Bar will be open right through to 3am with sets from Cucina Povera, Poisonous Relationship, Kübler-Ross and Sarra Wild.

The evening begins with the opening of CCA’s new exhibition, A Weakness for Raisins: Films and Archive of Ester Krumbachová, and the Scottish Queer International Film Festival will also have events on throughout.

The party is free entry all night and takes place on Friday, December 7.

CCA hosts huge community party to celebrate Sauchiehall Street reopening after art school fire

We’re Having a Party!

A little fun pic I haven’t had a chance to pull out of the files so far.

Just three contractors hanging around 🙂

Click for a little bigger.

Hanging Around The Mackintosh Building

Hanging Around The Mackintosh Building

Happy at their work.

Just Hanging Around At The Mackintosh Building

Just Hanging Around

Nov 25, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I hate graffiti vandals

While I have nothing but admiration for the folk who have created the various murals, large and small, that Glasgow is becoming famous for with its Mural Trail, I have nothing but contempt and disgust for the vandals who think they are being clever by trying to emulate them. They’re really just pathetic failures.

While our murals are installed with permission and are generally enjoyed by many, the graffiti vandals don’t care who they upset or inconvenience, what they destroy, damage, or deface, or what it costs to clean up after them.

In fact, I don’t really mind the small pieces of fun some of them dot around the city, usually in places where they are not ‘In your face’, and almost hidden if you don’t know they’re there.

But many others, even if small, ruin people’s property, and they end up out of pocket fixing the damage.

The same goes for ‘Taggers’ who think any clean space is a spot ‘their’ tag has to places, often ruining council street furniture, meaning our taxes are wasted dealing with the vandals ‘work’.

Admiring some buildings in Sauchiehall Street recently, I was sad to reflect that there had been no past story in the news about a vandal being scraped off the road, and taken away in bags.

Those knowledgeable in Glasgow tales will know the building featured was once a piano showroom, and has a bust of Beethoven over the rear entrance in Renfrew Street. It later became a cinema, seating 400 to more than 600 at one time, which lasted until 1984. Its past is too long to detail here, but it’s an interesting building.

It’s neighbour to the Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum, I mentioned recently.

No idea about its current appearance – it gives a Facecrook link (which I will not touch) and the web page is dead, so it might be too (it looks it).

So, this was the first I saw of the problem.

Sauchiehall Street Vandalism

Sauchiehall Street Vandalism

Now that I’m getting better at it, I like to play with perspective correction, and got a chance with the front view.

Spotted the problem yet?

Glasgow Sauchiehall Street Vandalism Perspective Play

Glasgow Sauchiehall Street Vandalism Perspective Play

Last clue – and why I was sad there was no media coverage of a Sauchiehall Street high fall splat.

If the courts can’t deal with this rubbish effectively, surely Darwin could remove them from the gene pool.

Sauchiehall Street Vandalism Even Closer

Sauchiehall Street Vandalism Even Closer

Update

Thanks for the anon pointer to this.

Lovely way to end a high fall.

Graffiti Killer

Graffiti Killer

Nov 21, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S27

Nice to see a robust defence from the board of the Glasgow School of Art, as it finally breaks it virtual silence in the face of nothing but days/weeks of negative comments and a lack of support that has verged on a witch-hunt, following the fires that struck the Mackintosh Building.

I sometimes wonder of those making such accusations and claims ever listen to themselves – I doubt it.

I have little time for those who exercise perfect 20/20 hindsight.

Regrettably, fires happen, despite best efforts.

If they didn’t, we wouldn’t have fire and emergency on constant standby.

The board of Glasgow School of Art has hit back at claims it failed to look after the A-listed Mackintosh building.

A submission to a parliamentary inquiry strongly defended its record following two devastating fires in four years.

In documents released ahead of an evidence session in parliament on Thursday, bosses denied claims of “systemic management failure”.

They said the school was “robust and well-managed” and fit and able to oversee repair of the iconic building.

MSPs on the culture committee have heard from architects and other experts but this is the first time those in charge of the art school have had their say.

Glasgow School of Art bosses hit back at fire criticism

There’s no honour, or demonstration of great intelligence (but maybe of a lack of that commodity)in the statement:

One Mackintosh expert described the Mack building as a “fire-trap waiting to happen” while another former employee said everyone knew the building was a risk.

Those ‘experts’ and ’employees’ would have been worth having if they’d done something useful, rather than stating the obvious.

As it is, they’re no better than the type of person who sniffs and says ‘Told you so’ when something happens.

The board gave a detailed response:

Detailed response

The board said it wanted to replace speculation with a factual position, and responded to a number of criticisms.

  • On claims there was a lack of transparency, the board said “there has been no intention to exclude people who want to know what has happened or what happens next”. It said a website was dedicated to putting out information following June’s fire, but accepted it was “not entirely successful in communicating with the public in the immediate aftermath”.
  • A temporary fire suppression system was not installed after the 2014 fire because there was no system “suitable for a building of the scale and complexity of the Mackintosh Building that could have been installed during the construction period”.
  • The school’s monetising of the Mackintosh building was limited in scope, and revenue amounted to no more than about £60,000 from tours of the building and the sale of merchandise.
  • On claims it failed to engage with experts, the board said it put in place an expert panel so that its design team could have access to the right advice when required. These experts have been called upon to provide advice to other institutions following major disasters including the National Museum of Brazil.
  • The board said events hosted within the building after the 2014 fire followed stringent procedures agreed with the contractors. About half a dozen events were held over the four years since the 2014 fire. “Safety of visitors and operatives and efficient site operations remained the absolute priorities at all times,” it said.
  • It rejected the idea of rebuilding the Mackintosh as a museum. “To strip it of its primary function and consign it to the status of a visitor attraction, would be to strip life and purpose from the building… converting the Mackintosh Building to a museum would not be an expression of responsible custodianship, it would be a piece of sabotage against our built heritage and a failure of our duty to future generations.”
  • In other submission papers, the board said the art school’s fire prevention plans had been worked up over many years. It stated: “It was suggested at the hearing on 20 September 2018 that ‘the failure was systemic and that there was a misjudged attitude to risk for such a hazardous and iconic building.’

“It is understood that none of the witnesses are experts in this area. We strongly rebut that allegation.

“We have always taken fire precautions seriously across our whole estate.

“Our decision to commission a water mist fire suppression system to enhance the protection of the Mackintosh building, and the installation of sprinkler systems within the Reid and Stow buildings demonstrates our approach.”

Elsewhere, the board said the decision on whether a public inquiry was necessary was a matter for the Scottish government.

Call for Trust to handle restoration

I had to look twice, since there have been so many nonsensical suggestions made in the wake of the Mackintosh Building fire, I read most of them “At arm’s length” lest they damage my brain,

But it really was something sensible, with calls for a trust to be set up to handle the restoration, leaving the Glasgow School of Art’s board to get on with the business of the school.

Will it happen?

Will someone screw it up?

We can only wait and see what develops.

The former director of Glasgow School of Art says a trust should be set up to restore the Mackintosh building.

Prof Tom Inns said such a move would leave the board of governors free to run the world renowned school.

In a submission statement to the culture committee, Prof Inns said the rebuild after the 2014 fire took up a large part of his working week.

He backed the suggestion of former GSA director Prof Tony Jones that a separate body should oversee the rebuild.

Prof Inns wrote: “Establishing such a trust would allow the board of governors and management team of Glasgow School of Art to focus on the task of running one of the world’s top art schools, leaving trustees of an independent trust and its executive team the challenge of what will be one of Scotland’s biggest heritage projects over the next 5 – 7 years.

“A Mackintosh Building Trust could be for the benefit of Glasgow School of Art but also for the benefit of others.

“Some form of Mackintosh Building Trust could be a game-changer for the development of Glasgow and the Sauchiehall Street area, boldly opening up access to creativity and the Mackintosh legacy within Glasgow.”

Prof Inns noted a similar approach had been taken in Dundee with the development of the £90m V&A museum.

It was developed in close collaboration between the Universities in Dundee, Dundee City Council, the Scottish Government and other partners.

Prof Inns added: “The V&A in Dundee is a museum dedicated to design, the Mackintosh Building should not be a museum but could be a centre of creative education for Glasgow School of Art and the City of Glasgow dedicated to all forms of creative practice and the celebration of Mackintosh’s genius.”

Ex-director backs call for Mackintosh restoration trust

That last add-on actually echoes one of my own thoughts regarding the city’s treatment of Mackintosh, which seems to lack a central resource dedicated to someone who has eventually become one of our icons.

While I would not be so ignorant or critical to say there is no facility dedicated to his work, what we have is spread fairly thinly in a number of places. While each may provide SOME of the story, I don’t think any one of them stands alone as a place where someone could find comprehensive coverage of Mackintosh’s work. They’re all quite nice in their own right, but not integrated.

As an aside, that observation is not reserved exclusively for Mackintosh. I could easily level the same criticism about our treatment of Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson, who has even less recognition and places dedicated to his work.

In recent years, I’ve been surprised after a little digging into these architectural greats, finding more examples of their work remain virtually hidden and unknown around Glasgow, unless you are dedicated to finding them.

Interesting response to trust proposal

I’m pretty sure I’m considered a ‘Yes Man (sorry, ‘person’) as regards the Art School Board, and I’m probably wasting my time be responding ‘Not so’. I just think we need level heads to move forward, not knee-jerk reactions and witch-hunts. If there is genuine blame to be apportioned, then let that follow from any proper reports into the fire, and their findings, otherwise – Give it a rest!

That said, I’m a little surprised to the response regarding a trust be formed to look after any rebuild/restoration, to leave the board free to run the Art School.

Earlier this week former GSA director Prof Tom Inns said a trust should be set up to restore the Mackintosh building.

In a written submission to the committee he said such a move would leave the board of governors free to run the world renowned school.

But Ms Gray claimed this was a “minority” viewpoint and stressed the board was capable of managing both the day-to-day running of the school and the restoration project.

On the other hand, I know how I’d feel if the task of restoring something I really cared about was taken out of my hand, so I can see both sides of this story.

The main theme of the article this was mentioned in was a statement by the Art School Board that it has failed to communicate.

During her evidence Ms Gray told the committee the circumstances surrounding the latest fire and the 2014 blaze were not comparable.

The broadcaster noted the first occurred during the day while the school was operational while the most recent broke out at night in a building that was still under construction.

Culture committee convenor Joan McAlpine asked Ms Gray if she had any regrets.

She replied: “We take full responsibility, at all times, for what happens at the GSA. Absolutely. One hundred per cent.

“Yes I have massive regrets that we have suffered two major disasters.

“In fact, I would say more than regretful, it has broken my heart.”

Ms Gray claimed the board had audited itself as rigorously as the committee and was “very self critical”.

But she added: “I do regret not having engaged more fully, and sooner, with the local community.

“I really do because that was, actually, a communications mistake.

“It was not intentional but the perception they had is valid.”

Art school admits ‘poor communications’ after Mack fire

Another article touched on the same subject, but, unfortunately let a politician speak, and make a grab for popularity (and votes) with the locals.

MSPs urged GSA chiefs to listen to the views of members of the community, having admitted that initial communication was poor.

Ms Gray said: “I really can’t tell you the kind of suffering that some of the residents have explained and we are massively sympathetic to that.”

Scottish Labour MSP Pauline McLean said: “I think you are deluding yourselves if you think that you have a good relationship with this community.

“If you want to rebuild your relationship with this community, you really need to start telling immediately what your plans are.”

The same article then made a fairly ‘throwaway’ comment, suggesting that preventative measures from a 2006 report were not effectively implemented.

This may be great for ‘points scoring’, but is just opportunistic ‘fluff’, and not presented with any evidence, so really falls into little more than the class of ‘Kicking someone when they are down’.

It’s clearly next to impossible to refute such a claim, but you can make yourself look ‘good’ if you raise it.

MSPs raised concerns that a number of preventative measures were not effectively implemented.

Committee convener Joan McAlpine referenced a federal report into fire safety at the GSA, published in 2006, which highlighted six areas that were deemed to present either a medium or high risk.

The issues were: Likelihood of a fire occurring in the building (medium to high risk); potential for fire to remain undetected (medium to high risk); potential for fire to grow/spread beyond item first ignited (high risk); potential for fire to grow beyond room of origin (high risk); hazard posed by fire (high risk); consequences in the event of the fire spreading (high).

No regrets over decisions taken before Mackintosh fire, say art school bosses

One article specifically mentioned the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s review – not yet completed or published.

Today, Muriel Gray said: “The GSA welcomed the opportunity to come to the committee meeting this morning so as to address the rumours, supposition and speculation that have been circulating since June 15 by sharing the facts with members.

“We submitted detailed paperwork to the committee in advance of the meeting to help answer questions around the restoration including issues of safety and access, and to clarify both the possession of the site at the time of the fire (Kier Scotland Ltd) and the GSA’s oversight of the restoration.

“In particular we were pleased to be able to tackle head on the allegation that there is a causal link between our corporate governance and the occurrence of the second fire when the cause of that fire is not yet known.

“Like everyone we are waiting patiently for the outcome of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s thorough review of the fire, and once it is published we will consider the findings carefully.”

It also included this clarification.

Committee convener Joan McAlpine MSP said: “The role of this committee is not to establish the cause of the fire, but to explore whether poor decision making or flawed processes contributed to the loss of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterpiece.
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Road closures ahead this weekend for Christmas Lights Switch On at George Square

“We have already gathered evidence from former employees, independent experts and local community leaders who have been critical of the art school management.

“We had an evidence session with the school’s architects and main contractor, which raised further questions about fire prevention and containment.

“We will put all these points to Glasgow School of Art management and board and will consider their response carefully.”

Glasgow School of Art issue statement ‘addressing rumours’ over second fire

By all means, bring out your stocks and rotting vegetables – but NOT BEFORE the independent evidence and reports are in, and they show such things are justified.

 

Mackintosh Building Scott Street Scaffolding

Mackintosh Building Scott Street Scaffolding

Nov 18, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S26

Interesting logic – it seem it’s OK for investigators into things like fatal air crashed to begin their work months after evidence has been gathered, and that reassembling the parts doesn’t obscure potential evidence, but…

That doesn’t seem to apply to the evidence that will now be collected regarding the fire at the Mackintosh Building.

At least not if you are one of the ‘experts’ that lives nearby:

Fire investigators have been given access to the Mackintosh Building at Glasgow School of Art four months after a blaze tore through it.

Demolition contractors have been taking down sections of the Mackintosh to be preserved for a future rebuild, after a devastating fire in June.

But concerns have been raised by residents neighbouring the iconic building who are angry it has taken to long and fear the cause of the blaze may never be identified.

Fire investigators access Art School after four months

And I could also cite the case of the destruction of Cameron House at Loch Lomond, which sadly included two fatalities, but…

The fatal fire broke out at the category B listed building near Balloch at about 06:40 on 18 December, leading to the evacuation of more than 200 people.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

Plans lodged to rebuild fire-hit Cameron House Hotel at Loch Lomond

I’m not really even going to pass an opinion on this, which just seem to be a local move from one moan to another by disgruntled people who want attention.

I’m pretty sure if any official fire investigators had WANTED into the building sooner, they could have exercised authority to gain such access if they deemed it necessary – and nobody could have prevented them from doing so.

So I’m left wondering just why this so-called complaint has been levelled, and who it was aimed at.

I wonder if there are any ‘Activists’ (with some agenda of their own) working the residents from behind, like sock puppets?

Fortunately, there’s better news (and bad news) as somebody dares to do something positive, and not think of something to complain about,

Distillers have created a limited edition craft gin to raise funds for the fire-ravaged Glasgow School of Art.

North Star Spirits produced 500 bottles of Glas Wee Gin with profits going to the Mackintosh Campus Appeal.

Glas Wee Gin - North Star Spirits

Glas Wee Gin – North Star Spirits

The historic building was gutted by fire in June for the second time in four years.

Iain Croucher, director of North Star, based in Blanefield near Glasgow, said: “We wanted to create something to celebrate famous Glaswegians and raise money for one of Glasgow’s most famous buildings at the same time.

“Glas Wee Gin was concocted. It is matured in oak barrels and bottled in Scotland, and is something special.”

The bad news is that the gin – at £17.50 for a 35cl bottle – has sold out already.

Distillers sell Glas Wee Gin to raise money for fire-damaged Glasgow School of Art

Nov 11, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Great directions – and an almost invisible long cat mural

“No problem, just head for Victoria’s, and you’ll see it on a wall”.

Remind me NEVER to go looking for something without at least a cursory check on its location.

Glasgow grew a new cat mural last week, but weather and other commitments meant I couldn’t whizz into Sauchiehall Street for a quick pic.

And the “Head’s up” I got to its existence with friendly directions…

First, Victoria’s was a nightclub destroyed by a fairly major fire some time ago (almost taking Glasgow’s famous Pavilion Theatre with it). Victoria’s is no longer there, nor is the building, which was totally removed and became a gap site.

Second, since I don’t frequent nightclubs, those directions weren’t really great.

Third, turns out the new mural is not on a wall as such, but on a wooden fence placed in front of the gap site, presumably to stop the locals falling off Sauchiehall Street and into the gap (as they suck on their Buckie bottles).

There’s a fourth – turns out that the damned thing is currently almost hidden/lost behind some temporary fencing surrounding works in the middle of that particular part of Sauchiehall Street.

I went flying past it when I arrived there, and didn’t even spot in broad daylight.

Consequently, I spent the next two hours tramping along Sauchiehall Street, from end to end, and up and down all the side streets looking for it.

Back at Victoria’s gap site, I was about to give up and go home (it was getting dark, we’d reach around 17:00) when I turned around and looked through the blue netting strung around that temporary fencing in the middle of that part of Sauchiehall Street.

There were playful kittens looking back at me through it!

Yup, I was standing across the road from the new cat mural, and hadn’t even seen it.

The fencing made it impossible to get a clear view and a decent pic (not to mention the folk who stopped to take a pic of a tiny little bit of it with the phones), and when I suggested it was long above, I really meant it – this is one loooooooooooooooong mural.

I had to resort to a few tricks to get pics, in the fading light, so hope they’re not too bad.

These pics can all be clicked to expand them.

Long mural is… long.

Sauchiehall Cat Mural Wide

Sauchiehall Cat Mural Wide

The cats on the left, complete with Crazy Cat Lady’s fetching ankles and cat slippers.

Sauchiehall Cat Mural Left Detail

Sauchiehall Cat Mural Left Detail

And the ones on the right.

Sauchiehall Cat Mural Right Detail

Sauchiehall Cat Mural Right Detail

I tried a shot through the fence, but couldn’t even get in front of the cats thanks to cabins standing in the enclosed area, blocking the view.

Sauchiehall Cat Mural Fenced

Sauchiehall Cat Mural Fenced

Did you spot the Grumpy Cat Wallpaper?

Grumpy Pee

Well THAT was inevitable 🙂

Nov 5, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S25

I thought things might have calmed down for a while.

Wrong!

After the moaning that came from various places around the Mackintosh Building which were cordoned off while the remains were made structurally safe, now it would seem we have moaning from the “We Wuz Robbed” brigade.

Glasgow MPs have demanded answers from the UK Government, after receiving no funding to help with the rebuilding of the Glasgow School of Art in the Budget,

The MPs are calling for support because Belfast was awarded £2million to help recover from a fire which ruined a historic city centre building – but Glasgow missed out.

Despite two devastating fires on Sauchiehall Street this year, the UK Government did not announce any funding to go towards regeneration of the area.

Glasgow MPs demand answers after city misses out on Budget funding for Art School rebuild

You’ll have to excuse my political naïvety, but understanding of reality, when I say I’m not in the least surprised.

After all, how do you expect someone you somehow expect to give you a handout to react after you spend months, or years even, kicking them in the teeth and telling the world they are (insert favourite derogatory here) and that you want the Union with them ended, and to be Independent because THEY are stifling your growth?

How can I put it as an apolitical moron

As you sow, so shall you reap.

There was a possibly more important aspect which appeared buried in the same article, almost as a throwaway line with no further comment:

David Mundell, the Scottish Secretary, has also come under fire for his refusal to support calls for a public enquiry into the blaze.

I would have liked more on that, not that I’m suggesting there should be a public enquiry, simply that the reporters should give more information. Public enquiries need to have reasons to be held, and to be in the public interest – and I’m sure there are many more criteria I’m not aware of, but that a Scottish Secretary would, AND have advisers to brief him about.

Glasgow School of Art Director steps down

I spotted at least FOUR media articles covering this resignation on the day, but each was merely a clone of the other, and none went into any significant detail.

Glasgow School of Art boss Prof Tom Inns steps down

Glasgow School of Art director steps down after five years

Glasgow School of Art Director Professor Tom Inns steps down

Glasgow School of Art Director Tom Inns quits

As usual, The Scotsman’s comment section allows the usual moron to jump in with a ‘clever comment’ after the item (it’s the last link of the set given).

I wonder if there may be more on this announcement later?

I can’t be the only one wondering if he was pressurised into leaving, as a sacrificial offering to appease the masses, and be seen to ‘fall on his own sword’.

This custom of having at least on head ‘roll’ when there are problems is a disgusting one I’ve seen all too often over the years, regardless of whether the person sacrificed was involved or not, it seems to be more important to make some sort of public display that show someone ‘feels the pain’.

It really did happen to me once.

A client found a number of errors in some paperwork – Muggins was first sent in to act as ‘firefighter’ and see to it that everything was fixed, and that the client had been pacified.

Muggins was then told that, so far as the client was concerned, Muggins was responsible for the errors, even though he had not actually done the work, or prepared the paperwork, and that Muggins would be receiving a month’s suspension, although he should have been fired as the person in charge.

That was as far as the client was concerned – nothing actually happened at work, things carried on as before – but it was a warning about how big company politics can play out.

Doesn’t matter who actually screws up, so long as you can find a high profile scapegoat to throw to the wolves, and show that ‘something’ was done!

The sad thing (which I believe can be said about most ‘witch-hunt’ or ‘head-rolling’ terminations) was that nobody cared about what was done to address the original problem, and by sacrificing the scapegoat, they threw out the very person, and experience, they needed to deal with that original issue.

Progress

They’re still opening up streets around the Mackintosh Building.

Last time I went along Renfrew Street to the library it wasn’t possible to get to Scott Street, which was still closed off, and there were Portakabins standing in the street, serving as toilets.

That’s all gone, and the street is now open for partial vehicle access, and pedestrians.

The only part you can’t get to now is the road/pavement directly between the Mackintosh Building, and the Reid Building across the road.

Renfrew Street Library

Renfrew Street Library

I couldn’t have taken this view last time, as can be seen in the last summary.

Renfrew Street Open To Scott Street

Renfrew Street Open To Scott Street

I’m not sure if I got a decent pic of this load of scaffolding last time, but I grabbed a shot anyway.

The jibs hide one another, they just all lined up, but there were actually THREE cranes working over the remains. The available angle of the shot here just wouldn’t show them all.

Mackintosh Building Scott Street Scaffolding

Mackintosh Building Scott Street Scaffolding

Spotted this, evidence of something taller in Scott Street, but it’s gone now.

I’m not familiar enough to say what it was.

Scott Street Remains

Scott Street Remains

Nov 4, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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