Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Attack of the clones

Although I can categorically state I have NEVER watched any of the TV talent(less) shows, I’m more than aware of various documentaries that have researched the parents (usually the mothers) of the children seen in them, who can be anything from babies upward, and are made up to look like adults to satisfy their parents’ narcissistic mentality.

It’s all pretty nasty stuff, and if the children weren’t their own, would be labelled ‘Child Abuse’.

I couldn’t help but think of this when I looked across Sauchiehall Street the other day, and was exposed to this vision of the clone maker’s finest work.

Sauchiehall Street Clone Walk

Sauchiehall Street Clone Walk

Look at the near identical hair, make-up, and fake tan…

It felt like watching the original Star Trek, and I was Captain James T Kirk looking at the next aliens he was about to encounter.

Clone Army

Clone Army

I guess I’d make a terrible parent (and an even worse mother!) 🙂


23/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S39

Not really a Mackintosh Building item as such, but more of a spin-off, or just some observations

While the fire at the Mackintosh Building seems to have generated little more than a witch-hunt for someone to blame (and either burn at the stake, or maybe just fire) and given some really really hostile Glaswegians the opportunity to demand the site be razed and reused for something ‘useful’ which, does not need any public money, the Notre Dame fire of last week seems to have brought a more sympathetic response.

There was an almost immediate response which had promises of rebuild and restoration, with no calls for blame apparent, nor any demands that no money e wasted on restoring an old ‘pile of junk.

Also, unlike Glasgow’s fire, there was consideration of arson, which I don’t recall seeing anyone suggest may have been the reason for the blaze.


I found that unusual in a place once known historically as ‘Tinderbox City’ – but to this day, I can’t recall seeing even consideration that arson or deliberate fire-raising was behind the fire.

However, it seems that Notre Dame is not the only such building to have gone up in flames recently, and due consideration to arson HAS been raised in that respect.

Vandals and arsonists have targeted French churches in a wave of attacks that has lasted nearly two months.

More than 10 churches have been hit since the beginning of February, with some set on fire while others were severely desecrated or damaged.

St. Sulpice, the second-largest church in Paris, after Notre Dame Cathedral, had the large wooden door on its southern transept set ablaze March 17.

Investigators confirmed March 18 that the fire was started deliberately, according to the website of the Vienna-based Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, an independent organization founded with the help of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences.

Vandals, arsonists target French Catholic churches

Then again, Notre Dame was also being renovated.

Nervous Renovation Ticking

21/04/2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S38

No actual news this week, but I did see a related item in another article, and it is something which I don’t think has been properly reported by the media.

Rightly or wrongly, I get the impression that the only thing the media (and the Art School and its board’s detractors) concentrate on is Blame, and the Cost of rebuilding. The former for no reason other than its lust for a public hanging (it wants more heads to roll), and the latter so it can complain and whine endlessly about that cost, and who foots the bill.

I haven’t seen any mention of this (in any items fed to me)…

It has since emerged it cost the local authority £569,000 to carry out emergency repairs at the Glasgow School of Art when it burned down last June.

“It is easier to retrieve the money from the Glasgow School of Art emergency repairs which cost £569,000 as it was simpler to track the owner.”

This figure comes into public view as it seems that the simple ploy of a tangled web of owners stretching to India means the council might only recover half of £1.4 million spent on similar emergency repairs following the fire at Victoria’s Nightclub along the road.

Councillor Frank McAveety said: “The overall cost for the council to deal with the site is £1.4m which is taxpayer money.
Read More

“At the moment officers expect to recover just 50 per cent of the cost but it is hard to get the full amount from insurers as we do not know where the owner is currently living.

“We are still trying to clarify who owns the building as it has changed hands several times. I believe the current owner is living somewhere in India.

Victoria’s Nightclub demolition and emergency repairs sees Glasgow City Council spend £1.4 million after fire

While I’ve no intention into descending into some sort of nit-picking analysis, it seems that the Glasgow School of Art is getting a lot of kickings, but will have to pay its bills (and these are not even for restoration work), while some property or club owner at a distance enjoys a substantial discount at our expense. If they are ever even identified and presented with a bill which can be enforced.

And at a time when Glasgow City Council could well do without having to squander its funds on compulsory, safety related works on private (moneymaking) enterprises, while public venues go wanting for millions to rescue them.

Just my observation.

14/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S37

With no more news of the ‘Witch Hunt’ following the board of the Glasgow School of Art (personally, I’d be getting my Little Black Book out, and taking note of the names of the most vociferous ‘hunters’ – wondering if they are making so much noise about others in order to divert any attention from themselves), I thought I should acquaint myself with the O2abc building, since it’s one I’d never had reason to pay any attention to. I didn’t even know it was in use, having never seen its doors open. Guess I was never nearby at the right time.

Since the odds on what’s left of the building being left standing for much longer, I took the opportunity of a decent day to fly past and collect a few pics.

At the time, there was a fair amount of work underway in Sauchiehall Street (and there still is, although it is coming to an end), so some views and shooting locations were restricted.

I still managed to get just about the same shot I’d have taken of the front entrance and door, even if there was some large machinery abandoned nearby.

Sauchiehall Street O2abc Entrance

Sauchiehall Street O2abc Entrance

Looking west at the corner of the building.

Click for bigger.

Sauchiehall Street O2abc Looking West

Sauchiehall Street O2abc Looking West

Looking east.

At the time I couldn’t really get a decent view by moving further to the left (to match the west view above) as there was too much junk and pedestrian control fencing in place, and took this standing in Douglas Street, but still had to stitch two images together to get the shot I wanted.

So, I’ll have to check back, and hopefully get a second bite at this once the street is cleared.

Click for bigger.

Sauchiehall Street O2abc Stitch West

Sauchiehall Street O2abc Stitch West

So, they cleared the street, and I did get my ‘missing’ pic for the set.

Sauchiehall Street O2 Looking West

Sauchiehall Street O2 Looking West

Finally, a look at the Scott Street side.

Some fairly well twisted steel roof beams on show there.

Scott Street O2abc Roof

Scott Street O2abc Roof

The weather got fairly crappy after I took these pics, and I haven’t been back since, so the street may be clear now.

Since we’ve moved  the clocks forward, I should take an evening ride in to see how it looks since I was last there.

07/04/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More classy material, this time in the revamped Colab Savoy Centre

After yesterday’s classy treat for Glaswegians (and poor Yorick), I thought I’d dig out one of the pics I collected when I made it into the revamped Savoy Centre, or Colab, in Sauchiehall Street, as promised earlier.

I just haven’t had a chance to go over the few pics I collected during that wander, but this one seemed appropriate to follow the Yorick gem with.

As part of the Colab ‘upgrade’ of the ground floor of the Savoy Centre is a shop selling some (and this is, of course, just MY opinion – yours may be different) some pretty dire framed prints. I wouldn’t even have some of them on my wall, given the subjects, which I consider to be stomach-turning – by which I mean they are based on waste-of-skin celebrities. How anybody can stand having those faces staring at them all the time is completely beyond me.

However, the one that caught my eye, and I thought deserved to be mentioned along with Yorick’s view was the very classy reflection of Glasgow, as seen below.

New Savoy Centre Colab Classy Art Store

New Savoy Centre Colab Classy Art Store

And, before anyone launches off into “Oh, another prude preaching etc”, that aspect has nothing to do with my disparaging remarks.

The print doesn’t offend me in the least.

What DOES offend me is the thought process of the person who made it – as I’m sure the idea was to get it noticed not for the quality of the work, but just by the creation of something that will make some people snigger and nudge, and indeed, maybe even shock some.

So, now you can also tell me “You missed the point”.

Actually, I don’t think so, I think I just got a different point than intended.

28/03/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S36

This isn’t strictly the Mackintosh Building, but since other buildings affected by the fire have been given considerable publicity, I thought I should redress the imbalance and include one which has not, so far I’ve noted it mentined in stories fed to me, been given any attention.

Standing directly across from the Mackintosh Building, on the other side of Renfrew, is the relatively recent Reid Building.

Named after Dame Seona Reid who stood down as director of the GSA in 2013, the year before the building was completed, the new structure was given a plain monochrome finish, featuring an external skin of semi-transparent acid etched glass panels with a green tint (actually the glass’s natural colour).

Although I wasn’t able to visit the site for some time after the second fire, and there was no access to view the facade of the Reid Building, I’m reasonably sure I could see evidence of the cladding having been melted by the heat radiated from the blaze in the Mackintosh Building, and of material having melted and dripped or run down the front of the new building.

I could only see this looking from the side and behind, and had no recollection of the structure, and with so little to be seen, didn’t try to take a pic, In retrospect, it would probably have made sense to have tried.

Today, Renfrew Street is open, to view at least (and take pics from Scott Street), if not to walk along, and the state of the facade can be seen.

Still clearly ‘work in progress’.

The damaged glass and cladding have been stripped, the surface behind has been made good, and the fixings which will eventually hold new cladding have been set in place.

Reid Building Fire Repair

Reid Building Fire Repair

Looking a little closer at the detail.

Reid Building Repair

Reid Building Repair

A look at the cladding fixtures, since they’ll disappear from view once the cladding is fitted.

Reid Building Cladding Fixtures

Reid Building Cladding Fixtures

Finally, a reminder of how the facade looked when seen from Scott Street just after the Reid Building was opened back in 2014.

Original Reid Building

Original Reid Building

24/03/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S36


A damning report into the fire which destroyed Glasgow School of Art for the second time in four years will call for a full public inquiry, STV News has learned.

MSPs on the Scottish Parliament’s culture committee have been investigating the circumstances surrounding the blaze at the Mackintosh building last June.

Their findings will be published on Friday, however in sections seen by STV News they express grave doubts about the school of art’s management.

Committee members also criticise evidence provided by those involved in rebuilding work following the previous blaze in 2014.

Ultimately, the MSPs feel they have taken their investigation as far as they can, and believe a full public inquiry is necessary.

They argue that the massive cost of rebuilding the art school justifies an inquiry similar to those held into the construction of the Scottish Parliament and Edinburgh trams network.

MSPs call for public inquiry into Glasgow art school blaze

The other media sources later caught up with STV’s early mention of the report.

Glasgow School of Art (GSA) has been criticised by MSPs in a report into the fire which devastated the Mackintosh Building last year.

Holyrood’s culture committee said the school did not give sufficient priority to safeguarding the building.

The blaze ripped through “The Mack” in June 2018 as a £36m restoration project, following a major fire four years earlier, was nearing completion.

The GSA said it intended to “learn lessons” from the report.

The MSPs also said a full public inquiry should be held into the circumstances surrounding the two fires at the building.

The committee’s report concluded that prior to the first fire in 2014, the art school had not addressed the heightened risk of fire to the Mackintosh Building or carried out an adequate risk assessment.

Responding to the report, Glasgow School of Art said: “There are always lessons that can be learned, and we are happy to take forward the most appropriate and helpful as we bring this much-loved building back to life.”

However, it said there were some “factual inaccuracies” in the report.

It also added: “The Mackintosh Building is a national (indeed international) treasure, but it is not lost and it will certainly return.”

Glasgow School of Art criticised over Mackintosh Building fire

There should be a public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the two fires in four years that left the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) badly damaged, a Holyrood Committee report has found.

The renowned art school was extensively damaged last June while it was undergoing a £35 million restoration programme following the previous fire in May 2014.

The Scottish Parliament’s Culture Committee published its report on Friday after taking evidence on the circumstances surrounding the blazes.

The report found that in the period up to the 2014 fire, GSA appears not to have specifically addressed the heightened risk of fire to the Mackintosh building and was not convinced an adequate risk management approach had been taken by the art school with specific regard to the building.

The committee also said it was concerned about the length of time taken for a mist suppression system to be installed in the Mackintosh building and questioned whether more could have been done in the interim period to protect the building.

Committee convener Joan McAlpine said: “The board of Glasgow School of Art were custodians of this magnificent building, one of the most significant to Scotland’s rich cultural heritage.

“They had a duty to protect Mackintosh’s legacy.

“Glasgow School of Art itself must learn lessons from its role in presiding over the building, given that two devastating fires occurred within their estate in such a short space of time.”

The committee is calling on the Scottish Government to establish a public inquiry with judicial powers.

Public inquiry should be held into Glasgow Art School fires, say MSPs

The other media sources took a little more time to catch up with this.

Maybe the MPs who wanted to be seen to be ‘DOING SOMETHING!’ to get some votes asked them to wait so they could get their names dropped.

I can’t even be bothered throwing a comment at them – they don’t merit it. The eventual finding was made obvious weeks ago, before the hearings even began.

I have little time for those who stand tall and proud AFTER an event, and declare how they are such experts and knew how it could have been prevented.

One simple question effectively dismisses them…


MSPs ‘not satisfied’ with the role of Art School in protecting Mackintosh building before 2014 and 2018 fires

‘Unaware and uninterested’ Ross Greer MSP condemns Glasgow School of Art’s relationship with the community

Committee calls for public inquiry into both fires at Glasgow School of Art

Four things we learned from the report on Glasgow School of Art fires


Mackintosh Renfrew Street West

Mackintosh Renfrew Street West

I’m surprised all those MSPs have not already published another report blaming the GSA for this as well…

Fire damages Shetland’s Fair Isle Bird Observatory roof

Firefighters tackle blaze at island bird observatory

Renowned bird observatory destroyed in ‘devastating’ fire

Vow to rebuild fire-hit Fair Isle Bird Observatory in Shetland


There’s plenty of time for them to issue a supplemental report, and include it there 🙂

17/03/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Resistance to change?

I recently noted the changes which were publicised regarding the Savoy Centre in Sauchiehall Street, and based on that first announcement suggested this had to be a good thing. While it may have been years since I was in the place (for various reasons, both unrelated, and because it was pretty run down last time I wandered in), I thought this was something that was long overdue, and made no inferences as to who was responsible, since the centre obviously has owners who let the space and are responsible for it, and tenants/traders who are similarly responsible for the state of their units and the display of whatever items they have on show.

While I’m not privy to the details, I am disappointed to read that the existing tenants are now at odds with the centre management, and have made a number of adverse claims, and demands in light of the changes.

I can’t say if one side is right, and one is wrong, or if it’s just resistance to change and the same sort of feeling that comes from having a pair of comfy, but worn-out, shoes taken away.

Both sides seem to be making valid points.

But I would be concerned to note that the existing traders claim they are being ‘pushed out’, yet also claim units in the renovated are unoccupied (and rent-free).

I really will have to take a trip in and take a look, to see how the place looks, and make catch a few pics.

I did actually consider going in for a look a few weeks/ months ago, when I was able to get in to Sauchiehall Street and finally get some pics of the Mackintosh Building after the fire, but if you were reading then you may recall I was laid up for some weeks prior to that, so achieving those building pics were all that I was concentrating on being able to do.

I was probably there too late in the day as well, as I’m pretty sure I remember passing the centre door and noting it was secured, and wondering if the Savoy Centre was even still open, as it looked as if the builders were there – probably they were given that we know about the refurb.

This article gives the revised details – I’m not even going to try to give a quite as I’d need to give both sides, and that would be too much to copy.

Savoy Centre business owners blast ‘attempts to push out’ original stores

An open letter signed by 34 businesses has made seven demands of the building’s owners

Still the only pic I ever took in there.

May be appropriate if one side doesn’t have a leg to stand on!

Legless Savoy

Legless Savoy

10/03/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Mackintosh Building S35

Not really Mackintosh Building as such, but I don’t want to miss related issues.

As noted in the last summary (S34), some people seem to think this O2 ABC building has some merit.

One showboating Glasgow MP (cough Paul cough Sweeney cough cough) who already created a stink about the Winter Garden at the People’s Palace being closed, when he got himself some publicity with fantasy claims that the council had just killed off all the plants, is suggesting the building MUST be saved, yet seems to have no clue whether or not there is any structure to save, or if what is left is fit is structurally fit to be saved.

Certainly the engineer’s reports seem to suggest a level of damage from not only the fire, but the water from the efforts to control the blaze, and subsequent damage done when retained water was released, that render the remains useless.

It would seem better to have simply recommended façade retention instead of all the emotional garbage we’ve been subject to by some.

However, who will pick up the tab?

This was an events venue, a private venture where promoters and performers made money.

Was the place insured properly?

Is there a pot of money going to the owner since the property was damaged by a fire clearly not of their causing?

If not, tough!

Time to go to Kickstarter, ot GoFundMe. Or get a paper cup, and join those already begging for money in Glasgow city centre.

If the building is to be returned, or even the façade retained while something similar goes up behind it – then a commercial case and funding needs to appear.

Not just some whining by a trendy opportunist MP who seems to want to be noticed on the backs of others.

People who know better/more than him have stated “Construction expects have said the building is ‘economically unsalvageable and unrepairable’“.

Read more here (I’ve already made a longer comment than intended, simply because this guy irritates me)…

Historic Glasgow nightclub deemed ‘unrepairable’ after blaze

Full extent of damage to fire hit O2 ABC revealed as application to completely demolish is submitted

Here’s how you can object to plans to demolish O2 ABC after Mackintosh fire

And the best one…

Glasgow MP objects to plan to demolish O2 ABC as it would be ‘architectural vandalism’

03/03/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time to stop and not just pass the Savoy Centre

It’s always a shame when places change (for whatever reason) and you no longer feel the need to drop in for a look.

I can remember when the new Sauchiehall Street Centre was opened, and went through its first revamp some years later.

Both ‘lives’ of this place were interesting place to visit, and had some decent big name shops inside. I think this was the first Argos store I used regularly, and there was the novelty of ordering at one end of the place, and collecting your goodies at the other end.

It’s all gone now, completely remodelled, and has useless shops I wouldn’t give a second look to, in fact I barely notice the place when I pass it as I go along Sauchiehall Street. It’s almost like a derelict now compared to the centre it once was.

I used to be a regular in the Savoy Centre too, until it started to slowly lose its interesting occupants too. After a period when I was in or around Glasgow until a few years ago, when I went back to this old ‘haunt’. I found it had gone downhill, looked pretty cheap and nasty inside, had many empty units, and those that were left weren’t the ones that interested me.

It wasn’t very inviting, and I gave up diverting for a look.

Seems I wasn’t alone, and there’s now a drive to get the place interesting again, smarten it up, attract some new occupants, and get people back in the door – all of which sounds like a good idea.

An institution since the 70s, The Savoy Centre with its neon blue sign was once at the heart of Glasgow’s thriving shopping district.

But like many other businesses, the shopping mall on Sauchiehall Street has fallen on hard times, as high street stores struggle and footfall declines in the area.

However, part of the building has undergone a transformation, with the ground floor welcoming new venture Colab, which aims to support and promote community, culture and cuisine with a host of new businesses.

The curated space features a number of independent stores selling everything from printed clothing to hand-stitched goods, with food stalls offering poke bowls and vegan grilled cheese sandwiches.

Natalia Codona, from Colab, says the project is breathing new life into the space, merging old and new businesses together under one roof.

“We’re bringing in a new demographic which of course all the tenants can benefit from and the new tenants,” she explains.

“It’s been great the response from them. They’re all very excited to be part of an exciting new development.”

How The Savoy is getting a modern twist to bring back shoppers

I hope this is enough to revive it.

It would be a shame if not, and another spot on Sauchiehall Street became as dead as the ‘Centre’.

It really is a long time since I fell through the Savoy’s door.

I took this pc back in 2013 – probably the last time I was in there.

Everything was apparently on its last leg!

Legless Savoy

Legless Savoy

02/03/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Lost, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Taxi logic – Love it!

Years ago (lot of them), I used to spend part of my Saturday morning at a friend’s business, just learning stuff by watching.

While he hadn’t been the most qualified person (yes, he did leave school the moment he could) he was mechanically smart, and had spent a lot of time in the family taxi business, and set up a little taxi repair and service business that just grew and grew, as he was good, and cheap (by which I mean low cost).

So much so, he added another little specialist business after a few years, tuning German performance cars, and ultimately sold up, moved to the US – and ended up running a BMW dealership.

I learned a lot just hanging around the original shed, and picked up some great anecdotes.

Taxi drivers are great professionals – until you hit their bottom line (profits).

One day we were having lunch when one driver pulled in and spent about 20 minutes letting us know his opinion of the taxi inspectors that drove around in little white vans then, and did random on the spot inspections of black cabs, checking for non-compliance with the regulations.

He’d been put off the road that morning for driving an unsafe cab – and he WASN’T HAPPY!

He’d been stopped as the inspector spotted something odd from behind – the wheels didn’t look right as he’d been following the cab.

The cab had been pulled over and given a spot inspection of the wheels, and ordered off the road immediately.


The wrong studs had been fitted, and the wheels were only being held on by about three turns of the thread, or about the quarter of an inch of the thread.

The driver couldn’t understand what was wrong – in his opinion the wheels were fitted just fine, as the studs had been tightened OK.

He didn’t stop complaining all the time he was in the works, and went to everyone that arrived while the correct items were being fitted – we were glad to see him go, and while he might not have been happy, the rest of us were relieved that he’d been spotted.

I was reminded of that while I read this one…

Glasgow taxi drivers criticise council’s Avenue Project reducing space on roads

I’m not really picking on the taxi driver’s short-sighted vision of the Avenue Project (it was just the latest to be reported). There are others.

I find it more intriguing that if you’ve watched this project develop, and listened to the endless whining, then you’ll notice that NOBODY who considers they didn’t get 100% of what they wanted from this project is distinctly unhappy about it, and doesn’t miss an opportunity to whine and complain, and let everyone know how useless it is.

If we could actually return Sauchiehall Street to the busy and congested form it had some years (think decades) ago, just for them, I think that would a great idea.

While the rest of us got to have the Avenue Project now being put in place.

Just us, not any of the whiners, they’d be forced to stay with the old road!

Sauchiehall Street Avenue

Sauchiehall Street Avenue

02/03/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: