Glasgow Gallivanting: January 2017

Celtic Connections

Celtic Connections logoIf you live in Glasgow, you have about two weeks to get over the hedonism of Christmas and New Year when – ooft! – it’s Celtic Connections! This bills itself as “the largest annual winter music festival of its kind and the UK’s premier celebration of Celtic music” and we throw ourselves into it with enthusiasm, usually attending half a dozen or so gigs over the 19 days.

This year, in six concerts we heard musicians from Scotland, England, Ireland and America (and that’s quite a conservative selection) in five different venues ranging from the formal concert hall, via the Old Fruitmarket, to the iconic Barrowland Ballroom. Highlights? So hard to choose but, if pushed, I’d go for Phil Cunningham’s Highlands and Islands Suite. Phil, his accordion, and a front-row of other professional musicians were supported by students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland – its Traditional Musicians, Chorale and Symphony Orchestra. There must have been 150 people on the stage and the music soared. When I said to John at the interval that I had been moved almost to tears I half expected a scornful look, but he agreed. It wasn’t only the evocatively Scottish music, there was also something so heart-warming about a stage full of young people working hard to perfect their art – having chosen to do so in our city.


Celtic Connections is pretty hard on the waistline – all those pre-theatre meals – and it’s not helpful that Burns Night falls slap bang in the middle. This year, we ate our haggis, neeps and tatties with friends in the Curlers, a local pub-restaurant. We have also been tempted by two large boxes of Chinese rose pastries, a new year gift from one of John’s Chinese colleagues. Definitely yummy – ooh, I need to walk all this off, but…

Queen Elizabeth Forest Park

…oh dear, we haven’t had much in the way of country walks: only one that I can remember, in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park. This time last year, we spotted red squirrels from the wildlife hide. This time they were not to be seen, though there were plenty of birds about.


We managed a couple of exhibitions in January. One Glasgow museum, the Burrell Collection, has recently closed for refurbishment and in the meantime some of its paintings are on show at another, Kelvingrove. The current exhibition is of work by Joseph Crawhall (1861-1913), one of a group of radical painters known as The Glasgow Boys. Girl on a bicycle has long been one of my favourites – just look at the little dachshund excitedly running alongside – but there was plenty more to see, and will be until 1st July if you are in the area.

We also saw an exhibition in the Lighthouse called A Life in Letterpress. Typographic artist Alan Kitching began his working life apprenticed to a printer, before becoming a technician at Watford College, then a teacher, designer and artist. In an age of computer design, he continues to create using wood and metal letterforms. The results are stunning! On till 5th March.

The last bit

New Year, new blogging resolution – to have a round-up post like this at the end of every month. How long will it continue? My last new series (People Make Glasgow) lasted for approximately (ahem, exactly) one post, and I’m already almost a week late with this one, so we’ll see.

I also wondered what would happen if I had nothing to round up, either because I’d written about it already or (and it does happen) I had done nothing worth blogging about. Step forward The last bit of random stuff and padding. This month – Scotland reacts to Trump, from the sublime to the ridiculous. Scotland is not impressed.

  • The sublime – Karine Polwart at Celtic Connections with I burn but I am not consumed, a poetic mixture of spoken word and song considering Donald’s Scottish roots. Favourite line: You who see nothing but your own face in the sheen of the Hudson River. (Sorry, I couldn’t get this BBC video to embed).
  • The ridiculous – Just 19 Incredibly Scottish Signs Telling Donald Trump He’s A Bawbag (Buzzfeed). Not for the easily offended. Translations available on request. (As a start, baw = ball. I’m sure you can work out the rest.)

So that was January in Glasgow. Normal service will be resumed shortly.


50 thoughts on “Glasgow Gallivanting: January 2017

  1. Donna February 6, 2017 / 17:31

    I love your New Year’s blogging resolution, Annabel. I look forward to reading more in this series!


    • Anabel Marsh February 6, 2017 / 17:33

      Thanks Donna! I hope it lasts longer than my previous attempt at a series….


  2. Jemima Pett February 6, 2017 / 18:29

    Amazing. Puts me to shame… thinking of what I did in January. i.e. nothing much.


    • Anabel Marsh February 6, 2017 / 18:40

      I think Celtic Connections has found quite a niche in cheering people up in the dark days of January!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Su Leslie February 6, 2017 / 19:43

    Love this round-up. I’m envious of Celtic Connections, though I’m not much of a live-music person. Thanks for reminding me again what a cool city Glasgow is (and thanks for the Trump links)!


    • Anabel Marsh February 6, 2017 / 20:14

      Thanks Su! Glasgow is definitely cool. I love going to live music – as you might have guessed!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Su Leslie February 6, 2017 / 20:52

        Hm, maybe you have given the odd hint here and there! The Big T loves live music but I (terrible confession) get bored. I can sit through hours of film or theatre, but not music.


        • Anabel Marsh February 6, 2017 / 21:15

          Ah, but the rhythm gets to you! 3 of our 6 concerts were standing so I have to jig about a bit or I’d fall over.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Su Leslie February 6, 2017 / 21:41

            I think I’m just hopelessly visual; with a tin ear and no musical imagination!


              • Su Leslie February 6, 2017 / 22:30

                I know; I love listening to music in the background while I’m doing things. I’m just not good at watching music. I can’t seem to enjoy it as the main thing if that makes any sense.

                Liked by 1 person

  4. Helen C February 6, 2017 / 20:17

    I, too, love this post, Anabel. Wish I live closer so I can attend all these events. I am a little embarrassed that I have never heard of Chinese rose pastries. Next time I am in Taiwan (pretty soon), I’m definitely going to ask, since I do like rose tea.
    Have a wonderful day.


    • Anabel Marsh February 6, 2017 / 20:29

      The filling tastes a little like Turkish delight. They are definitely delicious.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. the eternal traveller February 6, 2017 / 20:22

    The Celtic Connections festival sounds amazing. I would love to be in Glasgow for that one day. And I like the idea of a round up. There’s always something interesting going on. As for politics, I’d say it’s not just Scotland that’s unimpressed…the whole world seems to be disappointed.


    • Anabel Marsh February 6, 2017 / 21:08

      Indeed! Not to mention terrified of what he might do next.



  6. Liesbet February 7, 2017 / 01:09

    You have been very busy in January! In a city like Glasgow, I don’t think you have to be worried about not being able to come up with a round-up post every month. You always find a lot to do, Anabel! The art scene looks so varied and interesting. Mark and I are looking forward to our next longer term sit in an artistic community and to being out and about a bit more on a cultural level!


    • Anabel Marsh February 7, 2017 / 07:44

      I’m sure I’ll find something to write about – but January is exceptionally busy because of Celtic Connections and we are now resting a bit!


  7. Birgit February 7, 2017 / 02:29

    You have done so much in January and I love the birds! I would love to hear some of this music too. I love that term for Trump:)


    • Anabel Marsh February 7, 2017 / 07:41

      February might not be so interesting! I think we are having a rest. Scotland is very good at evocative insults 😉


  8. BeckyB February 7, 2017 / 07:57

    Oh wow…..what an amazing month. Falling in love with Glasgow more and more thanks to your fabulous posts.


  9. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor February 7, 2017 / 13:04

    I love the monthly wrap-up post idea. Fun way to read snippets of what you’ve been up to. Celtic Connections sounds like a lot of fun. I do like haggis and tatties, but can do without neeps.


  10. Ann Coleman February 7, 2017 / 14:33

    I hadn’t heard of Celtic Connections before, but think it’s a rather wonderful idea to have a festival in the middle of January (which is my least favorite month). And I don’t blame you for being moved to tears..there is something wonderful about a stage full of musicians, all playing together with a passion and love for the music. It touches the soul!


    • Anabel Marsh February 7, 2017 / 16:01

      It’s perfect timing! I found all the concerts we went to uplifting. So much enthusiasm from both performers and audience.


  11. Marcia Strykowski February 7, 2017 / 21:12

    Celtic Connections sounds amazing, filled with wonderful music (and food–rose pastries look delicious!). And I love seeing your adorable robin, so different from the American robin. Looks like a good typography exhibit, too!


    • Anabel Marsh February 8, 2017 / 07:38

      Thank you Marcia. We are recovering from a busy January at the moment!


  12. hilarymb February 8, 2017 / 08:37

    Hi Annabel – what a wonderful collection of images and thoughts from the various happenings in Glasgow – I definitely like this idea … and hope you and John get your skates on and have lots of entertainment outings to regale us with in a few weeks?! Being in the city does make a difference …

    I love the idea of the typography exhibition … I must check out the one that’s in Sussex … cheers Hilary


  13. Jessica (Diverting Journeys) February 8, 2017 / 12:12

    I really like Alan Kitching’s stuff, particularly his London pieces. I used to live near Borough, in Elephant and Castle, just off Old Kent Road, so I know the area well (Long Lane is aptly named). I’d never heard of him before, but now I’m going to investigate his prints further. And the anti-Trump signs gave me a much-needed laugh!


    • Anabel Marsh February 8, 2017 / 15:56

      The typographic maps are very clever. And glad you enjoyed the Trump signs! Some of them don’t hold back……


  14. Denzil February 8, 2017 / 15:53

    I get the impression from the banners that Donald Duck, sorry, Trump, is not popular in Scotland! (Is he popular anywhere, I wonder?)


  15. Blue Sky Scotland February 9, 2017 / 01:38

    Never been to CC but I’ve liked all the free compilation CD’s of the gigs you used to get in the papers as it was a real mixture. I think we are lucky in a way that DT is so transparent as someone with a far better political brain and much more credibility and charisma could use his same technique to get into power and then be far more subtle and devious in their agenda. That style of politics is bound to come in here as well with the same sort of alternative ‘News channels’ promoting a certain opinion and outlook springing up as America always leads the way in future trends.. The really scary thing is 46% of Americans, according to polls, still think he’s doing a fantastic job. and a smaller but worrying percentage think a full scale nuclear war is not only desirable to show certain upstart nations who is boss but that it’s perfectly survivable. I’ll have to stop reading Yahoo news comments after articles:o) Way too depressing for the future of the human race as a thinking species!


    • Anabel Marsh February 9, 2017 / 07:38

      Yes, I think that’s how we got into CC in the first place via the free CDs. I find the world very scary at the moment and I wish I could avoid reading below the line, but however often I resolve not to my eye is invariably drawn down to the car crash.


  16. Indian Holidays February 9, 2017 / 08:53

    You have done as such much in January and I adore the flying creatures! I would love to hear some of this music as well..


  17. Sarah Ferguson and Choppy February 9, 2017 / 13:32

    The Girl on a Bicycle painting is excellent – it’s actually similar to the three (not original) paintings I have in my work office – just imagine something similar with a girl who looks like she should be in Paris riding the bicycle, and you will have the idea, just with three similar paintings instead of one.


  18. restlessjo February 9, 2017 / 21:22

    The concerts looked great, Anabel 🙂 You had an exciting January!


  19. Maria February 10, 2017 / 11:26

    Wow, plenty of buzz in Glasgow by the looks of things. Must plan a visit. I have family there.


    • Anabel Marsh February 10, 2017 / 12:00

      Sure is! Thanks for visiting virtually – hope you make it in real life someday!


  20. inesephoto February 11, 2017 / 17:23

    Your blogs are brilliant! I wish I could attend the festival, because I am in love with everything Celtic.
    Your bird pictures are wonderful.


  21. Kathleen Jennette February 12, 2017 / 04:11

    “haggis, neeps and tatties”. I know what haggis is, but neeps and tatties I don’t. I need to know :). Sounds like it was a perfect evening of music and food!


    • Anabel Marsh February 12, 2017 / 08:18

      Neeps = turnip (the big orange ones. In Scotland, they are turnips and the small white ones are swedes. In England it’s the other way round so not sure what it is for you!) Tatties = potatoes. Both mashed, or in Scots, bashed neeps and champit tatties. It’s the traditional meal for Burns Night. Bet you didn’t think the answer was this complicated!


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