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.

Gluttony

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.

Exhibitions

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.

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53 thoughts on “Glasgow Gallivanting: January 2017

  1. catbird in japan September 8, 2017 / 21:55

    I am VERY late getting to this, but I’m glad I did! I laughed out loud at your comment: “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’ll have to play catch-up to see if you actually did it. I laughed because I’m always making resolutions like these, and rarely keeping them. I’m so bowled over by people like Jo — who does her Monday walk religiously and right on time. 🙂

    I liked seeing the things you did in January; that Celtic Connections sounds very intense. I don’t think I would have had the energy for something like that. The art exhibits looked enjoyable and fascinating. I also loved your post about the anti-Trump Scottish signs. Very funny!

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    • Anabel Marsh September 8, 2017 / 22:42

      Spoiler alert: still going as far as August! I had to read the post again to see what art exhibitions we’d been to in January. Scotland is still not impressed by Trump by the way.

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      • catbird in japan September 9, 2017 / 13:25

        Good for you!! Can’t wait to read them all. I enjoy these monthly recaps. I try to do that same thing in my monthly cocktail hours. But I’m very inconsistent about it!

        I’m glad to hear Trump isn’t winning over Scotland. Maybe I shouldn’t be wishing this, but I want him to be a total failure, and I want him to be hauled away for obstruction of justice for his Russia collusion. 🙂

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  2. 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!

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    • 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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