Tally Ho!

If the idea of riding around the city of Glasgow in a group of around 150 well dressed, finely groomed, Harris Tweed wearing eccentrics fuelled on fine food and even finer beverages, then read on. . .

It was around 12pm when we set off from the Blythswood Hotel, only after registering to receive our fine Harris Tweed badges and route map.   We began the festivities with some beautiful shortbread and delicious freshly ground coffee as we then made our way on the street for the introduction to the day.    Once waved off following the lead of the large gentleman on the penny farthing we were all downhill to George Square, where we had some bloody mary’s and a little yorkshire pudding treat.

It was a short ride then over to Cafe Gandolfi in the merchant city for some fantastic fish & chips, we hung around and had a chat with some of the other riders and managed to take some photographs.    It turns out that it was a good mate of mine from high school that made the previous video for last year’s Tweed Ride (see above), and he is also doing this one too. .

After Gandolfi, we travelled through the wonderful green space of Glasgow Green to have some of the great beer on tap at the WEST Brewery.   This was a great stop and we all relaxed as we sipped our delicious beer in the Autumn sunshine.   It was leaving Glasgow Green that we rode around the roundabout, again and again for some of the photographs.   All good fun!

Next up was the trip down along the River Clyde on the cycleway to the SECC where we entered the tunnel taking us over into the westend of Glasgow to sample some oysters at The Crabshakk and then for some drams over at The Finneston.  This turned out to be one of the longer stop, and I was delighted as they were serving Old Pulteney by the glass.

It was over to Byres Road and into the new Hanoi Bike Shop for some vietnamese noodles, into The Hillhead Book Club for some mojitos in the splendid surroundings of this great restaurant / pub.  Quickly moving on, we made our (now merry) way down to The Big Slope, this was to be a dinner stop and we had some rolls in shredded pork and Joni and I had a few drinks and a wee Laphroaig as we chatted and laughed with two young African gents before moving on to catch the rest of the crew back at the Blythswood where it all started. . .

After some short speeches and some music from a local swing band, there was some dancing and romancing.  I managed to win a delicious bottle of Talisker (wrapped in a beautiful Harris Tweed sheath) and a lovely little Harris Tweed Bag.  I should also mention that I was shortlisted as one of the best dressed men, was in the top 3 but never won, can’t win ’em all.

All in all it was a fantastic day out on the bikes, we had great fun and would definitely do it next year!

Here is the Video

Tally Ho!

Enjoy the photographs below. . .

Here are links to the Facebook for the ride, and the Twitter page.   It was even in the Evening Times.

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Urban Exploration

This is a short film made after an inspiring Urban Exploration (urbex) walk through underground pathways underneath the Titan Crane in Clydebank.   My father and I took some photographs and I spent some time making this short film using field recordings and some live piano as the soundtrack – enjoy.

Grindadráp

Being someone that enjoys being in the open water, often wearing a 5mm wetsuit and with my right leg attached to an 8ft board, I find this topic especially disturbing and therefore close to my own heart.  I have deliberately not posted any of the more brutal photographs of the obscene and horrific images (for those who have a weak stomach) but the links on this blog post will take you there if you feel the need to be reminded of how cruel we can be.

Imagine the scene: There are hundreds if not thousands of Islanders, male, female & children gathered on a beach in the Faroe Islands.   Motor boats begin to purr and race towards the beach from the open sea bringing hundreds of pilot whales onto the shore.   Before the whales approach the shore, all the males on the beach race out into the shallow beach and attack the whales with a large hook attached to a rope to finally slice through their dorsal area to finish the kill.  Pregnant whales are slit open and their young removed to rot on the beach.

At first glance, the Grindadrap (Grind) looks like a sporting event, but it falls deep in Norse culture and history and included in the arguments to keep the hunt going:

  • Communal food is required for the villages
  • Keeping the pilot whaling population down (Culling)
  • Protecting heritage / culture

Please do your best to spread the information about this annual event, google it, read about it, blog about it and talk about it.   It was last year I first came across it and have signed petitions and tried to mention it when I get the chance.  Lets hope these horrible scenes can be stopped.

Some other reading / petitions / graphic images:

http://www.earthraceconservation.org/faroe-islands

http://www.wdcs.org/news.php?select=254

http://livvegan.blogspot.com/2011/06/grind-pilot-whale-massacre-in-faroe.html

http://www.seashepherd.org/grind-stop

http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/news-faroe-island-whaling

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/nostalgia-carries-risk-for-these-whale-hunters-20100810-11xhh.html

inACTIVE Listening

When is the last time you sat down with an album and actually listened to it?

  • I don’t mean put the CD on and did something else.
  • I don’t mean listened to music as you travel to and from work.
  • I don’t mean had music on as you sit with friends and chat.

I mean, actually listen to it?

I’m fortunate enough to work with young people and constantly have the chance to question them in relation to their music, what they listen to, why they listen to it and where they listen to it. Its became clear to me that we no longer think of albums in the traditional sense. I think its too simple to describe an album as simply:

“A set of musical recordings stored together in jackets under one binding”

Its far more than that, for me its recordings in an order that captivates the listener, speaks of a time in history, draws you into the mood of the recordings and spits you out the other end in such a way that you want to put the album straight back on again. Its similar to the way artists build live set lists – its an experience and has to take a certain path, its not and never was supposed to be a “shuffling playlist” – we have created that. Its not wrong, its just not as was intended when the album was put together. Another conversation on this subject was with my own Father; (an addicted professional record collector). He has been a huge inspiration on me musically throughout my years and we spoke about the idea that people no longer listen to music in the way it was once the norm. Albums were like snapshots of time and were a focus on conversation, it was also clear from this conversation that the “jazz cigarette” played a small part in relaxing the listeners in these days so that they often couldn’t speak throughout the entire listening session (even it they wanted to).

Right, on to the reason for this post. After reading an article from Greg Wilson’s blog titled Living To Music where it talks about exactly this. Listening to music with full attention on the music. It got me thinking about my own circle of friends and that between us we have so many different interests in so many diverse genres & styles of music. So, in five simple rules the idea is this,

  • We decide on an album every two weeks and set a listening date and time.
  • We agree to listen to it without distractions (no telephone/email) in the comfort of our own personal space.
  • We use headphones if possible.
  • We agree to post a comment about the album (as simple as we like).
  • We also contribute to the pool of “Albums Worth Listening To”

So please, I’ve left the comments open on this post and would love feedback and ideas for albums which I will collate and post back about – I’m sure all of us put time aside to have dinner, to read, to go for walks in the park, even if this is just to get between 35 – 59 minutes out of your busy schedule to listen to something you have never heard before – its worth it.

Let me know if you’re interested?