Monday, 7 May 2012

330 Million Years of Entertainment

That's what I sought out this weekend - 330 million years worth of culture, sport and entertainment and, do you know what? I found it.

Scotland getting beaten by Wales at Rugby 7s
It started on Saturday in Scotstoun Stadium with the Rugby 7s. Scotstoun Stadium has changed a fair bit since I lived in Knightswood when it was a grassy bit of ground with a changing room, overlooked by a railway track. When my son's school class had been dispatched to Glasgow Airport by the city council to welcome the teams to the city he had a great time there and managed to get 21 illegible autographs of Fijian and Kenyan sports stars. So he was keen to see them playing and I was keen to have a nosey around the future home of Firhill's departing tennants, the Glasgow Warriors rugby team. Funnily enough the rugger playing schools of Glasgow hadn't sent children to Glasgow Airport to welcome the teams, but they appeared to have pitched up in numbers with their families at Scotstoun. It was all very jolly and nice. Lots of jolly nice people in fancy dress, but I've never liked rugby and a few hours of this event did nothing to change my opinion. The 7s game is meant to be faster and higher scoring, but so is basketball, and when I've been to see Glasgow Rocks, the score ticks by, but I don't have enough invested in it to care that much. I can watch any old football game and withing 5 minutes I'll have plumped for a team and got into it. Rugby never does that for me. Anyway, my impression was that AUstralia, Fiji and New Zealand seemed too far ahead of anyone else to make it that competitive and Scotland were vaguely disinteresed or rubbish (I don't know enough about rugby to tell).

The 17th hole at the crazy golf
One good thing about being down at that part of Glasgow is that Victoria Park is nearby, which I've always loved visiting. It is a shame that the crazy golf is now a shabby pile of rotting concrete that seem to function as an al fresco drinking venue going by the amount of bottles and cans left lying about. Thankfully the Fossil Grove is still there, and although it hasn't really been updated since I used to come here as a 5 year old. I guess there is only so much updating you can do with the 330 million year old fossilised remains of a forest that was in Glasgow even before a Labour-controlled council, if it's possible to imagine that far back.
The building housing the Fossil Grove



It is open between 10 am and 4pm every day until September, so go along if you've not been for a while. It's a lovely place, if a wee bit shabby and neglected at the moment. 
Fossilised tree stumps


The domestic football season also drew to a close today in the SFL with Partick Thistle playing against Hamilton.  I decided that my season finished 7 days earlier so didn't go, but it sounded like a great game, another decent performance, but another 2 points dropped. Roll on next season.

Went to see Marley at the Grosvenor Cinema on Saturday night. My mum was briefly an usherette here in the sixties, before Mr King brought in his leather seats and bar. (Is it just me, or is it not a bit weird to decide to sit at the back of a cinema on an old cusion and blanket, on a wee leather sofa some other couple were on half an hour ago?) The film is a documentary of his life, and as it has been made with the assistance of his family can't help but being a wee bit of a hagiography, but some of the cinematography in Jamaica was glorious and the music is fantastic. Afterwards I realised that I don't have any Bob Marley on my phone (just some Damian Marley) so I put that right when I came home. It was funny that I'd just read Gil Scott-Heron's memoir of his tour with Stevie Wonder, and in that he comes across Marley a couple of times, and as Marley takes unwell with cancer this is the whole reason Gil Scott-Heron carries on touring with Stevie Wonder.

 In the gods at the Theatre Royal
If you like an opera with a few big numbers, a melodramatic story, beautiful stage sets, a fantastic orchestra, murder, assassination and suicide then you should make an effort to go see Scottish Opera doing Tosca, which is on at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow just now. I've seen this production before, relocated to 1940s Rome under Fascist rule, but I can't remember it being this good. I thought that the orchestra played beautifully, it was well acted and sung and Robert Poulton as the scheming baddie, Scarpia, stole the show. We had great seats up in the gods despite the frizzy-haired, rather self-centred woman in front of me being perched forwards all the way through the last 2 acts when she moved to the the empty seat I was enjoying in front of me.

I am looking forward to hearing Dexys new album, and tried and failed to get tickets for their gig in Cottiers last night, a Big Issue seller and me hanging about at the door asking for any spare tickets (nae chance, apparently). I was able to hear them doing some old song called "Come On Eileen", muffled and from outside, but still sounded good to me.

Right. Off to bring myself back up to date tonight at Grimes at the Berkely Suite, not a venue I've been to before in its current incarnation. I bet there is some frizzy-haired 6 foot tall woman stuck right in front of me waving her hands in the air all night.

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