Sunday 30 September 2012

Cone Gatherers and Holy Motors (as I Couldn't Get to the Football)

The Cone Gatherers, Theatre Royal. Holy Motors, Glasgow Film Theatre

As I was working this Saturday morning and couldn't make it to Kirkcaldy to see Partick Thistle tackle Raith Rovers, I decided to avoid being glued to my phone for twitter updates from @ThistleTweet by seeing what else was on in Glasgow. After a quick dash into town I made it in time for the matinee performance at the Theatre Royal of The Cone Gatherers by Aberdeen Performing Arts. As I had got the subway into town this is an excuse for me to post my photo of Alasdair Gray's fantastic mural at Hillhead station, which I got to have more of a look at this time as Nicola Sturgeon wasn't standing in the way after cutting the ribbon to open the station.

Nicola Sturgeon looking studious for the TV cameras
last week at Hillhead Subway station mural
The Cone Gatherers by Robin Jenkins is a "classic" of Scottish literature and I think a common text for Higher English students, but I hadn't read it until last year when I was given it as a birthday present. The author was a conscientious objector during WW2 and was directed to work for the Forestry Commission, an obvious source of inspiration for the book. Set during the war, two brothers are sent to an large estate to gather cones to replant forests being cut down for the war effort. Like George and Lennie from 'Of Mice and Men', older brother Neil tries to protect his simple-minded brother Calum from the evil in the world and the attitudes of others. Their arrival unveils the prejudices and class division of the world they inhabit. The play, written by Peter Arnott, looked great. The set design of projections of a forest onto thin ropes hanging down on the stage worked really well and was very immersive. However I found the story very episodic, as if they had tried to squeeze every scene from what is quite a slim book into the play. When they couldn't quite manage this they had a chorus walking across stage explaining bits that could more effectively have been given to a character as dialogue. Some things can be more powerful when they are suggested, or off stage, rather than shown, such as Duror's wife, who appeared like a Hammer Horror monster. There was the unecessary confusion of where the songs, or dance moves fitted into the, at other times, straight storytelling. The chopping and changing of techniques rather meant scenes such as the dramatic crescendo to the deer hunt became quite muddled. The actors playing Calum (Ben Winger), Neil (John Kielty) and Duror (Tom McGovern) did well, and the idea of showing Duror's aggression at Calum's strangeness echoing Hitler's fascism worked well. However Calum, Neil and Duror never seemed to get enough material to work with to have any real depth to them.

I enjoyed it, but had hoped for a little more insight and a bit less re-telling of the book scene by scene. It is always a bit weird coming out of the theatre or cinema and it's still daylight so as Partick Thistle were losing 1-0 at this point I decided to scuttle off back into the dark after a quick bite to eat in the CCA which has a fine pine of Williams Draught beer on the go for £2.80 a pint. So I scuttled back into the dark by going to the GFT to see Holy Motors by French director Leos Carax.

Holy Motors is completely bonkers. It is the opposite to what I had been to see earlier where a play tried to tell a book's story page by page, when theatre can do more than that. Cinema can do more than tell a straight story too. You spend time here trying to see the link between the different scenarios of the film and discern a message, but it just works as a fantastic bit of cinema washing over you. The director starts by getting out of bed, pushing through a wall decorated as a forest (today's theme) and emerging into a cinema which is maybe full of an audience of dead people. Then we follow Denis Lavant, who looks fantastically worn out, through Paris in a limo as he dons different costumes and make up to act out various "appointments" across the day. These are like confusing episodes of "Quantum Leap" where the angel figure doesn't really have a purpose in the scenes he undertakes, other than just the act of doing what he has been scripted to do. At times bizarre, surreal, full of pathos or hallucinatory and for real cinemaphiles these appointments I am sure are full of various references and nods to the history of cinema, ending up like a scene from Cars as the limo ends the day at its garage. Just when you think it's getting a bit weird Kylie turns up.

Excellent stuff all round. I would encourage anyone who gets the chance to go see it. I suspect people will either love it or hate it, it's a hard film to be ambivalent about. Anyway, by this point Partick Thistle had equalised with a Doolan goal in injury time through in Fife. STILL unbeaten after 7 league games, but only just. Can we start thinking about the "promotion" word yet???

Friday 28 September 2012

Wagner. A Review of a Big Opera in Small Pieces

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra perform Wagner's Tristan and Isolde (Act 1)

I go to see the opera, usually Scottish Opera at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow, about once a year. Part of the appeal is the grand costumes, the acting, the staging, the wee ice cream tub at the interval (and also it is a night out where I am at the younger end of the audience spectrum for a change). Sometimes opera feels like a Lloyd Webber musical sung in a foreign language, as you wait for Bizet or Puccini's big hit tune to come along. There is a lot of the cast talking through the story to background music between the hits. Wagner I think is more about the musical piece throughout, the music tells the story and sets the tone, and for that he is credited with giving direction and ideas to a lot of 20th Century music.
I've sat through a Wagner opera in full once, years ago, a performance of The Mastersingers of Nuremberg. I remember the grand costumes and sets, and I remember it being long, but I couldn't hum you any of the tunes. I've also seen a concert performance of an opera only once before, when Scottish Opera did Georges Bizet's Pearl Fishers in a big hall in Govan 15-odd years ago. Stripped away from the usual operatic paraphernalia the music comes to the centre of the stage. This was the case last night when I went to see the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra perform Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, with chief conductor Donald Runnicles, who reminded me of a well fed David Essex. If done in the full it takes over 5 hours, so for this they've broken it into easily digestible chunks, performing each of the three acts on a separate night, with an accompanying piece of music to highlight some of the themes or inspired by Wagner's music.
Tonight we had Rachmaninov's The Isle of the Dead, a musical poem inspired by seeing a painting by Bocklin of Charon apparently rowing a coffin out to the island of Ponza. The ebbing and flowing of the sound was incredibly evocative and watching the conductor and musicians rise and fall to the music as the storm rose then tailed off I was almost feeling seasick. The big crescendo of the storm was great to hear, and when an orchestra is going full pelt at you it really is an impressive sight and sound. I always feel sorry for the percussionists on these occasions, the one playing the cymbals sat patiently throughout, stood up, did her mighty crash then sat down again. More cymbals Sergei, that'd be my only change, make her work for her money.

After that the sea bound Act 1 of Tristan and Isolde was a calmer affair, to begin with. It's the everyday story of boy meets girl, boy kills girl's fiance, then sends his head on a spike to Ireland, gets his wounds tended by the girl's magic potions and steals her away to be married to his king whilst they both hide their love for each other. Girl arranges maid to give them both deadly tonic but maid swaps it for love juice. Boy and girl swig back their unspoken suicide pact to find birds tweeting overhead as they realise their love for each other. The orchestra clashes and horns blast as they arrive in Cornwall. Surely this is the only piece of theatre that ends with a fantastic crescendo whilst a chorus cries "Hail Cornwall. Hail Cornwall".
Watching the concert performance you are more aware of the music and with the singers centre stage, almost amongst the instruments, at times their singing risks being overwhelmed by the music. Isolde, soprano Nina Stemme, was clearly struggling with a bit of a cold (I haven't seen an opera singer need to take Sinex and pills mid-performance before), but she managed to sing out as clear as a bell over the orchestra. Of the four main singers in Act 1 she was the one who continued to act her piece to get the turmoil of the story told with her voice and expression, not just singing it out. The gentle music builds to a "what happens next?" finale and I had to buy a ticket for Acts 2 and 3 when I got home as it was a great night out. I've read that this is a trick of the music that Wagner writes, building anticipation. It's called "harmonic suspension" apparently, but without knowing that was happening, the orchestra tonight were able to convey it. The Rachmaninov for me was especially good and something that I'd never heard before. A great wee bonus to the main event.
City Halls, Glasgow
I like the City Halls too, I think it's a great concert venue, with good acoustics and sightlines throughout. It also makes me remember the various trade union demonstrations that used to end here, where I'd get to run about and play on the balcony whilst the speeches went on. It's all much smarter nowadays.

I'm reading Haruki Murakami's big 1,000 page tome at the moment, 1Q84, and co-incidentally got to the end of Book 1 out of 3 last night, before seeing Act 1 of Wagner's 3. At the start of book 2 a character quotes from Chekov his famous line about not introducing a gun to Act 1 unless you are going to use it in Act 3, so I fear for the future of Tristan and Isolde and don't fancy their chances of making it to the end of Act 3 now that they've already talked of life threatening wounds and deadly potions. For that matter in the book I don't much fancy Aomame or Tengo's chances of making it to page 1,000. However, in both cases, all will be revealed and in both cases I'm looking forward to finding out.

Saturday 22 September 2012

What To Do Near Glasgow When You Get Some Unexpected Autumn Sunshine?

The Forth and Clyde Canal ("the Nollie"), Whitelee Windfarm, Eaglesham and David Livingstone Centre, Blantyre.

This summer has been miserable and wet in Glasgow, usually at its worst whenever the children have been off from school, so it was an unexpected treat to wake up this September weekend to find an unfamiliar yellow thing in the sky. There was no sign of the feared armageddon either after meteors or satellites had been spotted last night descending to Earth in the skies over Scotland last night. If you were up and about early today in Glasgow you will know that although it was beautifully sunny, it was also cold and frosty. This made it a gorgeous morning for an early run and I ended up getting carried away and going on much further than I'd planned as I was so enjoying running through the mist rising up from the Forth and Clyde Canal (or "the Nollie" as it is called locally).

Locks on the Forth and Clyde Canal at Maryhill
Not wanting to waste the chance of going out with the children without 5 layers of waterproof clothing we packed a picnic and headed down Eaglesham way to visit Whitelee Windfarm, Europe's largest windfarm which you can see to the south of Glasgow from most high vantage points. Although this may not seem the most obvious day trip, it has miles of good paths for walking or cycling amongst the dozens of turbines and from up on Eaglesham Moor there you can see Ailsa Craig and Arran in one direction, Glasgow and the Campsie Hills in the other. So what is the WW2 connection between Eaglesham Moor and Maryhill (specifically the barracks at the Wyndford that I was running past earlier)? Keep reading for an answer...

Ailsa Craig visible on the horizon at Whitelee Windfarm
There is also a smart wee visitor centre run by the Glasgow Science Centre, with some hands-on stuff for children and a decent cafe. Today for the school holidays they also had a collection of owls casually sitting about, accepting the attentions of excited children. The scale of the turbines and the size of the windfarm are hard to take in until you are walking amongst them. I think that the turbines are fantastic things and I can happily wander here for hours. Anyway, in the days before there were wind turbines here, on May 10, 1941, Rudolf Hess landed on Eaglesham moor, apparently coming to meet the Duke of Hamilton. He was held prisoner in Maryhill Barracks for his trouble.

My daughter chasing a flock of sheep at Whitelee Windfarm
Looking around for some other nearby visitor attraction to entertain the weans with whilst there was still no rain on a weekend day we settled on a visit to the David Livingstone Centre at Blantyre.

David Livingstone Centre
This is a National Trust run place, a museum telling the life story of Blantyre's most famous son; doctor, missionary, explorer - David Livingstone. He certainly lead a remarkable life, starting off working in the local mill and living in a single room in the mill owned tenement building the museum is now housed in until he went to University in his twenties. Although his life story is viewed through rose-tinted spectacles here as an anti-slavery campaigner, it is hard to separate this from the fact that he was trying to extend British trade routes into the heart of Africa and seeking to convert the locals to his faith.
Dr Livingstone's arm, I presume
I quite like dusty, old-fashioned museums so enjoyed this a lot and although it must be over 25 years since I was last here, it was all very familiar. One thing that stuck in my mind from my childhood visit I was pleased to see was still there. In a glass case containing Livingstone's old medical equipment, is a cast of his arm bone, badly broken when he was mauled by a lion. As well as the fact that the lion attack story is a good one, I remember as a child wondering how they managed to get a cast of his arm bone. It shows, I think, that even in his own time his body parts were being treated like saintly relics. The lion story also caught the imagination of one of the 20th century's greatest film makers, Ray Harryhaussen, whose stop-motion animation brought to life films such as the Sinbad films and Clash of the Titans. There is a large statue in the grounds here of the lion attacking Livingstone and his party, in Ray Harryhaussen's unmistakable style. Why, you may ask?
Ray Harryhaussen's statue of David Livingston and the lion attack
3pm, Saturday. Firhill. Pie, Bovril
and some brown sauce
Well, Harryhaussen is married to David Livingstone's great-grand daughter. Strange, but true!

There was still time to head back up to Glasgow to see the mighty Partick Thistle stay top of the First Division with their sixth consecutive league win, this time a narrow 2-1 win over Cowdenbeath. Strange, but true! Jackie McNamara continues to do it.

Saturday 15 September 2012

Happy Birthday Woody Guthrie, by Billy Bragg

What's not to like about a concert that sells itself as "Billy Bragg and KT Tunstall Celebrate Woody Guthrie's Centenary"?

This sold out show took place at the ABC in Glasgow as part of the No Mean City festival 'celebrating Americana' and was one of a short series of concerts Billy Bragg is playing around the UK to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Woody Guthrie, who died in 1967 of the inherited condition Huntington's Disease. Bragg has recorded and written music for numerous previously unheard Woody Guthrie songs before.  The recordings that Billy Bragg made with Wilco, The Mermaid Avenue Project, came about after Woody Guthrie's daughter gave him access to many of Guthrie's archives and unrecorded lyrics and if you haven't heard this stuff it is well worth listening to. He said in an interview with the Scotland on Sunday that turning up a song Woody Guthrie wrote about the River Clyde, after his brief time in Glasgow whilst a merchant seaman during World War 2, inspired him to play one of these gigs in the city.

As a child, in the days when family parties involved my auntie Carol singing "The Crystal Chandalier" or my great-uncle Andy singing "I Had Only Half a Crown", I took my turn by either singing "Who Will Buy?" from Oliver or "This Land Is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie. Afterwards I guess I came to his other songs through listening to Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen before I finally gave in and bought some CDs of his crackly old recordings and read about his remarkable life. The point Guthrie's daughter Nora is making is that there was more to him than just this one iconic song and that is really the idea behind the Mermaid Avenue Project and this gig, so it wasn't all Tom Joad and This Land Is Your Land tonight.

I've seen Billy Bragg play before, most memorably in a great concert with Dick Gaughan, so I was hoping to hear tales, facts, diatribes and anecdotes as much as music and thankfully he spent as much time talking as singing, which was just what I was after.

Billy Bragg and KT Tunstall
He started by duetting with KT Tunstall on a Woody Guthrie song, before leaving the stage to her to play some of her own new material and a couple of her oldies, all in Woody Guthrie style, one voice and an acoustic guitar. She has a great voice and although she described her new stuff as "less perky and all about death" such as "Carried" she can also do angry. I hadn't realised that "Poison In Your Cup" was written after seeing the look on George W Bush's face leaving office. Also one of her new songs gave her the opportunity to display her fine whistling skills. (cf Andrew Bird)

After they managed some fantastic harmonising together on "Deportees" (I know, harmonising with Billy Bragg's voice) the stage was left to Billy to take us through some of the songs he wrote, at times with Wilco, to Woody's lyrics. The songs were diverse, from one double entendre filled song about Ingrid Bergman which let him shoehorn in a topical joke about the Duchess of Cambridge, to union songs such as "I Guess I Planted". One stand out song was "Slipknot" and all accompanied by acoustic guitar or his new Gretsch guitar which he lovingly stroked.

He then sung a song Woody Guthrie penned on leaving Glasgow on board ship heading back to America, "Scotch Hills". This being the song's first outing Billy had re-wrote the tune for it at rehearsals this afternoon, and had to remind himself of the final tune from his iPhone recording from the afternoon (the same device I made this crackling recording on - sorry for the quality). Very weird hearing a Woody Guthrie song about "farewell to old Glasgow". Wow, he really didn't just bum about in the Dustbowl.

For an encore he raised the biggest cheer of the night singing "Scousers Never Buy The Sun" from his excellent Fight Songs CD, very topical with the Hillsborough Enquiry published earlier this week, before giving us an updated version of "The Great Leap Forward" - so updated it proposed it was "time to give Craig Levine the sack" and to "Free Pussy Riot", surely the first time one song has combined such disparate wishes. For a grand finale KT Tunstall was back as they sang a Scottish version of "This Land Is Your Land" she had penned today. Singing "From Caledonia, to the Western Islands, from the pinewood forests to the Gulf Stream Waters" worked remarkably well. She even managed to get Tunnocks tea cakes and Irn Bru into it - what a talent!

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Africa Express and other Collaborations

I had tickets for 2 very different, but in some ways similar, events this week. Rodge Glass is an author/ editor who has been based in Glasgow for several years. Known for his recent books "Bring Me the Head of Ryan Giggs" and his biography of Glasgow institution Alasdair Gray, he is moving back to Manchester which was an excuse for an evening in the Old Hairdresser's in Renfield Lane, hosted by "Rodge", to raise money for a Middle Eat charity under the title "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peaceniks, Love and Understanding". It featured musicians playing short sets, alternating with writers performing readings. There was a fantastic collection of local worthies at the event such as the above mentioned Alasdair Gray, Ewan Morrison (author of the excellent Tales From The Mall), Kirstin Innes, Allan Wilson. Music was supplied by Beerjacket, Rick Redbeard (off of The Phantom Band), Paul Carlin (off of Dananananakroyd), a full bloodied performance by Adam Stafford and the evening finished off beautifully by Emma Pollock (off of The Delgados). Star turn for me was author Alan Bissett (author of Pack Men, The Incredible Adam Spark) who performed an exert from his one man play "The Red Hourglass". I went straight home and bought a ticket for the full thing which after a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe he is doing at The Arches in November. It finished off the evening nicely to win the raffle and get a pile of books and cds from some of the above. All there was left for me to do was to fight my way through the lighting trucks and curious gawpers to find my car on the Glasgow streets getting used by a crew filming "The Fast and the Furious 6". Thankfully they'd decided my car wasn't what the film needed in it and it had been left in peace. (That's my brother's birthday present sorted!).

On a grander scale this Tuesday night was another evening of artists jamming and collaborating, this time under Damon Albarn's supervising eye as he brought his Africa Express thing to Glasgow for the first time. Africa Express has being rumbling on for 6 years now under Damon Albarn's beady eye, but with funding as part of the cultural Olympiad this year Africa Express now literally has a train taking them between towns on a short UK tour which will end in London in a few days time. The sell-out show last night in Glasgow went on for the best part of 4 hours over 2 stages in The Arches tunnels beneath Central Station and with DJs taking the stage playing on for another couple of hours afterwards apparently (I was in bed by then).

Damon Albarn with Afel Bocoumb
It kicked off with Malian singer Afel Bocoumb, joined by Damon for a couple of songs and then he was off. That was the way the rest of the night went. There was no main conducter or stage presence, no headline act directing traffic, but one or two songs by a collection of people, then off, 5-10 minutes of the crew changing things around, then one or two songs from the next mob. This was a shame as it made it all a bit episodic but is inevitable with so many musicians involved. Longer sets were then taking place on the second stage. When I've seen some of these African musicians before they mananged to convey a much more natural coming and going of collaborations on stage within a standard show. Carl Barat was up next with Rizzle Kicks and others doing a bouncy version of his Libertines song "Don't Look Back Into the Sun", going into the Rizzle Kicks' own "Down With the Trumpets". If at times the Western musicians felt a bit B-list, it was African musical royalty all the way. Bassekou Kouyate playing Ngoni alongside the silky voice and broad smile of Fatoumata Diawara and then Amadou playing guitar whilst John McLure of Reverend and the Makers sang the Clash’s "Train in Vain".
Bassekou Kouyate and Fatoumata Diawara
Things I wasn't expecting? I found hearing the rap and hip hop artists live conveyed the energy and
spontanaiety of the various MC's such as whilst singing Dead Prez's "It's Bigger Than Hip Hop", and earlier Baltimore's Rye Rye were more impressive than any recorded rap/ hip hop stuff which never really grabs me and Baaba Maal, who I've never really listened too until now, oozed charisma when he was briefly on stage.

The problem at times wasn't the quality of the music on show, but the quantity. Some people I'd been looking forward to seeing were off again before you knew it. With no ringmaster or supervising stage presence to introduce people you had to try to guess who they were at times, and with 80 musicians advertised it was beyond me who I was watching at points in the show despite doing a bit of homework before going. "Was that big guy with the beard playing guitar at the back of the stage Romeo Stodart from the Magic Numbers?", "Which one is Jack Steadman?", "Rokia Traore, she's the one with the shaved head who sang on the Gorillaz song and Mim Sulemain the one with crazy hair, yes?" Damon flitted distractedly on and off stage, avoiding being the star turn and trying to let the music tell its own story. In a lot of ways having so many performers dilutes the individual talents and risks being less than the sum of its seperate parts. Being so spoilt for choice I looked at the line-ups for the various venues and grumbled about the ones I wouldn't see who weren't coming to Glasgow (eg Gruff Rhys is always an entertaining performer and Nneka I've bought tickets for before at King Tuts and never seen as she cancelled, you lucky Cardiff and Bristol people). One highlight that I need to try to track down to hear more of was Jupiter and Okwess International mixing African drums with Hammond organ sounds, making a funk-filled noise that wasn't upstaged when they were joined on stage by 3 bagpipers "Mull of Kintyre" style. Its not often that a Scottish crowd gives it a nonchalant "oh yeah, that'll be bagpipes" but in a night when everything but the kitchen sink was being thrown at the audience they just got the same warm applause everyone else was given.
Jupiter & Okwess International at The Arches, Glasgow
It is clear that the musicians are having a lot of fun, and there was no evidence of egos clashing as the bonhomie built up on board their train seemed to carry onto the stage, but the good natured feel of musicians and crowd meant it simmered along all night without quite coming to the boil. There are a few acts I've pencilled in to seek out their music as the bits on show were tantalisingly brief for some. However it felt like the kind of night that would have benefited from a programme of notes, but maybe that just reveals my personality. At the end of the night after 4 hours I was leaving the venue wanting more, and that surely is the point of it.

(And they're still filming Fast and Furious on the Glasgow streets at night down here.)

Sunday 2 September 2012

Another Glasgow Running Route

Last weekend for my "long Sunday run", training for the Great North Run in two weeks time, I ran 13 miles around the senior football stadia of Glasgow. This week as I wind down the distances before race day I sought an 9 mile Sunday run and sticking with the footballing theme decided to step down a level to the Juniors. From my house I could only take in a few in 9 miles, but I just find having a goal like this keeps my interest up, as going over the same training routes does become a wee bit dull. No? Perhaps another time I could take in some of Glasgow's other Juniors teams such as Bellshill Athletic at Tollcross, Benburb near Ibrox, Pollok, Rutherglen Glencairn, Shettleston Juniors, St. Anthony's in Cardonald, St. Roch's in Royston as I've never been to any of these grounds. As I say, another time.

The two grounds that I tried to squeeze into this route because I've been in them to watch football before were Holm Park, where Clydebank and Yoker Athletic play, and Western Park on Inchinnan Road where Renfrew FC play. However as this would have involved a few too many miles and hanging about for a wee bit for the Renfrew Ferry at the bottom of Yoker Ferry Road I decided not to bother.
2.5km in, Firhill Complex

 Heading up Byres Road I had to stop myself going straight to Firhill in auto-pilot, but passing the Firhill Complex I headed up Possil Road, then across Springburn Road to come to Petershill Park. This is home to Petershill FC and also to Glasgow City FC, Scotland's top women's football team who have again qualified for the last 32 of the UEFA Champions League. Their next tie in this, against Denmark's Fortuna Hjørring is on 26th September at this ground. Now that Partick Thistle have been dumped out of the League Cup, which is played that night, I may try and go along.

Petershill Park, 6km
A mackerel sky, altocumulus, over Sighthill
(I looked that bit up)
 So back up Springburn Road a wee bit and along Hawthorn Street to Saracen Park, home to Ashfield Juniors. Also most Sunday afternoons at 4pm speedway is held here, home ground of the Glasgow Tigers. The speedway is one of these things I keep meaning to go along and see, but never have managed to get around to it. I've watched it on telly a couple of times and it looks like it'd be good fun to watch, once you've worked out the scoring system. Maybe next week...

Saracen Park, 7.5km
Ruchill Church Hall
Next, up over Bilsland Drive, then Ruchill Street (resisting the temptation to turn left and just head to Firhill) and emerging onto Maryhill Road beside one of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's less heralded buildings, Ruchill Church Hall, which is a lovely wee building, built in 1899, now with fine views of McDonald's and Tesco. I won't give you the full Maryhill tour as I head up Maryhill Road but maybe just point out the walls of the former Maryhill Barracks, now the Wynford housing estate. Not only did the barracks house my grandad before he headed off to Normandy in World War II, but Rudolf Hess was a prisoner here in Maryhill in 1941.
Lochburn Park, Maryhill Juniors, 11km
Maryhill Juniors ground on Lochburn Road was my next target. In the past players like Tommy Burns, Danny McGrain and Jim Duffy have donned the red and black of Maryhill, but in recent times the club have been going down through the leagues. Lochburn Park has the distinction of being the only ground in Scotland I was almost thrown out of as a youth. My brother and I, aged about 8 and 6 years old were a bit bored by the action I presume when we were upbraided for idly kicking the harling off a wee wall around the pitch.

My final destination on this footballing run was the site of the world's first international football match. It was played between Scotland and England in 1872, in Partick, in the westend of Glasgow. 4000 peole paid a shilling each to see a 0-0 draw played at Hamilton Crescent, home of the West of Scotland Cricket Club. The club received £1.10s for the hire of the ground that day, and hosted 2 further Scotland vs England games and the Scottish Cup final of 1877, which Rangers lost 3-2 to Vale of Leven.
14km, West of Scotland Cricket Club. The flats at the back
mark the site of Partick Thistle's ground around 1884, Muir Park
Anyway, I finished my run by heading up the hill that is Gardner Street to make it a round 15km circle, and from the top looked down towards Ibrox Stadium across the river.

Looking down Gardner Street to Partick
and over the Clyde to Ibrox Stadium
One of the grounds, Muir Park, which Partick Thistle were based at in their early years was at the bottom of what is now Gardner Street. A ground which was overlooked by a private zoo on the hillside before the land was sold for housing in the expanding city. For more information on the early years of Partick Thistle look no further than the excellent "Partick Thistle - The Early Years" website.
Muirpark Street sign on
an 1187 tenement in Partick

Anyway, that's my last long-ish run until after the Great North Run on 16th of September. Thank you to everyone who has sponsored me and helped me reach my target of £350 for Diabetes UK. All I have to do now is finish the race!

My JustGiving page.