Monday, 28 September 2009

A round in Mosquito

Kenny stood in the centre of the Mosquito bar in Glasgow on Saturday night practising his golf swing. After pulling on his newly bought Pringle jumper, polo shirt and cap he found a small clearing in the centre of the bar and readied himself for a shot. Dad had taken the family out to dinner in the excellent La Laterna Restaurant on Hope Street and treated us all to a slap up three course meal with a good few glasses of wine, finishing with a liqueur which Kenny ordered with a flourish of the hand receiving only an nod from the miserable looking waiters. Perhaps taking slight assumptions as Dad was picking up the bill.
Mosquito was busy, the clientele it's usual mix of ages, from students to older blokes, like me. Ka, Kenny and myself headed in after leaving Mum, Dad and Lynsey to jump on a 66 and met up with Andy for a few drinks. It was then that Kenny decided to pull on his newly bought Golf gear and start practising his golf swing. His shot was not up to much, probably due to the fact he was using an invisible club and ball, but the Dr. Pepper shot was better. A Dr. Pepper was a glass of Amaretto dunked in a half pint tumbler of coke. Very nice to drink and not in the least unpleasant but for some reason we had to down it in one which I did not quite manage and deserved a slagging for. After three Kenny and Andy left Ka and myself standing outside Mosquito after some drunken goodbye cuddles and danced off down Bath Street with their carrier bags of golf jumpers. We called a taxi and unsurprisingly Raymond from the Auldhouse came out to pick us up. Raymond was one of the regulars from the Auldhouse Arms, when I worked there, and now drives a taxi having rescued us from the chaotic, post club hour, streets of Glasgow after a night out on many an occasion recently. As we waited outside the Kings Theatre, watching the road for a Mondeo, a countless number of near collisions between taxis, other passing vehicles and chip eating drunkards entertained me. A growing throng of passengerless taxis piled up as they turned the corner from Elmbank Street swerving, honking and growling as the Glaswegian mini skirted zombies milled around the kerbs of the theatre. Luckily within ten minutes Raymond sped up in his big Ford, various bodies getting knocked to the side as he pulled over after spotting us. Ka and myself dived into the back seat as a few members of the surrounding crowd clocked on to the waiting taxi and we sped off on to the Kingston Bridge. A bad choice of place to get our taxi, Raymond told us. I must owe him a few drinks now for the amount of times he has rescued us from the streets of a Saturday night. I never heard if Kenny and Andy made their midday teeing off timeslot...

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Chamber of secrets

The sun was out over George Square as various nutters jumped from a small metal cage suspended high above George Square from a ginat red crane. Screaming yelling and swearing these guys plummeted and then bounced on the end of the bungee cord with onlookers craning their necks whilst eating their Greggs and feeding the pigeons in the square below. Maybe it was just my imagination but there seemed to be far more tourists than usual strolling around with their cameras on Saturday but it could also have had something to do with Scotland's Open Doors Days which Glasgow had over the weekend in which many of it's buildings and locations, which are usually closed off to the public, were opened for us to explore. I discovered the surprisingly impressive City Chambers on the eastern side of George Square with it's large marble staircases, archways, balconies, halls, rooms and stained glass windows. Some of the hallways were like something out of a M. C. Escher painting (without the impossible diagonals). I felt as if I was back in Italy as most of the decor seems to be of great Italian influence alongside the murals and the domed ceilings of the Banqueting Hall. It was also quite interesting walking down the Upper Gallery, under the glass domed ceiling, viewing the many different portraits of the various Lord Provosts that Glasgow has had through the ages. Walking down the hall of paintings you can't help notice the portraits of the seventies and eighties seemed to favour the simpler, more boring, drab, option of a photograph after the magnificent painted portraits of the past. Now, in more recent years, the classical portrait has been embraced again with the likes of Peter Howson's Pat Lally and Alexander Stoddart's Liz Cameron. Stoddart's painting came as a bit of a surprise as this guy is more of a classical sculptor but you could see the resemblance in the approach he took to the portrait.
After the City Chambers I walked over to the GOMA and had my first wander round the Gallery in a good few years. After a wander round the galleries inside, and getting extremely dizzy by simply walking up and down before a Bridget Riley for half an hour, I lurched back out into the square and had a look at the paintings on the railings. Every time I pass the 'paintings on the railings' sales I always end up hating the artists selling. They're so flamin' organised and talented. At that moment I then made another promise to get back to my canvases. Not that I'm as talented as those guys... well, most of them anyway. Come to think of it, there were a few dodgy bowls of fruit...

Monday, 14 September 2009

DJs and Jack Russells

Another Wedding with Jane and William getting hitched at the weekend in The Byre, East Kilbride's newest bar/restaurant. Jane is one of Ka's bosses and William is the brother of Claire, Ka's mate from the same work. In the short times William did talk to me he was calling me Scott Mills. Apparently I look like the Radio 1 DJ now. The last time I met William he was calling me Shakin' Stevens as I was wearing jeans and a denim shirt (I probably deserved that though). I'm not sure whether this name calling is because of some unfounded dislike for me or not but I suppose he could be calling me worse names though I'm not sure about the whole Scott Mills lookalike comment. I'm sure Scott Mills would be more than a little offended.
After the wedding celebrations Claire, Martin, William and Jane were all heading off to Ibiza with their kids to enjoy some sun, coincidentally on the same day that Scotland had it's sunniest day of the year. Saturday was roasting and we were all sitting in The Byre's beer garden, or rather beer decking, chatting in the good weather. As far as I can remember the best weather since May when we got a brief few weeks of great weather quickly replaced by the rain of the following months.
The women were not long in going off to their own table leaving us blokes to talk amongst ourselves. Conversations over the large beers ranged from the dire state of the property market, BMWs, jagermeister, encounters with strippers, saving people's lives whilst fishing and the rise in the price of drink. Apparently the latter two were closely connected with an instance Ian experienced on the edge of a cliff somewhere up north overhanging one of the larger rivers. After The Byre most folk ended up in Chris' house, another of Ka's work colleagues. Chris, along with her husband Jim, own possibly the biggest house I have ever been in that I have not had to pay an admission for. Doing the housework would take a week in that home. They also own a friendly Jack Russell. Something I'd never encountered - a friendly Jack Russell. I've had some quite bad experiences with various Jack Russells in the past, the majority of them involving this particular breed of dog wanting to bite my face off. In one particular instance, when I was around thirteen, and delivering papers a Jack Russell literally attacked me as I delivered it's owners newspaper and I literally had to fight it off with a paperback I had been reading at the time. The paperback, and my trousers, barely survived the vicous onslaught and gnashing incisors. Thankfully Chris and Jim's dog was surprisingly amiable though and no trousers or paperbacks suffered in the meeting. Perhaps Jack Russells have a liking for Scott Mills these days.
Chris ordered in pizzas and kept us all fuelled with alcohol until the end of the night when Ka, Sara, Margot and myself piled into Chaz's car leaving Carol singing to her Romeo from Chris' balcony. Chaz was the Romeo in question in this case, (well, as is usually the case), and he replied by quickly starting the engine. Not quite how Shakespeare would have intended things to happen...

Friday, 4 September 2009

Brick by brick

Some of the admin women in the work have just discovered my website and are now offering their services as life models. This was before they knew that life models get a pretty decent wage - or at least so I was led to believe back in Art school. Not that I was ever offered the chance of baring my body for the easels I might add. The admin women were also offering themselves up as photographic models after the arrival of my new camera yesterday.
My brand new DSLR camera arrived at the office yesterday and I have been toying with it ever since. The operator's manual has the dimensions of a reasonably sized paperback and being the slight perfectionist that I am I have decided to read at least a good quarter of it before I have any reasonable attempts at photography even though I know I'd probably work it all out easily enough. I've never really understood why people charge into the building and working of things without even glancing at the instructions. Men, for some reason, have a bit of a reputation for doing this. As a man I don't really see anything incredibly unmannly about reading some instructions myself. Our living room came together enjoyably quickly because of the instruction manuals (thank you Ikea!). When our living room furnishings arrived four and a half years ago from the giant furniture store I swept Ka to the side with a - "Don't worry my dear, I'll deal with this!". Ka was happy to continue cleaning as I pulled the various instruction manuals from each of the boxes and knuckled down to some hard labour. If I had not used the instruction manuals you can be assured that I'd have finished building it all with at least one table leg and twenty screws leftover and wondering why the hell Ikea would supply me with so many spare parts. As I put my tea down I'd frown confusedly as the table tipped over and collapsed into pieces behind me. The Ikea instructions are especially easy to follow not unlike the instruction books you used to get with your Lego buildings and pirate ships as a kid. Both companies are Scandanavian, of course, and both now multi million pound companies and it's all probably down to their instruction books. An Ikea pirate ship? Go even further - an Ikea Space shuttle?! Imagine the possibilities! Apparently that third bloke from Top Gear, James May (the one that is not Clarkson or Hammond), was making a house out of Lego for a series he is working on at the moment. He intends to live in it for a short time once it's finished. The Lego house would probably be far stronger than any piece of housing Ikea could come up with. I wonder if he's using an instruction book? I'd say it's a safe bet that he is, considering he hopes to have a flushing lavatory in it along with other various lego built applianes.
Talking of property, Heather from Your Move was round yesterday looking over the flat making sure it was marketable. She left leaving me optimistic for a quick sale when the time comes. Ka and myself have plans of upgrading in the property market. I wonder how much James May is selling that Lego house for? That's a model I'd like to take a picture of and, I dare say, a property that would be great in for Ka and myself to build our lives together.