This lovely photograph of the Govan Fair Queen 2013 was taken by amateur photographer Iain MacInnes.
The Queen is Rahat Baig who was attended by maids Zartashia Rana, Billie-Jo Leiper and Eve Elliot and attendants Mark Wright and Mohammad Halane. The young royal crew are all around 11 years old and are star pupils at Lorne Street Primary School.
Following the crowning ceremony in the Victory Christian Centre, the entourage was taken to the head of the parade in Arklet Road and led the colourful procession all the way to the review point at Elderpark.
Said Dorothy Courtney who has chaired the Govan Fair Committee for only a few of its 257 years: ‘This is a great Govan tradition. Everyone comes out to celebrate it.’
A record-breaking crowd of 35,000 people had a beautiful Bhangra of a weekend at the 02 Glasgow Mela in Kelvingrove Park.
While Saturday 15 June had some rain – it wasn’t as much as last year – the crowds didn’t mind and kept on coming to the Asian family festival. Sunday was sunny and warm. People relaxed with music on three stages. Browsed at stalls selling lots of things from exotic clothes to iced yoghurt on a stick. And took the chance to meet up with friends and family.
Coming out of the rich heritage of Glasgow’s Asian communities, the Mela is truly a multi cultural event now in its 23rd year. It offered uplifting music, awesome dance routines and interactive street performance.
Bhangra singing sensation Sona Walia delighted fans of modern Bollywood and RnB/pop as well as devotees of traditional Punjabi and Gujarati style. She is one of the hottest female talents on the Asian music scene.
The legendary Johnny Kalsi and his band The Dhol Foundation regularly headline at major events and festivals such as WOMAD. They performed at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics. After coming off the Glasgow Mela stage he said: “That was a blast. This is my first ever Mela and I’m glad it was in Glasgow. There were people dancing everywhere you looked. I loved it. I hear the Mela is going to be even bigger next year as you celebrate 2014. We’d love to come back and perform again then.’ He stayed to take in the action in the park and to try some of the food.
On Saturday the multi-talented singer songwriter and musician Foji Gill electrified the crowds with his unique brand of Punjabi folk and traditional music, which was fused with an exciting urban sound. From classic hits Bruah and Bondhl-Gai to dance floor smash Dafa Hoja, Foji delighted fans old and new with his renowned singing style.
International dance acts added colour and energy to the proceedings. The Electricat Dance Troupe amazed with their display of Brazilian dances. The Afro-Latino influences delivered a contemporary and powerful style. This truly spectacular extravaganza of pulsating rhythms, sinuous movements and colourful feathers and sequins really impressed the audiences.
The Kennedy Cupcakes offered an alternative dance show when they performed showstopping routines to 40’s and 50’s hits such as ‘Boogie Woogie Boy’ and ‘In the Mood’. They added a touch of vintage style to the proceedings and had the audience eating out of their hands.
Councillor Soryia Siddique, Chair of the O2 Glasgow Mela steering group, said: “The O2 Glasgow Mela continues to be the brightest and best festival to showcase Scotland’s multi-cultural talents. The park was awash with colour and pulsating to the incredible beats that emanated from all three stages. Like them, I had a great time.”
Gosia Manka, Channel Marketing Manager at O2 said: “We are delighted to be at the O2 Glasgow Mela again this year. We hope the many attendees had a great time.”
For youngsters, the Forestry Commission Scotland ran a first-class Kids’ Zone. Programmed by Glasgow based artists Nikki Pardasani and Maryam Imran, the children’s area offered a wealth of woodland themed activities to tempt little ones to get creative in the park. Romena Huq, from Forestry Commission Scotland, said: “We were really happy to sponsor the Kids’ Zone again this year and hope that the many families who visited it enjoyed the activities and learnt a bit about local wildlife and woodland in the process.”
A number of street performers amazed young and old alike, including the Jaipur Kawa Circus from India, Spinal Chord, Conflux and the SonaSonas Gaelic Street Theatre.
Regular local favourites, The Desi Bravehearts, gave a great performance which stretched traditional style into brave new worlds.
Said Dr Zenab Ali, who with her family enjoyed the Mela in style: ‘We come every year. It is a wonderful festival.’
They’re here to stay! That’s the message from Refugee Week Scotland which officially runs from Monday 17 till Sunday 23 June. The many people who’ve settled here from a multitude of different countries share their culture, their heritage and their talents in a wide variety of events during the Week.
Mainly in Glasgow and Edinburgh, the celebrations range from serious drama, pub quiz nights, food sharing, photographic exhibitions, music and football tournaments to community gatherings and reflections on past waves of refugees.
There is something for everyone and many free events among more than 100 on offer.
Said Suzi Simpson, Arts & Cultural Development Officer for the Scottish Refugee Council which organises the Week: ‘This year we celebrate the diverse cultures and heritage that makes Scotland the place it is today. Most of all, this Week is about having fun.’
The opening concert will be on Monday 17 June in the Old Fruitmarket , Glasgow and will feature the incredible Admiral Fallow, award-winning Karine Polwart and former member of Arab Strap, the brilliant Malcolm Middleton. Funds raised will go to Scottish Refugee Council and the British Red Cross to support their work with refugees in Scotland.
Workshops, discussions, visual arts, literature, community gatherings and film will all be represented. Many schools are taking part and many people’s skills in music and drama particularly, have been developed through their involvement in projects.
Look for your free programme in your local library.
The Tron Theatre will be the venue for one of the most interesting theatrical performances of Refugee Week. Called “Here We Stay” it is a pacy and emotionally moving tale of real people’s stories of how they came to be in Glasgow.
Suzi Simpson, Arts and Cultural Development Officer, Scottish Refugee Council said:
‘We are delighted to see “Here We Stay” back on stage this year. It has been a real privilege to work with the Citizens Theatre (where it was performed last November) to deliver this exciting project with refugees, asylum seekers and the wider Glasgow community. It has also been a privilege to work with such a talented and diverse group of people who have shared their stories through theatre, song and film.’ Some of the same people who took part last year are involved this year along with some new people.
Added Suzi: ‘Over the course of devising, rehearsing and performing “Here We Stay” the group has really come together, making firm friendships and supporting each other to tell their stories in new and creative ways. It’s a powerful, moving and unique piece of theatre and a testament to the power of sharing our life stories.’
This production is also the launchpad for an insightful documentary of the project created by refugee participants supported by Urbancroft Films.
Following the successful return of the West End Festival’s spectacular Mardi Gras styled parade on Sunday 9 June, there is assurance it will march again next year.
Lack of funds to pay for Byres Road being closed off, prevented the magnificent procession being seen since 2008. However, the Glasgow based daily deals and events service: itison.com stepped in with £15,000 this year to enable an estimated 80,000 people to enjoy the colourful Festival Sunday parade. Oli Norman, founder of itison said: ‘We’re really proud to have made the Parade return to Byres Road this year.’ He also said that 20,000 of his company’s customers had said they’d be there.
More than 600 people took part in the parade. Some of them taking months and many fund-raising efforts of their own, to create the colourful costumes.
Commented Festival Chairman, Liz Scobie: ‘First, we’re relieved the sunshine made the day for everyone. We’re also delighted so many people turned up to watch and that everyone was safe.’ She praised the work of the many volunteers and said the response to the event on Facebook and Twitter had be ‘fantastic.’ Earlier she said: ‘The parade has been a labour of love for festival director, Michael Dale, parade co-ordinator, Noel Bridgeman, and the Festival team. But it couldn’t have happened without the generous support of our funders, sponsors
and volunteers. I’d like to thank each of them.’
The Festival programme continues till the end of June with an amazing variety of events still to be enjoyed. Check online at www.glasgowwestend.co.uk for details.
Glasgow City Council has agreed to support the Festival for three years assuring the parade’s return in 2014 and 2015. Said Bailie Liz Cameron, Executive Member for Jobs and Economy: ‘The West End festival parade is a well-established fixture of Glasgow’s cultural calendar. We appreciate the significant value, both economic and cultural that the parade and the festival brings to Glasgow and its visitors.’
The annual FORK GALA was rated a great success by the many hundreds who sat in the sun, listened to the music, strolled round the stalls, updated on lots of issues, paddled down the River Kelvin or simply meandered around Ha’penny Bridge House in the lower Kelvin Walkway.
The Friends of the River Kelvin (FORKs) know how to run a show. Their main concern is to care for the environment of the River Kelvin and its banks in the city. Generally they do that with regular clean-ups on Saturday mornings. But on days like Saturday 8 June 2013, they let loose and invited anyone interested to join them at their HQ at Ha’penny Bridge House and surrounding area to socialise at their GALA.
From 12 noon the music was continuous. First up was promising newcomer, Calum O’Connor, a singer songwriter.
The highly popular West of Scotland Ukulele Players – WOSUP followed. Then the Magic Lantern Show completed the first half of the day with good toe-tapping sounds. Music organiser Chiara Berardelli, herself, played some terrific keyboard accompanied by friends. Warren McIntyre and Starry Skies rocked the next slot with Jericho Hill completing the line-up to a very tuneful day.
Great sound control allowed the music to waft across the green walkways at a pleasant level which allowed people to have conversations with the stall holders without shouting.
The many stalls reflected the wide interests of FORKS and their concerns within local communities. Campaigns such as the fight to retain the Children’s Wood in Glasgow’s West End and Animals Asia Foundation working to stop cruelty to bears, cat and dogs in other parts of the world were busy. Soroptomists, Catflap, Friends of the Earth, and the Dowanhill, Hyndland and Kelvinside Community Council all attracted visitors.
The Greek Thomson Sixty Steps Preservation Trust was able to spread its message that the unique architectural gem of a public, stone staircase leading from the River Kelvin at Queen Margaret Bridge up to the North Kelvinside view point and pleasure garden is in need of restoration.
Another interesting spot at the Gala was the teepee which held Jamie Prescogg’s collection of amazing things he’s found on his walks along the River Kelvin with his dog Tyson.
‘I’d love to know what these mystery tiles were,’ he said holding up ceramic jig saw puzzle shapes which fitted into each other. ‘They may have been mosaic tiles but I don’t know and hope someone can tell me.’ (If anyone reading this webstory does have an answer, please email us at this website using the CONTACT button at the top of the main page)
Only a few of the stalls required the spending of money to enjoy. The hot food stall was hugely popular. The colourful purses, bags and jewellery made by women in Latin American countries such as Guatemala from oddments of materials were very attractive. And Rita’s crafty creations of children’s clothes, jewellery and other things can be found online.
FORKS, themselves, had a stall where they showed an artist’s impression of a proposed high flats development overlooking the River Kelvin. They have opposed it because of the bad environmental effect they consider it will have on the area. And they urge others to do the same.
Wild by Nature, which runs canoe safaris in Scotland and abroad, gave people the chance to try paddling a canoe along the River Kelvin. They were busy all day with people of all ages taking up the special offer.
The whole event was busy all day with people enjoying themselves, greatly helped by the warm sunshine beaming down on the crowds.
Direct action is the name of the game now. The Defend Glasgow Services Campaigners have targetted the Scottish Conservative Party’s annual conference in Stirling on Saturday 8 June. A bus load of them will leave from the UNISON office in 84 Bell Street, Candleriggs at 8.45am. Said Brian Smith, Branch Secretary of the trade union: ‘We’re fighting the bedroom tax and the Tory cuts! We’re running a free bus to the protest for those wishing to tell the Tories exactly what we think.’ They are linking with a similar group in Stirling which has organised a rally against the bedroom tax and the UK Government’s austerity programme in Stirling’s King’s Park at 10am.
Contact for Brian: firstname.lastname@example.org
On the home front – Glasgow Home Owners Campaign is currently protesting against the unfairness of free overcladding work being given to home owners now, when their members have had to pay up to £7,500 each for such work which they were forced to carry out by their factor GHA (Glasgow Housing Association) in the recent past.
‘Many people have been put in debt through this,’ said Sean Clerkin who chairs the Campaign which meets regularly in the Jury’s Inn in Jamaica Street, Glasgow. ‘And those who can’t pay are now appearing at Glasgow Sheriff Court and face the possibility of losing their homes.’
GHA has refused to discuss the issue with them, so the group held a sit-in at the GHA headquarters last month. If they continue to get no satisfaction from GHA the campaigners have the company’s chief – Martin Armstrong – in their sights. More recently they held a sit-in at Scottish Government offices in Waterloo Street because the Scottish Government and energy companies have combined to offer the free work to home owners.
Langside College student Stacey Morgan – entirely on her own initiative – has organised a major 7-a-side football tournament at Hampden to raise awareness of mental health.
Stacey, a 2nd year undergraduate doing a BA Degree\Diploma in Education and Social Services at Langside College and Strathclyde University, got the idea for the event – called The Charleston Cup – during her placement in the Community Development Service in the Charleston Centre in Paisley.
The tournament is being held at Lesser Hampden on Saturday 1 June and will kick off at 1pm, preceded by a speech by Tony McLaren from Breathing Space Scotland.
Ten teams will be competing from Sunday central amateur leagues and the local community. They include league winners Bellgrove Amateur F.C. The event is being supported by a number of major mental health charities and will also feature information on mental health and mental health services, provided by RAMH, Breathing Space Scotland and See Me. There will be mental health quizzes with prizes and a See Me project for people to participate in to help reduce the stigma of mental ill health.
Says Stacey: “I choose to promote mental health awareness not just because it was part of my course or placement but because it is something that I am passionate about and something that’s close to my heart. I lost a close family member to suicide. It was only through my course that I was educated about mental health and I realised how important it is to break down the stigma of mental ill health and openly talk about it to allow people to come forward and get support.”
The event will also feature a free raffle with prizes including Hampden Experience passes, signed Rangers Football Club goodies, hair and beauty vouchers, vouchers for Domino’s Pizza and gift vouchers for reflexology, Swedish massages and aromatherapy massages. There will be a bouncy castle for children as well as a penalty shoot-out for everyone to enjoy. Added Stacey: “The local community and shops and pubs have really got behind this. It should be fun so that everyone enjoys themselves and at the same time, learns something about mental health .’
Stacey, who is 28, worked for ten years in social care in Quarriers before adding to her knowledge by studying for a BA in Education and Social Services.
The Cabinet Secretary for Education, Michael Russell, has given consent to the merger of Anniesland, Cardonald and Langside Colleges to create a new college for South and West Glasgow.
In a letter to the chairs of the three college boards, Mr Russell praised the colleges for their hard work during the merger process.
He said: “I appreciate that the development of your merger proposal has been a task of considerable scale and complexity. I commend the leadership, commitment and diligence of all those involved. This has allowed you to make very significant progress while ensuring business continuity. Maintaining this approach will be critical to the success of the merger.”
He will now make the relevant order under the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act.
The merger between Anniesland, Cardonald and Langside is in response to the Scottish Government’s reform of post-16 education in Scotland. The three colleges started talks about a possible merger early last year. In December, Susan Walsh, current Principal of Cardonald College, was named as Principal Designate of the new college, which will officially open on August 1st this year. She said: “The Cabinet Secretary’s approval is a testament to the hard work and commitment of the staff, students and Boards of Management of the three merging colleges. Our Merger Proposal and Business Case demonstrate that Glasgow Clyde College is built on a sure foundation and with the talents we have in all of our staff, this new college will serve our students and communities well and be one of which Glasgow and Scotland can be justly proud.”
Confirmation of the new name – Glasgow Clyde College – is expected next month.
Unity, the independent support service for refugees and asylum seekers, invites any of Santa’s little helpers who might be available to show their support by meeting outside the Court at 9.45am.
Scotland’s history is being stitched up by hundreds of expert needlewomen and men who are creating the longest tapestry in the world.
The completed work of art and beauty will be hung in the Scottish Parliament in August this year, 2013, when a final day of sewing is planned on site.
Called ‘The Great Tapestry of Scotland,’ it developed from an idea from writer Alexander McCall Smith, historian and festival organiser Alistair Moffat, and artist Andrew Crummy and the expertise of a vast number of fine stitchers.
The outcome will be one of the biggest community arts project ever undertaken in Scotland with more than 160 panels each 1 metre x 1 metre being created.
Said Alexander McCall Smith: ‘The recording of events, both great and small, on cloth is nothing new. The most famous example, of course, is the Bayeux Tapestry, which is one of the world’s best-known works of art. More recently, the completion of the Prestonpans Tapestry in Scotland has reminded us of just how effective this method of narrating history can be. When I saw that tapestry for the first time, I was struck not only by its beauty but by the story behind its creation.
‘That led me to raise with Andrew Crummy, the artist, the possibility of creating a tapestry that would illustrate the whole history of Scotland. To my delight, Andrew agreed to take on the task. Alistair Moffat, one of Scotland’s finest historical writers, was then approached to join the project and come up with a list of historical moments that the tapestry would cover. As we had all expected, Alistair’s list is both balanced and exciting – a series of snapshots of Scotland from its earliest days to the recent past. This is a collaborative project. The work will be done by volunteer stitchers working throughout Scotland.
‘When the work is finished, we shall hand the tapestry over to the nation, to be displayed to the people of Scotland and visitors to Scotland. I believe that it will bring happiness and delight to many people.’
Several of the panels are being stitched by groups and individuals in and around Glasgow. One – started in mid January – shows Jimmy Reid and the 1971 Work-in at the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders. It is being completed by the West of Scotland Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. The father of one of their members worked in the yard maintaining the cranes which are featured in the design.
The range of embroidery skills needed to translate Andrew Crummy’s descriptive artwork into a colourful, skilful and textural telling of Scotland’s history involves hundreds of talented individuals of all ages – men as well as women.
Started in the spring of 2012, the work should be completed by August this year and officially launched in the Scottish Parliament in September. It is estimated that each panel will take 400 hours of work to complete. The final tapestry will have taken a total of 50,000 hours of careful sewing which is equal to sewing 24 hours a day for six years!
Have you been involved in sewing the Great Tapestry of Scotland? Send us a comment and a photograph of yourself sewing and we’ll post it on this website.