Actor, funny man and stage presence for 60 years, Johnny Beattie was given Glasgow’s Loving Cup at a civic dinner on Thursday 5 April. ‘I was totally surprised,’ said Johnny who has starred in River City TV soap for ten years.
The fresh looking 85-year-old recollects with total clarity his first day treading the boards. ‘It was May 19th 1952 at the Tivoli in Aberdeen. I was with Robert Wilson who was the biggest name around in Scotland at that time. I was the comic – you could tell that by the pillerbox red suit I was wearing!’ Johnny who was honoured by the Queen some years ago with an MBE, added: ‘I’ll keep on working till I’m found out.’
The Loving Cup is Glasgow’s highest honour and is presented to a person who has brought distinction and honour to the Dear Green Place.
Lord Provost Bob Winter presided over the annual awards ceremony when a roll of honour of key people is thanked publicly by the city for their contribution to its wellbeing.
In what was almost his last public event as Lord Provost, Councillor Winter said: ‘This event is truly one of the most rewarding for me as the city’s Lord Provost. It is such a great occasion when we can honour people from diverse walks of life who all have one thing in common – a commitment to Glasgow and its people. I can think of no better way to express our gratitude to these outstanding men and women by celebrating their achievements this way and presenting them with the Lord Provost’s award and one of them with the Loving Cup.’
The gold awards are in the form of a medal and were given to:
Prominent Accident & Emergency consultant Mr Ian Anderson for improving the health of the people of Glasgow and in keeping the city at the forefront of postgraduate medical education. Based at the Victoria Infirmary, his views are frequently sought at national and international level. He is one of the founding Fellows of the Faculty of Accident and Emergency Surgeons and one of its longest serving Council Members. He was elected President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow in 2009. He has also played a key role in establishing collaborations with Medical Schools and hospitals in the South of India.
BAE Systems Maritime received the Lord Provost’s award for business. It was accepted by Mr Angus Holt on behalf of the company which is on track to deliver six Type 45 Destroyers for the Royal Navy by the end of 2013. Four have already been handed over. It also produces Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers and the Type 26 Global Combat Ship among other complex engineering programmes and services. The yards at Scotstoun and Govan employ 3000 people which includes 140 apprentices and 30 graduates in training.
Professor Jane Duckett was presented with the Lord Provost’s Award for founding the Scottish Centre for China Research at the University of Glasgow. Since its establishment in 2008 it has developed distinctive new MSc programmes in Chinese Studies. A leading international scholar in contemporary Chinese politics, Professor Duckett was instrumental in setting up the Confucius Institute at the University in 2011. It is testament to her dedication to enhancing the understanding and knowledge of China in the communities of Glasgow and the West of Scotland, and her pledge to support the business communities as they reach out to work with Chinese industry.
Dame Elish Angiolini received the Lord Provost’s Award for her services to Law and Justice. Like Johnny Beattie, Dame Elish was born in Govan. She was Solicitor General from 2001 to 2006 and Lord Advocate of Scotland, and was the first woman, the first Procurator Fiscal and the first solicitor to hold either post. Appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2011 Birthday Honours for services to the administration of justice, Dame Elish holds honorary degrees of Doctor of Laws from Strathclyde, Glasgow Caledonian and Aberdeen universities. In September she will replace Andrew Dilnot as Principal of St Hugh’s College in Oxford.
Donald Shaw, founder of Capercaillie was presented with the Lord Provost’s Award for the Performing and Visual Arts. Through his work with the band he built up an international network of contacts and musical partnerships which he has grown in his work with Celtic Connections. A performer, composer, arranger and musical entrepreneur, Donald was acknowledged for his unique contribution to music in Scotland, and Glasgow in particular. His direction of the Celtic Connections festival makes it the city’s largest, most nationally and internationally significant festival.
Robert Booth, who retired in 2011 after 33 years’ service – latterly as Executive Director of Land and Environmental Services at Glasgow City Council – received the Lord Provost’s award for his public service. He joined Glasgow District Council in 1978 and fulfilled senior management roles in both Housing and Building Services before being appointed Director of Land Services in March 2003. In 2007 he became Executive Director of Land and Environmental Services, with responsibility for managing the city’s road network; parks and open spaces; parking; refuse services; enforcement; trading standards; and the design and project management resources of the council. He received an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2011 for services to local government.
The Lord Provost’s Sport Award went to Walter Smith, one of the most successful Scottish football managers in history. He managed Rangers (twice) and the Scottish national team as well as Everton, and was awarded the OBE for services to football in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 1997. Previous winners from the world of football in this category include Sir Alex Ferguson (1993) and Ally McCoist (1996).
Bailie Jean McFadden received her award for services to local government. The city’s longest standing councillor, she was first elected to Glasgow Corporation in 1971.
She held key positions in various areas of the council most notably as Leader of the Council (1979-1986) and 1992-94) and also including Opposition Leader (1977-1979), and Vice Lord-Lieutenant City of Glasgow from 1981 to 1992. She was also President of COSLA 1990-92 and City Treasurer 1986-92, and was awarded the CBE in 1992 for services to local government.
The Lord Provost’s Special Award for an Inspiring Individual was presented to Julie McElroy. Despite cerebral palsy, mobility problems and profound deafness, Julie has trekked in the Himalayas, canoed Loch Shiel.
She has used her expertise in assistive technology to make outdoor sports accessible to disadvantaged disabled young people in India. She is an ambassador for Bobath and has received the prestigious John Muir award after completing four adventure challenges and inspiring other disabled people to enjoy the great outdoors.
That’s Celtic Connections off to a grand start with the opener being an evening with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Amazing banjo playing from Bela himself, brothers Victor and Roy ‘Futureman’ Wooten as bassist and extraordinary percussionist, drummer respectively with Howard Levy on piano and harmonicas.
The guests included Irish singer Karan Casey, Gaelic singer Kathleen MacInnes and American singer and banjo player Abigail Washburn whose voices blended in a searingly soulful way.
Transatlantic Sessions regular Michael McGoldrick – who’s been touring with Mark Knopfler and Bob Dylan - and American bluegrass fiddler and singer Casey Driessen completed the line-up. A truly appreciative audience knew what a unique treat they’d enjoyed.
Whatever you do from now till Sunday 5 February, treat yourself to one of the 300+ events in more than 20 venues at this toe tapping Celtic Connections festival. There are FREE sessions at 5pm each day to give future musicians a chance to strut their stuff. And there are workshops (at modest cost) for anyone who fancies trying their hand at making music themselves.
When there is such a range of great talent on your doorstep – it’s too good to miss!
After 24 years at the Vic, Rita Greig will have to lock the door of the famous art students’ pub and music venue soon.
The Glasgow ikon in Renfrew Street is at the heart of Glasgow School of Art’s campus and is to be refurbished. It will close in June for two years. Said Vic venues manager, Rita: “It is like a huge family village here. You see new people come in on the first term, very nervous. But as time goes on, they gain confidence and blossom as adults.”
Because it is run by the Students Representative Council (SRC) all the profits go back to help the students. “The hardship fund has helped pay for exhibitions, feed people and launch careers,” said the spirited grandmother who hits 50 this year.
Some of the famous people who’ve been through the doors in the early stages of their creative careers include Timorous Beasties’ Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons, who met at Glasgow School of Art where they studied textiles. The textile tower block – the Newbery – is behind the Vic and will be demolished along with the Foulis building, to make way for 21st century facilities. “We could only afford one roll of Timorous Beasties wallpaper which we put behind the bar,” said Rita. “The President at that time, Amanda Dobbratz, then made little pictures from all the offcuts and gave each of us in the Vic, something relevant to us personally.”
Rita also has items gifted to her by students through the years. World class painters such as Neil Clements, once SRC President, and now located in Berlin and New York is one of them.
“Travis have played here and Scissor Sisters cut their teeth here,” said Rita, proudly. “Franz Ferdinand practised in the band room and Fran Healy from Travis was here during Celtic Connections when the Vic was the festival’s late night club.”
With a staff of 30 tending the bars and music venues in the Vic building, Rita is kept busy. But the decision on where the temporary SRC chill out zone will be during the refurbishment period, has yet to be taken. “I don’t worry about it,” said Rita philosophically, “I’ve asked for practical things like the cellar to be below the bar to make it easier and cheaper to clean the pipes in the new version of the Vic, but other than that, there is no sense in worrying about things. I’m looking forward to the new space opening because it will be more modern and more adaptable and better for the students. The more we can do for them while they’re here at the School, the better.”
Her final tip was to make sure folk got their tickets for the street party and the final fashion show in June and a massive exhibition of students’ work in the dance hall upstairs where the shutters will be taken off to form a temporary gallery before the final shut down.
Yuptae were awarded the prestigious Danny Kyle Open Stage award at this year’s Celtic Connections.
The band members are aged from 17 to 22 and are based in the Southside of Glasgow. They impressed the judges with their first performance on 23 January and played on Sunday 30 January in the winners’ showcase at the Royal Concert Hall.
Yuptae members are sisters Roisin (piano, 21), Patricia (flute, 20) and Siobhan McArdle (fiddle, 17). Engaged couple Liam Campbell (guitar, 22) and Colette Hunter (banjo, 21) her brother Daniel (fiddle, 17), their cousin Matthew Turner (drums, 19) and neighbour Roisin Anne Hughes (accordion, 21). The band were formed in 2008, after years playing together with the St. Roch’s ceili band and Irish Minstrels, their local branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann.
Since their formation, Yuptae have been entertaining audiences around Glasgow as a ceilidh band as well as giving several stage performances.
Only days after winning the award, the band are already planning for the rest of the year. They aim to secure ceilidhs and concert gigs and attend several folk festivals over the summer.
‘We were ecstatic when we were told we were one of the six winners of the award,’ said Roisin. ‘This was our third time at Celtic Connections and what with Collette just having had baby Heidi and other things, we were not as prepared as before. But, maybe we were more relaxed!’
* The band’s name is pronounced as in: Whit are ye up tae? Said Roisin: ‘That’s what we always say to each other when we talk ‘Yuptae?’.
So it was natural to use the phrase for the band’s name.’
SNP MSP for Glasgow, Bob Doris, led a Members’ debate in the Scottish Parliament, paying tribute to Scotland’s Irish diaspora. During the debate he encouraged all Scots of Irish descent to celebrate their cultural heritage by ticking the ‘Irish’ ethnicity box in this year’s census form. This is the first time such an option has been available.
Among other things the MSP called on both Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government to help create an Irish Centre in the city. This would be a tourism hub, promote health awareness and develop cultural links throughout Scotland’s Irish communities, he said.
‘The contribution to our culture by the Irish communities is immense. It is right to acknowledge the many good community initiatives – especialy as this is Celtic Connections month.’
In response, Danny Boyle, Project Manager of Harps Community Project said: ‘We have the opportunity, for the first time ever, to find out how many people of Irish descent live in Scotland. I am confident that, when the Government sees the numbers, more action will be taken to tackle the health inequality experienced by the community and more will be done to promote Irish culture in Scotland.’
Take the Floor
Live from the Pearce Institute Govan
Saturday 29 January
BBC Radio Scotland
7.05 – 9pm
Join Take The Floor live with Robbie Shepherd from a packed Pearce Institute in Govan as part of Celtic Connections. Playing for dancing will be the lively sound of The Reel Thing Ceilidh Band plus the talents of special guest artists.
Celtic Connections is hitting the road in January with a series of community concerts by Bodega, one of Scotland’s top young folk bands.
Rated as one of the scene’s hottest acts, Bodega won a Young Folk Award in the 2006 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for their spin on traditional Scottish and Irish folk tunes.
In partnership with Culture and Sport Glasgow, the band will be appearing at Barmulloch Community Centre, Wallacewell Quadrant, on 15 January; Barlanark Community Centre, Burnmouth Road, on 21 January; Langside Halls, Langside Avenue, on 22 January; Penilee Community Centre, Gleddoch Road, on 28 January, and at Knightswood Community Centre, Alderman Road, on 29 January.
The band are also appearing at the Recital Rooms in City Hall on 16 January as part of Celtic Connections.
By Christine Lavelle and Emma Langman
The line up for the 17th annual Celtic Connections festival has been announced for 2010, with headline acts including Bobby McFerrin, The Chieftains, Ry Cooder and Natalie Merchant.
Artistic director Donald Shaw unveiled an extensive list of Celtic influenced artists from all over the world, including Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Cuba, Africa and Norway.
Mr. Shaw said: “We spend all year trying to improve the festival from last year, and are always trying to bring in new acts.”
The festival will open on January 14 with a Torchlight Parade through George Square to Buchanan Street.
Sponsored by Scottish Power, Celtic Connections 2010 will feature around 1500 artists performing in over 300 events taking place over 18 days across 14 venues in Glasgow.
Tribute concerts will be held to commemorate two of the most influential singer songwriters of the past 50 years: Nick Drake and John Martyn.
Festival Club is also set to be a hit, this year it will be held at the Glasgow School of Art.
Festival manager Jade Hewat says that Festival Club is always the best kept secret. She said: “We want it to be quite special and spontaneous, without putting too much pressure on the artists to perform.”
There will also be late night sessions in the Royal Concert Hall for those who just want to sip a drink and take in some live music.
Celtic Connections has undoubtedly benefited the city of Glasgow economically. Last year the festival generated a total of £5.6 million of new output to the Glasgow City Council area – meaning for every £1 of support the festival receives from the council, it produces £30 for the city.
Details at http://www.celticconnections.com/