The Sighthill stone circle, the first astronomically aligned circle to be built in Britain for over 3000 years, faces demolition in preparing Glasgow’s bid for the 2018 Youth Olympics.
The campaign to save it has revealed that the circle is far better known and more used than either its builders or Glasgow City Council was aware. Although the circle was built for scientific and educational purposes, and as a tribute to four prominent archaeo – astronomers all connected with the city, it means a great deal to other people for other reasons. Many go there for prayer, reflection or meditation, to enjoy the views, for the park setting and wildlife, or just for peace and quiet.
The petition to save the circle has more than 3,400 signatures with support from celebrities and cross-party backing from MSPs. Another 600 are on Facebook with comments from people in Sighthill and other parts of Glasgow and from across Scotland, the UK and the world.
Recent publication of “The Stones and the Stars, Building Scotland’s Newest Megalith” by Duncan Lunan, who designed the circle as Project Manager in 1979, has brought the circle’s existence to ever-growing attention.
For years there has been a Christian memorial at the circle maintained by the Forbes family, whose mother’s ashes are scattered there – as are others, it’s now known. But many other groups such as Pagans and Druids have been using the circle for ceremonies during the solar year and are now doing so in a more organised way, to draw attention to the use they make of it and their wish for it to remain.
Wednesday 20 March 2013 marks the spring equinox, with sunrise at 06:19 am. On that day the sun is overhead at the equator and day and night have equal length all over the world. Druid and Pagan groups will be present to mark both sunrise and sunset, inviting all of like mind and sympathisers to join them. There will be walking and cycling tours passing through, and origami classes and other impromptu events through the day. Sunset at 6:31pm will be the main event.
For details please see:
Duncan Lunan is scheduled to lecture on the Sighthill stone circle on Wednesday 10 April 2013 at Carnegie Library in Ayr; for details of that and other talks, and to sign the petition, go to the website www.sighthillstonecircle.net
Or contact Duncan by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A new coalition is being formed this weekend in Scotland to fight Westminster cuts. The launch conference of Unite the Resistance in Scotland (URS) will be held on Saturday 9 March in Renfield St Stephen’s Church at 260 Bath Street, Glasgow G2 4JP from 12noon till 5pm. Registration is free but donations requested from those who can afford it. The event starts at 11.30am and runs till 5pm. See www. facebook.com/events/429398707130759/?fref=ts).
Trade union leaders, trade union activists, leading disability rights groups and anti-poverty campaigners will set out their strategy.
Said a spokesperson: ‘The ConDem government’s austerity spending cuts continue and from April the Tories plan to make it even easier to sack workers. Also, millions of people, both in and out of work, face savage welfare and housing benefit cuts. As a result of the so-called bedroom tax, 600,000 people with “too many” rooms in their home will lose money. Unite the Resistance believes an urgent co-ordinated response from our trade unions is required. In particular we need to debate and discuss how we can defeat the bedroom tax and turn words of a general strike into action.’
Thursday 7 March 2013
Winning photographs of Glasgow were unveiled at Glasgow Airport this week.
The twenty amateur photographers took up a challenge from Glasgow Doors Open Day last year to produce images of the city’s landmark buildings. The competition winners were: 1st – Surjit Paul for his ‘Geometric Impression’ of the Riverside Museum. 2Nd – Bobby Borland’s ‘Take a Seat’ at Glasgow University. 3Rd – Chris Bonnington for an interior shot of Glasgow City Chambers. 4Th – Bill Crookston for an ‘Unusual view of the front of the Sir Norman Foster & Partners’ Clyde Auditorium.’ Some of them are pictured at the unveiling (above) at Glasgow Airport.
Run in conjunction with the Creative Mackintosh Festival, the competition attracted 150 entries from members of the public. The final 20 photographs will now highlight Glasgow for visitors arriving at the airport.
Said Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau: ‘These wonderful images capture the breadth and wonder of our city’s architecture. They offer a fitting welcome to Scotland’s most stylish city and greatly complement the friendly welcome, for which we are world-renowned. When visitors step off the plane and witness this photography display, they will instantly know they have arrived somewhere special.’
Steven Marshall, Marketing Manager at Glasgow Airport said: ‘We are very pleased to have such high quality images showcasing the city’s leading attractions to welcome international visitors and those returning home.’
Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, which runs Doors Open Day and Glasgow Mackintosh Group which promotes the work of architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh will continue to collaborate to promote the city. Glasgow’s Doors Open Day will take place on 21 and 22 September this year.
All the photographs can be seen on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.294938167278305.56740.238112722960850&type=3
Abir Kopty, a Palestinian from Nazareth, told members of Glasgow University Palestine Society: ‘When I speak to people like you, I feel hope.’
One of 6 million Palestinian refugees she explained: ‘I’m 48. My land was taken. My village destroyed. I’m one of 11 million Palestinian people who face apartheid daily.’
In the course of an eloquent review of the issue and a neat summary of the present situation she said: ‘We have lost faith in the negotiating table.’
As she travelled to Glasgow to speak during the Society’s Israel-Apartheid Week, she learned of the death of Arafat Jaradat, a campaigner who died in prison of injuries inflicted while he was there according to a post mortem.
‘He was arrested by the occupying Israeli occupation forces accused of throwing stones. Such things are designed to crush us. But we will continue to resist. Children are in jail, women and men are being killed. These things happen with impunity. The silence of the world is noticeable.’
But, she added: ‘There is a lot of frustration and anger. Palestinians question the effectiveness of the sacrifice. Will such sacrifices lead to change?’
She answered her own question by saying it is leading to stronger resistence.
The village of Alaragrib which has been demolished 45 times, keeps being rebuilt by local people.
‘We know we cannot rely on governments. But we can rely on people of conscience – like those attending this meeting.’
She continued: ‘Everything you do; everything that people like you do around the world puts pressure on Israel. We are willing to pay the price but that is not effective without your action.’
Chair of the Society, Kate Connelly, invited those interested to contact the group which organises visits to Palestine. ‘These are not tourist trips. They offer a really broad view of what life is like there.’ Anyone interested was invited to check out the Society’s Facebook pages.
Tuesday 26 February 2013
The race to find £2.7 million to create a Mountain Bike and Activity Centre at Cathkin Braes was launched today.
‘We already have £50,000 promised,’ said Anne McChlery, Director of Glasgow Building Preservation Trust which is behind the project. ‘It’s a big ask so late in the day, but we are confident this Centre will be ready for the Commonwealth Games next year.’
She praised the ‘synergies’ of an already popular mountain bike track being created at Cathkin Braes by Glasgow City Council and the willingness of Glasgow Archdiocese to allow a redundant, B-listed, church building to be adapted as a centre for the mountain bike activities and for local community use.
Architects responsible for the proposed transformation of St Martin’s Church are award winning Elder and Cannon who are based in Glasgow. Their feasibility study and appraisal plans were commissioned by Ardenglen Housing Association Ltd in Castlemilk.
Said architect Alison Hesketh who with colleagues Stephen Hoey and Tom Connolly has devised the plan: ‘The main challenge is to get this open for the Commonwealth Games and to accommodate a wide range of facilities. There will be a community cafe, performance space and education activities as well as mountain bike changing facilities and a bike repair workshop all contained in the church building on Cathkin Braes and all easily accessible.’
Lord Provost Sadie Docherty: ‘This is very much a community led project. I’m delighted to see this proposed Commonwealth Legacy project emerging to support the Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike Track.’ She said the iconic church building had fantastic memories for many Castlemilk people who attended the Sunday discos run by the church. ‘They led to a lot of marriages…’ she added.
Councillor Archie Graham, who has Executive responsibility for the 2014 Commonwealth Games said: ‘This is a fantastic project. It builds on the challenging mountain bike course which is already well used. It promotes cycling, puts a derelict building to good community use and encourages a healthier lifestyle. We should celebrate all of that. And it comes with a panoramic view of Glasgow!’ He added: ‘Once the elite athletes have gone, there will be something tangible for everyone. I forecast that when 2019 comes and the Games are reviewed, the Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike and Activity Centre will still be up there among the best legacy projects.’
Local cyclist Colin Hyslop, a member of the very active Mitchelhill Community Group which is one of the key partners driving the idea said: ‘We are getting positive feedback all the time. On Sunday, out on the Track, I could hardly get cycling for people asking me when would the Centre be ready to use? My only concern is that it won’t be big enough!’ The facebook page has already got 687 ‘likes’ and more than 2000 people use it each week to get information on cycling activities at Cathkin Braes.
On behalf of the Archdiocese, surveyor Kenneth Crilley said: ‘The church building is an architectural jewel in Castlemilk. This project will bring it back to life and allow it to be used by the wider Glasgow community. We are all delighted at the prospect.’
St Valentine’s day is sorted for classic rock musician Luke Morley of ‘The Union’. While he’s gigging at Glasgow’s Cathouse on Thursday 14 February, his missus will receive her bouquet of flowers. And The Union’s drummer – Dave McCluskey from Stepps in Glasgow – will actually bring his other half with him to the gig.
‘It will be a terrific night,’ said Luke from his London workbase. ‘The atmosphere at the Cathouse is fantastic. It’s small and has a lovely stage and the audience in Glasgow always make it a highlight of any tour.’ This will be the band’s only Scottish venue.
While ‘Union’ Facebook fans have a 30-50 year old profile with 60% being male, Luke knows that the appeal of the award winning band is wider. ‘Late teens, early 20s are at the front of the crowd,’ said the seasoned guitarist who was part of Thunder for 20 years till 2009. His ‘Union’ with Peter Shoulder of Winterville has produced three albums with the latest ‘The World Is Yours’ releasing on Monday 11 February 2013 through Payola Music.
Look out for the track ‘Lost to the Wind.’ It’s based on Luke’s own experiences with his grandmother who had dementia. ‘It’s really telling the story through the eyes of an elderly relative,’ said Luke, ‘so it’s pretty unusual.’
When the ten stop tour ends on Sunday 24 February in Bristol, there are plans for Japan where Luke’s music is big and well-established from previous tours and some of the regular summer festivals. There is also another Harley Davidson Childline Rocks ride through the United States. ‘It is an incredible and inspiring experience,’ said Luke who’s done two trips already. ‘We go off the beaten track and cover 250 – 300 miles a day so end up completely nackered. But it is a lovely thing to do – especially since I’m on the pick-up truck with all the photographers!’
As far as his music making is concerned Luke says: ‘It’s good to be making a living doing something I love for 30 years.’
Love is all around Luke…..
More than 500 people attend the Gaelic speaking church during Doors Open weekend. ‘We’d love to have that number every Sunday!’ said the St Columba’s Church elder, Donald MacKechnie at the St Vincent Street ‘B’ listed building.
Despite their Doors Open day banner being ‘pinched’ and despite major repair work still underway following the storms early this year, the church welcomed visitors in true Gaelic style with tea and home baking in the hall and quiet time to walk around the sanctuary and savour the atmosphere. A Gaelic language service is held at 10am and one in English at 11.30am each Sunday in a worship tradition going back to 1770. But the forward looking congregation is on facebook as well as in the history books so have a look at their artistic pages.
This was one of more than 100 buildings taking part in this year’s Doors Open festival in Glasgow. Seminars, talks, walks and artistic events were woven around the core weekend of 15 and 16 September 2012.
And the rain did not deter people from attending or taking part. The East Glasgow Concert Band played under a canopy at the Kelvingrove Bandstand and Amphitheatre off Kelvin Way. And they needed the cover as the rain came down through most of their very tuneful 30 minute set. Conductor Kirsty Martin, a music teacher, said: ‘We’ve played in worse weather! It snowed last year at the Fort shopping centre.’ With their music ranging from Elton John to Queen and from film themes to ‘Yakety Sax’ it was real top tapping stuff. ‘It’s really good to be playing here, ‘ said Kirsty. ‘The more people who hear us the better.’ The wind band was started almost 25 years ago by people who’d learned an instrument at school and wanted to continue to play as a hobby. Now covering a wide age range from school pupils to retired – but mostly early 20s – the band welcomes interested new players. Check their Facebook page or turn up on Tuesdays for the 7pm start to rehearsals at St Andrew’s Secondary School in Carntyne.
Among the bystanders enjoying the playing in the rain were 9 month old Millie Fleming whose mum Cheryl was in the band, and retired librarian Olivia Scott who remembered attending concerts in the Kelvingrove Bandstand in summers past.
‘I’ve still got all the programmes,’ said Miss Scott. ‘You could follow what was being played through the numbers on the programme which were supposed to be matched by a number on the stage. But often the man on the stage would forget to change the number as each new piece of music was played.’
Such memories of music in the Bandstand are likely to become fact in the future if a dedicated partnership led by Glasgow Building Preservation Trust has its way. The derelict site is to be redeveloped in time to be used for the Commonwealth Games in 2014. ‘Fundraising is going quite well,’ said Anne McChlery Director of the Trust who was standing at the Bandstand site throughout the rainy Doors Open Sunday to inform visitors about the project. ‘We’ve raised £900,000 to date and are confident we can reach the £1.5million target.’
Closed in 1999, the site became derelict and is on the Buildings At Risk Register. But a band of valiant supporters kept campaigning to bring the place back into use. Built in 1924, it could accommodate 3000 people seated and 7000 standing for open-air performances. Earlier this year an agreement was reached with Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Building Preservation Trust and Glasgow Life on a plan to develop the site, access funding and confirm users. Page/Park lead the design team. Further details from Miranda Lorraine at GBPT : 0141 221 6061 www.gbpt.org or email: email@example.com
DEFEND GLASGOW SERVICES CAMPAIGN
LOBBY OF COUNCIL BUDGET MEETING
THURSDAY 9 FEB, 12.30PM
CITY CHAMBERS, GEORGE SQUARE
On Thursday 9 February 2012, Glasgow’s Councillors intend to vote through another £43M in budget cuts. This is on top of the £100M+ cut in the last two years which has already led to huge cuts in services and the loss of thousands of jobs in the council, charities, voluntary organisations, contractors, etc in our city.
Services to our most vulnerable citizens are in the firing line once again with another £10M to be cut from services to the disabled.
The citizens of Glasgow should not be asked to pay for the mistakes of bankers. Glasgow’s Councillors should oppose all cuts by setting a “needs budget” that protects services while organising a community and trade union campaign to win more money from the Scottish and UK Governments.
Get to the Lobby – No cuts in services!
The UNISON Glasgow City Branch co-ordinates the work of the DGS campaign.
Tel: 0141 552 7069 and Facebook/defendglasgowservices
The Glasgow Athletics Association is now on Facebook and Twitter!
Click “like” on their Facebook to stay up to date on all GAA activity – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Glasgow-Athletics-Association/131911086885981?ref=tn_tnmn
Follow them on Twitter -https://twitter.com/#/glasgowath or see the GAA website: www.glasgowathletics.org.uk/
Children from Chinese families had an exciting day on Tuesday 4 October, when they were part of the welcome to the Confucius Institute which was officially opened at the University of Glasgow by First Minister Alex Salmond MSP.
The Institute –a partnership with China’s prestigious Nankai University– is part of a network of more than 350 around the world, supported by the Chinese government to spread awareness, understanding and appreciation of Chinese language and culture.
Funded by the Chinese National Office of Chinese Language Council International – known as Hanban – the main purpose of the Confucius Institute is to teach the Chinese language. It will also organise cultural activities, including lectures and exhibitions and provide information and support for businesses in Scotland planning to operating in China.
The ceremony in the University’s Bute Hall was attended by Li Ruiyou, Chinese Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Scotland, and Xiaogang Tian, Minister Counsellor for Education, Chinese Embassy London.
Mr Salmond said: ‘The promotion of the educational, economic and cultural ties between Scotland and China are further strengthened by the creation of the Confucius Institute at the University of Glasgow. The work being done in partnership with Nankai University will support the Scottish Government’s China Plan through support for Confucius Classroom hubs and for Sino-Scottish business links.
‘During the past two years, I have had the pleasure of visiting China twice to reinforce this bond and I am greatly looking forward to returning later this year. It is vital that the Scottish Government, our agencies and Scotland’s business and education organisations continue to do all they can to advance Scotland’s relationship with mainland China and Hong Kong, particularly as we pursue opportunities to build growth and therefore a stronger Scotland.’
Professor Jane Duckett, Director of the Confucius Institute, said: ‘Our aim is to increase understanding of China, its fascinating language, and its rich culture. China is playing an ever more important role in the world. Within the next decade or so, it will be the world’s biggest economy and it will become an increasingly important trading partner and investor for Scotland and the UK. It is therefore essential to Scotland’s future economic success that we understand China in all its diversity and are able to communicate with its people.
She continued: ‘The Confucius Institute will make a significant contribution to the Scottish Government’s China Plan through support for Confucius Classroom hubs and for Sino-Scottish business links. It is a symbol of Glasgow’s and the West of Scotland’s engagement with China and will be an important source of support for that engagement across education, the arts and business.’
The Confucius Institute builds on long-standing research collaborations focused on social sciences, arts, business and chemistry, between the University of Glasgow and Nankai University in the major northern city of Tianjin.
The focus of the Institute’s programmes will be on contemporary Chinese society and culture, promoting understanding between young people in Scotland and China, and supporting links between the cities of Glasgow and Tianjin.
One of the first events organised by the new Institute is a six-week exhibition of art works by Professor Fan Zeng, one of China’s most famous artists, whose traditional ‘splashed ink’ and figure drawings are hugely popular in China. The exhibition will run until 20 November in the Kelvin Gallery of the Hunterian Museum.
The Confucius Institute is located in the John McIntyre Building on the University’s Gilmorehill Campus. For more information visit www.gla.ac.uk/about/confucius/ and see a video of the children of Glebe Primary School, Irvine who performed an umbrella dance for the opening ceremony on University’s Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/glasgowuniversity
Head teacher Francine MacKenzie of Glebe Primary told this website:’The children had a wonderful day at Glasgow University at the opening of the Confucius Institute. One parent phoned me the next morning to say thank you for giving her son the best opportunity of his life so far. The Chinese families whose children attend this school, consider themselves Scottish and are very pleased that we celebrate their other culture. We take full advantage of every opportunity to learn of the richness of Chinese culture.’ The school has already sent teachers to visit China and is about to send another one to study Mandarin.