Johnny leaves them laughing

June 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Club President Norman Ferguson presents speaker Johnny Beattie with a memento of his visit.

Actor Johnny Beattie MBE delighted Glasgow Business Club members at their final meeting of the season on Tuesday 18 June. His light touch and laughter approach went down well. ‘My jaws are sore with laughing,’ said President Norman Ferguson in his vote of thanks. Born in Govan on 9 November 1926, Johnny happily speeded through his life as an actor. The renowned Thespian – who was honoured by the Queen and by Glasgow City for his services to entertainment – said: ‘I’ve had a ball!’ He said his role for the past ten years in Scottish tv soap ‘River City’ is ‘my pension.’ And pointed out when his gags were ‘vetted’ and indeed, erased, by the Lord Chamberlain’s Office in the 1950s. ‘At that time I was earning £12 a week in a Scottish show touring the country. But the fabulous Moxon Girls – who were the dancers – only got £3 a week,’ he pointed out. A notice at the stage door in the Gaiety Theatre in Ayr – his favourite theatre – instructed all performers to remember it was a family theatre and ‘only clean and wholesome material’ was to be used. While he started life working in Fairfield shipyard, Johnny said he quickly got attracted into acting because ‘that’s where all the pretty girls seemed to be.’ He first watched, then joined a local amateur theatrical group and soon progressed into becoming a full time professional. Now Honorary President of the Scottish Music Hall and Variety Theatre Society, Johnny has performed with most of the famous names of show biz. He gave interesting insights into the stars he revered and sometimes worked with, including Rikki Fulton, Stanley Baxter, Billy Connolly, Chic Murray and his great idol, Duncan Macrae. Said Johnny: ‘Duncan Macrae was a great actor. But people always associated him with ‘The Wee Cock Sparra,’ because his recitation of that poem was a highlight of tv hogmanay shows in the 1950s and 60s. But he hated it!’ Modestly, Johnny mentioned he was an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Rothesay for his work in promoting the Winter Gardens in the town. ‘The only other honorary member is Prince Charles, so that says something for democracy!’ Johnny also expressed his profound surprise that Glasgow had not exploited its connection with Stan Laurel of Laurel and Hardy fame. ‘Laurel was one of the funniest men in the world. The first time he performed on stage was in Glasgow at the Britannia Panopticon just before his 16th birthday in 1906. His father was the Theatre’s manager. Laurel went to Alan Glen’s school. But no-one seems to know that. I’d have expected big billboards and his face on the gable end of buildings to celebrate that connection.’ In time, Johnny’s face may be on those gable ends, but meanwhile the Club members ended their busy season with a smile, thanks to him. With a membership of 113, the Club with it’s new name of Glasgow Business Club is growing, reported Club President Norman Ferguson to the annual general meeting (AGM) which preceded Johnny’s entertaining talk. The President said that the Club going around a variety of venues in the city as it expanded from it Glasgow South Business Club roots in Ibrox Stadium, had been a success. This strategy was planned to continue next year. Treasurer Alan Haldane, reported a healthy position ‘well ahead of last year.’ His report and that of Secretary Angela Sampson had been emailed to members well in advance of the AGM. Two new members were voted onto the committee: Liam Bonthron of Abica and Carlos Alba of Alba Media. There were three other contenders for the voluntary posts. More information on the Glasgow Business Club can be found on its website. The new session starts on Tuesday 17 September 2013 at 12 noon in Ibrox Stadium.

Alison does what Pele says

April 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Speaker Alison Walker with Club President Norman Ferguson

Sports journalist Alison Walker is learning Portuguese – because the famous Pele told her to! This was one of the many things she revealed to around 100 Glasgow Business Club members at their lunch meeting today in Firhill Stadium.

Introduced by President Norman Ferguson, Alison recounted her rise to fame despite the frequent, chauvinistic attitudes of her male colleagues. ‘I’d never admit I’d two children,’ she said.

She reeled off a list of eminent sports people she’d interviewed and told delightful, insightful tales of incidents along the way. At the 2012 Olympics, Pele was one of her interviewees – along with David Beckham, Henry Kissinger and the King of Spain. She told Pele she’d love to report on the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. ‘He advised me to learn the language. So that’s why I’ve spent the last six months at Glasgow University learning Brazilian Portuguese!’ she recounted.

Recently she set up her own media training company. ‘I’ve time to spend with my children now. But as they’re teenagers, they don’t want to spend time with me!’

Next month the guest speaker will be Margaret Curran, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland. Known until recently as Glasgow South Business Club, the organisation now holds meetings in a wider geographic field than it did before. Therefore the meeting on May 21 will be at GTG Training Centre in South Street, G14 0BJ.  For futher details check the Glasgow Business Club’s website.




Business velocity gets going at the Velodrome

September 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Ahead of the formal opening of the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, Glasgow Business Club members launched their new season’s programme there on Tuesday 18 September.

The outside of the Velodrome main entrance. Prior to the official opening soon, no photography is permitted inside.

A lunch with more than 100 people heard Gordon Arthur, Director of Communications and Marketing for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, detail business opportunities open to companies of all sizes.

‘The railings around this place were all made by a local company who’d never done this before but who saw the business opportunity,’  he said. ‘There are £126 m worth of contracts at tier one – and there are three tiers to go!’

He advised members to sign up with the Glasgow Business Portal and register their interest.

He also emphasised there were many ways to be involved.  ‘The opportunities for people to make the Games their own are unbelievable,’ he said.

People can register now to buy tickets when they go on sale next summer. The Queen’s Baton Relay will cover all 71 Commonwealth countries competing with 4000 people needed in the UK to carry the baton here. Employers will soon be given information on how to support employees wishing to be among the 15,000 volunteers needed. But there are only 673 days to go….. he encouraged!

Legacies from the Games are already in place with hockey pitches opening next year, Toryglen Soccer Centre is already busy and even the Velodrome itself, is being used as a Glasgow Club venue for sports and health activities for people in Glasgow.

A culture programme would also be part of the Games which take place between 23 July and 3 August 2014. A total of 17 sports are programmed.

The Games tartan – a winning design by Shawlands Academy pupil, Aamir Mehmood – has been launched and Gordon Arthur promised ‘you’ll see a lot more of it from now on.’

The Games Mascot will be announced this week – Thursday 20 September.

An easily digestible catalogue of facts and figures on the Games went down well with the Business Club members. This was the first occasion that three separate business clubs covering – south, east and west of the city – had met formally under the new banner of Glasgow Business Club.

Said Norman Ferguson, President and host on the day: ‘Echoing the words of Remo Pisaneschi the previous President of Glasgow South Business Club – this is an ideal opportunity for a larger club to offer more to members by joining together. It also means Glasgow Regeneration can continue to be supportive as it has been for 26 years. The new Glasgow Business Club is a city wide agency providing one point of contact for companies.’

The next meeting will be on Tuesday 23 October at Ibrox Stadium where new members will be welcomed along with established members of the three previous Clubs to a networking lunch.  Contact for further information.

Gordon Arthur, head of 2014 Games Communications and Marketing and Norman Ferguson, President of the Glasgow Business Club at the inaugural meeting in the Velodrome

Club returns to plain fare

April 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

After a splendid 25th Anniversary evening in Glasgow Science Centre when First Minister Alex Salmond addressed a large number of members, Glasgow South Business Club is going back to plainer fare on Tuesday 17 April 2012. Their regular monthly meeting will be held that day in the Ibrox Suite at Ibrox Stadium at 12 noon when members and their guests will be networking. For full details check their website:

Souter in top gear at Business Club

March 7, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Sir Brian Souter is thanked by Club President Remo Pisaneschi

Bus conductor Sir Brian Souter was just the ticket when he addressed members at Glasgow South Business Club on Thursday 23 February.

He said that Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) would lead the way out of the recession. ‘Never lose sight of the fact that SMEs create the jobs and the wealth.’

Dressed in flamboyant red shoes, the world entrepreneur – with 30,000 employees – said he enjoyed telling people he was a bus conductor when he and his sister set up a bus company in the 1980s. He is actually an astute, fully qualified accountant. In the course of his early training, he spotted the opportunity to provide a bus service between Glasgow and places such as Aberdeen and Inverness. From that experience grew the major bus company Stagecoach. He now operates Souter Investments, the family firm which recorded five major new investments in 2011 and whose personnel won top awards. With interests in Istanbul, Poland, 17 European cities and the UK, and with a minority shareholding in a new Latin American mobile virtual network under Virgin Mobile Latin America, he doesn’t seem to stop for breath.

But he admitted: ‘It was a relief on occasion to know I’d still got my home.’ He’d used his home as security and only when one deal came good unexpectedly because of a mistake in a property sale, was he able to breathe a sigh of relief.

He also said he’d learned from his mistakes. ‘We are all capable of making them,’ said Sir Brian to a full club turnout at an Ibrox stadium function suite.

On bus travel he contested: ‘Only when middle class people use the bus will that form of travel be de-stigmatised. But other things need to be in place too: the right public policies; priority lanes; buses running on time; and park and ride facilities.’

By making wi-fi available on his buses, Sir Brian’s companies had seen a high conversion rate of passengers from cars to bus. ‘But we’ve discovered a new problem – cars following our buses to avail themselves of our wi-fi!’

He shared with Club members and their guests his latest development: ‘Where a business is devoted to giving good customer service, the profits can be embarrassing large. So we now plan to put 45 sleeper coaches on the road – not the 25 that are currently available. This will change the business graph.’

In his summary he said that two things determine what happens in a company. ‘There are the mechanics of what is done, how that is controlled and audited. There there is the dynamic of ideas, passion, risk taking, vision, relationships, drive and gut feelings – all to do with people. You can have a good marriage of 25 years where the mechanics are fine but when you have a wife who can make you laugh still, you have the dynamics of a good relationship. Carry that through to business and you’ll have a really good business.’

Club President Remo Pisaneschi thanked Sir Brian for his illuminating talk and asked the first question: ‘Are you for or against Independence?

To which the reply was: ‘I’m a paid-up member of the SNP. I agree Alex Salmond is a great leader. He has vision. If you believe in democracy, if you believe in people making their own choices, then we can share Sterling, share the sovereign and share some services.’

The President went on to announce that First Minister Alex Salmond, had confirmed he’s address the next Club meeting on Tuesday 20 March. Members would have an evening buffet instead of a midday lunch. See the website for details as Members may take guests.



Business as usual at Ibrox

February 16, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

There are other business repercussions to the Rangers Football Club’s administration problems. The local Glasgow South Business Club meets monthly in one of the function suites at Ibrox stadium. Their next lunchtime event is Thursday 23 February when Sir Brian Souter is scheduled to address members. Said Business Club President, Remo Pisaneschi: ‘After Rangers Football Club went into administration on 14 February, the Club received a statement from the events team of Azure – the catering company responsible for our events – which means I can confirm that Glasgow South Business Club lunch meetings will be unaffected by the administration situation at Rangers. Unless this changes, all further Business Club events scheduled to take place at Ibrox, will continue as normal.’

A spokesperson for  Azure, the company which provides hospitality at major sports venues across the country, including Ibrox, said: ‘ It is our policy not to discuss the details of contracts.’

Club enjoys Burns’ lunch

January 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The House for an Art Lover’s music room was full when Glasgow South Business Club President, Remo Pisaneschi welcomed members and guests to their annual Burns lunch on Tuesday 24 January.

Govan High School music students entertained the crowd as people assembled and their Heidie, Iain White, piped in the haggis. Club member, journalist Grace Franklin, gave her usual flamboyant performance of Burns’ Address to the Haggis. The toast to the Immortal Memory of the Bard was given in humorous fashion by Alan Murray who is modest about his knowledge of the poet. In the course of his illuminating and witty speech, he sang one of Burns’ songs and recited verses from several poems. An effective tour de force that was as entertaining as it was enlightening. Alan is a Govanite by birth and early education. He currently runs a new styled, multi uses, community centre in Maybole, Ayrshire.

Honorary Life Member, Frank Bendoris, thanked all the contributors. The Club, which meets monthly, has important guests signed up for future meetings, including Brian Souter and First Minister Alex Salmond. Full information from the Club’s website: www.glasgowsouthbusiness

Burns suppers galore

January 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The famous Naismith portrait of Robert Burns can be seen in Scotland's National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh.

You could get indigestion if you attempted all the Burns Suppers which are held at this time of year.  But if you’ve never attended such an event, try to take in one if only to enjoy the camaraderie and glean a little more knowledge about Robert Burns, Scotland’s National Poet.

Tuesday 24 January 2012: Glasgow South Business Club’s annual Burns Lunch in House for an Art Lover. Music by Govan High School students. Members and guests but check the Club’s website:

Wednesday 25, Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 January 2012: The owners of Rozelle House in Rozelle Estate, Monument Road Ayr – which has close ties to Alloway and Burns – offer a free guided tour of the premises and of the permanent collection of Alexander Goudie’s famous paintings of Burns’ poem ‘Tam O Shanter’. No booking required. ‘Come along and enjoy the experience!’ is their invitation.

Wednesday 25 January: Robert Burns Birthplace Museum offers an evening of fine dining and entertainment hosted by John Cairney. Tickets £45 from the Museum tel: 0844 493 2601 or email:

Friday 27 January : Govanhill Baths Trust hold their annual Burns’ Nicht and ceilidh in Langside Halls. Tickets £10, £8 concession and £5 for children under 16. See their website for details:

Friday 27 January: Wellington Church International Welcome Club will hold a Chinese Burns Supper combining celebrations for Chinese New Year with those for Robert Burns. Chinese haggis filled dumplings will be served. Tickets limited. Contact Church office: tel: 0141 339 0454 or email:

Saturday 28 January: Robert Burns House, Burns Street, Dumfries DG1 2PS invitation to join David Sibbald in residence and celebrate the Biggest Burns Supper  between 2pm and 4pm. Says David: Burns should be fun. Let’s all enjoy the friendship and camaraderie: that’s what the Big Burns Supper is all about. Events at various venues across Dumfries on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 January. See website:

Sunday 29 January 2012:  Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, Alloway. Singing a Nation. A Robert Burns and Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore Supper. Celebrating Scotland and India through food, music, dance, poetry and good company. Tickets £30. Tel: 0844 493 2601  or email:


Sterling service to the business club

December 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Frank is presented with honourary membership by President Remo (left) and Treasurer Allan Haldane (right)

Glasgow South Business Club celebrated 25 years of being in business with a gala dinner in the Grand Central Station Hotel last month. Frank Bendoris, who has been secretary for many years, was presented with Honorary Membership for his sterling service to the organisation. Having stepped down from that office, he has been replaced by Angela Samson.

President, Remo Pisaneschi, paid tribute to Frank’s work on behalf of the Club.

The first meeting in January will be a Burns Lunch in The House for an Art Lover. Major speakers are programmed for future monthly meetings which take place in the Ibrox Stadium function suites. For further information check their website:

Doing Business with Burns

February 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Govan High music team who entertained the Business Club members.

Govan High music team who entertained the Business Club members.

Robert Burns attracted a full house at Glasgow South Business Club’s January meeting. Held in the beautiful function rooms of the House for an Art Lover in Bellahouston, the lunch celebrated the Bard with former chief executive of SPT, Ron Culley, sharing his wit and wisdom on the subject.

Welcomed by Govan High School music students, the gathering of around 80 members and guests had a feast of entertainment before the meal. Under the baton of Elaine Bonner, Head of Music and accompanist Stephen Roger, vocal soloists were Jennifer Baird, Frazer Chisholm and Tiree McDonald. Recorder soloists were Colette Rinaldi and Gabriele Pikturnaite. Clarinet soloist was Kristofer Shaw and guitar soloist was Craig Connell.

School Head Teacher, Iain White, piped in the haggis which was address, with panache, by Local News  Editor, Grace Franklin.

After the delicious meal, Ron Culley took the floor.  He had been chief executive of Govan Initiative when it launched the Business Club in 1987. Its first secretary,  he reflected on what Govan was like in those, not so far off, days. ‘There was no BBC, no Science Centre – that was all derelict dockland. Some parts of Govan had 100% unemployed. So in that relatively short time it is good to see what changes have been made.’  He paid tribute to Glasgow South West Regeneration Agency which is today’s version of Govan Initiative and the other agencies who are transforming the area.

Since stepping down from the SPT for health reasons, his heart problems are being  overcome, he told the audience. Twice before, the Club had anticipated his Immortal Memory at their Burns lunch and twice they’d been disappointed when he’d had to call off for those very health reasons.

Using the lunch as the trial run for his speech – he had three other audiences to address in similar fashion – he asked why Burns had transcended the centuries and was celebrated as the man and the poet, while Shakespeare and Charles Dickens were only celebrated for their works and not their humanity.

‘We could ask ourselves if Burns would have stood in the queue at Cupids?’ he questioned to much laughter. ‘He was a genius but also he had honesty and despite his faults, kept his feet on the ground and despised hypocrisy.’

Explaining how Burns was well schooled in grammar, Ron Culley said his generation of Pollok residents was schooled in the same way. That’s why he found writing came relatively easy to him and he has now published two books – copies of which he had with him.

The Kaibab Resolution was a thriller set in America and I Belong to Glasgow – with a foreword by Sir Alex Ferguson – was his own look at his native city. Ron is working on two other novels to complete his first trilogy.

Thanks were expressed to Ron and the other participants by Club member Ralph Riddiough with the whole day efficiently conducted by Club Chairman Remo Pisaneschi.

READERS OF THIS ENEWS have a chance to win a signed copy of Kaibab Resolution. Just tell us what year Glasgow South Business Club was founded. Email answers to: with GSBC in the subject box to arrive by 9am Friday 11 February 2011.

Members of the Glasgow South Business Club are raising £500 to pay for one country team to enter the next Homeless World Cup. They have a football signed by Sir Alex Ferguson, who wrote the foreword to Ron Culley’s book ‘I Belong to Glasgow’ which is being raffled. Tickets from the Club committee.  See website: www.glasgowsouthbusiness or phone 0141 440 2334 or email Frank

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