Laughter is the best medicine. There is scientific evidence to prove that chemicals released through laughter act as a tonic to the body and mind. So going to a Saturday night concert at the start of the year and feeling despondent about the current financial climate for small businesses, my spirits were lifted miraculously by the hilarious story of Hamlet. Yes, read that again! Hamlet and hilarious are words not usually coupled. But the telling of the Shakespeare’s tale in Glasgow venacular by a 70+ year old man, was merely the start of the fun at the St Mungo’s Festival ‘All St Mungo’s Bairns,’ event. In pacey rhyme, with a clear, resounding voice, he proceeded to explore the truth that even if you do give up smoking, take more exercise, eat more healthily, drink less — you will still die. Or as the recitation said: ‘You’re still gonna dee!’
As this is the month of Burns when gestures are made towards Scotland’s genius poet, perhaps we could start a new Jeely Piece Club to honour the writer of this cracking poetry by Adam McNaughton.
A festival of events reflecting the vibrancy of Glasgow’s medieval life, launches on Saturday 8 January in St Andrew’s in the Square with a multi cultural gala concert ‘St Mungo’s Bairns’.
Jeely Piece song writer Adam McNaughton, Irish ceili band Four Provinces, West African Drummers AKAYA, Gaelic singer Maggie MacInnes, Neilston and District Pipe Band and the pan-African group Glasgow Highlife Band, will all take part that evening.
Organised by Glasgow City Council and Historic Glasgow, the St Mungo’s Festival runs till Sunday 16 January and celebrates the life of Glasgow’s Patron Saint who is also known as St Kentigern. Full details are at www.stmungofestival.com
The saint’s mother was St Thenew a name which has evolved into St Enoch so the St Enoch Shopping Centre has happily supported the Festival. Said Susan Nicol, General Manager of the Centre: ‘The St Mungo Festival is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate Glasgow. We are delighted to be a part of this important event, supporting the community and the city’s rich heritage.’ Dance company Visual Statement will perform a specially commissioned ballet ‘The Tree’ to tell another part of the story of Glasgow’s Coat of Arms which incorporates a tree, a bird, a bell and a gold ring. Their performances can be seen at St Enoch Centre on Friday 14 January at 12.30pm and Saturday 15 January at 12.30pm. The Centre and the Mitchell Library will also host an exhibition of some of the city’s medieval treasures.
Among other Festival highlights are an ecumenical service at Glasgow Cathedral, Mungo’s Nature Pilgrimage to visit places the Saint would have seen and, for the the first time, the Molendiner Awards. To be made annually from this year, the awards will support the work schools are doing to use history and recognition of the past to link with the local and wider community today.
Included in the Festival is the annual Jimmy McHugh Memorial Concert in Woodside Halls, St George’s Cross, G20 on Saturday 15 January. The late Jimmy McHugh was a huge musical influence in the Irish communities and his memorial is this annual concert which is always a sell out. For further information see website: www.jimmymchugh.com