Two young hopefuls are in with a chance in the Open Mick UK national talent competition. Rebecca Robertson (16) of Pollok and Jocelyn Wallace (24) of the city’s East End have made it through to the Regional Finals in Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall on Saturday 24 September.
The regional finalists go forward to the UK national final at The O2 in London with the winner landing a recording contract worth £30,000 and the opportunity to tour the UK.
Said Jocelyn: ‘I’m very excited at this opportunity. I auditioned when I had a cold and had to change my songs because I couldn’t hit the notes of the song I’d originally selected. But I was really happy to get through to this stage.’ A manager at Subway food franchise in the city centre, she said that the talented staff in the company had encouraged her to enter the competition. ‘They are really supportive and all plan to be there on the night!’
Rebecca who has just left school, is dedicated to being a singer, said her mum.
Performers can use original material or covers and can be singers, singer/songwriters, rappers or vocalists of all genres.
Chris Grayston head of promoters Future Music, said: ‘We are searching for an act whose live performance will impress an audience and industry judges and who has the potential to become a professional recording artist. The standard was high last year and this year looks set to be even better.’
Last year’s under 16s winner, Hatty Keane, has now signed for BGM Music and sung alongside Tinchy Stryder and Roll Deep. A previous winner – Birdy who is 15 – is now a favourite on Radio 1 and has signed for Warner Music.
The competition is divided into age categories but there is no age limit.
Successful contestants are offered songwriting courses and masterclasses throughout the competition.
The latter stages of the competition will also provide acts with the opportunity to impress guests from record labels, agencies and the entertainment industry as well as judges from BBC programme ‘Introducing’, national radio and regional press as well as be on the Open Mic UK Tour, which boasts 100 gigs across the country.
For more information go to the website www.openmicuk.co.uk To support local talent performing in Glasgow, tickets can be purchased from the website www.openmicuk.co.uk or on the door subject to availability.
Work has started on a £1.66m improvement programme for the Govan Cross area.
The Square and the forecourts at the Subway station and shopping centre will all benefit from the scheme, which is part of a broader £120m decade-long plan to regenerate the neighbourhood’s streets, buildings and green spaces.
Govan Cross will lose its giant planters and gain an open space with seating. The trees at Govan Subway station will be removed and seating installed.
The Square at Govan Cross will be transformed using natural stone paving, new lighting and street furniture, creating a space with a view of the Clyde and a venue for community events.
As part of the works at The Square, the Aitken Memorial Fountain will be fully restored and reinstalled and paving slabs will be engraved to reflect Govan’s long and fascinating history and promising future.
The three projects are being co-ordinated by the Central Govan Action Plan (CGAP) in consultation with the local people.
CGAP hopes a ‘friends of Govan Cross’ organisation will be established sometime in May. There will be an inaugural meeting at the Pearce Institute on May 12 at 6pm. Those wishing to attend are asked to call 440-2334 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deirdre Gaughan, chair of CGAP’s steering committee, said: ‘This is really welcome and long, long overdue.
‘We’re hoping it’s going to get us back to the sense of community spirit that we had years ago. It would be good to see these improvements extended right along Govan Road.
‘The people in Linthouse, especially Linthouse Housing Association, have made an excellent job of their area, as has Drumoyne.’
Nicola Sturgeon, MSP for Govan and Deputy First Minister, said: ‘Nearly 90 towns and places benefited from this government’s £60m town centre regeneration fund.
‘Govan Cross received £1.3m to help with a number of improvements including planting, lighting, street furniture and re-roofing the Pearce Institute. This will help preserve this historic building and generate investor confidence in Govan town centre bringing new business, opportunities and jobs to the area.
‘We are determined to turn around the fortunes of town centres and businesses across Scotland – help them reach their full potential and come through the economic downturn in the strongest possible position.’
British Transport Police invited LOCAL NEWS to spend an evening with officers at a major event. Reporter Martin Graham met up with Constables Alisdair Burnie and Davy Price on the evening of Rangers’ Champions League match with Stuttgart to get a feel for their city beat and see community policing in action.
Later that evening, they would be policing around 2000 Stuttgart fans on their way to and from Ibrox Park. First on Alisdair and Davy’s agenda was a meeting at the City Chambers with young people and council representatives to discuss services and activities for young people in the city centre.
We are joined by Sergeant Arlene Wilson of the Glasgow Central Neighbourhood Policing Team and head to the City Chambers.
The meeting is to discuss how best to look after the groups who congregate in the city centre at weekends. Councillors and members of Visible Fictions theatre group are there to listen. Young people are there to be heard.
Dominique Barclay, 16, described being attacked in George Square by an older man.
She said: ‘There are lots of gangs and intimidation. I got hit in the face with a sharp object and had to go to hospital because I was bleeding. It’s incidents like this which drive young people to seek safe environments to socialise.’
At one time, they hung around the Gallery of Modern Art, but were told they were not welcome. The young people now tend to socialise at Central Station, but this, too, has become untenable, due to the numbers of people involved.
The young people make it clear that they appreciate being consulted on what they want, and Sophie Ochojna from the theatre group recruits several of them to help with marketing and promotion of an arts and music event at the Arches.
As the meeting at the Chambers ends, word comes on Alasdair’s radio that there is bother at Buchanan Street subway station.
Before I know it, the three officers are off and running. I follow and head down the ramp from Dundas Street. It is packed with fans, mostly Rangers, and the general chatter is that there has been a fight in the station.
I push my way to the front and am just in time to see two or three Stuttgart fans being marched out of the station by policemen.
I catch up with Arlene and Alasdair. They tell me that some of the Stuttgart supporters had tried to rush the barriers in an attempt to get to the subway.
The troublemakers were ejected. Just after this, the remaining fans on the platform swarm up the stairs and out of the station – they have refused to follow instructions and were ejected from the station. You can see footage of this at the link below;
These are the Ultras element of the Stuttgart support, similar to UK casuals. This type of fan is intent on causing trouble, has earned himself a long walk to the game and a close police presence for the evening.
Arlene tells me that the policy is to disperse rather than to arrest such fans.
By the end of my four hours with the cops, I have been impressed by their friendliness and openness, and also by their fast reaction when trouble flared.
British Transport Police are keen to hear from people about their experiences of using public transport, and how they can feel safer in doing so.
Transport Police can be contacted directly at their offices in Central Station, Queen Street Station, and in St Enoch Square.
You can call them on 0800 40 50 40 and visit the website at www.btp.police.uk.
Footballers usually hate being known as the Super-Sub.
But this is exactly what former Partick Thistle footballer Martin Lauchlan is celebrating following a successful first year of his subway sandwich business on Maryhill Road.
Martin, 29, is in family business partnership with his brother Jim, another football player, and sister-in-law Susan.
He said: ‘Instead of beating defenders I’m mixing mayonnaise, but I enjoy it.
‘Its great up here I’ve always loved this part of Glasgow since I played at Partick Thistle in the late ‘90s.
‘We’ve had a shop in the East End for a couple of years now, it does well but when the opportunity came up for Maryhill I jumped at it.’
As Scottish football stumbles from crisis-to-crisis, which has resulted in player culls at clubs the length and breadth of the country, Martin is well placed to offer advice to youngsters in the game.
He said: ‘Footballers can have very short careers, and many younger players survive year-to-year, so it’s important the youth players have something else to turn to outside of football.
‘There are other guys from the game doing well with Subway, including Mark Burchill (owns two shops in the Linlithgow) and Mark Reilly (owns the Coatbridge Subway), both who helped me out at the start.’
In the late 1990s, Martin was meant to be the next big thing out of Firhill, but bad luck meant it never really turned out that way.
As a fresh faced 16-year-old he made his debut against Morton in 1997 and went on to clock up more than 30 appearances for the club.
A lucrative move to English club Middlesbrough was on the cards but an ankle injury set Martin’s career back before any contract was agreed.
However, he did go on and play in the top flight in Scotland with St Johnstone, and still plays at Junior level with Petershill.
Martin admits he misses the game but is enjoying his new life in the sandwich business.
He said: ‘It’s kind of like football, you need to have a good team around you and I’m lucky that all the workers up here are thriving in the shop.’