Hey everyone. The night started like so many Fridays do for me with a first drink at the Tron before making my way to other venues & leaving fate to take care of itself.
On this particular evening fate decided to take me just a two minute walk to Trongate 103. As I popped in for a nosey I saw that there was an exhibition in the gallery space, so me being me I just had to go in for a gander.
As It turned out I had walked in to the premiere of a new exhibition of photographs from Glasgow born photographer David Peat. As I wandered round looking at some of the wonderful photographs of Glasgow in 1968, I mixed & mingled in the way you do at these things as if to give the look of someone whose been invited anyway. Well its best to appear to look cultured & sophisticated, I always think it helps you blend in better with the crowd.
It must have worked well as by the end of the evening some of those in attendance had taken my contact details for twitter & this blog. Well it came about because they asked if I was in interested in photography, I told them that I was interested in all forms of arts & creativity,& I wrote & performed my own poetry.
This seemed to engaged them in conversation & they asked me what kind of poetry I liked to write. Being a typical poet, my reply was whatever interested me on any given day. This was not a flippant answer but a very honest one. Well as every poet knows we are moved by the moment.
As I viewed the photographs, one gentleman asked where I was in the year of student uprisings in Paris & Prague adding ‘you were probably a bairn in your pram I decided to thank him for his complement before informing him that I was actually in second year at primary. Well it was third year if we’re talking after August a as I hit the big 50 last July.
As I said this I realised there is truth in the old saying the more things change the more they stay the same. Yes much has changed since 1968 but some things have remained almost exactly as they were since the photographs in the exhibition were taken. We still have homes with broken windows in parts of this city & note to racists these photographs show that our city Asian population is not a recent development & we had an Asian Community in the 1960’s & we have always had graffiti on the walls as people seek to express themselves by marking what they perceive to be their territory. It is also true to say the Glasgow of late 60’s saw a significant number of homes demolished as many communities were broken up & many Glasweigans moved from inner city areas to the new peripheral housing estates on the edges of the city. This image is captured brilliantly in a photograph depicting the slum clearances. The dim &dingey images of the dark close with stairhead light which Peat also brought to life shows to at least to my eyes why the demolition process of this period was so necessary.
However much has changed since the so-called good old days. For example Peat captures the naivety of the time in a picture in which three babies are lying in their pram in the backcourt of a tenement surrounded by rubbish. God knows you’d never get away with that now the Social Work Department would come on you like a ton of bricks. Either that somebody would have you on Jeremy Kyle.
As for the photograph which showed children reading their comics walking in the middle of the road, such has the pace of life quickened there is no way you could imagine that happening now. Also the idea of man coming through your streets riding a horse & cart would be unthinkable to today’s i-pod generation. However though I have very few memories of the 1960’s I do recall this happening in the early to mid 70’s before gradually dying out.
I noted one last photograph which I felt worthy of consideration. It must have been during an election campaign for Glasgow City Council & the slogan read Vote Progressive. Vote Wilson for Cowcaddens. Having not only gained a Geography & Politics Honours Degree but also been a keen student of local history. I know that Progressive was until the mid 1970’s the name used by Scottish Conservatives at local elections. This was at a time in their history when they could expect to gain a fairly decent percentage of the Scottish vote in the days before Thatcher took charge of the party & removed the United from United Kingdom. The exhibition runs until early July & if you are interested in photography or in learning about a part of Glasgow’s history I would recommend this exhibition as being well worth a visit.
On leaving the exhibition I made my way to the Riding Room for an evening of Friday night cabaret. As I stood at the bar I got chatting to a very nice guy & we enjoyed an interesting chat on social & cultural issues. Being a gentleman he wouldn’t let buy a drink for all the time I was in his company.
So all in all I had a lovely night which didn’t quite turn out as expected. It turned out a lot better than I expected As I made my way home I couldn’t help but think I had mixed & mingled I had shaken & stirred & created a night which could only be described as a cocktail of culture. A cocktail which left me very much in the picture