“Glasgow and Edinburgh, how do you tell them apart? One has a castle, one has a heart.”
I learned this and much more whilst taking a peek into the cultural nucleus of Glasgow. The industrial capital of Scotland, ‘where even the grass had soot on it’, Glasgow has regenerated from its dirty past to become a thriving cultural centre and top tourist destination. However, the city still plays true to its roots and the raw Glaswegian spirit of grit and determination is no better expressed than in music and art.
It’s easy to mash-up two self-guided walks to experience both the music and street art scenes at the same time. Clever idea eh? They were pretty easy to find and follow, the art tour has maps available here and the music tour comes as a series of short podcast notes here.
Mungo is Glasgow’s patron saint. He is said to have performed four miracles, which are commemorated in the following verse:
Here is the bird that never flew
Here is the tree that never grew
Here is the bell that never rang
Here is the fish that never swam
The mural depicts St. Mungo restoring a robin back to life after his classmates had killed the bird.
The tours are a brilliant method of conducting an educative wander around the city centre. You can get your bearings whilst finding out about different music venues and stumbling upon the artworks. Not a bad way to spend a few hours.
This mural fills the side of a car park area and celebrates the natural wildlife of Scotland. What a refreshing way to brighten up a parking lot.
Hidden down alleyways or popping up on random walls, the murals appear like urban tattoos.
The Clutha Vaults is one spot where art, history, music, and tragedy combined. The site of a public house since 1819, it is a popular venue for gigs, comedy and alternative events. Unfortunately, in 2013 a police helicopter crashed into the site, killing ten people.
One of Glasgow’s most famous residents is comedian and actor, Billy Connolly. To commemorate his 70th birthday a series of portraits have appeared amongst the Glaswegian buildings, including a giant depiction of the ‘Big Yin’ by world-renowned artist, Jack Vettriano.
Life imitates art.
Decorative walls form the backdrop to Glasgow’s street performance stages.
Celebrating Glasgow hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2014 in pictures.
It was a most informative and game-like meander through Glasgow’s streets. I enjoyed finding out about the different musical haunts, from old theatre venues to pumping nightclubs, via sweaty low-key pub concerts, Celtic festivals and grand concert halls. The audio stories made the buildings come alive with legendary tales of rock superstars and discovering new talent. The Glasgow grass may not be covered in soot these days, but its streets still stir to a gritty beat of creativity.