Sunday, 15 April 2012

When Worlds Collide: Botham's Great Walk, the SNP Rally, Cricket and Glasgow, Bernard Ponsonby and the Monstrosity

'How these curiosities would be quite forgot, did not such idle fellowes as I put them down.'

- John Aubrey

Welcome to my wee photoblog on Glasgow, where we feature the  joys and unjoys of walking and cycling through a fascinating, beautiful and often badly run city. For the blog's origin and a  list of all posts see the  'Introduction' post  -

Today is Thursday, 12 April, 2012, and we are heading to George Square to take pics of Sir Ian Botham who will be coming down  West George St on the first leg of the  Glasgow stage of his great charity walk round Britain. From  his website -

'This week, Beefy will once again walk to beat blood cancers in ten cities across Great Britain. He will walk over 150 miles and is asking you to join him in your nearest city for five miles around a beautiful National Trust Park. Every step you take and every pound you raise is bringing us closer to beating blood cancers.'

We are at George Square - Beefy's team out with buckets

And who is this who crosses the road? It is Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister of Scotland!

Beefy's team recognise her. Is she here to support the Walk?

Nicola (who is in front of the guy with the bag) has put some money in  the bucket. All politicians bear money for donations and kisses for babies

Nicola has vanished into that throng - a rally of some kind obviously. We've got a few minutes to spare so let's check them out

Indeed an SNP rally - these are their Glasgow candidates for the May council election

The woman with the scarf on the far right is my MSP, Sandra White,  elected for Glasgow Kelvin last May as victor on a 38% turnout. Her triumph had the distinction of  rendering George Galloway (who used to be MP for Kelvin) almost speechless with indignation.

She is previously best known for (as a List MSP) lodging a motion in July 2009 condemning 'excessive' coverage of cricket on  Scottish television -

Said Ms White:  "I don't think that in Scotland cricket merits the same support that it does down south. I would certainly support the case for our own broadcasting company that would give priority to Scottish sport. Those who want to see the cricket can get Sky. I do think it gives more grist to the mill for our own broadcasting company."

In fact of course, cricket is one of the most popular team sports in Scotland, and the West of Scotland cricket club is a shining example of multicuturalism in action. See

Would nice if she could meet Beefy - he could perhaps broaden her rather narrow horizons.

Ah - Bernard Ponsonby of STV  is here. We saw him before at the Sheridan trial; see

He may look avuncular, but he is a deadly interviewer, one of the best in Britain. See

I love this pic - an accidental quadrille

Bernard comes over the speak to the guy in the middle who I suppose is a policy wonk. He asks what the SNP policy is regarding the 'monstrosity' - the ludicrous wheel above us. 

We have left the SNP love-in and have gone to West George St to see Beefy walk down

Crossing Buchanan St

Heading towards George Square

We pass the wheel and the SNP rally - 'Gie the great cricketer  a wave Sandra!'

Good luck Beefy. He and his team will continue  walking to the High St then on to Coatbridge, where they will be joined in the walk-in to Drumpellier Park by Neil Lennon, Celtic's manager and about 100 others. Neil Lennon paid tribute to Botham  thus

“He is a huge inspiration. I remember the first walk he did from Land’s End to John O’Groats. It was an inspiring thing and the amount of money he raised even back in the day was phenomenal. He is such an icon and it is a privilege to be here with him.'    For more on the Glasgow walk (Beefy will be greeted at the park with an avenue of raised bats), see

Back in the Square. The 'monstrosity' does look so incongruous, parked as it is in one of the great European public squares.

Bernard just finishing an interview. Cricketing metaphors galore here - straight bats and sticky wickets 

The wheel is also of course useful (for once) as a metaphor: what goes around,  comes around

Stop yawning on the left there!

Another fine metaphor: a  politician eating his words?

Behind these two candidates is the Big Prize - Glasgow City Chambers, the home of our beloved city fathers, whatever party they may belong to. Or from another view (after Holyrood) the second biggest pork barrel in Scotland

Bernard and his cameraman wait beside Burns (who nearly always has a pigeon on him)  for a fresh victim. I speak briefly to Bernard. He makes the entirely reasonable point that if the wheel has to be somewhere in Glasgow, it should be by the river.

Nicola Sturgeon striding purposefully at bottom right. She is going over to see Bernard.

It would be impolite to eavesdrop so we shall keep our distance

Bernard makes a point: Nicola gives us a glance

Ach time to go - we shall leave the square to Bernard, the pigeons  and the  politicians

 In Gordon Street we find kilts coming down! Quick (cue Benny Hill music) rush round to George Square and tell Nicola. Note bare leg - a masonic outfit perhaps

On left, we have  a fetching 'Glasgow Scotland' hoodie with a tasteful red kilt. And who [in Anne Robinson voice] will be wearing the hoodies  come May?
Feel free to drop me an email with suggestions, offers of £20 notes etc. The address is

My other wee blogs are

Reviews of Scotland: 1000 Things You Need to Know


'I love it - I'm giving this copy to a friend and buying another for myself' - Darren Adam, Presenter, Radio Forth, 17 November 2008

‘It’s a great wee book’ – Stephen Jardine, introducing Edwin Moore on Scottish Television’s Five-Thirty Show

'A fantastic book' - Scott Wilson , talk 107 Breakfast Show host

'A great read' - Dougie Jackson, Drivetime host, Smooth Radio 105.2


'Despite its apparently humorous format, this is a serious and extensive dictionary on all things Scottish; from Jean Redpath to Lorne sausage, from Flodden to the Corries. Is particularly good on history and minutiae. There's a useful chapter on famous Scottish legal cases and another on literature. Excellent' - Royal Scottish Legion, Feb 2009

'This is the ultimate Scottish reference book' - Waterstones Christmas catalogue, 2008

'This is a fascinating look at the history of Scotland: its languages, politics and great achievements, from its origins in the ancient landmass of Laurentia 400 million years ago, to devolution and Billy Connolly. Edwin Moore has collected a thousand important facts about this beautiful country, covering Scottish history and culture, correcting misconceptions, and examining the mysteries of haggis and bagpipes with insight, warmth and impressive attention to detail' - The Good Book Guide, November 2008

'This is a recipe for revealing how horribly ill informed you are about your country. Although, if you are skillful, you can nod sagely as you read some new fact and mutter 'Ah, yes!' as if recalling the information from your excellent schooling. Where else will you find a real recipe for making haggis from scratch side by side with a potted biography of David Hume; a section of the Declaration of Arbroath and the curiously touching fact that Lulu was only 15 when she had a hit with 'Shout'? The whole thing is of course, silly - but oh so addictive.' - Matthew Perren, i-on Glasgow, December 2008

'. . . well crafted and witty' - Bill Howatson, Aberdeen Press and Journal, 18 October 2008

‘While most of Edwin’s entries are entertaining and scholarly – he writes like a Scottish Bill Bryson – it is when he takes an interest in the backwaters of history, the details lost down the back of the sofa, that he is at his best’ – Jack McKeown, The Courier, 27 October 2008

'History, it is said, is written by the victors. Trivia, meanwhile, is written by the guys with the smeared spectacles and the breathable rainwear. The first discipline is linear and causal; to quote from Alan Bennett’s play The History Boys, history is “just one f****** thing after another”. Things look different, though, when viewed through the prism of trivia. The past is reduced to one big coleslaw of fascinating facts that in their randomness tell a more mixed-up tale entirely.
The first approach leads to big, frowning books by the likes of Tom Devine and Michael Fry. The latter results in small, cheerful books such as Scotland: 1,000 Things You Need to Know, Edwin Moore’s valiant attempt to navigate the more trivial contours of enlightenment and clearances, crown and parliament, dirt and deity.
Moore proceeds from a sincere and controversial first principle: Scotland is really a rather pleasant and interesting place. . .As a work of popular scholarship, though, it’s in a different league to the Scottish novelty titles that get stocked next to the bookstore tills as potential impulse purchases, those little handbooks of parliamo Caledonia and regional braggadocio, such as Weegies vs Edinbuggers.' - Allan Brown The Sunday Times, 21 September 2008

'In his book, Scotland: 1000 Things You Need to Know, Edwin celebrates all that sets us Scots as a race apart - our language, law, flora, food, and of course, our people. From our poets, architects and inventors, to our artists, entertainers and fighters. But he doesn't shy away from the more unpleasant aspects of our history. . .' - Robert Wight, Sunday Post, 14 September 2008

‘We think we know all about William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and the Union of the Crowms. However, according to Edwin Moore, author of , Scotland: 1000 Things You Need to Know, we’re still in the dark about many aspects of our history and culture. . . The Big Issue looks at 20 of the most astonishing examples of secret Scotland.’ – The Big Issue, 18-24 September 2008

'What's the connection between Homer Simpson and Larbert, and why are generations of lawyers grateful to a Paisley snail? Need to know more? Author Edwin Moore has gathered 1000 facts like these about Scotland in a quirky new book. Brian Swanson selects a few favourites. . .' - Scottish Daily Express, 13 September 2008

'The palm for Christmas-stocking books seems to have passed recently to popular science, with best selling titles every year such as Why Don’t Penguins’ Feet Freeze? This year there has been a gallant attempt at a historical fight back. Scotland: 1,000 Things You Need to Know(Atlantic Books, £12.99) asks (and answers) such post-turkey questions as ‘How many kings of Scotland died in their beds?’, ‘Who on earth decided that the Declaration of Arbroath was the cornerstone of modern democracy?’ or ‘Why is iron brew spelled Irn-Bru?’ Mark Mazower,History Today; The Best of History in 2008, December 2008

'A real treat for the serendipitous Scotophile' - Reginald Hill

FROM THE INTERWEB (on the new paperback edition)
Book of the Month, May 2010
'Whether it's Scottish lochs or Enlightenment philosophers, the facts of the devolution referendums or the mysteries of Irn-Bru, myths will be debunked and truths revealed in this light-hearted but rigorous overview of Scottish history and culture.'

Also available for download on Amazon's e-book store is my 100 Brief Encounters (only £3.06!)

Here are some reviews of the print edition (published by  Chambers in 2007) -

Edwin Moore's quirky collection of a hundred encounters between (mostly) important historical figures is a gem of a book. Where else could you get concise enlightening accounts of Henry VIII wrestling with Francis I, Geronimo surrendering to General Miles, Ernest Hemingway presenting Fidle Castro with a fishing trophy or (as seen on the books cover) a baby faced Bill Clinton shaking hands with John F Kennedy. A marvelous 'little window on human history. ' - Dominic Kennerk, Waterstone's Product Planning and Promotions Co-ordinator (From the Waterstone's 'We Recommend' list for 2008)

Witty, light and packed with information -- The Sunday Herald

In 1936, in the wake of winning a clutch of gold medals at the Berlin Olympics, the great athlete Jesse Owens was snubbed by an imperious leader, on racial grounds. Popular belief would have it that the leader was Hitler, who is said to have stormed off, furious to see a black man beating European athletes. In fact the man in question was President Roosevelt, who worried that paying attention to Owens' triumphs might be a vote loser. Although Owens and the German Chancellor never talked, Owens claimed that Hitler greeted him with an enthusiastic wave. Such near-misses, shakings of hands and ships-in-the-night meetings are the subject of Brief Encounters – Meetings between mostly remarkable people, a likeable new book by Edwin Moore (Chambers £7.99). Flicking through the index, you will find some expected encounters (Dante stares at Beatrice, Corday stabs Marat, The Beatles strum along to a Charlie Rich record round at Elvis's house), and the book's intriguing and memorable cover shows a baby-faced Bill Clinton manfully gripping the hand of JFK. But Moore has navigated past some of the more obvious collisions, collusions and confrontations of history (there is no Dr Livingstone, I presume) and much of the book's pleasure derives from lesser known incidents.

Inevitably, some of the accounts of earlier meetings are somewhat sketchy but Moore offers some piquant speculation, laced with humour (the book is tagged Reference / Humour, rather than History and this feels right, but the book, though wry and opinionated, never stoops to wackiness). I was intrigued to discover that, though Attila the Hun did die on his wedding night, it was not in drunken and lecherous debauchery, as his enemies maintained, but supposedly because he was generally a simple and clean-living man who had a few too many which brought on a particularly bad nosebleed.

Moore's book is full of such tales – it would be wrong of me to steal the tastiest morsels of his research and pepper this article with them, but look out for a subsidiary reason for the Gunpowder Plot (too many dour and powerful Scots in Parliament); a great meeting of great beards, as Castro wins the Hemingway prize for sea-fishing; Dali bringing a skeptical Freud round to the art of the surrealists; Buffalo Bill's wife claiming an aged Queen Victoria had propositioned him; Oscar Wilde getting a kiss from Walt Whitman, while Walter Scott was more taken with Burns's charismatic eyes. This is an enjoyable and vigorous rattle through some fascinating and believable yarns. My only quibble is that it's a little on the short side – let's have Volume 2 please Chambers! - Roddy Lumsden, www.Books from

1 comment:

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