Sunday, 20 July 2014

Egyptian Halls Public Meeting; and the Lighthouse, the Joy of Eck's, Commonwealth Games, and Buskers

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

'Oh roads we used to tread, 
Fra' Maryhill to Pollokshaws - fra' Govan to Parkhead! 
- Kipling, 'McAndrew's Hymn'

'Photography can be a mirror and reflect life as it is, but I also think that perhaps it is possible to walk like Alice, through a looking-glass, observe the puzzles in one’s head and find another kind of world with the camera.' -  Tony Ray-Jones

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  -

 Feel free to drop me an email with suggestions, offers of £20 notes etc. The address is I have had to start watermarking the pics as I have come across one big website using a pic without permission - I suppose there must be others.

If you are a private individual and want to use any of the pics for non-commercial purposes please get in  touch and I will usually be happy to say 'Aye' for free - just give the Album a credit. If you want to use a pic for commercial purposes a small mutually agreed fee and a credit will suffice. And you can follow me on Twitter if you wish: Edwin Moore@GlasgowAlbum.

Today is Wednesday 9 July 2014 and we are heading - to borrow from Virginia Woolf - to the Lighthouse for a public meeting on the future of one of Europe's great buildings, the Egyptian Halls in Union St.

For previous posts on the perplexing and longrunning scandal of the Egyptian Halls being allowed to fall into ruin, see 

Alexander 'Greek' Thomson 2: the Egyptian Halls Part 1: the Interior
Alexander 'Greek' Thomson 3: the Egyptian Halls Part 2: the Exterior

In Buchanan St

The Lighthouse is down Mitchell Lane there. For what the Lighthouse is and does, see

Excellent young buskers. Their names are (I think) are Luke and Jake

Inside the Lighthouse

On the top floor. The meeting is in the Orange  Room on left

The developer Derek Souter on the left in the pink shirt. Property developers are perhaps not one of the best-loved subspecies of humanity, but Derek's efforts to restore the Halls have been praised even by Piloti  in  Private Eye, most recently after the Art School fire when he pointed to the irony of public concern about the Art School when an equally important  Glasgow building is being left to rot, caught in a chasm of indifference between Holyrood and Glasgow City Council. For the Art School fire see

Hm. Headless

There is an exhibition on the Commonwealth bid. Let's go see.

The video shows Alex Salmond in the City Halls celebrating Glasgow  getting the Commonwealth Games back on 9 November 2007. I was a few yards away at the time -  outside in the Candleriggs, protesting with Unison demonstrators. See
The Commonwealth 2014 Games Bid and the Unison Day Centre Cuts Demo; when Worlds Collide

Big happy crowd. The crowd outside  was not so happy.

The Tory leader at the time, Annabel Goldie; her party kept Salmond's  first administration afloat during its first term in exchange for getting Tory policies through. What neither she nor anyone else guessed was that at the next Holyrood election, 50% of the electorate would not vote. The  50% who did gave the SNP an overall majority - no need for Annabel any more.

One of the many curiosities of Scottish political life is that Annabel is seen as a cuddly couth figure, despite being - like almost all  Scottish  Tories -  a Thatcherite, a breed supposedly extinct here. In Scotland, as in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, myth trumps reality.

Alex pauses for thought

Alex Salmond is a deeply strange man given to off-the-wall symbolic actions (the saltire out of Moira's bag at Wimbledon)  and bizarre pronouncements, such as his observation three years ago on  the Chinese prime minister, Li Keqiang, after a dinner held by Salmond in the premier's  honour.  As the pair of them listened to Anne Lorne Gillies sing Chinese Lullaby and Dougie Maclean's  dirge Caledonia, Salmond later reflected -  'I obviously  started to cry during Caledonia as I always do. I turned to Premier Li and he was crying to Chinese Lullaby. I've got to say I thought that was great. One of the most powerful people in the world and he has the guts to cry. I thought the world  was in safer hands' (text as quoted in The Times, 19 July 2014).
The notion that a sentimental ruler is a better ruler is of course not borne out by history. Hitler cried at  anthems also, and at the death of his dog, but somehow the scales do not balance out. As the Tibetans and other minorities within China would no doubt agree.

Denis Healey famously said that you should never trust a politician without a hinterland. Salmond seems to have little interest in anything apart from Scotland; his hinterland is Scotland. He really does believe that the so-called 'Declaration' of Arbroath influenced the American Declaration of Independence, despite there being not a scrap of evidence for such influence.  He believes this to be true because he thinks it ought to be true. (How the egregious Senator Trent Lott persuaded the American Congress and Senate that there is a link belongs to the world of American rather than Scottish myth-making - Braveheart meets Liberty Valence).

Legacy and  sustainability - the magic words of the Games

Place your ball

A woman with two heads or,  conceivably, a woman with no head and two enormous breasts. Who knows. When art meets marketing,  worlds collide

There is of course lots of stuff online about the Games. Useful quick guides here to the Games and budgeting - 

Descending to the Foyer

Back in Mitchell Lane

Inevitably, a panda

On Argyle St. Roma busker on right

The Egyptian Halls are on right up Union St

On the Underground at St Enoch's we notice a poster above us

'IF YOUR MALE' accompaned by a patronising image of a fat bloke sweating. Way to go,  eh

Pic taken on the previous Monday, of this admirable chap in a mobility vehicle in Buchanan St. Have seen him in Ingram St also. There is another equally admirable chap I have seen up at Anniesland, his mobility carriage festooned with saltires. Well done both.

Two Roma buskers in Buchanan St. Strangers in a Strange Land. Aren't  we all these days.

Thank you for browsing, dear visitor. 

My other barking wee blog is

(Cartoon by Katherine Grainger created for the St Wilfrid's Hospice annual Charity Auction 2014. No connection with my Scotland book - I just like it) 

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 

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 

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