Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Among the Indy Believers: Nicolytes and Tommyknockers

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 Saturday 25 April 2015 and we are off to the Buchanan St steps to see Nicola Sturgeon launch the  SNP policy on gender equality.

Heading down Sauchiehall St - food market in place

The first and last union jack we shall see today

Guy on  the Greek food stall shouts that 'permission'  is needed to take a photograph of the stall. No it isn't

Pressing on (with no olives)

Love these sweepers

Ah we can see the rally up ahead

We pass an evangelical Christian group on our left, a burgeoning community in Glasgow. This one is part of the Mountain and Fire Miracles Ministries. See

Moving on to a secular  Mountain and Fire Miracles Ministry: cameras setting up for interviews with Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola has brought her rainbows to the Steps

We are up on the Steps looking down

For an enthusiastic view of the rally from a Channel 4 reporter see

I am not enthusiastic. I dislike political crowds, I distrust charismatic politicians

'Big crops', says one of the snappers, a healthily sceptical bunch as always

Spot the Nicola Competition

Unicorn flag

Menawhile on the Steps,  the Stratchclyde Arts Festival guys get organised for an event. One of them suggests to me that there has been a booking confusion

Ah you can just see Nicola Sturgeon there surrounded by her acolytes - the Nicolytes

She seems to have sunk through the ground. Harrowing hell perhaps

Dancers assemble

Selfies galore

The Dancers Inherit the Party,  Ian Hamilton Finlay

'When I have talked for an hour I feel lousy—
Not so when I have danced for an hour:
The dancers inherit the party
While the talkers wear themselves out and
          sit in corners alone, and glower.'

The SNP Women's Pledge

Busker coming through

It's like one of those old Hollywood Biblical movies in which you never quite see Jesus,  just the awe on the faces of the crowd. Instead of touching the Robe though, they raise their mobiles

Sometimes I think that Scotland has become like an episode of Dead Ringers, in which satire and real life have melded to confusing effect.

Or maybe Scotland is  like ‘Superstar’, the Buffy episode in which Jonathan’s spell convinces Sunnydale  that he is to be worshipped. But as Adam observes, 'these magics are unstable'.  As Clinton, Obama and Blair have shown us,  lovefests end badly

Significantly, the journalists who have given Sturgeon the hardest interviews have been Scots who are aware of the SNP record in government - notably Eddie Mair, the brilliant Kaye Adams,  and Bernard Ponsonby

Know how you feel, wee man. Surrounded by believers

Help! Some guy has stolen Nicola Sturgeon's  head!

Bashir Maan - supposedly Scotland's leading 'moderate' Muslim - is so incensed by gay marraige that he has asked Muslims not to vote for any candidate who favoured the law. These girls - like most of our Muslim communities - will make their own minds up

Staging a sequence

The Nicola lovefest in context. Shopping goes on, more people have walked by - some with baleful expressions - than have joined in. How many people were here, 1500-2000?  About what a club like Hamilton Accies can attract on a rainy day.

And so we bid farewell to the Steps, and head down to George Square for the Hope over Fear rally

I know this guy's name, can't remember it

He asks me my name then sings a song for Edwin, much to the amusement of passers by

Guy on right is a familiar face,  give him some money also

Others heading to the rally

We have signed this petition. Like the nationalists (see flag earlier), they stock unicorns

They have a good day for it

Solidarity are the Tommy Sheridan party

This is the Kurdish Save Kobane Project. See (from October 2014)

'Kurds protesting against Turkey for not allowing refugees to enter the country from Kobane Iraq.'

Flags catching the sun

Impressive flags!

This is a parade of Yes Bikers

The rhetoric from the stage is a monotonous angry drone - the speeches are even worse than the songs.  Robin McAlpine of Common Weal  is speaking round about now. McAlpine  will later write a remarkable piece for Bella Caledonia about that whole Tommy Sheridan thing - of the fact that many left-wing groups (rather, groupuscles)  -  the Scottish Socialist Party and the like -
 are not here because they see Hope Over Fear as a vehicle for the misogynist Sheridan

 McAlpine gave a revealing interview in the  Guardian a few weeks back in which he said

“Jim Murphy is banning fracking, he’s banning super prisons, renationalising the railways. He is in favour of living wages, all this stuff, because he’s trying to outflank the SNP on the left, while the SNP is trying to outflank him on the left. And I feel a little bit like a Bond villain, saying ‘victory is ours’. Because that’s all we wanted – the pricks fighting each other, saying: ‘Who’s further left?’”

Yeah great, thanks Mr McAlpine.

See also this Thousand Flowers blog for  an interesting reading of what is happening here (some good photos as well) 

If at the Steps it was all The Robe, here in the Square it is D W Griffith’s racist masterpiece Birth of a Nation - Freedom Square! Although of course,  unlike Griffith,  the Hope over Fear brigade do not regard the Ku Klux Klan as rooted in Scottish heritage, the infantilism, ignorance and stereotyping  are the same.

The Proclaimers have a new album out - one of the songs links the BBC and Saville child abuse and Westminster paedophilia. Our culture is drowning in stupidity, toxic songs, and barely disguised racism.  Never mind that Sillars pointed out ages ago that Holyrood is less transparent than Westminster. I’ve long suspected that anti-English racism is mainly a top-down thing in Scotland.  The Scottish nationalists have been successful in portraying the Scots as all Jock Tamson’s Bairns, while the English are class-ridden snobs,  ‘Litt-ul Englandurrrrrrrs' as John Swinney calls them. God help us, this is what we have come to in April 2015.

"Late last night and the night before, Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers, knocking at the door.

I want to go out, don't know if I can, 'Cause I'm so afraid of the Tommyknocker man."

- Anon / Stephen King

Thankfully the Cenotaph has been fenced off - it was open during  the Bairns not Bombs rally and people were walking all over it. See

The crowd doesn't look huge

A wave from Gail Sheridan

The bikers pull in


Gail rides in

She has a great smile

A scooter parade now

We're off, getting the 6 bus. We pass some workmen making ribald comments about the scooters, how dare they

By leaving early, among the things we missed were

-  an Irish Republican flute band - introduced by Sheridan as ‘friendly’

- people holding up ‘messages to Westminster’, mainly along the lines of ‘Fuck off Westminster’

- a guy with a t-shirt proclaiming that  the Picts supported an independent Scotland (and who is almost certainly unaware that the so-called ‘Declaration' of Arbroath boasts that the Scots exterminated the Picts - and drove the Britons out of Strathclyde)

Sheesh. You can google all this keech and more of course

Thank you for browsing, dear visitor. My other barking wee blog is

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