Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The Doors are Open, The Ceremony is about to Begin...

The regular reader of this blog (thank you, Ben) will no doubt be familiar with my fondness for top five lists. I also assume that he will be interested in those geographical locations that have shaped my love of Glasgow. Fortunately, Doors Open Day (Glasgow's Built Heritage Festival) is coming up soon (15-16 September). So I can do a series of Top Fives - places to catch over that weekend, and do a very special one that features the places that I have disgraced.

It's number one in the programme, and number one on this list: The Arches. This venue is very special to me, and not because it was built in the same year as I was born for the seventh time (1879). I've been going to see stuff here since I was a teacher: how well I remember that first National Review of Live Art, being utterly enchanted and confused and meeting the wonderful Lea out of Kylie Minoise.

It's basically a bunch of caverns underneath the railway, and has been, for the past twenty-one years, a multi-purpose arts venue. David Overend did some interesting performances about the heritage of the various spaces, and there's a history of clubbing, acting and drinking that is worth investigating. Plus, they have let me do something for their September festival, Arches Live! So you can buy a ticket to see me before they reveal the secret spaces below.

Argyle Street, underneath Central Station.

I would like to make Tramway my second choice - it influenced my taste in art beyond measure, but I can't find it listed in the brochure. I suppose it's always Doors Open Day there - what with The Hidden Garden outback, two galleries and a rather nice cafe. On Tuesdays, you can usually find me sitting upstairs desperately planning my Young Critics class (although I am willing to be distracted and, for the price of a coffee, make up a series of anecdotes about the building).

Hang on, I found it. And they have tours. It's on page fifteen.

Albert Drive, near MacDonalds.

 I am staying Southside for Govanhill Baths. Back in the day, before my political activism was scared out of me, I was involved in the campaign to keep these baths open. Now, the campaigners are slowly getting the space back to public use, and have plenty of cool artists doing stuff around the place (Adrian Howells is up to something with the NTS). However, the chance to check out the pools (now water-free, thanks Glasgow City Council) and the Edwardian architecture makes up for the ghost of my past idealism that currently sits outside in the porch and chides me everytime I stroll past.
I also had a really big row with someone in the big pool here. Ah, memories.

Calder Street, next to the Pandora pub.

Given my earlier inability to find Tramway, when I say that I am disappointed not to find St Aloysius Church in the programme, that means it is probably in there somewhere. I wanted to go on about how important the Jesuits are to me, how they shaped my philosophy and converted me from a Latin teacher into a critic. Instead, I'll have to make do with the Glasgow Film Theatre. That's where I went for lunch when I was teaching at St Al's School, and has a beautifully designed cafe. They are doing tours, too, although I reckon its better to go and see a film there. It just has a sense of occasion about it that I can't get in a multiplex.

Rose Street, abutting that crap big shoe shop

Langside Halls is just up the road from my house, and I saw a Big Gay Wedding there... it was the last part of Random Accomplice's Big Gay Trilogy and had free sweets. I also went to a few meetings there when I thought that I could change the world. I still think I can, but have decided that a vaguely cheeky blog about culture is more immediate than listening to other people explain how the world is wrong.

The Halls are having dramatic re-enactments throughout the weekend, although they don't say what they are enacting. Some historic moments... so probably not that time I had to run out of the yoga class because my pants were too tight, or the big public meeting about the dogshit all over the pavement.

Langside Avenue, at the bottom of the big park that is nice during the day

I haven't actually been to the Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre, but I am well into object manipulation these days. So my last choice is hopefully a future location for my ongoing affair with the Dear Green Place.

Balcarres Avenue, no idea where it is

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