Glasgow Letter – 5.9.19

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Trip to the Barras

Having lived in Glasgow for eight years now, I still love nothing more than experiencing a moment which is quintessentially Glaswegian and wouldn’t happen in any other city in the world.

There are so many unique aspects of Glasgow that this happens quite often. I recently visited the Barrowlands for an STV interview ahead of our Tide Lines gig there in November 2. I quickly found there are few better places to experience true Glasgow.

We entered through the part of the Barras market which lies underneath the famous ballroom. All the stalls were closed and the place was silent; but I could still sense a dormant energy in the air – as if it was lying ready to burst into life as soon as it opened its doors.

Eventually we navigated the maze to find the office. On arrival, we were introduced to a true Glasgow character in Tom Joyce, the venue’s manager.

He gave us a very warm welcome indeed, sat us down, offered us a cup of tea, and expressed genuine interest in the band – which I felt, for someone who has dealt with many other far bigger bands than us on a regular basis, was above and beyond the call of duty.

After a blether, he got to his feet and led us upstairs to the empty ballroom. Quite a sight for someone who’s only ever seen the place full before.
His pride in the venue soon became abundantly clear – it was as if he was showing us round his own house. He opened the door to the dressing room and allowed us to wander round.

‘What do you think of it, boys?’ he asked expectantly. ‘It’s massive,’ was my first reaction. ‘Aye, I know – not big enough for Robbie Williams, though! He asked for a separate room to do his yoga! We don’t have another operational dressing room, so I gave him the old one that’s just full of empty paint pots and broken glass and, fair play to the lad, he just got his mat out and got on with it!’

I got the impression in that moment that Tom probably had countless stories of this ilk about the biggest stars in the music industry – and he told them with a very natural humility. I also got the impression that, whether you were a band from the Highlands about to play their first show in the venue, or whether you were a superstar with millions of record sales around the globe, you would get the same treatment from Tom – a sit down blether and the offer of a cup of tea!

This is exactly the type of Glasgow experience that makes me thankful to live in the city.

Association reveals syllabus

The Glasgow Lewis and Harris Association have posted their syllabus on social media. Their first event of the season is a ceilidh in the Scotstounhill Bowling Club at 7.30pm on Friday September 20. Their annual gathering is on Friday November 1 at Glasgow University Union.