New York ❤️ Glasgow!

Just spotted a feature on the New York post on the 9 hottest things to do in Glasgow now. 

Got to say they were pretty accurate ranging from free venues like all of the cities museums to the occasionally expensive with the One Devonshire Gardens stay. 

Everyone I know tells me that I would love New York and I do really want to go.   I was brought up on movies featuring those famous city scenes West Side Story, On The Town, Breakfast At Tiffanys, Coogans Bluff, Midnight Cowboy, The Godfather, The French Connection etc. 

But with all this good stuff on my doorstep why would I ever want to leave Glasgow??!!  🙂

http://nypost.com/2015/06/15/crave-heart-the-top-9-places-to-check-out-in-glasgow-right-now/

A few additional personal personal favourites  – 

The Hydro

Only opened two years ago and is the second most visited concert concert venue outwith New Yorks own Madison Square Gardens. 

That’s not including the other adjacent venues of The SEC and The Clyde Auditorum. Sometimes all three venues have events simultaneously. 

In fact Glasgow has a huge range of concert venues catering for all tastes and sizes including classical at The City Halls, raucous rock at The Barrowland Ballroom and The O2 Academy, terrific tributes at The Ferry or go see the latest unsigned acts at King Tuts where many bands were signed including Oasis. 

Glasgow just rocks. 

  
The Art Lovers Cafe

Lunch at House For An Art Lover the Charles Rennie McIntosh designed building and add a walk around the beautiful Victorian walled gardens in Bellahouston Park.   

Loch Lomond

 Glasgow is the gateway to the highlands and a mere 30 minute drive will take you to Balmaha on the shores of Loch Lonond.  From there a quick stroll up Conic Hill in 30 minues and if you time it right you can watch the sunset over Loch Lomond as I did recently. 

  
Celtic Park

When Celtic are playing at home in a  Champions League game,  you won’t get a better atmosphere anywhere.  

Fact.   

See comments from the Barcelona fan who took the video below. 

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Black Friday – Thinking Out Loud!

Thank feck it’s Friday … Yeee-haaa!

Been a long week .. trains disrupted, getting clamped .. I want a beer .. or 6.

Black Friday seems to be taking hold in the UK . .. but don’t believe the hype.

The shops were jam-packed full of bargain shit that you really don’t want, not the good stuff that you do.

They were also full of people going absolutely mad for the bargains, losing the plot, getting violent and refusing to leave even although all the stock was gone.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-30241459

Crazy!

How desperate do you need to be, to be waiting outside a shop half the night to be at the front of the queue?

Just to save a few quid .. are you kidding?

Me .. I was interested in one of these 4K Ultra HD tvs, not that I actually need one.

But as you know want and need are 2 different things

I’ve been looking for a while and hanging around John Lewis at weekends .. making up my mind, decided on a Sony as you can’t really go wrong with Sony, it’s a bit more expensive than the Samsung or LG but has the latest HVEC codec to make it future proof.

But none of these 4K tvs were included in today’s deals .. funny that!

I will admit to being kind of glad as my sensible side says don’t be stoopid .. you’ve already got 2 big HD tellies and hardly watch them.

But I want one!

Tonight, going to my ex-works night out in Glasgow .. looking forward to catching up with everyone.

My mate Alex will be there, not seen him for a while .. so could be carnage!

A couple of tunes for today .. love this Tom Odell tune .. as featured in the John Lewis Christmas advert … very melancholic, sad, but positive .. going to teach myself that on piano.

Love this Ed Sheeran song Thinking Out Loud ..  totally agree with the message .. people fall in love in mysterious ways.   The girl in the video is gorgeous.

And how about this poppy rubbish from back in the day by Wang Chung .. always makes me smile.

Victims Of Love? – The Erasure Musical?

You say that I could
Show some emotion
But I’ve been
Keeping secrets from you
Cos I can see through
All your sweet talk
And all of your affection untrue
I’m gonna find you out
If you scream and I shout
You won’t break down my protection

I don’t wanna look
Like some kind of fool
I don’t wanna break
My heart over you
I’m building a wall
Every day it’s getting higher
This time I won’t end up
Another victim of love

I woke up with that song playing on my iphone in random mode, now I can’t get the tune out of my head!

I love it when I hear a song that I’ve not heard for ages, especially an upbeat uplifting song on a friday when I’m feeling good.

I’m still singing it, hopefully I’ve put it in your head too.

Erasure possibly the must overtly gay band on the planet, but does that matter?

Not at all, their songs convey every human emotion – love lust loss agony – everything you experience whether you are gay or straight.

A thought occurred to me .. Why has there never been a musical based on the songs of Erasure?

Jeez if the can do it for The Proclaimers .. then why not?

Have a look at their greatest hits, Respect, Love to Hate You, Sometimes, Oh L’Amour, Victims of Love etc

The story would more or less write itself ..

2 gay guys .. neitther of whom are camp. ( Cos unlike the stereo-typing .. not all gay guys are camp )

Andy – brought up in rough area, under-priviledged, tough, hardened, always been out, lives in crap flat, experiments with drugs and part of “the scene”.

Ben – posh guy, privledged background, gay but scared to come out. Has family expectations and sees a few guirls to keep the parents happy.

Ben on a Christmas night refuses the advances of young female co-worker coming on to him, he’s slightly drunk and wanders into a gay club by mistake on purpose.

Ben is both fascinated and repulsed by the going ons in the club, men openly gay, kissing, fondling.. never mind whats happening in the loos!

Andy approaches him at the bar, drunken chmistry ensues but no physical contact until they end back at Andys flat.

( Sometimes )

Ben wants to be like Andy, he wants to be cool and not afraid to speak his mind.

Andy likes Ben and is interested to see how the other half live and pays a visit to Ben’s house pretending to be his straight friend on Bens wishes, But Andy despises their snobbery and middle-class values and can’t help but be what he is and lets Bens parents know.

There then ensues a drama of Ben trying to live up to his family expectations whilst living a secret life with Andy.

Andy has money related issues .. so when Ben is not there, he fucks a few men for money or cash in kind.

One morning, Ben appears at his Andys flat just as some older guy is leaving. A fight ensues and Ben stomrs off hurt and in the huff.

( Love To Hate You )

The straight” hard-man that Andy was seeing comes back and beats him up and leaves him hospitalised.

( Victims Of Love -melancholic piano version )

Andy needs support which Ben offers and the relationship continues which Ben keeps secret and Andy resents this.

Andy pressurised by Ben tellis his mum that he’s gay.

His mother has always known and cries and hugs him saying that she will speak with his father.

She tells his dad who get angry and has internal turmoil as his son should be straight.

( Respect )

Finale .. will Ben come out to his family so that he and Andy can live happily ever after?

Of course he does!

His mother has always known and sheds tears of joy.

His father resented it earlier but accepts it as he loves his boy more than anything .. he just didn’t want him to be on the scene and is happier that he is with someone that he loves.

( Oh L’Amour )

If this musical ever happens as above then I’m claiming copyright!! 🙂

Anyhoo – I love dancing to Erasure and have saw them live a few times .. Andy Bell is an amazing character on stage, Vince Clarke is so talented but quietly anonymous.

Friday night and I want to dance .. as long as it moves me I’m on the floor.

But no Christmas nights out for me, its my daughters School Christmas Prom and I’m running her there and back and she’s at mine the rest of teh weekend.

I’ll use the time she is at her dance to get started with the Christmas shopping.

Christmas – Making It Personal!

Less than 2 weeks to go and Christmas is defintely on its way.

Me and the munchkin put our tree up last night, its very tall and sparkly silver and white.

But it looks so bare without any gifts underneath it .. I better get the shopping started soon!

Claire and I made a nice wee night of it, the fire blazing, candles burning scents of cinammon and spiced apples, Christmas music playing in the background.

I asked her what she would like for Christmas “No idea dad, just give me the money”

It was hard toi hide my disappointment .. “No chance honey, I don’t believe in giving money as a gift”.

I’ve always thought that gifts should be personal and thoughtful, they should be chosen with love and care and with some idea of what the other person would like.

I also don’t want to moneterize Christmas .. ie the amount of cash you give someone indicates how much you care about them.

How wrong would it be if the norm happens and I give the kids a stack of cash and I get tokens in return?

Truth is tho, in the hard light of day, my kids are growing up, they don’t want toys or games, they want money for clothes and shoes and whatever they want to spend it on, not what I want to buy them.

Would a 50/50 deal satisfy them?

A few surprise gifts chosen by me, a ticket to a show that we can all see together and a card with money for them to spend in the sales?

I texted them earlier offering them a day out shopping this weekend, a meal and a trip round the Christmas Market for some mulled wine.

Surprisingly I’ve got 3 yesses.

( Whats the plural of yes? )

20131212-142726.jpg

Netflix or LoveFilm?

Greetings to you!

Hope your weekend was as good as mine, I had a lovely time, the right balance of fun, family and friends … music, dancing and luuuvvv! 🙂

Don’t ask, cos I never tell!

Anyhoo .. back to the point of the story.

At home, I’m with Virgin Media as my Broadband, TV and Telephone provider .. its a pretty good service at 60Mb download speeds for a pretty reasonable cost including a second set-top box, free landline calls that I never use, 200 tv channels which are largely shit apart from the Scottish Premier League on BT Sports .. and as I’m a Celtic fan thats what matters to me most sports wise.

You will know that the expensive part is when you add in a Sky subscription to either their movies (£27pm) or sports(£35pm) or combined at £41pm for their HD packages.

I used to have these until about a year and realised that I barely watched the movies and hardly watched the sports as most of the times I’m at the game or can get it on another feed such as Celtic TV without paying the cost of the SKY subscription.

Any movies that I really want to go and see, I’ll go and see at the cinema, and It doesmt matter to me if I’m watching other movies that aren’t brand spanking new on my tv because they are new to me .. or all my old favourites like Pulp Fiicion, Reservoir Dogs, Elf, Anchor Man etc that I have on DVD anyway.

So you get the picture … 🙂

A year ago, I cut my costs dropped my Sky packages and took out subscriptions to both Netflix ( streaming only ) and Lovefiilm’s streaming service.

These are both relatively cheap compared with Sky’s subscription costs, the quality of picture is great , the only downside is the lack of current content, particularly for movies which seem to be a few years behind.

My experience until recently was that Lovefilm had more recent movies but Netflix had better tv content including broadcasting the latest episodes of Breaking Bad the day after they were broadcast in the US … Now I don’t watch a lot of tv but that is a fantastic series which I’ve raved about on these pages previously.

Over the past year, Netflix has done quite a bit of catching up with Lovefilm’s movie content and their movies has become more recent, now only lagging by a year whereas Lovefilms content has been relatively static.

I was on Loveflm for the first time in a while this weekend, looking at their latest releases and nothing seems to have changed over the past few months which is very disappointing. Their latest releases include Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes which is at least 2 years old, probably 3.

Obviously this will be part of their licencing agreement and I expect that this is hindered by the fact that its owned by Amazon and they;d rather attempt to make more money from selling us the movie than streaming it.

The other advantage for choosing these streaming services over Sky is that I can I give my kids my logon details and they can watch the movies in thier bedrooms without the need for additional set-top boxes or when they are staying at their mums.

For me, I like the fact that my Netflix subscription is available as an app on my Apple Tv and will stream full HD content without the need for any other devices.

Although I recently purchased a Samsung BD-6500 Blu-ray player which has all the catch up tv services and will stream both LoveFilm and Netflix, this is rather clunky in its interface compared with the Apple Tv. ( 75 quid from Amazon much cheaper than $99 from the Apple store )

So with the movie content being similiar, better tv shows and availability on apple tv, Netflix was coming out on top and I’m close to cancelling my Lovefilm subscription.

That however took a slight twist this weekend .. its still new so bear with me for a minute.

If you are an Apple user, you will know that if you have an iPad then you can stream the content from your iPad to your Apple Tv .. well you can with most things, but SKY blocks this somehow or other.

What I found yesterday, was that if you set up a VPN ( Virtual Private Network for those non-techies ) then with a little effort, download an app,, allow it to configure the settings and for a £10pa ( yes per annum ) subscription, then you can access Netflix or indeed any site as if you were in the USA .. nett results .. all of the latest content from the USA on your ipad no matter where you are in the world.

In my case, I have downloaded Hotspot Shield from the app store to my ipad ( could also work from my iphone) then starting Netflix as normal, it brings up the latest US content, then I can wither watch it on the iPad or airplay it to my Apple tv and tv in full HD.

My experience and its only been for a few hours watching Skyfall, Reservoir Dogs and Trainspotting, none of which are available on Netflix UK is that the quality is unaffected by the extra jump in using the VPN or the fact that I’m streaming from servers based in the USA rather than the UK.

Fantastiic!

Tonight ., I’ll give it a go with Lovefilm and determine if the content streamed from the USA is any better than the UK

But right now, Netflix looks like the clear winner for me.

A fex examples of the VPN set up below.

I Can Play The Piano…

Just back form a walk up to Sauchiehall Street .. I’m looking at a piano there and have been a pain in the ass making my decision .. but I’m narrowing it down to 2 grands and one digital.

The 2 grands are about the same size and price .. brand new .. a Kawai and a Yamaha . they are both beautiful but the Kawai sounds richer.

The salesman has just offered me a deal of 800quid off the marked price on the Kawai.

Kawai
http://www.musical-instrumentsuk.co.uk/more/on/details/01788

Yamaha
http://www.musical-instrumentsuk.co.uk/more/on/details/01541

My alternative is to stick with digital and upgrade my keyboard .. been looking at this one
http://www.guitarguitar.co.uk/digital-pianos/detail.asp?stock=12011813131253

Love that last clip ..

Its a hard choice to have really .. I’m very lucky!!

What to do!

Glasgow – We’ve Come A Long Way!

It’s official .. in 2 separate reports Glasgow is both

1 – The most violent city in the UK
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-22276018

2 – The city were people feel their life is least worthwhile.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18973923

What a couple of depressing statistics, if you believe them.

I’m a Glasgow guy, born and bred, originally from one of the roughest parts of the city (Govan) and proud of it.

Is Glasgow violent or worthless?

Not a chance!

Glasgow is one of the most vibrant cultural cities that I’ve been to and is no more violent than London, Rome, Manchester or Barcelona.

Glasgow has far more cultural events and concerts than Rome , Barcelona. or Paris and arguably Edinburgh and Manchester, second only to London with its plethora of West End theatres.

Okay there is social deprivation in the surrounding areas. of the Greater Glasgow area. There is a significant percentage of the community trapped in the benefits system. However that is the same throughout the country and has only got worse in the current econmic climate where opportunities are short.

But that only affects a relatively small minority compared with the majority of hard-working independent people who get on with their lifes and enjoy everything that the city has to offer.

  1. A vast range of concert venues, not least the Clyde Walkway Area with the SEC, Clyde Auditorium and The Hydro within touching distance of each other.
  2. The widest range of modern and traditional museums and art galleries including the Gallery of Modern Art, Science Museum, Burrell Collection, People Palace and Kelvingrove Art Gallery. and all of these are available free to the public.
  3. Fantastic architecture throughout the city, not least by Alexander Greek Thomson and Charles Rennie Macintosh
  4. A wide selection of bars, nightclubs and restuarants of any cuisine you could desire.
  5. The gateway to Loch Lomond and the Scottish Highlands
  6. Three world class football stadiums. ( Yeah even if it pains me to say that! )

Sure, if you go to the wrong areas, you will find the violence that haunts this city and its “No Mean City” reputation, but only if you go looking for it.

Glasgow is no mean city, it’s not mean, it is far from mean.

Glasgow people are friendly, warm and welcoming to strangers. Much friendlier than Edinburgh even if that city is more affluent.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Edinburgh and everything it has to offer, but I love Glasgow, my heart lies here.

Glasgow is a warm,, welcoming city, it has moved on since those days of deprivation and poverty that engulfed the city and it doiesn’t deserve the stereo-typical reputation that some people seem only too happy to potray.

We have come a long way.