Explore and experience the GSA exhibit at the Glue Factory.
Be quick – only on until 2 May.
Glasgow School of Art third years have taken over the Glue Factory for their annual Fine Art Photography exhibition.
This relatively new space at Speirs Lock is deceptively large with rooms off rooms, walls in unexpected places and tantalising doors round every corner. Perfect really.
The living installations that welcomes us offers hugs to all as we enter, though only some accept the gentle gesture. Beyond their embrace is a range of exhibits including video installations of hearts being sewn up and people eating their favourite foods, though not together – thankfully.
The variety of photos and prints include an eclectic range from a man standing on water to a stark and honest depiction of someone’s stay in hospital. There’s even a screening room with a selection of short films and a makeshift auditorium.
See, experience and enjoy
For me the highlights include a compelling video installation, Look by Pavel Dousěk. The simplicity of a guy initially sideways then turning to look directly at me – intensely – as if he truly sees me, well it sends shivers up my spine. I can’t help but watch him in the video again and again – and still believe that in some way he actually sees me. Haunting.
To restore my sense of peace I turn to Hannah Blackwell’s 124 – a large square print cut into literally 10,000 tiny squares then intricately reassembled on the wall, maintaining the overall image. It’s easy to get lost in the gaps between the tiny squares and look for the image – it almost seems to move.
Bring out your inner artist
But my favourite exhibition is Frank McElhinney’s interactive Safe Passage. Initially I’m greeted by a wall of hand-drawn medieval ships representing the thousands of people who died at Bannockburn. I’m then invited to draw my own ship using coloured ink and rollers laid out by the artist. Once I complete my drawing, I exchange it for a ship from the wall and my picture replaces it, actually becoming part of the exhibition.
An ever evolving selection of ships, change from moment-to-moment as people take existing prints and add their own. And although my mighty ship remains on the wall throughout the exhibition and my friend’s disappears after only minutes – I’m not letting that dampen my spirit. Because not only did I visit an exhibition, I became part of one.
See the extraordinary talent on offer – it’s free and fantastic but fleeting – only on till 2 May.
The Townhouse on Buchannan Street has undergone a truly breathtaking transformation into the largest Thai restaurant in Europe, Chaophraya. Admittedly this didn’t really impressive me. Truthfully I couldn’t shake its previous life as a jumbled shop.
But when I enter the impressive lobby adorned in luxurious décor and stunning chandeliers – with an elephant thrown in for good measure – well, all memories of its previous incarnation fade from my memory.
The service is very attentive – in fact, we’re escorted up the main staircase to our table. And even though it’s spacious with high ceilings and vast fireplaces, the dining area somehow still manages to feel intimate and welcoming.
Yes a little on the expensive side, but the total experience is lush and the food lives up to the surroundings – in a word – exquisite. Not only does each dish look amazing but it taste sensational, the perfect fusion of competing flavours in every mouth-full.
Decadent, delicious and definitely worth trying again
The whole experience feels very decadent – a spectacular setting, gorgeous food and dutiful staff. And you can continue your night in the Palm Sugar Lounge or for something a little more intimate book rooms for private dining. And for the romantics, there’s even a balcony for two!
But be warned, Chaophraya isn’t a secret and you’ll definitely need to book to avoid disappointment. The truth is in the tasting – but it’s not just food. The spectacular setting and the lovely staff make it utterly perfect.
Hooray! Today Aye Write kicks off until Saturday 20 April. There’s so much choice that I hardly know where to start. Where else can you go from ballet shows to disco moves while tackling sacred subjects like football and whisky?
Ballet dreams and bedsits
Darcy Bussell the epitome of my girlhood ballerina dream lets you peer into classic performances of Swan Lake and The Nutcracker Suite, while one half of Everything but the Girl – Tracey Thorn – reveals memories of dodgy bedsits and her pop career in Bedsit Disco Queen. And I can’t wait to reunite with the disco queen whose music saw me through my teen years.
And there’s a serious side to the festival too with Amnesty International hosting an Aye Write author’s event, reminding us of the writers who are not free to express their ideas and opinions. Come along, hear the words of people who are at the forefront of action for human rights and explore the issues of freedom of expression.
Something for the fam
Not just readings and talks, Aye Writer also offers up lots of performance events for both kids and adults. For instance, you can check out award-winning novelist and stage performer Alan Bissett as he delves into the world of storytelling with a high energy form of ‘stand-up literature’.
And if you want to unleash your creativity, join one of the spectacular creative writing workshops on offer.
Events range from free to £12 – so not to be missed! So go on, explore talks and readings with great Scottish authors like Denise Mina, Jackie Kay, Alasdair Gray, Louise Welch- to name only a few. But quick it’s selling out fast.
I am happily lost at the Hidden Lane Tearoom, surrounded by perfectly formed finger sandwiches and the most intriguing cakes. Total bliss. If Alice and the Hatter lived in Glasgow, they would definitely hang out here.
Tucked away on Argyle court, this magical tearoom is cosy and welcoming enough to feel like going to a friend’s house. A friend who happens to have the most incredible taste in Brick-a-brack and serves up delicious, enjoyable treats.
Multi-tiered edible masterpiece
When the edible multi-tiered masterpiece arrives it is nothing short of extraordinary – in fact it’s almost too beautiful to eat. Almost.
And even if the lovely staff are used to the oohing and awing that no doubt happens every time they present these pleasures, they smile in approval just the same.
The selection of sandwiches is impressive. But it’s the interesting combination of hummus and beetroot that takes me by surprise – it’s good, in fact it’s fantastic. And the absolutely scrumptious selection of cakes have me nearly squealing with glee.
A mini blueberry pie type concoction is heavenly, customary scones and clotted cream are divine and oh the lovely mini Victoria sponge and chocolaty wee cakes. I eat every last one, happily stuffed.
Not so secret
If you’d like to be happily lost, book because although hidden, the tea room has also been discovered by other joy-seekers. And rightly so! It’s a lovely way to spend an afternoon and raise a cup or two with friends. And if you fancy something with a little more punch, you can bring your favourite wine or celebrate with bubbles – corkage is a mere £3.
Tea for two comes in at under £20 –money (and time) well spent in simply divine setting.