Category Archives: Glasgow festivals

Happy fabulous 21st !

Glasgay 2014 kicked off this week and is also celebrating its 21st birthday. There’s still time to check out their exciting programme on till 15 November. And that’s what I’ll be doing.

Eat, art and a dash of sport

I’m going to start by combining two of my favourite hobbies – eating and art. I’ll add a little sport for good measure.

First up a visit to Rose and Grants Café for their delish Goat’s Cheese salad with a calorie-free dessert in the form of the Sporting Heads exhibition. The enticing showcase looks at the rise in sportsman come outing in recent times like Tom Daley and Gareth Thomas.

If I can manage a ticket, I’ll be getting down and dirty with the “Pope of Trash” and legendary filmmaker John Waters when he talks about his new book This Filthy World Vol 2.

His impressive back catalogue includes Hairspray, Pink Flamingos, Cry-Baby and Polyester – and for one night only he’ll be wowing at the O2 Academy on Friday 14 November. If I don’t get tickets, I’ll catch the 11:15pm showing of Cry-Baby at the GFT.

These Delicate things, GlasgayI’ll be finishing up my Glasgay celebrations at the CCA when Cryptic presents These Delicate Things by Josh Armstrong.

The perfect combination of art and classical music in the most unexpected and invigorating way.

There’s a huge selection of LGBT events and performances – truly something for everyone. So, go on – check it out.

– B


You can’t go wrong at Aye Write

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

Tracey Thorn Bedsit Disco Queen at Aye Write 2013Darcy 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’.

Get involved

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.

– B

Behaviour on show

Behaviour  Festival in Glasgow 3 April - 11 May 2013 c Arches picHooray the Arches’ Behaviour Festival  is finally here, kicking off over a month of live performances in Glasgow from 3 April  to 11 May.  And it’s certainly not short on choice – the weird, the wonderful, the must-watch are all on offer.

We’re debating about what to go and see.  The work of international artists alongside home-grown Scottish talent like Gary McNair, Kieran Hurley and Nic Green is all very tempting and with ticket prices ranging from £5 to £12, very doable.

Stand up, rant and reveal intimate secrets

For me Behaviour is a particularly appealing because it’s actually all about us – how we act and react when we’re faced with the specific circumstances of a performance.   Will you squirm in your seat, laugh uncontrollably or even be daring enough to try your hand at comedy at Gary’s Chuckle Hat pop-up comedy club?

I want to see Kieran Hurley’s RANTIN – part of the Auteur’s project –  part living room gathering, part gig, part play, with live music, storytelling with a slew of intriguing (and possibly dangerous) characters.  How can I resist?

T has fallen under the spell of Mammalian Diving Reflex – All the sex I’ve ever had.  And admittedly I can see why.  A total twist on that taboo topic but rather than your typical youth-fuelled take, you’re hearing from senior citizens from Glasgow sharing the evolution of their sexuality over the course of their lives.  Intriguing, possibly uncomfortable and I’m betting endearing.

See it all

Maybe the best way to solve our debate is to simply see it all – the Behaviour Festival pass is a great deal at £45/£35, considering we’ll have our choice of incredible and diverse shows daily from now until 11 May.  And that can only improve our behaviour!


– B

Film comes to life at GYFF

The Glasgow youth film festival surpassed itself this year; its energetic and electric 2013 programme is fantastic. In fact, unmissible.

And even if you did miss their preview of ‘Wreck it Ralph’ at their launched on 3 February, there’s still much more to discover.  I’m looking forward to ‘Girl Walk All Day’– a feature length dance music video following three female dancers as they jump, leap and dance their way around New York City.

Dancers, DJs and Tigers – oh my

Dancers, DJs and Tigers at  GYFFThe final day of the GYFF ends with a bang with this amazing film on 13 February – but it’s no ordinary screening.  For one, they’re taking it outside.  At 6pm the River Clyde Embankment (by the tiger mural) will be transformed to an interactive extravaganza where dancers, DJ’s and projections of ‘Girl Walk All Day’ await you.

Something for every taste, every age

Anime fans will be thrilled by GYFF’s offering of films including the latest by Hayao Miyazaki  ‘From Up On Poppy Hill’ and the premiere of a top-secret anime, still yet to be revealed.

And if anime isn’t your thing, there are heaps of other films to choose from – comedy classics like ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day off’ to the satirical Dutch film ‘The Deflowering of Eva Van End’.  Or there’s still time check out some of the many shorts during the Glasgow Short Film Festival (7-10 February) covering heavy-hitting subjects like trafficking in Roadkill to the creativity of an inspirational 84-year-old graffiti artist.

And don’t forget to check out the Glasgow Film Festival’s  extensive programme kicking off 14 February.

So much to see – so don’t miss out on this magical month of film.

– B


Ignite your passion with Fuel

I so am excited.  And for good reason.  Fuel Festival is coming to Glasgow.  Fuel? Like  energy?  Like fire?

Well, kind of.

Fuel is a theatre-producing phenomenon made up of the talented Louise Blackwell and Kate McGrath.  They create intriguing, edgy, unique theatre with some of the most exciting artists around.  And they’re in Glasgow for a week at the Tramway from 20 -25 November.  If you don’t know them, it’s definitely time you were introduced.

Celebrating life in unexpected places

Treat yourself to the award-winning The Simple Things in Life, a  celebration of life in a garden shed.  Or if you fancy getting in (and out of) touch with your senses, try Ring – performed in complete darkness.  Go on a journey of sound via headphones amplifying intimate details of the room.  Who knows just where you’ll end up.

Black TShirt Collection, Fuel. Image c. Brian RobertsIf storytelling fused with imagery sparks your interest, then Inua Ellams is your man.  Black T-shirt Collection is a must.  This spoken-word artist’s ability to conjure up images and totally captivate with words alone is nothing short of impressive.

And this is only some of the many intrepid offerings.

Yes,  it’s easy to get bogged down in winter’s short days and long nights.  So all the more reason to  fuel your curiosity and set your creative soul alight.  Lots to experience and definitely not to be missed.

Fuel for thought.



Brighten up November

The days are getting shorter and the dark is closing in.  But Glasgow’s newest festival Sonica, kicking off  8 – 18 November, promises to light up the winter drab.

See the sound

Created by Glasgow-based arts producers Cryptic (of CCA Cryptic Nights fame), Sonica runs at various intriguing venues in Glasgow – from the Whisky Bond to the Tramway.

This new fest describes itself as, ‘sonic art for the visually minded’.   And what does this mean exactly?  I’m told it’s like ‘seeing the sound’ – and I discover  it’s a fusion of images and sound to create a totally new dimension to performances.  I’m in.


Sandglasses, Sonica Festival, Glasgow  c.Sonica websiteSandglasses at the Tramway is (quite literally) a glowing example of multi-faceted performance.

Four cellists shrouded in transparent columns play – their music intertwine with traces of light flitting down the columns like grains of sand in an hour glass.  Spectacular.

And there’s a slew of other exciting events like the 33 1/3 Collective’s dark psychological fairytale Bluebeard; TED talks exploring how we listen to sound, the Laser Show at the Glue Factory and don’t miss Sonica’s closing party.  There’ also a secret festival hub that will be popping up throughout the week.

What’s not to love?

A whole new genre of work from national and international artists awaits you.  And with numerous free events and special ticket deals, there’s no excuse not to illuminate your November and treat your senses to something good.

Watch. Listen. Love.

– B


Big Man is coming to town

How exciting! The Merchant City Festival is now only a few weeks away.  300 eclectic events will unfold between 25 – 29 July, everything from street art, music, workshops, film, food, design and more – really something for every taste.

So with so much to see and do, I’ve already been looking through the hundreds of alluring events and picking my favourites.

One stands alone

But there’s one that literally stands above all others.

Sure there’s a few self-proclaimed ‘big men’ in Glasgow but there is only one Big Man Walking – a larger than life blue puppet who will make his way through Glasgow’s city-centre on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 July.  And even though we’ve already met, I am looking forward to reuniting with my eight-metre high friend Big Man Walking.

He’s hard to miss – in fact; he’s unmissable so make sure you get out to see this impressive giant during the festivities.  We’ll certainly be enjoying this and many of the other events on offer – and of course hoping for some well-deserved sunshine.

– B

My last Big Man encounter in Bute in 2009 

Big Man Walking,  Bute Puppeteers

A few tiny puppeteers to get him to his feet

Big Man Walking's  Wardrobe, Bute

Big Man, big wardrobe – of course

Big Man Walking taller than buildings, Bute

The Big Man walking tall