To celebrate the launch of his new book The Passion of Harry Bingo and our Piping Live tours, Peter Ross and his publisher Sandstone Press have graciously allowed us to use this wonderful piece by Peter on The Sikh Pipe Band’s appearance at Piping Live in 2015. Thanks also to Michael McGurk for allowing us to use his photograph. Keep an eye on our Facebook page later this week for a chance to win copies of The Passion of Harry Bingo. Over to Peter…
Beneath a Saltire blue sky, with Irn-Bru in their bellies and an old Punjabi war cry on their lips – ‘Sat Sri Akaal!’ – the men and women of the Sri Dasmesh pipe band march out into the grassy arena of Glasgow Green, the first time a Malaysian group has competed at the world championships, and give their medley laldy. ‘Gaun the Sikhs!’ shouts a turbaned fellow in the crowd.
The World Pipe Band Championships, known as ‘The Worlds’, is the Olympics of piping. Some 230 bands from sixteen nations, adding up to around 8,000 pipers and drummers, are taking part this year. The championships date back to 1906, but they have never seen anything quite like Sri Dasmesh.
Photograph by Michael McGurk
There are about forty of them, ranging in age from early teens to early sixties, tricked out in a manner that makes the uniforms of even their gaudiest rivals appear drab. Over white robes they wear a bright sash, a plaid in Royal Stewart tartan, and a faux tiger-skin apron, combining in one outfit the distinctive styles of Mason Boyne, Mary Doll Nesbitt and the Bay City Rollers. All of this, mind, topped with a turban and pink plume, or kalgi, bearing the symbol for ‘One God’. They look amazing: Glasgow fabulous; Kuala Lumpur dead brilliant. Continue reading
We’re really looking forward to The Passion of Harry Bingo, the new book from award-winning writer, Peter Ross, due in August. In the meantime to keep you going we’re re-running the popular photo essay by Peter and photographer Anne Ward on the legendary Barrowland Ballroom. For more of Anne’s writing and photographs check out her fabulous books, Nothing To See Here and Northern Delights. Keep your eyes peeled for news of Anne’s new book, Way Out West, coming soon! Thank you Anne and thank you Peter.
Double doors, Barrowland, Glasgow (Anne Ward)
TEN letters. Thirty-six stars. Two hundred and forty volts. Put that like that it does not sound like much, but the neon sign of the Barrowland Ballroom is so much more – a gaudy, gallus pleasure beacon which for generations has shone out into the Glasgow night, reflected in the mirrored windows of rock band coaches, in rain-choked Gallowgate gutters, and in the eyes of music fans intent on the good time to end all good times. “What can ye say, darlin’?” shrugged one young woman, standing in the queue for Biffy Clyro. “The Barrowlands is The Barrowlands.” Put like that, again, it did not sound like much, but it was a statement of pure love and everyone who heard it understood exactly what she meant. Continue reading
The Album Pathway, created by Glasgow artist Jim Lambie, pays homage to the iconic Barrowland Ballroom and its role in Glasgow’s musical history. Arranged like the spines of records on a shelf, the Pathway lists the names and dates of bands who played Barrowland from 1983 until the Pathway was installed for the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Situated just along from the Barrowland, the Pathway forms a welcome “temporary” green space in the heart of a bustling urban area.
Our tour guests on the Pathway
Fans of Barrowland Park is a community group formed to campaign to save Glasgow’s Barrowland Park/ Album Pathway. On Saturday 8th April from 11am-1pm they’re holding an event to spring clean the Pathway.
Readers may remember a previous blog we ran about the campaign/ petition to Glasgow City Council last year. Barrowland Park was granted a temporary reprieve and as far as we’re aware that lasts until September this year.
Walking the Pathway with our guests
Like our friends at Fans of Barrowland Park, we’d hate to see the park disappear or move. It makes perfect sense right where it is. Our tour guests love it and are dismayed when we tell them it might not always be here.
Fans of Barrowland Park would love it if you could:
Follow them on FB and twitter.
Keep an eye out for events and public meetings.
Take photos if you’re at the park and either tag them and/or use the #SaveBarrowlandPark hashtag.