31.07.05 - Taking pictures of your obsessions
28.07.05 - The sound of silence
Some pics from Boni's Cafe in the douce southside suburb of Clarkston - what a gem! It's fairly anonymous from the outside, but inside it's like your mad granny's 70s living room with scary wallpaper and enough mass-market masterpieces to make Wayne Hemingway flip his wig. There are also some great original features including some of the boxes of chocolates on sale (maybe best to avoid them). Since 1960 it's been run by a lovely old woman in a blue overall who said that business is going downhill since a Beanscene (Starbucks-style child-friendly cafe) opened two doors down. Ironically Boni's is the child-friendliest place I've been in a long time, as she took a real shine to Tommy and he chatted away to her. Chances of it surviving seem slim - it was empty when we were there. On the upside, the BBC are coming in in a couple of weeks to film Sea of Souls. I hope they're paying a good rate for it. It's sad to think if Boni's has crossed the line from working cafe to cultural icon it's too far off the beaten track to survive and no one is fighting to keep these places alive apart from Adrian. It's such an atmospheric place, it would bring out the novel in you. Plus, the home made ice cream (with lots of raspberry sauce of course) was delicious. It's easy to reach on the 66 bus and opens from 12-9 every day except Tuesday so all Glasgow readers do drop in and enjoy the hospitality while you still can.
27.07.05 - I wore my fringe like Roger McGuinn's
Mocking Music has posted mp3s of the entire NME c86 tape (via things). In 1987 you couldn't move in Glasgow without bumping into bands like The Pastels, Primal Scream or Kurt Cobain's favourites The Vaselines. It was an exciting time when it seemed like everyone was in a band or ran a club or did a fanzine. I'm not sure if you have to have been there to appreciate some of the music, although some bands like The Shop Assistants still sound great today. There's some interesting debate on Tangents and Plan B (run by ex-fanzine writers both) following a c86 questionnaire ('And what were the identifying markers of anoraks, both on the surface and ideologically?'). Both pour scorn on c86 as a term but remember some of the great bands that have left a lasting influence. It was amazing that bands were so accessible, going to the same clubs as their fans, forcing indie etiquette issues like do you dance to your own records? There was a nice ethos about trying to do something different, and belonging to something but not the mainstream. Blogs remind me a bit of this. Music-wise I wonder what kids do today now that indie is mainstream - is there anything left to rebel against?
24.07.05 - Radar love
22.07.05 - Scientician
18.07.05 - Ridicule is nothing to be scared of
15.07.05 - The teams that meet in caffs
I bagged a new classic cafe today - the Val D'Oro at Glasgow Cross - "Home of the Fish Tea". I must have walked past this place a thousand times on the way to The Barras but never noticed how nice it was inside. It was only when Teenage Fanclub got photographed there a few weeks ago that I sat up and took notice. There was a power cut today, but sitting in the half-gloom made it even nicer. The booths come in a choice of 4 person and 2 person and have these beautiful Art Deco curves in a line as if a little engine at the front is about to tow them away. Obviously no one in Glasgow was fat or ate much in the old days because even with a coffee, a roll and a paper I had trouble fitting it all on the table. [The University Cafe in Byres Road is a lot worse for this. It's so narrow you can't actually sit opposite anyone unless you play footsie or put your legs at a slant.] It has the air of a place that's seen a lot of action - must have been a perfect place for courting. Intimate enough if you're with someone but a good line of sight if you're cruising. And it goes without saying that the food is exactly what you'd expect and all beautifully advertised.
11.07.05 - Here lies the victim of an untied shoe-lace
06.07.05 - What do we want? Tablet! When do we want it? Now!
We were up Gleneagles way the other week, having a look at the security fencing. There wasn't much to see, just a "Perthshire welcomes the world" sign on the A9 (but not as you come in from the north) and some G8 signs in Auchterarder (which I always get mixed up with Auchtermuchty, Aberfeldy, Inverary and Inverurie). Those of you going this way may like to support Gordon and Durward, a distinctly non-corporate old style sweet shop in Crieff - "Home of the famous sugar mice". It has enough mixed boilings to melt the nation's teeth and a sweet factory in the back where you can watch them churning out macaroon and tablet*. Those in need of something savoury might like to try the Country Kitchen further down the road. It's is no longer classic after a shabby refit, but the menu remains free of any modern day delicacies, it's peas and chips all the way. Being firmly on the tourist trail it's ripe for a culture clash. When I was there the waiter was trying to explain the term "crispie cake" to an American lady. It's not that hard - a cake made out of rice crispies and chocolate. He pointed to one to demonstrate but this woman could not grasp the fundamentals and opted for the apple pie. Her loss.
*For non-Scots, these are two national specialities which horrify tourists, much like haggis. Macaroon used to be made from potatoes and sugar. Now it's just sugar and sugar. Gordon & Durward's lemon and lime variety is well worth going the distance for.
01.07.05 - The Graduate
I'm writing this in a real hurry. Tommy graduated from nursery today - I didn't cry as much as I thought I would. Just a wee bit. My special little guy. They did the full shebang with mortar boards and everything. The kids looked pretty bemused but seemed to enjoy themselves.
So, new likes with hearty thanks to Nebo Peklo for pointing out Lefor Openo - this really is beautiful, beautiful stuff, and to Gabi for Snobsite (the online home of the Rock Snob's Dictionary) which I have enjoyed very much. Thanks too to everyone who has sent things in lately. I've had a wee flurry of emails and enjoyed reading them all. My apathy seems to be subsiding a bit so hopefully July will be a bit more lively round here.