Showing posts with label glasgow 2014. Show all posts
Showing posts with label glasgow 2014. Show all posts

Wednesday 6 August 2014

Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony

Glasgow’s golden games proved more than friendly or about people – they brought out the best in both the athletes, all those involved in the years of planning and in the spirit of the Clydesiders, who smiled their hello welcomes and gave up their time to make the games such a success.

The ceremony thanked all those involved and all those thousands of volunteers. Scotland showed its generosity with over 5m raised for UNICEF.  Sport brings us together and ignores both political and religious divides.

The Hampden Park was decked out in colourful tents and flags for the closing ceremony party.  Scottish songsmith and soul singer Lulu gave her well kent “Shout” to start the party off. Deacon Blue followed with “Dignity” as those services who worked for the games entered the stadium.   

Lord Smith of Kelvin spoke of the successful games and thanked all involved. He said that Glasgow would never forget the Games. HRH Prince Imran gave the David Dickson award to 
rhythmic gymnast from Wales, Frankie Jones, was honoured with Athlete of the Games for her inspiring others. When he mentioned Team Scotland there was a truly long Hampden roar!  And he said that Glasgow was “Pure dead brilliant!”

The Commonwealth Games flag was passed on the Australian Goldcoast as Gaelic singer Karen Matheson sang the haunting farewell Burns song “Ae Fond Kiss”. The Goldcoast is a stark contrast with surfing and golden beaches – I am certain a fun place for wonderful holiday trips.  After which Australian Kylie Minogue performed a colourful set of her hit songs with her dancers. 

The weather may not always be perfect here in Scotland but peoples’ hearts are true. We have a rich and varied heritage and when Dougie MacLean sang "Caledonia" the voices of the packed crowd rang around the stadium as hearts swelled with warm heartfelt pride in the beauty and possibilities of our country. Dougie always encourages everyone to sing along, which for me is what music is all about. ..or used to be anyway. The ceremony closed of course with Dougie, Kylie, Lulu and the athletes and crowd singing Auld Lang Syne.
As we left the stadium the catering staff were all dancing and singing too. Glasgow loves a party! .

And do the Games leave a legacy? They were an inspiration to see the young people reach their goals after years of hard work.

Sometimes Glasgow sits in Edinburgh’s shadow so it was wonderful to see the city on the world stage give us such proud games.  “Haste Ye Back” as Glasgow said good bye
Thanks to Glasgow for the most successful games yet!

I was a little concerned that those of us who support Scottish independence were told to keep quiet during the games. So I took my YES badge off....What about free speech and all? 
UK Defence minister Michael Fallon insisted the red arrows flew red, white and blue  over Glasgow's opening ceremony - even though as a good will gesture the arrows flew Scotland's blue and white colours when the Queen visited for the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999. 

Quote Ian Bell Scottish Sunday Herald.  "For forms sake we should keep score. The Red Arrows lie; the Tollcross incident (lady with a yes flag asked to leave); the two-faced flags with Union Jack on one side Saltire on the other; that bit of censorship on Glasgow Green (no yes badges); those acts of petty propaganda and small minded authoritarianism cant' be pinned on Yes campaigners. Only two of the four can be traced to Games organisers and their terms and conditions.  
Flags don't matter much to me but this sort of thing could make me change my mind. The contrast with the 2012 Olympics remains entertaining still. Which unionist politician didn't use those games to spread the gospel of Better Together at every opportunity and assail anyone who dared to disagree? Then as now , they were dashed unsporting."   

As the referendum in September hung over the event people seemed surprised that Scotland cheered the English athletes.  It can be hard for Scotland's voice to be heard and the media is controlled in London.  We have kept our own Law, church and education since the Union, which was not popular then.  Scotland is a much older country than the UK. It is important that Scotland works for the best interest of those who live here .   

Thursday 31 July 2014

Are the Commonwealth Games Political?

I believe it is impossible to separate sport and politics. The Commonwealth games were initially called The British Empire Games.Even the flag waving is political.

At the Opening Ceremony for Glasgow 2014 there was controversy over the Red Arrows flying the red, white and blue colours of the Union jack amid the debate over the Scottish Referendum due in 2 months time in September. The organisers believed they would fly the Scottish flag of blue and white but in a last minute change the Red Arrows team were told no. It would have been a more generous gesture to allow the blue and white colours – after all the Red Arrows have flown the colours of many other flags.

The Queen attended the opening ceremony and we sang God Save the Queen at Celtic Park – quite a strange thing in itself.

Of course the Games are political.
With the Referendum hanging over the proceedings the crowd cheered the English athlete, perhaps surprising the international audience. 

Scotland's imperial past is evident in the names of some of the Jamaican athletes - and with Jennifer Stirling who carried in the baton to the Opening ceremony. 

The song Freedom Come All Ye by Hamish Henderson, which was sung at the Opening ceremony, was a fitting choice as the song speaks of winds of change and sweeping away exploitation and imperialism - and looks to an inclusive and co-operative future. The song is a product of the 60s Scottish folk revival. 

Commonwealth Games Rugby Sevens at Ibrox

Ibrox proved a perfect stadium for the rugby with it’s intimate tiered seating bringing the rugby closer.
There was a great atmosphere here with the packed crowd with the load roar of the crowd and the chanting for U-gan-da and Barbados – Scotland always loves the underdog! 

Celtic Park meanwhile proved an ideal setting for the Opening ceremonies. Glasgow had taken the games to heart and the events have enjoyed packed and enthusiastic crowds.

Hampden (normally a football stadium also) has been ideal for the athletics offering ideal views and atmosphere.    
Another memory is all those volunteers who gave up their time to support the games in their red and grey outfits. 

Thursday 6 February 2014

Lau Glasgow City Halls Celtic Connections 2014

The stage at the City Halls was set with a line of glowing lights and the sign on Martin Green's keyboards, which was set on it's side, proclaimed 'I Love The NHS'. Lau of course is an Orcadian word that means 'natural light.' 

Lau are an award-winning folk band who have been gaining attention last year for their music of traditional folk voices and traditional folk song themes mixed with contemporary influences. They played on the BBCs Jools Holland show in 2012. The band are - respected singer songwriter and guitarist Kris Drever, acclaimed fiddler Aidan O’Rourke and an innovative accordionist Martin Green.  

They played mostly instrumental tunes and also some songs. Kris sang with his warm voice the songs Ghost and Midnight Feast.  Martin said their Ghost EP was about social migration and documented how we are stronger through our diversity.  

During the concert tonight Lau played one of the first performances for the UK's first New Music Biennial as part of Glasgow 2014 Events - 'The Bell That Never Rang.' 
The piece was commissioned by Celtic Connections and PRSF and composed and performed along with the contemporary experimental strings of the Elysian Quartet.  The music was carried through with Drever’s subtle guitar, while the layering textures and challenge of Lau’s traditional folk sound worked perfectly with the classical musicians.

Kris often leans forward on his guitar and they pull their energies together. Aidan is a powerful fiddler who moves a lot as he plays. While Martin experiments with varied soundscapes, and on one tune he played the soothing sounds of the sea

Lau are an experimental outfit and also work on Lau-land mini festivals and on other collaborations and they are taking folk in new directions and crossing boundaries with their music.
Quote Aidan O'Rourke on Lau's website - the band's music makes excursions into jazz, world, Gaelic and classical music and fiddling to the fore of another magnificent supergroup, Kan. “We’re folk musicians but firstly we’re musicians with a love of different styles and we don’t think we’re cheating on anybody by drawing on that. We all love and play a wide range of music but what we have in common is a deep love of hardcore traditional music.”
They were well supported by Canadian Annabelle Chvostek, who was previously with the Wailin Jennys. She had a silky soft-toned voice and played country folk tunes with echoing violin and electric bass.    

I saw several other faces from the Scottish music scene at the concert, such as Louis Abbot of Admiral Fallow (Lau supported his band at the Queens Hall Edinburgh last year).
The event was preceded at the City Halls by the press launch for the UK's first New Music Biennial as part of Glasgow 2014 Events. (funded by PRSF for music)