Monday, 24 December 2012

Vic.ism Part 3 Glasgow and London

As I've said before I love visiting Scotland and the reception is always amazing but up until this trip I will admit to an Edinburgh bias for all sorts of reasons but that all changed this time.After the delays from Newcastle to Edinburgh it was a relief to see the shuttle to Glasgow was running to schedule and one ready and waiting so we hopped aboard, however Sect lore decrees that no travel experience goes without a hitch so inevitably we were delayed- police were called aboard to deal with an 'incident', I think removing a reluctant inebriate. 15 mins later we're on our way,journey's end in sight, joined at Falkirk High by a friendly hen party, champagne flowing and the infectious Glasgow vibe starts to kick in. It was getting dark when we arrived at Queen Street, wind a tad biting but braved it to walk to the hotel on Jamaica Street. It was the first time I'd stayed IN Glasgow, usually stay near Anniesland at the Pond (recommended, especially for twitchers, but check first for weddings, one stay the bride was late and a piper played the same piece over and over for about an hour) and the streets were buzzing with activity. There is definitely something in the air here.
Stayed at the Jurys Inn and if you are not a smoker you may not care or appreciate the utter joy on opening the room door and seeing an ASH TRAY on a table by the window ( did ask for a smoking room when booking but didn't ask at check in as usually disappointed), no braving the elements to have a fag, luxury as far as I'm concerned (helpful staff,comfy and clean also v important, all present here, def stay again). Some might be put off by having Central Station about 30 feet from the window but it was a home from home and enjoyably surreal watching the trains pull slowly out from the platforms THAT close. Stereo is literally round the corner and as leaving from Central, add staying 2 nights and it was pretty perfect all round. Not having to think about repacking before unpacking, worry about next day's check out time, etc, all contributing to the growing sense of well being. First order of business- real milk, Vic can't abide uht, so off to lidl, conveniently just over the road. As he waited in the queue to pay someone tapped him on the shoulder, he thought he was going to be accused of pushing in but no it was a fan just saying hello and that he'd be at the gig later, that's what it is like here. No sound check so could chill for a while, then 5 min walk to Stereo for the Sounds in the Suburbs gig, which are always goodies thanks to Alan and the first vic.ism event in it's spiritual home. Stereo is a great venue in a Rennie Mackintosh designed building, previously home to the Daily Record Glasgow. Bar and veggie restaurant on ground level and music venue underneath. Starving and having rejected the 2 options on offer, weren't appealing on a cold night, so said hellos, dropped off merch and went in search of sustenance, not proud to admit chose a chain burger establishment but hit the spot and was nearby, after all the forecast was for snow. Back in time to set up merch near the stage* and catch Thee Potato Four's set, love their rendition of Pretty Thing, Lee M literally lending Mark B a hand to hold the lyrics for him on stage. Their debut has in deed been impressive and their 7" single Living in the past was doing a brisk trade.
The Sexual Objects played a blinder and by the time Vic and Sobs took to the stage it was packed, with a growing sense of anticipation that this was a memorable gig to be at. The atmosphere was- just all smiles. *After the first number I relocated to the entrance lobby so didn't hear a lot of the rest of the set (think Vic might have thought I'd been spirited away, he didn't see me move and then I seemingly disappeared, may have added a certain frisson to his performance), but heard snatches and got updates as people came and went to the loo, stopping for a brief chat but keen not to miss anything and get back to the action. Thanks to Lee and Tracey we've got the videos and recording. The general consensus was that this was probably Vic's best gig in Scotland so far, and the mutual 'lurve' filled the air. I can't define exactly what it is, you've got to be there and feel it. Back to the hotel, a feeling of well being, wrapped in a metaphoric Glasgow hug of loveliness, even the Arbroath fans in the next room one of whom serenaded us for a while in the early hours didn't spoil the mood and actually slept like a log.
Sunday 2nd December- so nice to have a lie in, missed breakfast, didn't mind, had some decent coffee with me, always do. No rush for anything today, it's all about the laid back vibe, looking forward to the Tea Party do at the Poetry Club. Got there at 1pmish, another great little venue, met some new people including Andy Alston, he and Vic only got to run through the Jazz numbers once, so fingers crossed, and James Kirk, honoured he came out to play with Vic, Andy, Douglas, Davy and Simon, making it even more of an event-fitting that Vic did Holiday Hymn. Once the doors opened the space filled up pretty quickly, standing room only and a different demographic to the average gig, a really good mixture, including sprogs, impressed to see they start music appreciation so young. First up Davy, Douglas and Graham doing a Sobs acoustic set, their harmonies really are fantastic. Then it was Vic and Andy's turn- loved hearing Vic sing the jazz numbers, it's been a while and the VU numbers went down a treat.
Photograph by Barry McLuskie. I think everyone involved wants to do it again. We caught the bus from the PC back to the throbbing metropolis, invited for dinner with Stephen and Katrina and friends(Monorail)before Pierrot Le Fou,much appreciated.
It has been a buzz to have been able to socialise on this trip, there's not normally time or opportunity. GFT very comfy cinema, they really do the arts well here, seems a hot bed of creativity and energy of all sorts. I admit I kept falling asleep during PLF, personally think it is stretching pretension to it's limits, a lot of 'cool' posing though. Q&A with Stephen P could have been livelier, not many questions for Vic to answer, though Stephen did his best, it was the first shy Glaswegians I've come across! I was going to offer some questions but it was being filmed so kept incognito.Photograph by Tracey Holloway.
Finished off with drinks in the pub and then tired and happy back to the hotel. Great Day All Round. Love and Thanks to everyone for the welcome. Didn't want to leave and decided could definitely live in Glasgow, can't pin it down, people mostly, but would suit Gertie. Left Glasgow wanting more of Vic and the Sobs, can't wait for friday for Symptomatic presents. Week sped by with a mountain of washing, etc and 'catching up' on all things lap top. Comme d'habitude come Friday things didn't quite go to plan. Vic and the Sobs were hoping to record a couple of songs at Edwyn's studio in the day but illness intervened and put paid to that so they rehearsed there instead, except Vic didn't have a working mic, lost without Seb's expertise. Still all sounding good. Straight from there to the BA, Mat and Jon from Symptomatic always good hosts. Sound check then dinner at the Italian restaurant opposite,The Spaghetti House, freshly cooked food, my crab and linguine was delicious, can't recommend highly enough, no license but offie next door. Decided to have a Xmas shop at the Boston Arms so took all peripheral merch don't normally take including tote bags/note books/pads/pens/keyrings, it being the end of vic.ism and the last Vic gig of the year so there was quite a display. Many thanks to Jeanette for caretaking while I was eating. It was another superb night, probably the best set they've done as the last in the series. Vic set the night's mood by surprising us all with unexpected(not really sure why I was surprised at V doing the unexpected on stage) by reading from A Song from Egyptian Nights by Pushkin over a Sob's instrumental, certainly caused a ripple, of what I'm not sure, anticipation of what was to follow perhaps. Photographs by Alistair McKay
And it was a hugely enjoyable night, went home buzzing again. A bit sad saying farewells to the Sobs after but what a great way to end the gigging year and plans are afoot for more of the same, roll on 2013.


  1. Enjoying the reports. Any chance of bringing tote bags to Brighton? Have a great new year.

    1. Certainly will.See you in 2013, all the best.

  2. Did you consider picking the best Bitcoin exchange service - YoBit.