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The Great City Swap begins today

Scotrail Great City Swap.22/9/16Picture © Andy Buchanan 2016

Scotrail have launched a new campaign today to encourage you to go to Edinburgh. They are also suggesting that those living in Edinburgh will come here for the day. The Great City Swap is supported by the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau and Marketing Edinburgh and it promises ‘memorable experiences and hidden gems’.

Research into the Central Scotland journey found that 90% of those questioned thought that the train trip would make the day out an attractive option, but that only around a third of those actually made the plan a reality. This campaign should help you do just that.

Nesta Gilliland, head of marketing and sales at ScotRail said : “Glasgow and Edinburgh both have great shopping, incredible culture, lively nightlife and family days out.  However, 90% of those we spoke with agreed that both cities are different in their own distinctive ways. That means those who live in either place are in an enviable position. When they travel by train, in less than an hour they can easily be in the other city soaking up amazing experiences.  That’s what our Great City Swap campaign celebrates.

“We want people to travel from East to West, and vice-versa, with ScotRail. It’s not that the cities don’t like each other – they do – it’s just that they need to take the time to get to know each other again. And we’ve got lots of creative ways to encourage people to take the plunge and get swapping.

“Through train travel, we’ll show how easy and enjoyable it can be to discover the real Edinburgh and Glasgow.”

Councillor Frank McAveety, the Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, said: “Our two great cities share so many common bonds, with outstanding sights and attractions on offer. We know that People Make Glasgow and I would urge everyone, not least our neighbours in Edinburgh, to come and experience our welcome and hospitality. From world-class museums and family attractions, to shopping and great food and entertainment, there really is something for everyone to enjoy.”

As part of The Great City Swap, ScotRail will also be highlighting the affordability of leisure fares between Glasgow and Edinburgh.  Outside peak times, return fares between Glasgow and Edinburgh are £12.60** or less.  Kids go free*** and over 50s receive a discount if they are members of ScotRail’s Club 50.  Passengers can speak with ticket office staff at train stations who are on hand to help people get the best deal.

**Off peak adult day return is £12.60

***Kids go free up to age 16 on off-peak returns

Photos Andy Buchanan

Bin lorry mounts pavement in George Square causing number of fatalities

An incident is unfolding in George Square this afternoon where a number of Christmas shoppers may have been killed or injured just after 2.30pm by a bin lorry which reportedly mounted the pavement and came to rest at the entrance to Queen Street Station.

It appears from some reports that the driver may have been slumped over the wheel before the crash, but there is as yet no confirmation of the exact circumstances which led to the incident.

If you are shopping in the area then you are urged to phone home and let loved ones know that you are okay. The emergency services have asked that their lines are kept free for their own use.

Police Scotland issued this statement:

About 1430 hours today, Monday 22 December 2014, a Glasgow City Council bin lorry was travelling north on Queen Street when it appeared to strike pedestrians outside the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) before continuing to travel towards George Square, when it crashed at the Millennium Hotel on Queen Street at George Square.

There have been a number of fatalities and people injured.

Emergency services are currently at the scene.

Police have declared the scene a major incident.

All roads in the surrounding area are closed and people are advised to stay away from George Square and make alternative travel arrangements.

As always Twitter was quick to react to the situation and these are some of the reports

First Minister starts tour in Glasgow




The SNP has today announced the line-up for First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s biggest tour event yet.

The First Minister will tomorrow address a crowd at the 12,000 capacity SSE Hydro in Glasgow. Tickets for the event were booked out in record time when they were released last month.

Ahead of the First Minister’s address, there will be performances from samba band Bloco Yes, traditional Scottish band Trybe, Lou Hickey and friends, Scottish hip-hop act Stanley Odd, Eddi Reader, Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Edinburgh indie band Blank Canvas and Dougie MacLean.

The SNP’s new Depute Leader Stewart Hosie MP and former First Minister Alex Salmond will also address the crowd.

Ahead of the event, Stewart Hosie said:

“This has been a week to remember for the SNP and for Scotland, as Nicola Sturgeon became Scotland’s first ever female First Minister and announced a gender balanced Cabinet.

“The SNP has become the national party of Scotland in all senses – leading in the polls as distrust in the Westminster establishment parties has grown and support for the divided Labour party plummets.

“Over the last month, Nicola Sturgeon has been touring the country speaking to new members of the SNP and people who are not yet supporters about our shared hopes for Scotland. Thousands of people have been coming along to booked-out venues from Inverness to Dumfries to hear Nicola and take part in extensive question and answer sessions. And that engagement is set to continue, with Nicola’s pledge to be the most accessible First Minister ever, continuing to hold regular events throughout the country and Facebook Q&As.

“Tomorrow’s event at the Hydro will be the biggest yet. We are delighted that excellent acts including Lou Hickey, Eddi Reader, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers and Dougie MacLean will be joining us to entertain the crowds.

“The referendum reinvigorated Scottish political debate – the fact that so many people are so politically engaged and preparing to come along to hear our new First Minister speak on a Saturday afternoon is further evidence that Scotland is changed as a nation for the better and forever.”

James Oswald book signing at The Avenue

James Oswald Book Signing


Best-selling crime writer James Oswald will be at The Avenue Shopping Centre in Newton Mearns to discuss and sign copies of The Hangman’s Song in a free event organised by Waterstone’s at Primavera on Tuesday 4th March 7pm till 8.30pm.

The Hangman’s Song is the third novel in Oswald’s Inspector McLean series which is set in Edinburgh. The plot starts with a young man found hanging by a rope in his Edinburgh home. A simple, sad suicide, yet Detective Inspector Tony McLean is puzzled by the curious suicide note.

A second hanged man and another strange note hint at a sinister pattern. Investigating a brutal prostitution and human trafficking ring, McLean struggles to find time to link the two suicides. But the discovery of a third convinces him of malicious intent.

Digging deeper, McLean finds answers much closer to home than he expects. Something terrifying stalks the city streets, and bringing it to justice may destroy all he holds dear.

Oswald’s first two Detective Inspector McLean books have been massive bestsellers – reaching the top of national charts – and the first was a Richard and Judy book club pick. He has also written an epic fantasy series, as well as comic scripts and short stories.

In his spare time Oswald runs a 350-acre livestock farm in North East Fife, where he raises pedigree Highland cattle and New Zealand Romney sheep.

To book a space at this free event contact Waterstone’s or Primavera Bistro at The Avenue.
The Avenue Shopping Centre, managed by commercial property consultancy BTWShiells, offers shoppers a warm and welcoming shopping experience conveniently located on the outskirts of Glasgow city centre.

For further information about The Avenue log onto the website.

GFF 2014: Stranger by the Lake (Alain Guiraudie, 2013)



As the sun sets over the water in Stranger by the Lake, you are reminded  how cinema can greatly embody multiple genres. Presenting itself as an erotic story of lust and danger, it simultaneously ventures in to something voyeuristic and uncomfortably mysterious.

During a hot summer, gay men swarm to a secluded lake that they use as a cruising spot. Surrounded by woodland and with the water stretching far across the lake, Franck, a young seemingly impressionable man who’s fresh out of work, spends his summer meeting men with whom he simply talks, and to others bares his sexual being. When he meets Michel, an attractive, golden skinned strong swimmer, he falls desperately in love with him. But when he witnesses him from the forest drowning a former lover in the lake, Franck is forced to choose between his twisting mind and his throbbing heart.

The film never leaves the boundaries of the lake and the forest, enclosing you and capturing you for its entirety. What by day feels like a glorious, sunny beach turns torrid and unsettling as the moon rises, captured beautifully by the film’s great cinematographer, Claire Mathon. The script, whilst simple, is achingly effective. The characters, each valuable and stunningly realised by their respective actors are what carries this sometimes sinister love story. Franck, played by Pierre de Ladonchamps, teeters cautiously on the edge of lust and infatuation, engulfed almost entirely by Michel (Christophe Paou), whose caustic, stark performance makes you realise exactly what Franck is falling for.

Credit is due to Stranger by the Lake’s brilliant director, whose alluring use of symbolism and minimalism has created a story that, while at times sexually gratuitous, has become an exemplary piece of daring French cinema.

It may be uncomfortable territory for many, but for those who can let go of tabooed thoughts for just a short while will be washed over and drowned by Stranger by the Lake.

Munro’s open mic night

Munro’s bar, in the west end of Glasgow, has launched a new open mic night hosted by singer songwriter sensation Tommy Reilly providing a new platform to showcase local talent.

The 24-year old, who got his break after winning the Orange Unsigned Act competition on Channel 4 before rocketing to the top of the Scottish charts with ‘Gimme A Call’, will host the weekly event every Tuesday at 9:00pm.

Munro’s, located on Great Western Road, offers a great range of quality craft and cask ales as well as some of the best beers from around Scotland and the world.

The open mic night is free to enter and open to everyone, of any age and any ability, with the aim of bringing together the musical community of Glasgow.

Go on, have a go – you know you want to!

Man jailed for Haghill murder

Patterson sentenced to life for murder of Paul Cunningham

At the High Court at Glasgow today Stuart Arron Patterson was sentenced for the murder of Paul Cunningham in Glasgow in January of this year after being found guilty of the crime on 13 September 2013.

Patterson (27) was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a punishment part of 18 years, for the murder and 3 years for being concerned in the supplying of drugs.

Kimberley Lucy Reid (25) was also sentenced today for her part in stealing cannabis plants and leaves from Mr Cunningham’s property and for being concerned in the supplying of cannabis.

On 8 February 2013 at Mr Cunningham’s flat in Haghill Patterson assaulted Mr Cunningham by repeatedly striking him with a golf club. The pair then left the flat with a quantity of cannabis plants and cannabis leaves.

John Dunn, Procurator Fiscal for the West of Scotland, said:-“This was a vicious premeditated assault by Patterson whose intention was to rob and attack Mr Cunningham in what should have been the safety of his own home.

“As prosecutors we are committed to tackling all violent crime, particularly where the use of weapons is concerned.”

85a Collective goes to Edinburgh

Chernozem image

Glasgow-based group 85a is ready to make its Edinburgh debut at Summerhall next month.

The sound, art and performance collective stages elaborate happenings which are part art installation and part theatrical event, with elements of music, film and puppetry thrown into the mix. On 6th December Summerhall will play host to the premiere of Judd Brucke’s industrial-horror film ‘CHERNOZEM,’ a film which the group claims will cast “a cinematic shadow as trenchant and visceral as they come.”

The event will culminate in the ‘Renegade Maskerrade’  party – a mixture of live performances, music and DJs featuring Glasgow band Jacob Yates & The Pearly Gate Lock Pickers.

For further information about 85a check out their website: www.85a.org.uk

Women’s Aid celebrates its 40th anniversary



Women’s Aid have been commended on their 40th anniversary for their work in giving victims the support and protection they need to help rebuild their lives.


The Charity, which provides information and support for many people who have suffered from domestic abuse, have been marking their 40th year anniversary with a series of events which will culminate in a member’s debate in the Scottish Parliament next Tuesday led by Sandra White MSP the local MSP for Glasgow Kelvin where the charity is based.


Angela Devine Manager of Glasgow Women’s Aid said: “What helps us to be successful is the innovative and creative approach and the fact that we continually look for new ways to support women and children. What underpins this work is the really strong multi agency approach and creating strong partnerships allowing us to share information effectively so that women and children have a needs lead service. This goes a long way to make people and various agencies aware of the work we do


“We are always looking for new ways to support women and children on their journey with us through support planning and consultation. Working in schools to promote prevention, and being proactive in our approach to sending the message out that violence is not part of a healthy relationship. Outreach is the area we are keen to develop for women and look to provide refuge accommodation in the south of the city. Of course we couldn’t achieve achieve any of this without inspirational staff to drive us forward.”


Commenting, Ms White said: -“Over the last 40 years woman’s aid have helped countless woman, children and young people escape or recover from domestic abuse and if it hadn’t been for their invaluable work many of these people would have gone on to experience continued abuse or would not have been given the support they needed to come to terms with their experiences and move on with their lives.


“Sadly, the conviction rates for domestic abuse needs to be improved and there is still much work to be done to ensure that people feel able to report abuse when it happens and do everything we can to protect the victims and prosecute those perpetrating these crimes when these cases come to court.”


Icelandair to increase flights from Glasgow airport

One of Glasgow Airport’s longest serving airlines has responded to an increase in demand by announcing it will increase seat capacity by 25% with the introduction of an additional weekly service in 2014.

Icelandair will add a fifth weekly flight to its Glasgow to Reykjavik service commencing Monday 7 April 2014. In doing so, the airline will strengthen Glasgow’s connections to Iceland and Icelandair’s extensive list of North American destinations.

It will be the second consecutive year the airline has added capacity at Glasgow and the fifth weekly flight will increase Icelandair’s seat capacity from Glasgow by an extra 7,500 departing seats per year.

The US and Canada are Glasgow’s second and third largest international markets. Collectively, they account for almost 100,000 visitors to the city each year; generating around £37 million for the local economy.

Events such as the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup and Homecoming Scotland are expected to provide a further boost to what is already a popular service, particularly with the North American market.

Hjorvar Saeberg Hognason, Icelandair general manager UK & Ireland, said: “Our Glasgow route has always performed well, which is no surprise when you consider the size of the catchment area and breadth of industry. We are very excited about 2014 and the extra capacity will allow us to offer even more seamless connections to our growing number of destinations in North America. It will also make it easier for people to travel from Glasgow to Iceland, which was recently voted the world’s friendliest country by the World Economic Forum.

“With the introduction of both Edmonton and Vancouver to our network, we expect strong demand from both business and leisure travellers looking to travel to Canada. The Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup will also prove a huge draw for our North American customers.”

Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport, said: “Icelandair has been serving Scotland since the 1940s, providing important links to the United States and Canada via Reykjavik. The decision to enhance this historic route is a welcome one as not only does it demonstrate the airline’s commitment to the Scottish market, it further strengthens Glasgow’s extensive long haul network.

“With a series of world class events, including the Commonwealth Games, 2014 promises to be an exciting year. Icelandair’s expansion is no coincidence and it will ensure even more people from Iceland and beyond, can come and enjoy the best of Scotland.”

Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau (GCMB), added: “The addition of a fifth weekly flight between Reykjavik and Glasgow is a reflection of the popularity of Icelandair’s service and is a major boost for the city ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

“It presents us with even greater scope to grow short-break leisure tourism from Iceland and it opens the door to new opportunities within the US and Canada, both of which are key markets for Glasgow.

“Specifically, over the coming months GCMB will be working closely with Icelandair and Glasgow Airport to implement joint marketing campaigns in Boston and Halifax aimed at highlighting the ease of access to Glasgow and Scotland for visitors from the eastern seaboard and North America.”