Glasgow Paranormal Investigations

 

GPI 

Exploring the unknown in Scotland is Glasgow Paranormal Investigations, one of the country’s oldest ghost hunting clubs. Founded in 2008, GPI investigates places like castles and military bases; as well as businesses and homes.

In fact, it was haunted house that led to the club’s formation.

Investigator Billy Binnie said: He said: “One night I was at home watching TV, with my back to the door, when my wife went upstairs for a shower. I heard her come back downstairs, open and then shut the door and go back upstairs. I didn’t think anything of it until she came back to watch TV.

“I asked her what she had forgotten and she was confused; she said that she hadn’t been down the stairs until right then. But I had felt and heard the door open and close. So if it wasn’t her then what was it?”

Intrigued by their experience, both Billy and Kim Binnie attended a ghost-hunting group, where they met paranormal investigators Lisa Maxwell and James Hume.

Binnie recalled: “After going to a few of these meetings we decided we could do much better ourselves; so we broke off and formed our own group, which became Glasgow Paranormal Investigations.”

Now the four work with ‘relief investigators’ to track paranormal activity.

Binnie said: “We can help people understand what is going on their houses; we can track the paranormal activity and attempt to communicate with spirits through our technology.”

The group does not however perform exorcisms.

Binnie explained: “For that you would need a priest or a really good medium.”

He added: “If people have genuine poltergeist activity then they should seek help, not attempt to tackle it themselves. Care should be taken when dealing with spirits.”

Despite this warning, Binnie perceives ghostly activity as a positive thing.

He said: “Belief in the paranormal has given me more hope in life after death. It makes me think that when people die it is not just the end; that they continue on in another plane of existence.

While firm in his belief, Binnie wants to find more evidence of ghosts.

He said: “Paranormal activity centres around personal experience, which can be hard to translate into solid evidence.

“For example when GPI went to Renfrew Baths, we heard a faint cry about four or five times in a row. Of the eight of us in the room, six of us heard it. No one in the room made the noise, but I am at a loss to say what did. I would say it was a spirit, but I can’t prove it beyond doubt because I didn’t have a camera on everyone.”

Video cameras are just some of the technology GPI use to track ghosts.

Binnie said: “We now use spirit boxes to scan radio frequencies and look for manipulation. This allows us to ask questions and hear answers in real time.”

As well as spirit boxes the club uses electromagnetic frequency (EMF) detectors, video and thermal imaging cameras.

Binnie said: “Thermal imaging cameras detect change in heat, so you can see hand and feet prints left by spirits. The cameras used to be thousands of pounds to buy, but now you can get ones that you plug into iPads and capture the thermal images through its screen.”

Evidence of the clubs’ findings can be seen on its website, but Binnie said this is no substitute for a live investigation.

He added: “Sometimes when you are just about to pack up the tracking technology goes crazy or you hear an unusual noise. Sometimes when you are chatting as a group the spirit can feed of your energy; or seek to get the energy directed back to them and let you know they are around.”

While exciting, Binnie said GPI work was hard.

He explained: “The club is not for everyone. There can be hours and hours of video footage and audio files to go back and examine after an investigation takes place.”

However, enthusiasts are always welcome to try the club.

Binnie concluded: “The best way to join GPI is to come along on our investigations and get to know us. We have very high standards/expectations from members. So at the moment it is a case of working alongside us as a relief investigator until everyone is happy.”

To join GPI gatherings enthusiasts can find the details on the group’s Facebook page.

 

Origami Scotland

Origami Scotland

 

Origami – the art of folding paper into decorative forms – has many appeals: it’s cheap, easy to practice and beautiful, so it’s no surprise that the craft has grown from Japanese to global culture.

Dennis Walker, Origami Scotland member said: “Origami seems to have originated in Japan. Early Japanese records show representative models, depicting things such as cranes and flapping birds. Then in the early 20th century the craft was developed almost singlehandedly by Akira Yoshizawa.”

He added: “Yoshizawa’s work reached 1950s America and its enthusiasts were inspired to hold an exhibition in Holland. At the same time origami societies started popping up, hosted by people such as Lillian Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer founded the OrigamiUSA club and went on to help establish the British Origami Society.”

The British Origami Society will next year celebrate its 50th anniversary, showing just how far the craft has come.

Walker said: “About 15 years ago people didn’t know what origami was. Now the British Origami Society holds conventions every year. A few years ago we had the first one in Scotland, situated in Edinburgh and organised by Origami Scotland.”

A member of both Origami Scotland and the British Society for Origami, Walker explained his love of the craft.

He said: “Origami is versatile; it is both mathematical and creative. It can be as cheap or as expensive as you like; and it is mobile, you can pick up a bit of paper wherever you are and start practicing.”

This accessibility was what first got him hooked.

He confessed: “Some of my early models were made from the inside sheets of my school jotters; so my early origami has little blue lines across it.”

Having practiced the art for years, Walker then went on to create his own origami model, the Snowflake.

He said: “I like snow, so a few years ago I had gone looking for a design for a snowflake fold. I found a diagram by a well-respected artist called Joseph Wu; but the edges seemed quite curved and didn’t seem spikey enough. I wanted something that had more spikes and a layered effect.”

Failing to find the design he wanted, Walker set about making it from scratch.

He recalled: “I understood the techniques that would be needed to create such a pattern -having folded many models before – and knew that I would need something based around a centre twist fold; to give me paper to create the spikes and overlaps. So after trying a few variations I settled on the pattern that you can see now.”

Walker added: “I can now fold this pattern in about 20 minutes; it’s quite mathematical and includes repeating the same pattern of folds around six times.”

Repetition is – Walker explained – one of the things that causes origami to be so relaxing.

He said: “Modular origami – which repeats folds in paper the same way – can be quite meditative. But another way practicing origami can be relaxing is through following technical designs that require concentration; this allows folders to focus on following diagrams – step by step – and forget their troubles.”

As well as relaxing participants, origami can stimulate its creators.

Walker explained: “Origami creators can be likened to composers. Like composers origami creators will make the diagrams detailing construction of the final piece. Folders are then like musicians; they take these patterns and use them to perform the final piece. Folders also put their own interpretation into the pattern as they go.”

Walker recalled his favourite origami creators.

He said: “I like the work of the late French artists Eric Joisvl; his work is very artistic, but very difficult to diagram, because all the folds were improvised.

“At the opposite end of the spectrum is an origami artist called Joel Cooper who folds beautiful masks using a polygon technique to form faces.”

Both artists’ creations can be found online, along with a host of many other origami and how-to videos.

Walker said: “My favourite video sharing site is Happy Folding, but beginners can visit the British Origami Society information site and visit the Origami Scotland Facebook page for support.”

The internet – Walker said – has been a double-edged sword for origami clubs.

He explained: “Social media has made it a lot easier for origami clubs to stay in touch, however it has made it harder to attract new members, as the art form lends itself to online resources, which enable people to practice more and more from home. Sometimes this makes people less inclined to join a society – which means that they miss out on the social aspect of the clubs.”

Walker explained the other benefits of origami meet ups.

He said: “When members go to clubs they get a varied understanding of the way in which people fold. Some fold more accurately than others and these differences lead to different techniques that are easier to understand when meeting in the flesh. I certainly find it easier to be more creative when I can listen to live feedback.”

Walker encouraged people to come along and try Origami Scotland.

He said: “Every two months or so we meet up. Before our meeting we have a look through books at origami patterns that we would like to share. If there are beginners struggling with a fold then we all muck in and try and give them a hand. It can help to have a few people put their heads together.”

For information on clubs in the UK, Walker explained that fans could visit both the Origami Scotland and British Origami Society websites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASMR

ASMR

Dr Craig Richard Ph.D.

 

 

Giving the world tingles is the new art form ASMR. Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is an audio and visual phenomenon that has gained popularity through YouTube, where thousands of artists continue to post their relaxation videos.

 

What is ASMR

 

ASMR is a term coined in by cyber security professional Jennifer Allen, who in 2010 identified common sensations she and other Facebookers experienced. The sensations included tingles from the head to the body and mild euphoria, prompted by soothing, repetitive sounds and actions.

Although similar to hypnosis ASMR is so called because it doesn’t just relax its subjects, it provokes peaking waves of pleasure.

 

How does ASMR work

 

One man who has studied the phenomenon is Dr Craig Richard, Ph.D. in Physiology and Cell Biology and founder of the ASMR University (an online resource sharing centre).

While Dr Richard admits more research is needed to discover the cause of ASMR, he hypothesises that it mimics interpersonal bonding – such as that of a parent and child – and causes similar feelings of comfort.

He said: “ASMR and bonding behaviours share similar triggers like gentle touches and soft voices between individuals that trust each other, and also have similar responses like feeling comforted, feeling relaxed, and feeling secure. 

“Some of the basic biology of bonding is well established and this involves specific behaviours, which stimulate the release of endorphins, dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin. These bonding behaviours and molecules may provide a good explanation for most of the triggers and responses associated with ASMR.”

Dr Richard summarised that endorphins were likely to be the source of ASMR ‘tingles’; dopamine the source of ASMR’s moreish nature; oxytocin for the reduction of stress and serotonin for the elevation in mood incurred by ASMR.

 

Does ASMR work for everyone

 

Dr Richard suggested the key to understanding ASMR lay in ASMR insusceptibility and cited a 2016 study by Smith, Fredborga and Kornelsen.

He said: “This study demonstrated that people who experience ASMR may have different neuronal connections in their brains.”

The study compared the default mode network (daydreaming part of the brain) of 11 individuals with ASMR to that of 11 matched controls. The results indicated DMN of individuals with ASMR showed ‘significantly less functional connectivity’ than that of the controls, but also increased ‘blending of multiple resting-state networks’.

These network conditions seem to make some people genetically more likely to experience the phenomenon than others.

However, Dr Richard noted that even those who easily experienced ASMR could build a tolerance to its triggers (such as whispering) when faced with repeated exposure.

He said: “ASMR is probably mediated by neurotransmitters or neurohormones because tolerance is a typical response to repeated stimulation of a receptor.

“Receptors are very good at becoming less sensitive over time in response to the same stimulus, this is especially true for endorphin receptors. This is why people who repeatedly use morphine or oxycodone (which bind to endorphin receptors) need more drug to get the same response over time.”

Dr Richard said that if ASMR were confirmed to trigger endorphins it would explain ASMR tolerance.

 

Can ASMR help treat illness

 

Aside from recreation, fans have started to debate whether ASMR might also help lessen the experience of pain and illness.

Dr Richard said: “There are many anecdotal reports on the internet of people sharing how ASMR has been helpful for their insomnia, anxiety, and/or depression.”

He noted the 2015 publication about ASMR – Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response: A flow-like Mental State – which suggested ASMR might be helpful to individuals suffering from depression or chronic pain.

The doctor explained: “This data set showed that watching ASMR videos boosted the mood of 80% of the participants, and those at high risk for depression had an even greater boost to their mood.”

However, Dr Richard was quick to explain that many more studies must be completed before any real conclusion could be met. He also cautioned that ASMR was no substitute for medical diagnosis and treatment.

He said: My biggest concern is that people may use ASMR to self-treat serious medical issues rather than seeking medical attention. I strongly recommend that individuals talk to a clinician if they think they are suffering from insomnia, depression, anxiety or other serious conditions – and to talk with the clinician about the potential use of ASMR for their condition.”

 

ASMR as Art

 

While its medical value remains unproven ASMR has been embraced – by many- as art. ASMR videos across YouTube feature everything from make-up tutorials, to car maintenance, massage, and role –play; with artists investing hundreds in 3D sound equipment to enrich the experience.

Dr Richard listed some of his favourite ASMR artists as WhispersRed, Tony Bomboni, Deep Ocean of Sounds, SoftlyGaloshes, SoftAnna, Heather Feather, GentleWhispering, JellyBean Green, SensorAdi, Dana ASMR and theASMRnerd.

Reflecting on the vast range of ASMR videos available, Dr Richard offered ASMR artists advice.

He said: “Artists should be genuine and not expect everyone to love the type of ASMR they create. ASMR is a personal and specific experience triggered by many different stimuli.”

To help gain further insight into ASMR, the doctor encouraged readers to go to the ASMR University and take part in its survey.

He concluded: The wider goal of the website is to help to encourage others to further spread the awareness of ASMR and/or to get involved with research to help understand it better.”

Glasgow Mela Festival

Mela pic

 

Bringing the world to Kelvingrove Park is Scotland’s biggest multicultural arts festival, Glasgow Mela. Taking place on 17 July – from noon until 8pm – the event celebrates Scotland’s diversity.

Glasgow Mela Steering Group Chair, Councillor Soryia Siddique said: “We have artists coming from India and Pakistan, as well as acts who will perform sets based on Roma, Polish, Chinese, African and Scottish Culture, to name just a few. It is truly a multi-cultural celebration of Glasgow and all its communities. “

With live music, dancing, workshops and food, Glasgow Mela has something for everyone.

Siddique added: “Mela is a family event so everyone – from the very young to the very old – can come and enjoy it and they often do. One of the real pleasures of working on the event is to see so many families.”

40,000 people attended Mela 2015, as the festival celebrated its 25th year.

Siddique recalled: “Last year was brilliant, amazing, fantastic. I don’t imagine anyone who saw the headline collaboration of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers and The Dhol Foundation will ever forget it. We enjoyed a glorious day.”

This year’s festival looks to continue the trend, with Pakistan’s Pop Idol Asad Abbas; UK Bhangra star Lehmber Hussainpuri; and the Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band all headlining.

Siddique added: There will also be several Glasgow based musical collaborations that I am very excited to see performed live for the first time.”

As well as music, Mela 2016 will host interactive workshops.

Siddique said: “We have a dedicated area which will allow younger people to give new sports a try and there is also an area dedicated to global games. As well as this, there is a Children’s zone that includes an Indian puppet show and a place to make and fly kites.”

After working up an appetite revellers can take respite from Glasgow Mela’ s many food and drink stalls.

Siddique explained: “The Glasgow Mela is always held shortly after the end of Ramadan and so we aim to have a broad range of food, much of it locally sourced, for people to enjoy.”

The Councillor concluded: “If you’ve never been you have to come and give it a try. There’s a whole world of entertainment happening on your doorstep. Come and join us as we celebrate the many cultures that make Glasgow the vibrant and distinct city it is.”

 

Picture: Copyright to Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Mela.
(L-R) Amisha Mandaniya, Gayatri Dixi, Pragati Malhotra, Consellor Soryia Siddique, Dhuwaraha Rajathelakan, Thurgajini Srikaran and Dagshagini Taylor.

Summer Movies at Loch Lomond Shores

Summer Movies

 

Nothing says summer like open- air cinema and that’s what is coming to Loch Lomond shores this July 2 -3.

Organised by the events arm of alfresco caterers Firedog; the Summer Movies will show two days of free family-films, on the big screen.

Firedog Events partner Jonathan Stipanovsky explained: “We are going to have a 60m screen – one of the biggest in the UK – pulled down onto the beach. The top half of the beach will host a 18 by 6 meter bar tent, cornered off with white picket fencing, leading down to a deck chaired area by the screen.”

Launching at 10am Saturday with cartoons; Summer Movies will continue with Finding Nemo at noon, Jamanji at 2pm, Back to the Future at 5pm and Jurassic Park at7.30pm.

These box office classics were chosen so that families could enjoy the films without loosing the plot, should they stop for a break.

Stipanovsky said: “We choose films that were good action films that everyone has seen and loved. The idea is that people can arrive at any point of the film, sit with some food and drink and enjoy their favourite bits.”

Easy viewing continues on Sunday with another 10am cartoon start; followed by Toy Story at noon, The Goonies at 2.30pm, Dirty Dancing at 5pm and The Lost Boys at 8pm.

All of the showings are free to attend, but seating is likely to fill up fast.

Stipanovsky added: “We have deck chairs and picnic benches at the front of the cinema. It’s first-come- first- served on seating, but being at the beach people can bring their towels.”

As well as two seating areas, Firedog Events has organised food to compliment the films.

Stipanovsky said: “Firedog will be there – in our fire engine catering van – serving gourmet hotdogs, fries, nachos and Aberdeen Angus burgers. Joining us will be Bowl Food, offering a range of hot treats from a converted ambulance. Firebird will also be on hand, serving up stone-baked pizzas; as well as The Buffalo Truck, who will be cooking up fired chicken.”

To wash all this down the bar has a range of treats.

Stipanovsky listed: “The licensed area will have Jaw Brew and Estrella beer, Rekorderlig cider, Daffy’s Gin and a cocktail bar.”

The bar tent will be open from 12pm till late.

With trains every 15 minutes from Glasgow to Balloch, it’s the perfect excuse to leave the car at home. Or – for the designated drivers – the Charlie Mills coffee truck is open from 10am till 10pm.

Stipanovsky concluded: “It’s a free event with a stunning backdrop, massive screen, great films, beach bar and some of people’s favourite food. What’s not to love?”

Pehchaan

Pehchaan

Spicing up Scotland’s summer is the Tramway Indian art exhibition, Pehchaan. Running from June 18 to July 31, the show captures India’s new aesthetic ‘identity’.

Glasgow Museums Curator of World Cultures, Patricia Allan said: “Focus on classical art in museums and galleries reinforces a widely-held perception that Indian art is ancient and has no connection with the present.

“Pehchaan opens the door to another India – the dynamic, creative, inspirational art from today’s streets and studios – which is somehow firmly inspired by centuries of tradition.”

The collection features folk art, textiles and contemporary works, alongside material from Glasgow Museums new collection. This collection was acquired (especially for the project) with support from the Art Fund’s RENEW programme and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

Bringing the project to life is creative designer Gabriella Marcella, who invigorates the art with public workshops, discussions and activities.

Allan said: “The colour and energy of Gabriella Marcella’s set design adds a buzz and excitement to the immersive event; there’s a surprise around every corner.

“Pehchaan is a fun experience, a snapshot of the sights, sounds and mystery that is India.”

Pehchaan showcases three art traditions: Punjabi painted trucks, West Bengali wax cast brass sculptures and contemporary sculpture from Assam.

Collation of the work and interviews with the artists were filmed, before pieces of the documentary were added to the exhibition.

Allan explained: “The edited excerpts of the film are an important part of the exhibition experience.”

This experience spans two continents and five years of work, shared between Indian curators, Glasgow Museums and community artists.

Allan added: “Pehchaan gives tribal, street and geographically isolated artists from three regions of Northern India a unique opportunity to showcase their skills to a larger audience.”

As well as introducing new art to Glasgow, Pehchaan attempts to introduce new visitors to Glasgow museums.

Allan said: “A key part of the project has been to use this collection to engage with communities who do not normally visit museums. We intended the RENEW collection to be a springboard for creativity, dialogue and imagination.

“Therefore, as part of the project we ran six months of community art workshops inspired by the new collection, culminating in a community event at Scotland Street Museum.”  

She concluded: “Community workshops are also part of Pehchaan in a specially designed workshop area within the exhibition space.”

Pehchaan image: Painted truck back with image of lion by Jarnail Singh, 2013.

Girls and their Mothers

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 07.27.49

 

Busting the myth ‘like mother like daughter’ is Scottish photographer Kim Simpson. Showcasing in East Kilbride Central Library – from May 28 to June 30 – Simpson’s exhibition, Mothers and their Daughters, celebrates individuality.

She said: “I have been inspired by the experiences of raising my daughter, Lamaya, who is of mixed race. She has been raised in the same Scottish town that I grew up in, and while our experiences are largely similar there has unfortunately also been some negativity due to the colour of her skin.”

Simpson explained that as Lamaya grew her peers became more conscious of image and how hers differed to their own.

Simpson added: “My daughter had a particularly difficult school year in Primary 7, when a class full of children who she had been with for the last six years seemed to view her differently all of a sudden.

“I found it extremely hard to get the school to take action on this and felt that my concerns were being brushed off.”

Being white from a largely Caucasian town, Simpson saw there was apathy for the challenges faced by mixed race families. Realising others were also experiencing these frustrations, Simpson used her art to connect individual’s narratives.

She said: “Spending time with girls and women of mixed race who had grown up experiencing what my daughter had, and flourishing in spite of it, was inspirational.”

Simpson photographed sixteen families all together, resulting in a total of 48 images.

She recalled: “There were many stories shared, both positive and negative. People who lived pockets of the same city – some only minutes apart – had huge differences in social interactions with their local areas.”

Recognising the differences in maternal relationships, as well as the common challenges, Simpson’s work struck a chord with many.

She said: “I am overwhelmed at the amount of support this project has received from its infancy to exhibition planning. I am pleased to have created something that has been so well received.”

As well as personal significance, the project has professional significance as Simpson’s first solo tour.

She said: “Co-ordinating a solo touring exhibition has been a huge learning curve and great experience. I am now able to respond to the feedback gained during my exhibitions; allowing me to think bigger by incorporating talks and community projects in to my work. I am also looking to expand my existing projects with a real national significance.”

This is no mean feat, considering Simpson juggles exhibitions with paid work and parenting. Despite this challenge, she explained motherhood was what led her back to her passion for art.

Simpson said: “While most kids want to grow up to be a vet or a police officer, I wanted to be a wildlife photographer and work with David Attenborough. I also used to love sketching and painting, but never saw art as a viable career option.

“However I came back to art as an adult, during some time out of work when my daughter was born.”

While on this break Simpson took up painting again, working on leather and 3D objects. She began painting more intricate designs on shoes, a skill which eventually saw her win Best Customizing Designer at the UK Urban Fashion Awards, in 2007.

Despite this passion for paint, Simpson yearned to focus on photography.

She recalled: “I began spending more and more time considering themed images for each of my shoe designs, until eventually I was painting to match photo-shoot ideas. It was at this point I listened to my inner child and pursued photography full time.”

Simpson went on to study photography at City of Glasgow College, staying for four years, and earning a First Class honours degree.

She said: “The final two years of study saw me hone an interest in to the Visual Norm.”

This theme continues to be seen in Simpson’s Mothers and their Daughters exhibition, as well as providing inspiration for her next project.

She concluded: “I will be continuing this theme through an exhibition of new work, at the Dysfunction Gallery, in September 2016. This work will then be included in Glasgow’s Black History Month exhibition, during October.”

 

Southside Fringe

SSF

Showing how Scots do Southern hospitality is Glasgow’s Southside Fringe. Running from May 13 – 29, the celebration includes in and outdoor events.

Co-founder Corinna Currie said: “We have an amazing selection covering live music, theatre, cabaret, comedy, spoken word, burlesque, literature, visual art, film and well being events.”

With such a mix of activities its no surprise last year’s festival welcomed over 9000 revellers.

Now in its third year the Southside Fringe has returned with exciting new features.

Currie explained: “This year we are delighted to introduce a dedicated heritage programme, welcoming on board Pollok House and House for an Art Lover. “ 

House for an Art Lover hosted the festival on May 14 with Art on the Park, the programme’s first alfresco event. Delivered in partnership with Art on Scotland, the event included an art fair, live entertainment and food stalls. 

Continuing festival firsts Southside Fringe 2016 launched its ‘legacy’ work, with the Clutha Trust, bringing activities to Castlemilk Youth Complex.

Catering to all ages the festival includes activities across 52 venues, including historical buildings, cafes, pubs and even a pool.

Currie said: “Govanhill Baths have a wonderful range of theatre events.”

She added: “Loks bar have a full programme of events from Ceilidhs, to David Bowie tribute nights. We’re also really excited to see how the open air space down at Pollokshield Playhouse will be used.”

As well as pop events, the festival will have international activities.

Currie said: “We have singers all the way from Kenya, Ogoya Nengo and the Dodo’s women’s Group, performing at the Glad Café; music from Brazil, in Nossa Bossa on May 19,, and a Traditional Eritrean Coffee ceremony, hosted by MILK on May 16.

Tastebud treats continue at the festival with a Gin and Food evening at the Salisbury and also the Spanish Tapas & Wine Tasting Evening at Bell & Felix.

The festival will conclude with a cabaret party at Loks, starring acts like Creative Martyrs, Kim Khaos and Tom Harlowe.

Currie anticipated: “With Music from the Glasgow Swing Society and the Acquiescent Orchestra there will be a party atmosphere and good measured rowdiness! “

Closing party tickets are £10 and available in Fringe HQ or online.

Currie concluded: The atmosphere at Southside Fringe is electric and full of love. We’re all in it for our love of the Southside. It’s great to feel the area buzzing during the fortnight.

 “You can grab a programme or go online and come along to Southside Fringe. You’ll only regret it if you hear how good things are after they’ve happened!”

Deoch an Dorus Festival

D&D2

Shirking its knitwear image, the Isle of Arran is once again hosting the alternative music festival Deoch an Dorus. Running on April 30, the festival is in it’s second year and it’s back with a vengeance.

Festival organiser Mark McGhee said: “Last year Rory Gordon and I launched Deoch an Dorus with only seven weeks planning, and in this short time we got 400 people attending. It was hosted it in the town hall, with camping inside, and the feedback was incredible.”

“This year we wanted to expand, so we moved it to the North Sannox Glen and planned an amazing line up.”

Included in the programme are McGhee’s band: the Girobabies; Samba group Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5; Ska legends Root System; and Reggae artists Samson Sounds.

These acts and many more will grace the main stage, bar stage and dance tent throughout the festival.

A ticket with camping costs £20 for adults, £10 for teens and under 12s go free. Families are very welcome at Deoch an Dorus, as McGhee explained.

He said: “Last year we got feedback from people saying the festival would be perfect for families, and lot of the Deoch an Dorus artists have kids they thought would enjoy it.”

“So this year we have brought in extra kids activities through the day, such as pony trekking and crafts.”

Other activities at Deoch an Dorus will include: music workshops, reiki, face paining, live art and construction of a mini Stonehenge.

To fuel this fun Deoch an Dorus will have food and drink stalls hosting the best Scottish produce.

McGhee said: “There will be local made burgers by local Robin Gray, as well as veggie options, and plenty of craft beer.”

He added: “Last year everyone from the local community got behind the festival and it had such a good natured vibe.”

This camaraderie, McGhee said, stemmed from the grassroots music.

He explained: “All the bands are really grounded and up for a good time; there are no egos and it attracts a great crowd of people.”

Add to this crowd Arran’s atmospheric setting, and that is what makes Deoch an Dorus unique. This year’s campsite will offer a backdrop of rolling hills and revellers won’t be far from the sea.

McGhee recalled: “Something about getting on the ferry really unifies people and gets them in the holiday spirit.

“It’s only a half- hour drive and 45 minute ferry from Glasgow, but Deoch an Dorus feels a world away.”

He concluded: “Anyone who has been to Arran knows it’s beautiful and anyone who’s seen our acts knows they put on a great gig.”

 

The Homeless World Cup

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 12.10.22 

Homelessness and football are often seen in Glasgow but not usually associated, that is until now, as Glasgow prepares to host the men and women’s Homeless World Cup (HWC) 2016.

Running from July 10-16, the tournament will see George Square converted into three pitches with seating for 100,000 spectators.

These seats are bound to fill fast, as the Cup is un-ticketed and free to attend.

HWC spokesperson said: “It couldn’t be easier; fans just turn up, watch some amazing football and hear some inspiring stories.”

Personal development is centre to the HWC, as players from all 64 teams participate in the its National Partner Programme. The Partner Programme involves 73 organisations from across the globe, which help their national players gain necessities such as education, employment, rehab and supported housing.

HWC Foundation President Mel Young said: “We will have 512 players with us, and every single one of them is at some stage of their journey towards a more stable future. Their personal stories are remarkable, often very moving, but they reflect a real hope for social justice.”

Social justice can be seen in the legacy of the HWC, as its spokesperson explained: Statistics show 80% of Homeless World Cup players re-build their lives.”

He added: “We want that pattern, if not more, to be the case for 2016. We hope Glasgow continues to support its National Partner, Street Soccer Scotland, which helps thousands of men and women out of homelessness and social exclusion.”

Testament to this good work is 30-year-old Scot, Jamie Maclean. Maclean started working with the programme in 2009, but struggled to overcome drug addiction, so missed out on that year’s HWC. However after years of support he got clean, secured a job with the Scottish Association for Mental Health, and joined the HWC 2015 in Amsterdam.

Maclean said: “To be able to come back and have my family watching me on the TV is brilliant. It makes me feel proud.”

He added: “I came through the other side, overcoming addiction and now I’m helping people with similar problems.”

To help people like Jamie Maclean HWC fans can sponsor the tournament, buy a Supporter package or volunteer at the event.

Mel Young concluded: “We need to galvanize our global fan base if we’re really going to make a difference. With 100 million people homeless globally, we’re still just scratching the surface.”