La Pasionaria and the Psychedelic Tiger: A short wander in Glasgow, 10th July 2013

Watch a street and you become it. You construct, if so inclined, a narrative: but you are also part of the witnessed event. You shape what you see.

Iain Sinclair, Edge of the Orison

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In Glasgow. Uncharacteristic, sweltering heat and a half hour to spare before the gig. Just enough time for a quick wander, to stretch the legs without expectation. A phone camera will have to suffice if anything should reveal itself.

Out of the Arches, underneath Central Station, and into air larded with deep-fried food aromas and traffic fumes. I’m scanning for a sign to get started. Pastel shades shout out for attention and it seems that even the graffiti is responding to the sunshine:

La Street C'est Chic 1

Can’t help noticing the little green archipelago thriving around the base. The resilience of nature to establish existence, in the most barren of conditions, at a busy city centre intersection.

Head down towards the river and pick up the trail:

La Street C'est Chic II

More dancing colour to puncture the grey. A Bernard Edwards bass line bounces around in the head.

Walk straight on for a bit and over to the right there is a figure, facing towards the river, which looks interesting. From the rear I’m assuming it’s some form of religious icon, arms stretched out to heaven? St Mungo perhaps? Cross the road and down a shallow incline of steps to view the figure face on.

Glasgow 10.07.13

A bunch of flowers. wilting in the heat is tucked into the base of the statue. Obviously, still an active site of memory and remembrance. The plaque directly underneath the figure reads:

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The statue is of Dolores Ibárruri (1895-1989), “La Pasionaria” (“The Passion Flower”), a heroine and leader in the Spanish Republican and Communist movements. An inspiration  to the volunteers of the International Brigade who fought in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939.  

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I subsequently find out the sculpture is by Liverpool artist Arthur Dooley, who created the famous Beatles statue, Four Lads Who Shook the World. I was even more shocked to learn that Dooley never saw La Pasionaria installed, unable to afford the bus fare to come to Glasgow.

Continuing along the riverside walkway, a few people are taking full advantage of the heat wave. “Taps aff”. Sitting, lying down, starfished, enjoying being out-of-doors, heads raised, eyes closed, embracing the setting sun. A sense of the more usual activities of the area are perhaps revealed as a young man is pulled up by two patrolling police officers and asked to empty his pockets.

Underneath another bridge to come face-to-face with a psychedelic tiger. A fiery flux of shifting colours, crouched and ready to pounce on the indolent walker:

Tiger

Tiger 2

Ascending from the river up a miniature Odessa Steps, I half expect a pram to come toppling over the top.

Ascension

…and I’m facing Morrison’s Bar which looks like it may never have opened since Jim checked out:

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Morrison's Bar 1

Morrisons Bar….

…. Around the corner, The Riverside  Club doesn’t look to be doing much business either. Perhaps these are ‘badger’ venues – they only come out in the dark?

The Riverside Club

I head into what I find is Fox Street. Looking back towards the east, the setting sun fracturing into shards hitting the ecclesiastical windows of a distant church:

Sunshine on the Church

Continuing west will take me back towards the City Centre:

Past the silent runners:

Silent Running

and the ghosts of Christmas Past:

Ghost of Xmas Past

and what could be a detail from the Boyle Family’s Journey to the Surface of the Earth  project:

Boyle Family ?

Along with the heat and the sunshine, two cheerful lovehearts brighten up the street:

Side by Side

And a message a few feet away.  No addressee. No object of affection. No initials. Just a statement addressed to whom?

I Love You

I walk up towards Renfield Lane, thinking about how even the shortest of walks through a city can surprise, enchant and provoke reflection.   I’m thinking about La Pasionaria, The International Brigades and psychedelic tigers as I descend into the Stygian depths of Stereo. Moving between worlds. From light into darkness and a prelude to shortly having all body molecules rearranged by the shamanic noise rituals of Nazoranai: Keiji Haino, Stephen O’Malley and Oren Ambarchi. Sound as alchemy, carried within, back through the city, as, after the show, I head for the train in the warm, dark night.

Keiji Haino - Stereo, Glasgow 10th July 2013

Haino I

Keiji Haino - Stereo Glasgow

Haino II

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O’Malley

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Ambarchi / Haino

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Now playing: Stephen O’Malley – Salt

This entry was posted in Field Trip, Psychogeography, Symbol and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to La Pasionaria and the Psychedelic Tiger: A short wander in Glasgow, 10th July 2013

  1. dianajhale says:

    Great stuff! I remember Arthur Dooley from my Lancashire teenage years – bit of an unsung hero.
    Love the observations along the route – very rewarding to the enquiring mind!

    • Thanks Diana. I only came across Dooley yesterday when investigating ‘La Pasionaria’. Read one description of him as: ‘a kind of sculptural Brendan Behan’, Appears to have fallen on hard times later in his life. Good to see that an archive of his work has been established at Liverpool John Moores University.

  2. liminal city says:

    Love the gently shifting graphical imagery, that flaming tiger is wonderful!

  3. Ian Hill says:

    Another great post, and a delightfully sideways look at a familiar city. Whenever I arrive in Central Station, across the Clyde bridge, I always glance to the right to pay a small and silent homage to La Pasionaria – she is a timely reminder of Glasgow’s global outlook, of of its international labour roots, now, sadly, mostly lost following the decline of the shipyards.

    Thanks once more

    Ian

    • Thanks for the comment Ian. I visit Glasgow a lot but had never come across La Pasionaria before. I think the heat drew me to the river and I didn’t have the time to wander far so it was an interesting ‘discovery’. In future, I will follow your example if approaching Central Station from the South. Very best wishes.

  4. Great post. You seem to have distilled the very essence of Glasgow, a place of contradictions – grey yet colourful, slightly threatening yet friendly. Love the flaming tiger – not sure if I would visit those bars without local company even if they were open.

  5. awax1217 says:

    Loved the pictures. And especially the info on the men from Glasgow who fought in Spain. A lot of them were idealists, including writers and poets.

    • Thanks for the comments. Yes the men and women who went to fight were committed and passionate about the cause. A lot of writers and poets but I am also aware of people such as bus drivers and nurses who went to Spain.

      • awax1217 says:

        i saw at the Dali Gallery here in St. Petersburg some pieces he did on this conflict. You are write war brings in everybody.

  6. evsetia says:

    creative art for picture 7 and 8 !

  7. Thanks! The photograph doesn’t really do justice to the impact of seeing the tiger.

  8. Alice hale says:

    Reblogged this on portl3 and commented:
    so pretty

  9. Good heavens, that tiger is one of the most wonderful things I’ve seen in a long time.

  10. I too wonder who the “I love you” message was for. Thanks for a glimpse of Glasgow.

  11. Fernando says:

    Belas imagens!!!

  12. Hajara Pitan says:

    I love traveling and learning about new people, cultures and history! Isn’t it amazing that he created and donated a sculpture and that whoever was responsible for receiving/unveiling it, didn’t think it wise to support his journey to see it? Also, maybe the “unveiler” steeped in grief and maybe having to compensate the bereaved did not think that a priority. Do you imagine that he would then have put it on his bucket list to one day visit Glasgow and see his work? Imagine his joy when he saw it in the papers the next day…. And on and on! That’s what’s beautiful about posts like yours, that they open our minds, send our imagination on a journey and help us travel vicariously! Thank you.

  13. Bob Mills says:

    I really enjoyed this journey. Thank you my friend

  14. daferr says:

    Reblogged this on DAferr.

  15. Cathy Dreyer says:

    What a fabulous piece.

  16. This is fantastic, I must have missed it when you first posted it. Must check out Nazoranai, I’m a big fan of Haino (O’Malley not so much, mind you).

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