LOOKING THE GATES
As the Glasgow Garden Festival draws to a close. Julie Morrice assesses its
The Coca Cola Roller is going back to Holland where it came from. the Clydesdale Tower is being dismantled and the conger eel in the Sea Life Centre is leaving its cramped tank and will be shipped back home to Argyll. On 26 September. the Garden Festival closes. and already there is an air of uncertainty surrounding the hundred and twenty acres. With the exception of the solid red brick of the Rotunda and the Craft Centre buildings. the pavilions and installations show tip for the flimsy prefabs they are. ()nly the starlings seem unconcerned. pecking away on a trim lawn which will be a building site by the new year.
There is no uncertainty for the employees of the Garden Festival. however. Nearly a thousand people work for the Festival. and come the 26th. all of them. bricklayers. waiters. accountants will be out ofa job. In the maze of portacabins which house the administrative staff there are conflicting emotions at play. The Glasgow Hera/(1‘s recruitment pages are in evidence with their jaunty ad ‘Soon Available From The Garden Festival — A Great Bunch of People'. and one ofthe staff is leaving at the end of the week. yet the publicity machine drives ever onward. A three-foot pile ofleaflets is brought in for mailing. ‘This is us aiming for the four million.‘ they joke. riding high on their success. That morning. the Festival welcomed its 3.378.37lst visitor. breaking the attendance record set by the Liverpool Festival in 198-1.
‘lt's the man in a blue anorak and the woman in maroon. you can just see them'. said the woman standing beside me on the bench. Geoff and Helen Fielding from Rutherglcn didn‘t know what had hit them. A Nebuchadnezzer ofchampagne was popped. cameras flashed and Scottish ()ffice Minister. Ian Lang. presented them with a holiday in Canada. It was a celebration and a half: ‘A lot of people thought the Garden Festival was going to be a flop. and it hasn‘t been.‘ said one of the press officers. 'This is a big day for us.‘
Suitably enough for a Festival which has weathered the wettest July for more than a hundred years. the celebration took place under drizzle which soon turned to driving rain. The queue for the Clydesdale Tower
sprouted souvenir umbrellas and raincoats. the Coca Cola Roller closed down due to technical problems and the daily parade of performing artists was cancelled.
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‘We can't take the heads out in the rain.‘ said a big chap from Whitefield Road Community Centre. The heads are enormous papier-ma‘iche figures. worn by volunteers from the community centre. From beneath the surreal faces appear out-of-proportion legs and. on this occasion. hands wielding empty champagne glasses. Would they miss wandering around the site every day. scaring children and looming over the flower-beds? 'Oh ayc. its a laugh. and it gets you out. doesn't it.‘
Michael Dale. the man who has organised the thirty thousand performers who have so far appeared at the Festival. is. I suspect. going to be quite pleased when its all over. For the moment. the panics and the phonecalls in the middleofthc night are continuing. but what is next on his agenda? ‘I’m staying in Glasgow. I'm sure there's something I can do for somebody.‘ he says pleasantly. Glasgow 1990 has less to offer other Garden Festival ex-employees: ‘We‘ve been pushing for keeping the trams but its fallen on deafears. After this we're on the streets.‘ said one ofthe nine maintenance staff who have kept the Garden Festival‘s five trams running safely andsmoothly forthe 1.2 million visitors who have journeyed the short stretch along the river. (The tramway was supposed to run all the way tip to the Clydesdale Tower. but the engineer misinterpreted the drawings). The maintenance men reckon a tramway from the suspension bridge up to the Bells Bridge and the SECC would be a great idea and a money-spinner for the City ofCulture. The trams at the Festival are on loan from the Tramway Museum in Derbyshire. but Glasgow’s own trams are sitting in the Transport Museum. ‘We could have them running in nine months.’ said one of the engineers. ‘and its far better for them tobe running than sitting in a nice regulated environment that makes the wood shrink.’
Three months oftraining last year went into making these tram engineers. ‘We knew it all already. of course. We worked for BRET. (British Rail anineeritig).' BR no longer have a maintenance works in Scotland since the Springburn depot
closed. All the trains that break down. or require routine maintenance are sent to Derby. where 'they just join the end of the queue.‘ So nine qualified
maintenance engineers are looking for work: “It's not easy. You see the adverts in the paper. They all want highly experienced twenty-five year olds. Once you‘re over thirty. you haven't a chance.'
All over the Garden Festival people said what a shame it was that it was all going to end. Four years of preparation fora five month Festival is just plain daft. was the universal cry. The shrill chorus has gone unheeded. The owners ofthe majority of the land. Laing I Iomes. are even now thrashing out details of the Festival site ’afteruse‘ with the SDA and the local authorities. The major part of the site is earmarked for ‘two prestige housing developments' and a ‘business park‘ but. if the District Council and the SDA catt sort out who will pay for it. an eleven acre public park is to be retained ‘as a permanent reminder of the lflh’SGarden Festival.‘
BE THE START OF
Trevor Johnston outlines plans fora revolution in cinema going in Glasgow. September?“z sees the openingof what is potentially the most exciting development on the Scottish film scene for quite some time. with American .Multi Cinema's Clydebank If) set to open its doors to the public. Sited around fifteen minutes from Glasgow city centre. adjacent to the Clyde Regional
Shopping Centre off Kilbowie Road.
Scotland’s first multiplex \\ ill offer ten air-conditioned auditoria computer-designed to the latest specifications. and all with w rap-around Dolby stereo. grouped around a central foyer providing a full service restaurant and a number of fast food concessions.
Following in the wake of A M( "s
Publisher Robin Hodge. Editors Nigel Billen. Sarah I Iemming. Associate Editor Allan Hunter. Design Simon Iistcrson. Advertising/Circulation .IL‘ss Barrow. Rhobat Bryn. Sheila Maclean. Accounts Georgette chwick. Typesetting .Io Kettnedy. Nikki IIoarc. Hewet Text ' Production Editor Paul j Keir. Production
Co-ordinator Mark i-‘isher.
Production Assistants Nicholas (iillard. Iain Grant. Art Alice Bain. Books Alan Taylor. Kristina Woolnough Classical Music Carol Main. Dance Alice Bain. Film Allan Hunter. Trevor Johnston. Folk/Jazz Normatt Chalmers. Food .lulie Morrice. Sally Stewart. Kids Sally Kinnes. Media Nigel Billen. Nightlife Stuart Raikcr. Andy ('rabb. (‘olin Steven. Open Sarah
other British operations at Milton Keynes and Gateshead. the concept is based on the American tnodcl of a \ isit to the cinema as an occasion that's not jtist a quick in-and-out to see a film. but might also include a meal for the family. The standard of comfort available remains a prime attraction. for the ten screens each hay e a seating capacity of around two hundred. which makes this a selling point over the sometimes rather restricted auditoria ofolder converted cinemas. and the company’s policy ofcompetitive pricing will also cause the established chains to take notice.
While the aim is to programme for the family. one hopes that the number of screens will mean genuine variety for Scottish cinema-goers. and not lust a wider selection of blockbusting Hollywood fare. though this ofcourse remains to be seen (full details. as ever. in every issue of The List).
More people enjoying movies in comfortable surroundings cart only be a good thing. and with plans for expansion at the ()deons in Glasgow and Edinburgh. another proposed multiplex site in the old Glasgow Apollo and (hopefully) GFT 3 on the way. the signs are there for a quite heartening period ofexpansion in a market that just a few years ago looked to be on the wane. ('l'revor Johnston).
Hemming. Rock (Edinburgh) Mab. Rock (Glasgow) John Williamson. Sport Stuart Bathgate. Theatre Sarah llemming. Travel Kristina Woolnough Camera ladinburgh Make-up Services Cover Indian Givers: pholo Cedric Martin; liuirCharlie
Jumreson 's' wardrobe
l Corniclte Coveroesign
l Nigel Billen. Paul Keir.
4 The List In- 2‘) September 1988