I’ve got a few posts overdue here, lots has been going on, and I’ve been talking, thinking and writing a lot recently. I’ve been meeting some amazing women, and have been doing a couple of interviews here and there, as well as setting up some for after the Easter break.
As well as this I’ve also been trying to take photographs, so here is a wee selection from a day I spent walking around the city centre, mostly, taking pictures.
I often find myself on Sauchiehall Street and Buchanan Street, curving down onto Argyle street. These are the main shopping streets in central Glasgow, and always provide an absolute sensory overload almost. Key hubs of the city, there are always swathes of people walking up and down at different speeds, loaded with different types of goods, speaking multiple languages, wearing an array of different clothes, spending time, getting presents, meeting for coffee, smoking, reading different newspapers. I’m planning on recording a soundscape of it next time I am there, and taking some more photographs of people wandering up and down it. Punctuated by a variety of street performers, the musics bleed into one another as you walk down the main drag; accordians, folk guitar, bagpipes, sitars, classic rock all waft through the air, intermingling to create new, unintentional blends of genres, like some kind of bizarre, chaotic ‘world music’ festival.
Consuming, both out of necessity and desire, is a popular recreational activity. As choice has exploded, capacity to buy things from different parts of the world, and present yourself to those around you through the choices you make. Providing spaces for people to gather and spend time together, streets such as Sauchiehall are truly testament to the idea of the street as a stage.
But more on this later, plus soundscape.
For now, here are some pictures
We write ourselves into the city. We cannot pass through unnoticed, whether from the nail marks in a wall in a flat we have moved out of, hammered in to hang a picture of our hometown, or graffiti on the back of a toilet door, or slowly wearing away the cobbles that lead up the hill where at the top spreads below us the view over the city that you we so much, and which gives us some much needed perspective. Or whether its our blood on the concrete, our nails on floor of the subway carriage, bitten off in the kind of anxiety that only cities can bring, or the football scarf we wrapped round a tree at the site of a car crash, to commemorate an aspect of the identity of the person who died.
Whether these marks are temporary, permanent, or somewhere in between, we make them.
And the city marks us in turn, as we marks it; shapes us just as we shape it. Memories inscribe themselves into the stone, the doors, the trees. I am who and what I am in Glasgow because of other places, other ecosystems that I have lived and existed within. When I walk in certain parts of the city, I am on holiday with my ex-boyfriend again and I get a twinge of bittersweet memory; time-space compression. Negotiating space and time through memory.
Cities change as people move to / through / around / away from them
We sense our way around them; smells remind us of home, or are totally new (South East Glasgow smells of marmite on toast as a result of the hops at the Tennants brewery!). Our bodies stiffen and grow heavy and solid with a cold we may never have felt before.
The book ‘Glasgow Smell’ maps the city through time by exploring the smells that make it up.
We have a sense of belonging. A sense of place.
We use our whole bodies to interact and engage with space; we think, feel and do.
There is a reason why
are deemed important elements of maintaining our well-being. Take these away and we become isolated, disengaged and inward looking.
I love taking photographs, it helps me see things differently.
It does give me a sense of being outside, though. Outside looking in. Or maybe it’s being inside but using it to see more clearly inside…? How do we know if we are inside or outside?
Are we not always both at different times and in different spaces?