Today was the West End Festival. After yesterday’s torrential rain and blustery wind, today dawned dull, cloudy and still a bit windy. We had decided to travel in about 12.00 because I wanted to visit a Japan day at the STUC (strangely enough). Parked at Cowcaddens and got the subway along to Kelvinbridge then walked to the STUC. The place was absolutely mobbed. The last Japan day we went to was really quiet, this was the opposite. The STUC is a big building that used to be a school. It reminds me of the secondary school I went to. Anyway, I couldn’t see anyone I knew and there were a load of hyped up teenagers dressed up as manga characters. Obviously West Enders which are the exact opposite of Eastenders. Every city has the East End and the West End and never the twain will meet. I don’t know who I dislike the most. It’s probably the West Enders, they are just totally false. At least the East Enders are real. They might be a bit dodgy, but they’re not pretentious. I hate pretentiousness and these weans were uber pretentious (that was a joke!). Left there and wandered along to Byres Road. On the way there, I managed to grab a shot of a likely lane to add to my Peein’ up closes and lanes album on Flickr. This lane however is in the West End of Glasgow and the act of “peein'” (AKA urinating) is prohibited by order. Even if said peein’ would have watered the weeds and grass growing on the verges. A bit further on was Byres Road, where the procession would take place. This place was also throbbing, but the clouds were lifting and the sun was beginning to shine, so I think everyone’s spirits were beginning to rise. We walked up to the Botanical Gardens where the participants were gathering for the procession. Along the way we passed the old church at Oran Mor which is now a pub and restaurant. There was a band playing and of course, I stopped to take some foties!
Walked back down the length of Byres Road and by this time the we could hear the samba bands, so the procession was getting near. We both managed to get a good viewing point on the route and watched the wild and the wonderful and the downright mental sights of the dancers, bands and general hangers on. All too soon it was over and all that was left was the folk following along hoping for another glimpse of the dancers, bands and maddies. My lasting memories of the day must be the soap bubbles floating above our heads from the wee soap blowers that kids had, the helium balloons drifting free from weans’ hands, the sound of the whistles and the anonymous people who threw loom band bracelets from a window down into the crowd. Most of all, I’ll remember the good nature of the crowds again this year. Just folk having fun in the sun.
When we got back to Cowcaddens there was a surprise in store. It seems that although you can park all day from 8.00am until 6.00pm for a set fee of £2.50, if you stay beyond that, you have to pay an overnight fee of £2.50. Typical Glasgow Council. They try to put a damper on everything. It didn’t work though. I can still feel the sun, hear the bands and those bloody whistles!