Archive for the 'music' Category


short one

It is now 19weeks since my operation, just over six months since I fell ill on christmas day and I am now six cycles in on my treatment. Some people say to me this must have been the toughest 6 months in my life, and they are right! I have had a picc line inserted to avoid the ongoing problems I am having with track marks on my arm and the problem I had with a vein blowing during my last treatment which is still a bit painful although it is improving. Now the line is in, which wasn’t easy, I can now take my more of my treatment at home and no longer need to be an inpatient for the time being. I have just finished my first cycle at home and all has gone well although I have felt extremely tired.

I haven’t been up to much since my last long post so I am keeping this one short. I have been to visit the new £74m transport museum and will be putting a separate post together on my thoughts on that but here is a pic for now:

riverside museum and glenlee tall ship

Been watching T in the Park with a bit of envy although the line up ain’t earth shattering. It all seems a bit big now and the crowd gets younger and younger although I always enjoy it no matter what the weather and miss going.

Me, big bruv Steve, and Christine T2006

I love this pic  from T 2006, a great weekend, hopefully I will be fit and well enough to go again next year, you are never too old!

A bit of a trip planned for next week, will be my first week away this year and looking forward to it and hopefully some sunshine and good food and some wine, will report all in next blog!

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my 2010

2010 was a real mixed bag for me on many levels. I am approaching 40 in 2011 and still take some comfort in this still being generally acknowledged as young for an architect. As I have mentioned previously, I have become more active on twitter than this blog but still feel there is some worth in posting on here from time to time, especially now at new year to record a bit of what I got up to in 2010.

Workwise, our most major achievement was the completion of the £3.5m community business centre now known as ‘one wellwynd’. It opened for business in November and there will be an official opening sometime soon. My practice has been working on the project for around 5 years and we are extremely proud of the outcome and initial feedback from the tenants and the public generally has been extremely positive. More images can be seen on the gca architecture+design website or on my flickr stream

one wellwynd


I have continued to progress other projects which will hopefully see the light of day in 2011 including more community based projects, an interesting agricultural residential development, an office extension, a sports pavilion, equestrian centre, several domestic remodelling/extensions and the redevelopment of Hartsdown Park in Margate which is a project I have worked on for around 7 years off and on and is now looking close to being realised.

I have found time to look at entering a few competitions reaching a shortlist of 10 for a new arena at Queen’s Park in Glasgow (see May post) and more recently, a sculpture competition to design a sculpture for the headquarters of SELECT, the trade association for the electrical industry in Scotland which we won. I am not sure what the programme is yet to complete the sculpture and there is a bit of work for me to do in working out the logistics of sourcing the materials and how it will be constructed but i am sure I will hear shortly into the new year.The idea is that it is formed in glass insulators and will light up and glow in the evening.

dielectric sculpture

I recently took the role of vice-chairman of the Lanarkshire Business Group and continue in my role as convener of the education committee of the Glasgow Institute of architects. Organising the Alexander Thomson Scholarship is top of the list of duties along with getting the next GIA photo competition up and running in the next month.

I didn’t travel as much as I had hoped during 2010, mostly due to pressures of work. I managed a few days on the Isle of Skye and the beginning of Spring and a trip to the Alps in Autumn to climb the highest mountain in Italy Gran Paradiso via some walking in chamonix in France. I did keep up my growing interest in Photography and started to get a good bit of interest in my work. I invested in a DSLR, a canon 400D a few years ago with a view to taking pictures for the GCA website. Since then my interest in photography has grown and grown and I love taking pictures of architecture, landscapes and pretty much anything else. The one area I haven’t developed in is portraits which I have started to concentrate on more. I have now started my own photography website and invested in a canon 5D Mark II and a new tripod, now looking into investing in some good lenses and seeking out good assignments for myself.


portencross, one of my first trips out with new 5D Mark I

i never managed to get to any music festivals this year, which is the first time in a while. I go through phases of wanting to go to see live music and this year I haven’t seen much and missed a lot of gigs i would usually have gone well out of my way to see. It may be an age thing but i find myself much less likely to go out midweek, it’s probably more to do with working long hours though. I recently saw the pogues on what they were calling their farewell tour. I have lost count of the amount of times I have seen them live, the first time being in 1987 supporting U2 at Murrayfield during their Joshua Tree tour. Although McGowan can be eratic in his performances, the strength in the rest of the pogues and the quality of the song writing always make these gigs a worthwhile experience. I am going to see New York band The Walkmen in glasgow shortly which will hopefully ignite my enthusiasm for seeing a bit more live music this year.

2010 wasn’t the greatest for film releases, the fact that Clash of the titans made the top 10 grossing films of 2010 backs this up. I enjoyed The girl with the dragon tattoo, the town, kickass and confess to having a soft spot for ironman but was not as enthralled with Inception as I hoped I would be from the reviews it received.

In August I made the trip to inverness to see the Highland Housing Expo. An interesting collection of house designs, some more successful than others. There is so much been written about the expo that whatever I think is probably quite insignificant. I am not sure what it will achieve, I don’t know if the Homes for the future housing on Glasgow green had much influence on future housing design but it did produce some good and mediocre house types.


living area in house designed by Nord

I became a bit disillusioned by social media for a while over 2010 and withdrew from it a bit. I think a lot of people mis-use it and mis-interpret it a lot which can lead to misunderstanding. I tend to keep all the various social media outlets I use separate as some of the issues I discuss are not relevant from one outlet to another. I try to a certain extent to keep what I say on each platform relevant to the people I am connected to and I do not see the use of social media for me a marketing tool although there is sometimes a spin-off benefit of this. Generally when I discuss social media with others they always reply that they don’t have time for it and don’t know how I find the time. I have found though that through my interest in social media I have also developed my I.T. skills to an extent where I now control and update my own websites which I would have thought impossible in the past and which I have also spent a lot of money on previously.

Resolutions for 2011 include improving on the lack of travelling I have done over the past year, entering some larger architectural competitions, getting more of my photographs printed and framed for selling, completing my house designs and submitting for planning and not grumping about being 40 too much although i can’t promise not to at all. I have also been set the challenge of climbing the inaccessible pinnacle in Skye before my birthday which I have accepted enthusiastically! watch this space!

Happy New year All and best wishes for 2011



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April/May/June 2010

Twitter has pretty much now taken over from what I planned this blog as, which was a straight forward record/diary which is why my posts have become less frequent. I think from now on I will try to post more often, but specifically on issues that can’t be covered in 140 characters (you can follow me at scarpadog)

Apart from my trip to Skye at the end of March I have not had any holidays yet this year, I have continued to try to get out and about taking photos and I am in the process of setting up a more formal site for photography as I have had a significant increase in interest in my work over the past 6 months. I have a lot of admiration for those that can make a living from photography as I plan to keep taking photos for pleasure and hopefully sell some if people like what I do. I have never been commissioned to do anything and wonder how this would compare to being commissioned as an architect to design something. I helped out on a wedding shoot once which was enough to put me off this type of work and I had press clearance for the connect festival in Inveraray where I saw how hard some of these guys work to get their photos back to their clients. The mags and newspapers are interested in sharp clear photos of the artists requiring expensive equipment and with over 100 bands playing they need to get from stage to stage and they usually only get the first 3 songs to get their shots which is difficult in the lighting conditions and the fact that the artists are usually moving around. I was more interested in trying to get a shot that would capture some sort of essence of the artists, a bit more like the famous shot of Paul Simonon of the Clash by Pennie Smith, where he smashes his bass off the stage in New York’s Palladium. the photo is out of focus, taken from the side of the stage and can almost be seen as an opportunist shot. It would become the cover of the London Calling album and probably the most enduring image of the ‘punk’ era.

For a first attempt I got a few decent shots, one of my favorites being this one of Nick Cave performing here as Grinderman.


On the architecture front, I managed to find the time to enter a competition for Queen’s Park Arena in Glasgow. The competition was run by the Glasgow Institute of Architects along with the local community council. As an open competition and for a fairly local site, I was keen to enter. I get frustrated when I look at competition entry criteria which resembles the pre-qualification type entry forms that have to be filled in for almost all tenders now. In order to promote new and young designers, these pre-qualification processes need to be revised or abolished altogether. The fact there was no such nonsense attached to this competition encouraged me to enter. My entry can been seen in my last blog post which includes a link to the site where all the entries and finalists can be viewed. Out of 77 entries, my design as selected as 1 of 10 to be displayed at the South Side Festival where the local community would be given the opportunity to comment on the designs. From the 10 selected unfortunately I didn’t make the final 5. With my experience of Scottish weather and from comments made at a consultation event with locals, I had decided to provide a cover to the seating area, an approach that only a very few took. The big problem with doing this was that it would push the cost of the design far beyond the budget set. My opinion though is that if you can use the facility all year and can charge for seating as it is covered then there may be a better business case. It would also help create a destination facility where more people would travel from further afield rather than just a community facility.

The other issue with a competition like this is that if you consider that 77 entries were submitted, if each entry equated to about 30hours work and the person working on it was paid £20k a year then the actual cost would be approx £35k. If a charge out rate of £45hr was used instead the cost would be in the region of £100k!!

The winning entry by ZM will be developed along with the community council now and I hope they get the support and funding to make the project happen and all the hard work hasn’t been a waste of time and hopefully add to the credibility of competitions organised by the GIA.

I have a good few new projects on the go since my last post and will have some images to post soon along with pictures of our Wellwynd Church project which will be complete over the next few months. The industry continues to be tough but I have made measures to reduce our costs and increase our competitiveness. I am enjoying the quality of the work and the clients that we have and are lucky to be still picking up new work which will hopefully continue.

wellwynd interior


August 2009

August, like July has continued to be hectic, Wellwynd Church Project is progressing on site and our new project in Glenboig is taking shape. The Glenboig ‘Life Centre’ is a community led project to create a centre within the village to provide facilities that have been needed to replace existing facilities outgrowing their use and provide for a population which has almost doubled in the past 5 years. The site is within the village park and overlooks a small loch.



The site was formerly Glenboig brickworks. Glenboig bricks were shipped throughout the UK and the rest of the world and where renowned for their quality. I have tried to draw on the industrial history of the site in the design of the building and propose a tower/sculpture made from reclaimed Glenboig brick as a lasting tribute to the industry that helped build the community . I have also used materials that I think will blend well with the park setting. A copper cladding that will darken and age well in its landscape creating forms that echo the former factories on the site.

Glenboig Brickworks, early 20C

Glenboig Brickworks, early 20C

A public consultation took place on 5th September which had a tremendous turnout and a positive response from everyone and I hope to have a planning application made in the next few weeks.

Our next Children’s House is due to be completed in the next few days. I have been resisting taking photos yet due to the constant miserable weather but I am sure I will posting some in my September post. We have now completed 4 new builds and a refurbishment for the NLC Social Work Department and have this month lodged a planning application for a complete remodelling and extension of another property in Coatbridge.

I have now used the newly introduced e-planning system a couple of times and although I have concerns over copyright due to our drawing now being freely downloadable and that the neighbour notification process isn’t quite as straightforward as it seems, on the whole I think it is a great leap forward. No longer will anyone have to go all the way to planning department to view drawings which the majority of people never got around to, they can just look them up and comment on line. I think it will promote more debate about design and has certainly let me see what else is going on from the comfort of my sofa!

Suffered Lars Von Trier’s ‘Anti-Christ’. It was really painfull to watch, some beautifully filmed scenes, however, I found it completely self indulgent. Tarantino’e Inglourious Basterds is a bit of a return to form, not to be taken seriously by any means, but enjoyable none the less.

Treated myself to a new HD tv and the new PS3 which doubles as a BluRay player. The difference from my former tv is unbelievable and think I am going to spend a lot more time watching films!

Severe lack of photography this month again mostly due to the depressing weather and being busy at work. Helped out on a wedding shoot in Dunkeld but don’t think I am cut out for that type of thing.

September plans include a lot more work, but got some gigs to look forward to including Pixies, Massive Attack and The Longcut. Maps has a new album out shortly too so expecting a tour soon.

Thinking of a long weekend trip soon and getting away somewhere hot at New Year.

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Nick Cave

Checked out Portobello Road Market on Sunday Morning. Bit dreich so didn’t hang around long. Got a cool Hendrix T for nephew and a decent breakfast.

Headed to Tate to see the Rothko exhibition. I have been interested in Rothko for a while after hearing the story of the Seagram paintings while studying at Art School. I recommend Simon Schama’s ‘Power of Art’ episode on Rothko if you don’t know about the story behind these paintings, worthwhile if you do too. The exhibition is expensive at £12 but it is seldom you will get the chance to see as many Rothko’s together in a show like this and so well set out. The problem for me is that his paintings are atmospheric  and contemplative and the crowds distract from this immensely and it is not a condusive atmosphere to really appreciate the power of these peices. I could also hear the murmers and tuts as I got up close to study the paintings as I got in the way of those viewing fom the seated areas.

Nick Cave

Nick Cave

Headed to catch somethin to eat before the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds gig at the Troxy. Had seen him earlier this year at Connect as Grinderman which is where I took this pic. He is amazing live and has a real presence on stage.  After being tortured by the support band Tenebrous Liar(and I have a reputation for liking really miserable music!), anyone would have sounded good!

Cave did not dissapoint, my only mistake was going for a pee just as mercy seat started, one of my all time favorites (just realised 2 of my all time favorites are called mercy seat!).

Troxy was a decent venue but carpeting a venue holding gigs like this in Glasgow would be a BIG mistake and also, as is found in most of the recent conversion type venues, toilets are severely undercatered for, especially the girls i am reliably informed.

Sneeked a pic of VV from the Kills havin a fag after the gig

Stella and John outside the Troxy

Stella and John outside the Troxy

Visited the V&A and Westminster Abbey before Driving home on Monday, back to work Tuesday…………………………

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