Tuesday, 11 December 2012


Having always been a sucker for Glasgow style - I don't mean the MockIntosh fonts and the rather corporate version that the city council tried to use to get visitors from America - I'm intrigued by the CCA's latest event. The CCA - despite a few rocky years in the early millennium, has always been a hub for the arts in Glasgow, and under Francis McKee has gone some way to being a midpoint between the rough, exciting DIY communities and the more mainstream galleries.

Earlier in the year, the CCA housed the exhibition What we have done, What we are about to do, which took a peek at the archives from the Third Eye Centre (the space that occupied the CCA's building before its rebuild and rebrand. For ten days, the venue is homing in on one year of the venue's events, 1986 - a time when the Glasgow style was, apparently, defined.

It's the twentieth-fifth anniversary of a fashion show that was directed by James Runcie and designed by Minty Donald. I think this is the same Runcie who did a documentary about J.K. Rowling, and has written four novels. I know that Donald is still designed work, and had a superb entry in last year's G.I. festival, had a psychogeographical exhibition in Tramway and teaches at the University. 

Looking back, that is enough to convince me that this wasn't an ordinary fashion show - to be honest, this pair impress me more than the fashion designers in the original show, especially when some of them were "making their name... with Marks and Spencer and Next."

The fashion came with added extras - lighting design, accessories and photography exhibitions. It was a fair effort to give Glasgow a sense of panache- and this was back in the day before the post-industrial look was in, and the City of Culture had turned Glasgow into an international by-word for regeneration through the creative communities.

There was also a series of gigs, with rising bands selected by someone from The Herald. I wonder whether we'd trust The Herald to be able to identify rising bands today. Personally, I'd ask Dave Kerr from The Skinny, or Bram Gieblen from Texture. Or Alan Millar. Or me. 

That aside, some of those bands are coming back for a gig, to see whether they've still got it. Since this happened before I was born... over to the press release...

"The New Piccadillys are a four piece beat group, fronted by Keith Warwick and George Miller, whose 1980s band The Styng Rites opened the Glasgow Style music season. Their faithful 1960s recreation of 1970s punk is typified by their debut single, a cover of The Ramones' Judy Is A Punk, but rock'n'roll treasures from all eras are given the tight harmony treatment by George, Keith and rhythm section bassist Mark Ferrie and drummer Michael Goodwin.
The Beat Poets are Scotland's premier surfing instrumental rock & roll band. They have trodden the shining path of twangy guitars and primitive beats since 1986, saxes honking joyously, tartan ties flying. They topped their Silver Anniversary in showbusiness with a birthday show at the 25th Glasgow International Jazz Festival. It's a mighty long way down rock and roll. As Link Wray once remarked: "These guys are right now!" Dancing guaranteed.

The Glasgow Style 1986 publicity leaflet said: “BMX Bandits are a happy pop band who aren't just incredibly famous but also incredibly nice chaps. The band has a flexible line-up – they sing, dance and play a multitude of instruments.” Even after all these years, every word of that is true, and no more so than on the group's latest superb Elefant label album, BMX Bandits in Space. Frontman Duglas T Stewart leads the current posse of Bandits through a celebration of that majestic heritage."

Date: Friday 14 December 2012 Time: doors 7.45pm, live music from 8pmCost: £12Venue: Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), 350 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3JD

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