Glasgow Green, 2010
It’s February 16th, open mic night at The Liquid Ship pub in Glasgow’s Great Western Road. We happen to end up there accidentally after a busy day and listen to various hobby musicians – from middle-aged folk singers to bored-looking girls – while sipping our beers. The third slot on this night’s bill is the one of Lewis Morrison aka Luigi Strauss, a 21-year old Glaswegian student who hasn’t released any records so far. He takes his acoustic guitar and starts into a set that leaves us not only veritably impressed, but also makes us write down his name and contact afterwards (although we normally don’t go to open mic nights to find bands for our sessions). His songs, though, – fragile, unfinished singer/songwriter pieces with occasional wrong notes, but great melodies and a contagious, urgent and very strong emotionality – stick in our heads on the way home, where we then look into his myspace and webcam home videos on youtube and decide to get in touch with Lewis for a session. So we meet up two days later at Glasgow Green just on the bank of River Clyde, where he plays „Ways Of The World“ and „She Will Give It All To You“, surrounded by all kinds of squeaking animals and some training oarsmen (see the from Edinburgh for another agglomeration of animals and sports people on video; seems hardly avoidable in Scotland). „I’m glad you found me. How random.“, he then writes in our guestbook, before he goes off accompanied by a friend.
Report of West of Scotland Handloom Weavers’ Commission, 1839: «I have seen human degradation in some of its worst phases, both in England and abroad, but I can advisedly say that I did not believe until I visited the wynds of Glasgow that so large and amount of filth, crime, misery and disease existed in one spot in any civilized country.” Many things have changed for the good since then, but still Glasgow has a way rougher image than the picturesque and wealthy Edinburgh or the lovely fisher men’s Anstruther. The edginess comes from a working men and football culture, tensions from sports and religion, less historic flair (yet Glasgow has an impressive art nouveau-heritage with traces from Charles Rennie Mackintosh everywhere), less wealth and less tourists. But the city that is not so much bigger (considering the amounts of inhabitants) than the Scottish capital feels much more alive. Especially for music lovers, people who want to go out clubbing and anyone who is more into pop(ular) culture than high culture – this is the right place. There are always shows on in this vibrant city with its numerous venues and with some of the greatest indie bands (that hardly ever come to Austria) playing there. Only during the one week we’ve spent there, Hot Chip, Yeasayer, Vampire Weekend and Spoon a.o. were favouring the live music capital that is said to have one of the, if not the most outgoing audience in UK. Unsurprisingly it was then, that we have met – besides the many Scottish bands – two international acts for filming. Despite or because of some overall roughness, Glaswegians (not the rowdy ones!) are noticeable frank and cordial. At this point we want to thank the friendly music bloggers Jason from The Popcop and Kowalskiy for catching up with us, the helpful couchsurfer Neil for hosting us and all the fun and cooperative local bands that were jumping on our short notice call. The filming with Luigi Strauss took place at the city’s oldest park – dating back to the 15th century – that is situated at the north bank of the River Clyde and at the east end of Glasgow.