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Sad Side of The Riverside 2011/07/02

Posted by Daddy Dave in Days Out, Family, Musings, Reviews.
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[Our Photo of the Riverside Museum, Glasgow]We were all pretty excited to get along to the brand new Riverside Museum (aka the Transport Museum); there has been a lot of hype, and it was a scorcher of a summer’s day.

It was difficult and slow to find car parking — it was very busy!  The building is nothing special — what a disappointment! It’s L-shaped with a wavy roof. Big deal.  Inside it was pretty much like the old transport museum really.  There was some multimedia, interactive stuff — but as some kid swiped an ice-cream smear across a touch screen, it became apparent that this was just a way of spreading germs.

In the old transport museum at the Kelvin Hall, you could climb up alongside the trams and buses, but not here.  You just sit and watch the telly — or try to — as folk stand in front of you all the time. Ach, what a shame.  The café was tiny and expensive, and the view bleak.  The tall ship was incredibly expensive, and had an annoying hooter and bell thing going on.

I was not very impressed with the finishing of such a prestigious building, and just didn’t “get” the vehicles up high on shelves.  Crazy. I do understand that if you are going to build a new building, you may as well try to get something really different for postcards, something that would have to compete with the Armadillo, something with its own identity. I guess it ticks that box, although it seems to be beyond any nickname in a city with a big red shed, an armadillo, a squinty bridge and a squiggly bridge.  Maybe they’ll call it the skid mark, for it does look like a tyre mark on a road. A bit.

That said, it was mobbed full of Glaswegians (just as well as I saw no evidence of translations/ headsets, signs,  or any help for foreign tourists).  I guess it is just for us as an archive — a trip down memory lane, a school trip or wee day oot. It’s not exactly handy for anything, including public transport.

The old Kelvin Hall benefited from being so close to cafés, restaurants, shops, the university and of course Kelvingrove Art Galleries.  All my life, we have been able to park on Kelvin way or whatever, let the kids play in the parklands on the swings and slides (before we had kids, we used to just stroll along the river, maybe have a sunbathe or picnic near the Botanical Gardens), then a snack in the Art Galleries, a wee listen to the organ perhaps, a look at the exhibits — then pop over to the transport museum.  That’s proper day out.  Closing with a nice meal.  All this was equally convenient for walkers with prams, bike riders, bus types, and those who use the subway. Ach well.  Progress?

I cannot understand why they let the old Kelvin Hall fall into such a state — where’s the TLC? Where’s the maintenance budget?  I think we have skewed priorities when we would rather build a new thing than keep the old established Kelvin Hall going properly.

It is also somewhat odd that we go to a new place, a new building of modern architecture to reminisce, to be nostalgic, to remember Glasgow of old — the Glasgow of The Kelvin Hall.

We didn’t really “do” it properly; it was all too much like the old one. However, we bumped into folks we knew, made the best of a quick skip through, and then out to make the best of a sunny day (a very rare thing in this city).  We watched the sea plane land, and saw the Police helicopter take off and hover for ages over Govan…

We naturally thought it was just another murder or road traffic incident — but suddenly it dawned on us that it could just be a bigot parade!  We dashed for the car, and dashed through the city to get home before everything got grid-locked — and we just made it by the skin of our teeth, crossing in front of the parade just one block away! Phew!

Game over, we were going nowhere. Like a Rangers v Celtic match, the Orange Walk is a curfew for normal people.  Only the armed and brave venture out.  We watched a movie with Oli and DP, did some drawing, goofed around, and got them into bed for the night before cracking open a nice bottle of Barbera, and sitting in the sunset at the bay windows, reading novels and listening to Mozart. Bliss.

We might live in a sad, run down, inner city crime zone, but we do not have to live like those around us.

Tomorrow is the country park for a picnic and the Burrell.  We are so excited!


1. Iona - 2011/07/06

It’s a horrible building and a waste of money.
This woman is no architect!!!

Daddy Dave - 2011/07/06

It’s an odd building, to me it looks like one of those Chinese restaurant fan folded linen napkins, fallen over! It has to be one of the last of it’s kind, BREEAM and the whole carbon footprint save-the-planet thing will put an abrupt stop to modern architecture like this. see http://tinyurl.com/6cv2tzf

Thanks for your comment.

2. Malcolm Harvie - 2011/07/06

Have you seen the new Guangzhou Opera House by Hadid? It is disgustingly impractical and unattractive. New York Times Quote “the opera’s construction was racked with problems and the quality of some of it is abysmal” and they blame migrant workers? Why not blame her crazy design ideas. It is a case of the emperor’s new clothes when it comes to this charlatan.

Daddy Dave - 2011/07/06

Hello Malcolm.
Yes I have seen it (and heard a great deal about the problems), I do wonder about this mathematician turned architect, all of her stuff is very expensive simply from whim and affectation (ie art), expensive tastes means public buildings. Look at the Scottish Parliament! I worked on one of her projects in the desert – the The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center – that was extremely difficult to work in straight pipes and ducts let me tell you! I quite liked that one as it seemed kind-of appropriate to it’s surrounding environment. Well, it didn’t scream library at you, but it looked like something tentlike and fluttery in the desert, a hint of nomadic with a touch of moon base. Come to think on it, you are right; she IS crazy! This is ironic – a building about petroleum research that is incredibly energy inefficient and a massive carbon consumer. Maybe she’s an architectural terrorist, hell bent on bringing down western architecture or even the planet! Mwahahaha!

3. Paul Curry - 2011/07/11

It doesn’t matter as it is good for the city. She’s the celebrity name, and it is just a shed with a funny roof. It still has all the things we know and a few new ones. You cannot please everyone, but this brings tourism and prestige. When people visit for the Commonwealth Games they can take in the sites of a modern and swanky new Glasgow!

4. Maboza Ritchie - 2011/07/19

You’re tootin Dave. With £70 million you could have had a huge museum, though it wouldn’t have been a nice shiny building to go with the other nice shiny buildings on the Clyde. You could also have had a huge part of the City’s transport and technology collection on show, with no need to put cars on walls and bikes on a carousel. The new museum’s just a tourist attraction, designed by a prima donna with an ego that’s bigger than the new museum; it’s another superlative to add to the list of superlatives the city marketing mob churn out with nauseating frequency. Glasgow is a great city. It’s a pity about some of the people making the big decisions, though.

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