Archive for ‘Union Terrace Gardens’

March 5, 2013

Photographs by Oliver Godow

Plan B – Side A Photographs by Oliver Godow

Pink all over 1

A small exhibition of photographs by the German artist Oliver Godow is currently on in the McBey Room at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Godow’s painting-like photographs present us with combinations of angles and colours which I would love to show examples of but unfortunately the Gallery has a policy of zero tolerance of photographing its stuff – unlike Manchester Gallery, Tate Modern, Guggenheim Bilbao – you get the picture.

The two-dimensional angular forms on the left of the door are reminiscent of early 20thC abstract paintings. Perhaps that was just me. I always relate one art form to another when it’s likely the artist wasn’t thinking of anything of the kind. Doesn’t mean to say it isn’t there of course.

Regular readers will know I like to illustrate my blogs so in lieu of images from Plan B I am including some colourful angles from the delightful Union Terrace Gardens which lie close to the Art Gallery.

Union Terrace Gardens

Godow was born in Lübeck but has lived and studied in Scotland.

Union Terrace Gardens 1mar13 yellow

These photographs were shot in Augsburg in Bavaria. Godow’s Plan B that is not Union Terrace Gardens ones.  Just thought I’d make that clear.

Union Terrace Gardens, Aberdeen

Godow’s works encompass a very wide subject area: documentary, urban spaces, objects or as he has here geometric shapes, texture and colour. He captures detail of all kinds of objects with his camera lens so that colour, as in his Pink all over 1 above, saturates the eye to the extent you can almost taste its sugary pink pig quality.

Union Terrace Gardens, Aberdeen

In this exhibition it is colour which is one of the  most striking aspects of his work.  That said his umbrella image is not one of these with its subtle soft fringe of umbrella silk cutting through the 2-dimensional surface as it carries the eye down and across the composition.

1mar13 006 utg

Apart from the Pink my favourite is his Green on Green or a title fairly close to that.

February 5, 2013

Political purges are not confined to Russia

Andrew Neil interviews Renée Slater, agent for Helen Torry over Scotland’s equivalent of Russia’s Pussy Riot protest.

See main blog

September 22, 2012

The Gruesome Fewsome: the Rally of 400 that went phut!

They built up the rally on their Facebook page.

The police were expecting 400.

The media informed us there would be 400 on the streets of the Granite City.

These people were angry.

Angry that Aberdeen City Council would no longer be obliterating Union Terrace Gardens in favour of shops.

The people came.

Well around 55 people and a dog turned up.

The police – two officers watched from a safe distance.

It wasn’t impressive. Demos don’t come much smaller. It did entertain a few curious members of the public wondering what the underwhelming rally was all about.

Nothing much.


September 17, 2012

Aberdeen Deserves Better – Protest 22 September

They demand Aberdeen comes into the 21st century but if that is where these clueless illiterate idiots reside then let’s not.

Aberdeen is one of the richest parts of the UK – never mind Scotland.

Land prices have been steadily rising in Aberdeen. Unemployment is virtually unknown and the economy is booming.

Of course this not enough for the business cabal which was desperate to get its hands on public land in the centre of the city for its own enrichment dressed up as civic improvement.

Lies, exaggeration and even bigger lies have been fed to the northeast public via various media outlets – you know who you are and public servants – we know who you are.

Some were taken in. Some were not.

The previous council, let’s call them the brown-nosers – were thrown out by a discerning Aberdeen electorate and replaced by a council which stood against the business barons and feckin eejits.

The feckin eejits were happy, now they’re nae happy.

They’re still feckin eejits by the way.

So they are organising a demo against the current council on 22nd September. They set up a Facebook page and urged the Aberdeen public – should that read pubic in these feckin eejit language? to support them outside Marshall College.

The protest shall take place outside of the Marshall College on Saturday the 22nd of September at 1:00pm.

Marshall College is nowhere, min. The place is Marischal College. Named after a guy called Marischal. But these eejits know nothing.

They have put out a statement which reads:

The purpose of our protest is not sorely based on the decision to abandon plans to regenerate Union Terrace Gardens, but also the decision to abandon plans to construct the Calder Park development and the third Don Crossing.

We welcome members of the public along should they agree with the above statement.

Saturday the 22nd of September outside of the Marischal College on Broad Street at 1pm.

Let me stop you right there. Your language skills are painful for the reader but the word is solely meaning alone – not sorely which means awfa sair.

Businesses want a modern developing city where land prices are rising and one of the ways to do that is to bring people into the city, tourists for example. Glasgow has Rennie Mackintosh, Edinburgh and Stirling have the castle, Dundee has the Discovery and Inverness has Loch Ness. What does Aberdeen have other than a major traffic problem and probably the worlds most expensive taxis!? The CGP has been scrapped so what does the council plan on doing to promote the city and bring back the small businesses that are the backbone? Yes the recession has a part to play but we have to stop using that as an excuse! If the council are wanting to balance the books then they have to come out and tell the city that. People would rather be told the bigger picture than seeing their city degrade. The people of Aberdeen are proud people and want to see their city doing well and moving forward but it seems that there is a minority, RoadSense for example, that are determined to see it fail. Like I said before I was for the UTG as at least it would have looked like Aberdeen was moving forward. However, if Labour have proof to show that it would not have worked and can show the people the facts then they should do so! I think the biggest problem here is that there is a distinct lack of communication and some people in Aberdeen have lost all faith in government and councils. That will be the biggest challenge for the council and one that they should be focusing on the most!

Aberdeen is a wealthy city – 38% GVA above the Scottish average creating 12% of the Scottish economy with under 9% of its population. Unemployment is extremely low.

I don’t think it’s true that Edinburgh and Stirling share ‘the castle’ and as for the other attractions – Loch Ness isn’t IN Inverness and Aberdeen has, therefore, various attractions close to it – such as castles (plural), mountains (some very famous) and beaches (many the most wonderful in the UK).The City has the lovely Old Aberdeen. It has the second largest granite structure in the world. It has Rubislaw Quarry , one of the biggest man-made holes in Europe. It has some of the finest granite buildings in the whole of the UK.

There is no sign of Aberdeen seriously degenerating – expect that’s what you meant by the word ‘degrade’?

Aberdeen needs those private businesses, owners of some of the finest granite buildings in the UK, to clean them up – removing the grass and other plants they have allowed to grow on them.

Aberdeen does need to encourage in more businesses to Union Street. Failure to tackle this issue has been a feature of councils of all political parties over the last two decades with the building of so many shopping malls which have drawn retail away from magnificent Union Street. Lowering business rates could fill up these empty properties fairly quickly.The Wood proposal would have done nothing to help Union Street.

This writer doesn’t appear proud of his city, if he does live in Aberdeen. He doesn’t appear to know much about it in fact.

And then there is:

I have a constructive meeting on Monday with Grampian Police and Council officials regarding our protest. This protest against ACC is going to happen!

And just what is a professional protest?

Please respect that this is a professional and peaceful protest against Aberdeen City Council therefore violence, vandalism or any other kind of inappropriate behaviour will not be accepted.

Their main banner will read:

“Aberdeen Deserves Better”

Looking at their Facebook page I couldn’t agree more. If these feckin eejits speak for Aberdeen god help it.

PS this is excellent

August 30, 2012


Sir Ian Wood: Send your £50 Million to Africa As Promised! Petition | GoPetition


Please sign the petition to help Africa and Aberdeen in one fell swoop.


August 24, 2012

Union Terrace Gardens: That’s all folks!

August 22, 2012

John Stuart Mill on Union Terrace Gardens decision

John Stuart Mill’s words on government have some relevance for today’s debate on the misconceived plan to replace Aberdeen’s sunken gardens with a concrete monstrosity destined to become as shabby as some of the plan supporters.

‘… beneficial exertion of legislative authority to correct the abuses of what pretends to be local self-government, but is, too often, selfish mismanagement of local interests, by a jobbing and borné (narrow-minded) local oligarchy.

Fortunately not everyone was gullible to the exaggerations, the vacuous statements and clichéd  pronouncements.

Over thirty years of oil and gas in Aberdeen and what have these multimillionaires given to the city?  Look around, it won’t take you long. There’s nothing here they’ve provided. No wonderful street art, no fine buildings, no magnificent developments or even social infrastructure.

Aberdeen doesn’t need any more tasteless developments with short shelf-lives. Aberdeen needs to preserve its magnificent architecture and preserve the best of what it has and be bold. The council should listen to people in the area who know and understand the importance of tradition and culture instead of promoting the whims of powerful men used to dictating their terms to others and fawning here today gone tomorrow councillors totally lacking in integrity or simple good taste.

April 21, 2012

Homage to Helena Torry – A Victim of Humourless Bureaucracy

The office of Aberdeen City Council’s Chief Executive is apparently a humour-free zone where incumbents sit in hard backed chairs, rigid-mouthed and narrow-eyed, gazing out on the kleine Leute with barely concealed contempt.

“How dare they laugh at our new clothes“ squawks the Empress, “ we hold the instruments of power and we WILL NOT shy away from our duty in enforcing respect for our office. So the City Chamber bugler raises the alarm and as if by magic the streets of Torry reverberate to a tattoo of black-leather boots. Iron fists rain down on a wooden door and Helena Torry is plucked from the sanctuary of home and thrown into the town’s jail for the crime of impersonating a human being and injecting intelligent satire into her local council politics.

The following is dedicated to this working class heroine who has got up the nose of tight-arsed bureaucracy.

Homage to Helena Torry

For weeks she fought and she fought unafraid

Sniffing out charlatans and voters betrayed

Helena in the courtroom Helena on the Tweet

Until she was the target of the men on the beat.


Fighting the shameless and fighting  all the sneaks

Businessmen, the bourgeois, the bureaucratic beast

Helen always ready to stifle every scheme

Of the grasping and gullible dying regime.


They’ve got manifestos their promises are new

They’ll sit and they’ll argue and all that they’ll do

Is sell-out their own voters and ride upon their back

And jail them and break them and give them all the axe.


Screaming in language in no one understands

Of the rights that they’ve taken from our own bleeding hands

When we stood in the Gardens and questioned the vote

For promises of jobs recited by rote.


Poor old Helena they hunt you down

The bloodhounds are sniffing all over the town

You work till your eyes turn as red as rust

Poor old Helena in you we trust.



With thanks to Homage to Marat – Adrian Mitchell 
March 10, 2012

Labour insists. Mr Langley says no. But what do you think?

‘Are you thinking of becoming a Councillor?

Aberdeen City Council is committed to strengthening local democracy, and recently held open sessions for people interested in standing for election as a Councillor in May 2012.’

Aberdeen Council is looking for appropriate people to stand in the May elections. Notice the words strengthening local democracy. Fine sentiments.  But what do you think?

‘We will be working closely with our citizens and all of our private and public sector partners because it will be up to all of us, working together’ says Aberdeen City Council with a nod and a wink to local democracy. That’s what the Council says. But what do you think?

The online and telephone voting procedures for replacing Union Terrace Gardens with walkways was judged entirely fair and free from abuse are – surprise, surprise NOT being used in the May council elections. WHY? I don’t know the reasons the Council would use to justify this anomaly although I can imagine. But what do you think?

Members of the Labour group in the Council requested from independent counting officer Crawford Langley (formerly employed by Aberdeen City Council) that it see the records for the city garden vote but were turned down by Mr Langley on the grounds that ‘normal election rules did not apply in this case.’ (P & J 12 March 2012) It’s a point of view but a subjective one and as Mr Langley was only brought in to run the referendum and is not a member of the Council what has it to do with him? But what do you think?

The two Parties responsible for promoting the controversial demolition of the sunken gardens at Union Terrace are the Lib Dems and the SNP.

Lib Dem Councillor Aileen Malone said Labour ‘should accept the will of the people and “move on.”’ (P & J) Lib Dems talking about accepting the will of the people sounds a bit rich to me given what’s been happening at Westminster from where her leader Nick Clegg coincidentally is also urging voters to ‘move on’ from complaining about the ‘reforms’ of  the National Health Service in England and Wales being planned by his Party and the Tories. But what do you think?

SNP Callum McCaig also wanted events to move on – to ‘”more important” issues’ (P&J) Yes I’m sure he does want to move on from this hugely divisive battle in the City which remember maintains to be – how did that go? ‘strengthening local democracy’ – ah, yes just words on a page. But what do you think?

Some Tory said something but life’s too short to quote Tories.

I am sure Mr Langley is absolutely independent and well respected for his knowledge about elections and no-one is questioning this but Mr Langley is one man and in Scotland we should not live by the views of one man. We expect our political system to be open and seen to be totally fair. Any person (or persons) hiding behind procedures flies in the face of open government. But what do you think?

SNP and LibDems insist the vote, postal, telephone and online, showed that the voters in Aberdeen came out in favour of the garden scheme. Fair enough. So what is the point in keeping the vote hidden? Follow the procedures in elections and allow scrutiny of the votes by the Labour Party in the City. The Council can only win through doing this.

Everyone involved in running democratic institutions in this country should remember they are answerable to the people and should not be erecting barriers to openness in carrying out their duties.

But what do you think?

March 3, 2012

Sign the petition to save 200 year old elms, please