Scotland

Constant Renewal

017_CLARK_Re-NewAll-2.jpg

Photography & Text by Derek Clark

Constant

ADJECTIVE

Occurring over a period of time.

Remaining the same over a period of time.

(of a person) Unchangingly faithful and dependable.

NOUN

A situation that does not change.

Glasgow, like most cities, is changing rapidly. But you may have noticed that the older something gets, the better the chance of survival. The Provan's Lordship is the oldest house in Glasgow. It's a stones-throw away from Glasgow Cathedral and was built by Bishop Andrew Muirhead for the chaplain of nearby St Nicholas Hospital in 1471. I was lucky to have the place to myself when I visited recently and I have to say that it was more than a little eerie. You can practically feel the history in each room as you make your way through the house.

Nearby graves at Glasgow Cathedral have alphabet gardens growing in the engravings of the tombstones. Nature takes back everything eventually and here the soil has blown into the channels, followed be seed. constant growth; Constant renewal. Nothing ever stands completely still.

A short walk towards the city centre reveals the latest area for architectural renewal. Glasgow College and the surrounding area has seen a massive change in the past few years with building after building being erected at great speed (at least for someone who lives outside the city). But if I had to put my money on which of these buildings would still be standing in 100 years, The old Provan's Lordship would win hands down.

An old London bus passes by the modern architecture, the rattle of the Diesel engine cutting through the quiet like a chainsaw. It heads toward the Provan's Lordship. A link between new and old.

001_CLARK_Re-NewAll.jpg

The Hidden Lane

017_CLARK_Hidden-Lane.jpg

PHOTOGRAPHY AND TEXT BY DEREK CLARK

DECEMBER 20th, 2018

Back in March this year, I shot some pictures of The Hidden Lane. This post has been sitting as a draft since then as it didn’t tie in with whatever we were doing around that time on Kage. Although it’s a bit out of season, I thought it would be a good idea to put this out as my last Kage post of the year. Sort of clearing out the cupboard so to speak.

When I revisited this post I was struck by how bright and colourful it was. I’m not sure if it was denial or a sense of false hope, but it surprised me that 2017 was not all doom and gloom (even though most of it actually was).

MARCH 20th, 2017

Like the wardrobe leading to Narnia, a typical close on a Glasgow street leads to the Hidden Lane. To be honest, there is actually a sign telling passersby it's there (businesses gotta survive), but it's still a bit of a surprise when you go through the close and arrive inside the Lane.

Brightly coloured doors and even a large building painted in the brightest yellow paint let you know you have arrived somewhere a little different. Different for Glasgow at least as we're not known for bright colours on buildings (although some of the islands off the west coast do embrace that sort of thing). There is actually a slightly odd feeling of stepping into another country, no doubt helped by the sudden appearance of sunshine on the day I visited.

I stepped into the tea shop and ordered a cup of tea and a piece of walnut cake. Sipping my tea from an old China cup that reminds me of visiting my granny as a child, I chat with the waitress about the lane. She tells me that one of the offices belonged to an MP from the Green Party and another was used for restoring antique furniture. I ask if it's ok to take a few pictures inside the tea room and with permission, grab my X-Pro2 and X100F and shoot a few photographs. The waitress comments on my cameras and asks if they are old film cameras. I wish I had brought the Hasselblad as I had intended, but wanted to travel light as I would probably be doing a lot of walking today.

I step out of the tea room and into the cold air, I turn right and enter an alley with brightly coloured doors. The second door is open and I look inside to see a young woman restoring an antique bench. Stepping inside, and with her permission, I shoot a few pictures and chat to her while she works. The bench is around one hundred years old and when she has finished it will hopefully be in use for another hundred or so. Isn’t that what we all wish for? That our work will live on after we’ve gone?

September 3, 2018 at 21:40 pm (Motherwell, Scotland)

By Derek Clark

My friend Steven needed to go to Glasgow today to film some B-roll for a project he's working on. So I tagged along and shot some street while he grabbed some footage. It wasn't intentional, but when I started to look at the photos in Lightroom tonight, There was more than a few people lost in their phones.

The world is a beautiful place!
Life is far too short!
These things are worse than the crack pipe!

JULY 26, 2018 at 3:30 PM (MOTHERWELL, SCOTLAND)

By Derek Clark

My sister lost her fight with cancer at 4:47 am on Tuesday 17th July 2018. She was 55 years old. Joyce was diagnosed with a brain tumour back in November 2016 and despite 6 months of radiotherapy, 14 months of chemotherapy, cannabis oil and honey imported from Israel, one tumour became two and it was clear treatment was not going to work.

Joyce kept her sense of humour right to the end, she never complained or showed any sign of self-pity, but a stroke changed her permanently and made communication more difficult and then finally almost impossible. At the end it was although everything but her lungs shut down, each breath a fight for survival. In the last few minutes of her life, she managed to open her eyes. She was surrounded by family, each of us holding on to her, making sure she knew we were there. Finally, her breath slowed, a few more breaths with longer gaps in between and then silence. She was gone forever.

July 24th, 2018. The funeral was today, exactly one week after she died. We couldn’t believe how many people showed up to pay their respects. It was a sea of faces, some I knew some I didn’t and some I should have known, but didn’t recognise. As requested by my brother in law, Joyce’s coffin was carried by her three brothers and three sons as her favourite singer Andrea Bocelli played in the background.

I've been asked so many times in the past week how I and the rest of my family were. I say that we’re ok, we're getting there. But the real truth is that we are all hanging by a thread right now. My brother in law, their three sons, my two brothers and our other halves, we’re all hanging by a thread. But my parents just buried their only daughter and that's just not right. It's not the way it's supposed to happen. I don't know how they're supposed to move on from this.

So we are all hanging by a thread. But we’re a close family, and if you twist and intertwine thread it becomes rope, and rope anchors the ship, it holds down the tents in a storm. As I write these words I look down at my wrist at the piece of climbing rope that’s been there for almost a year. I realise that it's the stuff that keeps us from falling.

Click on each picture for the caption

Arthur's Seat

001_CLARK_ArthursSeat.jpg

PHOTOGRAPHY & TEXT BY DEREK CLARK

If you’ve watched the movie Trainspotting 2, you might have been wondering about the hill that characters Renton (Ewan McGregor) and Spud (Ewan Bremner) ran up. You know, the one with the spectacular view.

Arthur’s Seat overlooks Edinburgh but the view stretches out far and wide. It’s steep but doesn’t take that long to walk up and the rewards are plenty. The road and rail bridges crossing the River Forth, and beyond that the mountains surrounding Loch Lomond. Turn to the right and you can see the east coast of Scotland. Keep on turning and you will be looking out over the North Sea in the direction of Norway and Denmark (Not that you can see them).

So if you happen to visit Edinburgh in the near future, take a walk up Arthur’s seat. You will find it near the Scottish parliament building and although it might take a bit of effort, you won’t be disappointed.