Growing up a little south of Glasgow, I always told myself I would move to the city at some point and for the last 17 years or so I’ve called it my home.
I can’t lie though, since the pandemic started I have started to resent my surroundings and felt like Glasgow is a wee bit of a prison. It feels like there’s nowhere to go – we’re told to stay within our council areas but the Glasgow council area is actually pretty tiny when you compare it to other areas. My mum unsympathetically said to me at Christmas when I bemoaned this fact “well, you did want to live in the big smoke!”
Although there are some lovely parks to visit, more often than not you get there to discover that they’re full of loads of other folk who also are stuck in Glasgow. And given we’re meant to be avoiding other folk and socially distancing (the concept of which I am finding a lot of people still don’t understand) it makes it difficult to actually find places to travel. And, in the last few years since I realised just how bloody amazing Scotland is, I’ve went from someone who could quite happily hibernate on weekends and not leave the flat between Friday night and Monday morning, to someone who needs to get out and about (in my own lazy way obviously).
But one thing we eventually realised during this most recent lockdown is that the least busy part of the Glasgow council area actually tends to be . . . the city centre! Talk about missing the obvious, eh? And one of the coolest parts of the city centre, in my opinion, is the amazing street art.
So without the distractions of a pub calling my name and tempting me with a cold glass of chenin or twelve, or a lot of other people hanging about right where a lot of the art is situated (sadly a common issue during non-lockdown times) we decided to revisit some of the Glasgow mural trail.
You’ll find murals all over the city centre, in places such as down random lanes, on university building walls, or covering gable ends. They cover a whole host of subjects, including Glasgow’s favourite comedian Billy Connolly, who actually effectively received a hat-trick of murals for his 75th birthday a couple of years back.
My personal favourite is just off Argyle Street, opposite the staff entrance to House of Fraser and it’s called The World’s Most Economical Taxi. Not only is it extremely aesthetically pleasing, featuring a taxi floating in the air attached to balloons, it is an Instagrammers dream as you can pop into the photo and pretend to be reaching for one of the fly away balloons, or hailing the cab.
Equally instagrammable, and just a matter of metres up the street from the taxi, is the “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” mural, where a girl appears to be trying to pluck something off the street – it could be you, if you choose to pose for a picture there!
If you pop over to Renfield Lane, near Glasgow Central Station, you’ll find “Bubbles”, featuring two girls blowing bubbles on one side of the street, and a slightly confuddled looking dog on the other – this is another favourite of mine. And in the Merchant City you’ll find an absolutely massive piece of art called “Fellow Glasgow Residents” which showcases all of the lovely wildlife we humans share space with in the city! That one is almost impossible to capture in one photo.
The thing about the mural trail is that it’s ever changing – sadly, a lot of the murals ultimately end up being knocked down due to the temporary nature of their location but, on the upside, there are always new ones appearing. So while I can refer you to the mural trail’s own website for more information, please be aware that some of the murals mentioned may no longer be there.
Finding the murals is a fun way to while away some time if you’re also stuck in the city centre during lockdown . . . we spread it out over a couple of Sundays because we’re at that stage of lockdown where we are having to try and space visits to Glasgow attractions out (sob – it’s a hard time right now!)
BUT it will also be a good excuse once everything opens back up again to come in “to town” for a wee wander around the murals . . . . followed of course by a wee drink! (It has to be done!)