Friday, April 20, 2007


Finally the night of the big photo competition arrived. I ran the olds into town, then went home to pick up Thomas. Already things went a bit wrong. The 5 minute drive to the venue, with 15 minutes to spare started to look a bit tight when some idiot broke down in the middle of Great Western road and simply decided that abandoning his car in the middle of the road was an okay option. So as Thomas frantically texted mum with the news that we would be late, I fought my way through traffic to the West End.
The soirée was being held in the Oran Mor - the old church on the corner of Byres road that has been converted into a bar. On arrival the bouncers told us that if we were here for the photo competition, we'd to go in the side entrance. No problems... We rushed round to the side, flew up the stairs and burst into a rather sedate room, filled with pensioners - weird... an old man came up and asked if we had known the deceased - oops! gatecrashed a funeral - back downstairs we found the other side entrance, leading down, not up a flight of stairs, phew!
Mum and Dad had recruited Steve and Joyce to come as spare guests - figuring they might be somewhat interested in an open bar. The 4 had managed to get in without me to sign them in and had found us a wee table and about 320 free bottles of beer. Everyone else in the room was between 18 and 25 with messy chewed-up hair and funky clothing. After much faffing and munching on canapés (2 hours of faffing to be precise), followed by a very loud wee singing girl (Amy MacDonald somebody), some teuchter bloke got up and made a speech about this wonderful university competition. University competition? He announced that all of Glasgow's students had put their heart and soul into the competition and the overall winner would receive the much-deserved £500 worth of photographic equipment for their place of study! Huh?
This was truly bizarre - I reread the web page today. Nowhere does it mention universities or students. It simply says: We are going to wrap a key building in Glasgow with an iconic image celebrating your city. The iconic image will be created from a mosaic of photos, taken by you the people of Glasgow. This is our invite to you to get involved and be part of this unique work of art. No students mentioned, no prizes mentioned. And because it was being run by an alcohol company you had to give your date of birth to enter, though not your place of study. So it seems that Dad and I had made it through to a final that we were ineligible to win, given we couldn't give the prize money to our place of study. The press had even done an interview with dad so they knew for sure he wasn't a student! Weird.
Anyway, needless to say we didn't win. I thought Mum, Dad, Joyce and Steve would be disappointed but after 5 hours of free beer, they rolled down to the train station, their pockets and handbags filled with more free beer and seemed less than disappointed with the competition result. Dad has now emailed the jury to ask why 2 ineligible finalists were put forward to the judges, though thanking them profusely for the free alcohol. So if he finds out what exactly it was all about I will enlighten you.

Oh and for the record, the winning photo was a portrait of 5 or 6 students smiling into a camera. They looked happy enough, but iconic image of Glasgow? Huh? This photo said smiling students to me, not Glasgow - they could have been from anywhere in the Western world. I guess I must be getting old, I just don't get it.

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