HIS NAME IS “PAUL”

The world famous designer Paul Smith was recently in Glasgow to celebrate the opening of the “Hello, My Name is Paul Smith” exhibition at The Lighthouse venue in the city. The exhibition was first displayed in London a few years ago; but has since spent 2015 and 2016 (so far) touring Europe. Now it is Glasgow’s turn to host…

Paul Smith, along with his counterpart Ray Kelvin, has always been vocal about his affinity with Glasgow, previously writing:

“I’ve always had affection for Glasgow based on the city’s strong art heritage and its wonderful link with creativity. Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the School of Art and just the whole atmosphere of the place is fantastic.”

I was invited down to meet with Paul and get a sneak peak at the Glasgow-leg of the exhibition, guided by the man himself. “Hi, My Name is Paul Smith” draws on Paul’s personal archive and memories, spanning from the company’s very beginnings in the city of Nottingham to the now infamous international prominence the company have built.

The first thing that was instantly noticeable as I entered The Lighthouse was the charisma of Paul himself, he could instantly be identified, despite a) facing the other way …and b) wearing a traditional blue suit and pastel shirt combination.

As he turned to address the noise of us coming through the door, his face was welcoming and content, instantly putting my nerves (I WAS MEETING AN IDOL!) at rest. There was no ego at play here, it was obvious.

I could tell this before he had even opened his mouth yet…

One of the first things that Paul wanted to clarify was the real purpose of the creation of exhibition in the first place. He stressed (almost defensively) that the aim was not to create a vanity project, or an exhibition of how fashion has developed through the years; the exhibition was put together in an attempt to inspire more young people into starting their own business. Any business, in any industry.

The exhibition was mainly recreations of essential rooms in Paul’s business history. However, also included was the “Inside Paul’s Head” room, which aimed to pull together all of the different muses Paul uses to try and inspire his creativity. There is also a room which collects the most bizarre items Paul has been sent by his biggest fan. He/She has been sending him items since the late seventies; Paul doesn’t know their identity, he doesn’t want to. However, if you are reading this, you should know…he has kept them all…

For me, the highlights of the exhibition were:

  • A recreation of Paul’s first shop in Nottingham (which measured 3mx3m!!)
  • A recreation of the Parisian hotel room in which Paul Smith sold their first collection
  • A recreation of Paul’s office (a nonsensical sensory bombardment)

There was no doubt in my mind walking around this exhibition that the Paul Smith in front of me was the same Paul Smith that was welcoming strangers to view his home-made creations in broken French many years ago. Fame and success haven’t changed him; they have simply facilitated his creativity.

Gallus Lad - Paul SmithGallus Lad - Paul Smith1Gallus Lad - Paul Smith 2Gallus Lad - Paul Smith 3Gallus Lad - Paul Smith 4Gallus Lad - Paul Smith 5Gallus Lad - Paul Smith 6Gallus Lad - Paul Smith 7Gallus Lad - Paul Smith 8Gallus Lad - Paul Smith 9Gallus Lad - Paul Smith 10Gallus Lad - Paul Smith 11Gallus Lad - Paul Smith 12Gallus Lad - Paul Smith 13Gallus Lad - Paul Smith 14Gallus Lad - Paul Smith 16Gallus Lad - Paul Smith 15Gallus Lad - Paul Smith 18Gallus Lad - Paul Smith 19

Travel Blog: Berlin (Part 2)

The world I heard most often in Berlin was definitely “rebuilt”.

From the time I spend there, one thing became perfectly clear, Berlin was bombed to ruins during the Second World War. Seriously, go on the “big red tourist bus”; I promise almost every single attraction will have been “rebuilt” after the war.

One of those attractions to have been rebuilt was Berlin Zoo.

Germany’s oldest zoo, it hosts a collection of over 16,000 animals. Rebuilt after the war, it received heavy artillery fire; only 91 of the animals survived the war. I loved Berlin zoo. While I am not entirely comfortable with the thought of a zoo at all, there is no denying that seeing some of the world’s rarest animals is a thrilling experience. The zoo’s separate aquarium is also absolutely worth the money.

After the Zoo, we headed along to the infamous Alexanderplatz; the largest urban square in the whole of Germany. If I am honest with you, we didn’t spent much time in the square. At that time of year (December) it is entirely taken over by a Christmas market and shopping stalls. If I am honest with you, by this point in the trip, we were both pretty much burned out on these entertainment options.

However,  my girlfriend and I spent significantly more time in another German urban square, Postdamer Platz. During the war, Potsdamer Platz was almost completely destroyed (as with most other things…) and spent more than 40 years in a state of wasteland located between the East and West. After the city’s reunification though, Berlin had the unique opportunity to completely rebuild a section of their city centre. They have done well; even the sceptics have had to admit that Potsdamer Platz has been a great success.

My MUST SEE from Postdamer Platz is Panoramapunkt, a stunning viewing platform offering a 360° panoramic view of Berlin. This offers one of the best opportunities for photographs in the whole of Berlin; a must for budding photographers.
An added bonus is the ability to ride the fastest lift in Europe; taking just 20 seconds to reach the top the 24th floor. Stomach churning, but enjoyable!

Checkpoint Charlie was next on this speedy tour of the city. Checkpoint Charlie is the most famous East German-West German border crossing. You will no doubt have heard of/seen it before; this particular army crossing is a favourite for many thriller and espionage movies. One of the reason for its fame is the so-called “tank stand-off” which occurred on October 1961 during the Cold War.
The threat of war was high; but no one fired. It is a really interesting story, if you’re not aware of it, you should look it up.

After all of this walking around the city … we felt we needed a little substanance to fill our rumbling bellies! Pfffft, who needs substanence when you can have sugar!

Fassbender and Rausch is the famous Chocolate producer from the center of Berlin. However, it isn’t just a haven for those with a sweet tooth, it also offers plenty in the way of eye candy: scaled-down (yet somehow still enormous) chocolate sculptures of Berlin landmarks. You can pick a selection of specially made sweets; however, we ended up buying pre-packaged chocolate (which was lovely) after sauntering around lost for a while. We simply couldn’t make our minds up. Far too much to choose from! haha

Close to the Brandenburg Gate in the heart of Berlin is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Made up of 2,711 concrete pillars of varying heights, the final appearance creates a grid-like structure. The uneven terrain helps with the overall effect, creating a beautiful wave like effect. It’s powerful to see and is a fitting tribute to those lost in such a horrific manner.

Now… last week I promised to talk about the Reichstag Glass Dome.

This was the last thing we did in Berlin, attending on our final night. The Reichstag was redesigned between 1994 and 1999 as a modern Parliament building with an attempt to retain the extensive, historical dimensions.

Part of the redesign was the opening of an accessible Glass Dome. Originally the glass generated a lot of controversy, but has since become one of the landmarks of Berlin. You can see why. It’s a stunning piece of architecture.

IMG_0291IMG_0292IMG_0308IMG_0340IMG_0358IMG_0383IMG_0393IMG_0403IMG_0415IMG_0417IMG_0423IMG_0427IMG_0438IMG_0450IMG_0464IMG_0467

Travel Blog: Kilpatrick Hills, Scotland

One of the greatest parts about living in Scotland is the incredible scenery that is within driving distance.
It’s often something we Scot’s very often take for granted.

This week my partner and I decided to tackle the stunningly beautiful walk on the Kilpatrick Hills up to the very “Scottishly” named Loch Humphrey. We even managed to convince my old Border Terrier Harry to tag along for the walk too.

Neither my partner nor I had partaken in this walk previously and so I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting into when agreeing to this plan.

As we arrived at our destination and a VERY steep climb came into sight; I began to fill with a significant dose of trepidation.
I was not prepared for this … both mentally … and in terms of my clothing choices.

Situated 9miles from the heart of Glasgow, the Kilpatrick Hills are a remote, green-coated moorland.
However, the terrain was never too difficult to walk on; despite its steep climb.

The one bonus that came with the climb was that the added height gave access to some spectacular views over the River Clyde, Loch Lomond and the infamous, luxurious, Mar Hall Resort in Bishopton.

…when we finally made it up the hill to Loch Humphrey, it was worth it.
The water was beautiful and we instantly agreed, “let’s do this again.”

IMG_20150927_133536

IMG_20150927_133859

IMG_20150927_134408

IMG_20150927_134428

IMG-20150927-WA0069

IMG-20150927-WA0071

IMG_20150927_134805

IMG_20150927_135737

IMG_20150927_141433

IMG_20150927_141437

IMG_20150927_141441

IMG_20150927_143351