Paintings in demand

A CERTAIN section of Glasgow has really taken to culture. To be more

exact, they've taken to taking culture.

We are talking about the city's tea-leafs. The light-fingered brigade

have discovered that where there's art there's cash.

A number of galleries have fallen victim to this upmarket shoplifting.

We will not name because many of them are busy installing security

cameras and employing extra staff to deal with this criminally cultural

activity. Among the artists whose works are no doubt currently being

peddled around the less respectable collectors are works by various

early twentieth-century Scottish painters as well as more modern chaps

such as John Byrne and Douglas Thompson.

Attractions for all

STILL on the culture front, the Diary believes that Glasgow's Great

British Art Exhibition at the McLellan Galleries is bound to be a big

hit with Glasgow audiences.

The fact that it has 50 of the top names in British art, from David

Hockney to John Bellaney, doing their stuff will be a factor. But the

fact that one of the exhibits is a big green counter with two videos

playing Frank Sinatra's I Did It My Way on a loop should endear the show

to the citizens who do so like a good tune.

Then there is the representation of Mrs Thatcher as a statue made up

of rusty tins, which should go down nice.

Me? I liked Sir Anthony Caro's big sculpture of a brass elephant, I'm

just sad I missed his monkeys.

Cartoons recalled

THE Bud Neill cartoon memories continue to come in. Nigel Dewar Gibb,

sent in, along with his welcome donation to the Lobey Dosser fund, his

recollection of yet another Neillian nautical work. It featured ''a very

small boy staring up and listening, open-mouthed, to the awe-inspiring

figure of a senior gold-braided naval officer pointing from the bridge

of what appeared to be a very large vessel. The vessel, on closer

inspection turned out to be the Renfrew Ferry. The caption read: 'Yonder

-- to the north -- it lies; dark, brooding and mysterious -- Yoker'.''

William Allan (alias Bankie Bill) of Hardgate recalls a cartoon which

depicted a doctor at a patient's bedside. The caption was simply:

Doctor -- ''Cumfy?''

Patient -- ''Govan.''

Spirit lives on

THE spirit of Bud Neill lives. Jane Rentoul of Kilmelford in Argyll

reports a conversation with a Glasgow van driver. Commenting on the

roads in Argyll with particular reference to the floods in winter and

floods of cars and caravans and tourist traffic in the summer, he

uttered this observation: ''You always get it no' very good here, don't


Clashing batons

SOME news from the front-line at the Scottish National Orchestra where

relations do not appear to be of the best between Field Marshal

Christopher Bishop and the rest of the troops. In fact, lines of

communication do not seem to be fully open between him and his


Not only is conductor Bryden Thomson not having his contract renewed,

he has not even signed the current one. This is because Christopher

Bishop tried to restrict Thomson's recording activities with other

orchestras. His recording work with the London Phil is earning golden

opinions, a fact which is thought to make Bishop less than happy.

The vote on the shop-floor would probably go with Bryden Thomson, even

though he is regarded as being his own worst enemy because of his

abrasive manner.

Many people feel the SNO should persevere with him because he is very

talented and he is a Scot.

Meanwhile, Christopher, the Arch-Bishop, as he is also referred to, is

earning a reputation of being somewhat Machiavellian in his dealings

with other Scots orchestras, who find that co-operation they once could

expect from the SNO is no longer there in such generous measure. A for

instance was the concert at the last Edinburgh Festival when the BBC

Scottish Symphony Orchestra mounted an ambitious performance of Berlioz'

Requiem, requiring many subs from other Scottish bands.

The word went out from on high that no SNO players were to help out.

See Culture? See Concerts? See Guerrilla Warfare?

Scrumming together

THE world of Scottish rugby, still high as a kite after the Grand

Slam, is waiting with bated breath for what sounds like the marriage of

the century.

The former pupil's rugby clubs of two of Glasgow's most famous schools

-- Hutchesons' and St Aloysius' -- are considering a merger. In these

days of limited numbers of players and too many clubs it seems to make


That would be true in this case were it not for the often thought but

seldom discussed fact that the two schools are traditionally at either

end of the good old Glasgow religious divide.

The early alumni of Hutchie, while it was still in Crown Street in

Gorbals, could regularly be seen battling it out with the pupils of St

Bonaventure's nearby with the enigmatic cry of ''Billy, Dan or kick the


It seems that Hutchesons' Rugby Club ex-president Jimmy McNeil, now

heid bummer at the Scottish Rugby Union, is reserving his position on

the merger plan. Some of the old boys of both Hutchie and ''Wally

Dishes'' as the Jesuit College in Garnethill was often less than

affectionately known are already convinced it is a bad idea.

The Diary thinks the merger of Sainty and Hutch makes even more sense

than Mo Johnston signing for Rangers.

Nose for art

ON a related subject, the Diary was sent details of a vegetarian arts

centre in North London with a familiar name. ''The Blue Nose is an

independent non-political venue for all forms of the arts. As such, all

are welcome, regardless of colour, race, politics, age, gender or any

other discriminatory grouping . . . The Blue Nose is an environmentally

friendly concern.''

But how did they come up with the name? ''It was just the daftest name

we could think of at the time,'' quoth a spokesperson.