Field Trip Psychogeography Symbol

La Pasionaria and the Psychedelic Tiger: A short wander in Glasgow, 10th July 2013

Watch a street and you become it. You construct, if so inclined, a narrative: but you are also part of the witnessed event. You shape what you see.

Iain Sinclair, Edge of the Orison


In Glasgow. Uncharacteristic, sweltering heat and a half hour to spare before the gig. Just enough time for a quick wander, to stretch the legs without expectation. A phone camera will have to suffice if anything should reveal itself.

Out of the Arches, underneath Central Station, and into air larded with deep-fried food aromas and traffic fumes. I’m scanning for a sign to get started. Pastel shades shout out for attention and it seems that even the graffiti is responding to the sunshine:

La Street C'est Chic 1

Can’t help noticing the little green archipelago thriving around the base. The resilience of nature to establish existence, in the most barren of conditions, at a busy city centre intersection.

Head down towards the river and pick up the trail:

La Street C'est Chic II

More dancing colour to puncture the grey. A Bernard Edwards bass line bounces around in the head.

Walk straight on for a bit and over to the right there is a figure, facing towards the river, which looks interesting. From the rear I’m assuming it’s some form of religious icon, arms stretched out to heaven? St Mungo perhaps? Cross the road and down a shallow incline of steps to view the figure face on.

Glasgow 10.07.13

A bunch of flowers. wilting in the heat is tucked into the base of the statue. Obviously, still an active site of memory and remembrance. The plaque directly underneath the figure reads:


The statue is of Dolores Ibárruri (1895-1989), “La Pasionaria” (“The Passion Flower”), a heroine and leader in the Spanish Republican and Communist movements. An inspiration  to the volunteers of the International Brigade who fought in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939.  


I subsequently find out the sculpture is by Liverpool artist Arthur Dooley, who created the famous Beatles statue, Four Lads Who Shook the World. I was even more shocked to learn that Dooley never saw La Pasionaria installed, unable to afford the bus fare to come to Glasgow.

Continuing along the riverside walkway, a few people are taking full advantage of the heat wave. “Taps aff”. Sitting, lying down, starfished, enjoying being out-of-doors, heads raised, eyes closed, embracing the setting sun. A sense of the more usual activities of the area are perhaps revealed as a young man is pulled up by two patrolling police officers and asked to empty his pockets.

Underneath another bridge to come face-to-face with a psychedelic tiger. A fiery flux of shifting colours, crouched and ready to pounce on the indolent walker:


Tiger 2

Ascending from the river up a miniature Odessa Steps, I half expect a pram to come toppling over the top.


…and I’m facing Morrison’s Bar which looks like it may never have opened since Jim checked out:


Morrison's Bar 1

Morrisons Bar….

…. Around the corner, The Riverside  Club doesn’t look to be doing much business either. Perhaps these are ‘badger’ venues – they only come out in the dark?

The Riverside Club

I head into what I find is Fox Street. Looking back towards the east, the setting sun fracturing into shards hitting the ecclesiastical windows of a distant church:

Sunshine on the Church

Continuing west will take me back towards the City Centre:

Past the silent runners:

Silent Running

and the ghosts of Christmas Past:

Ghost of Xmas Past

and what could be a detail from the Boyle Family’s Journey to the Surface of the Earth  project:

Boyle Family ?

Along with the heat and the sunshine, two cheerful lovehearts brighten up the street:

Side by Side

And a message a few feet away.  No addressee. No object of affection. No initials. Just a statement addressed to whom?

I Love You

I walk up towards Renfield Lane, thinking about how even the shortest of walks through a city can surprise, enchant and provoke reflection.   I’m thinking about La Pasionaria, The International Brigades and psychedelic tigers as I descend into the Stygian depths of Stereo. Moving between worlds. From light into darkness and a prelude to shortly having all body molecules rearranged by the shamanic noise rituals of Nazoranai: Keiji Haino, Stephen O’Malley and Oren Ambarchi. Sound as alchemy, carried within, back through the city, as, after the show, I head for the train in the warm, dark night.

Keiji Haino - Stereo, Glasgow 10th July 2013
Haino I
Keiji Haino - Stereo Glasgow
Haino II








Ambarchi / Haino











Now playing: Stephen O’Malley – Salt