Strictly come prancing

St. Vincent’s Hospice are looking for couples and volunteers from the same household to sign up to take part in their Strictly Come Prancing event in Spring 2021, as the charity begin preparations to allow the event to go ahead in a safe, fun and socially distanced dance spectacular.

Strictly come prancing

St. Vincent’s Hospice is a local charity Hospice at the heart of the community, providing specialist care for those affected by life limiting conditions in Renfrewshire. Every year, Strictly Come Prancing generates thousands of pounds in essential revenue to provide this vital support for people across the community going through some of the hardest times of their lives.

Director of Income Generation for the Hospice, Jackie Young, said: “Strictly Come Prancing is the biggest event on our fundraising calendar, with couples and dance partners coming together in front of hundreds of supporters and sponsors every year, to find out who will be crowned the Strictly Champions.

“With the current pandemic, we have no way of knowing what will be allowed in March: so we are currently working on plans A, B, C and D to make sure that we are able to go ahead in some format. Currently this has involved discussions with venues of limited numbers, doing it across multiple nights, all the way to a live streamed online event. Whatever it takes, to keep everyone involved safe and keep everyone dancing!

“What we do know, is that we need volunteers to sign up and be our dance couples for 2021! So, if you are from the same household or extended household, and want to get involved, learn how to dance, have fun and help out a great cause, we want to hear from you!”

Couples who sign up will undergo dance training from experienced choreographers to make sure they are ready to go on the big night in a way that matches their skill level and is sure to wow the judges. All training will be carried out in line with government guidelines to ensure everyone is safe.

Jackie added: “This event is open to everyone, with former champions including an 81 year old dancing the tango, so please support St. Vincent’s Hospice and get in touch to find out more.”

To learn more, sign up, or speak to the Fundraising Team call 01505 705 635 or email Info@svh.co.uk.

sword swallowing

This Wednesday, and every Wednesday through to the 30th of September, Create Paisley will be running online graphic novel workshops about a sword-swallowing theatre magnate. John Chalmers and Sandra Marrs will be your hosts, a writer and artist team who work under the name Metaphrog. 

sword swallowing

Metaphrog have been nominated for, and won, several awards, and currently have an acclaimed graphic novel called Bluebeard on release. They’ve also done workshops in Paisley before. “We were at the central library for Will Eisner week and we also did several school visits” John tells me. “They went very, very well.” 

 

As for this event, John tells me, ““We loved doing this research. There are some great sideshow posters and some colourful characters.” Delno Fritz is certainly a character. This man, almost forgotten now, was a big draw in his day and a leading international circus performer – as a sword swallower. “He was a friend to Harry Houdini” John says “and a world famous figure”. Colin Begg from Paisley Heritage dug up his story. “Colin came across Fritz and his Paisley connection in David Rowand’s book Silver Threads” John says. “It’s an interesting and very fertile area. The project was to encourage interest in the past, history and local heritage through the story of this man”.

 

He’s quite a man. Delno Fritz, born 1871, was one of 17 children, who ran away to join the circus. Several times. He eventually succeeded in joining with a friend. The friend went on to become a doctor. Delno became a sword swallower, and people went crazy for his act – he even performed for Queen Victoria. “His date of birth is unsure, and his IMDb entry is a bit loose too” John says. “It’s unlikely he is in the 1931 film Freaks for example, since he died in 1925”. The man had become a myth.

sword swallowing

The workshops around this myth will run over 6 weeks. “We’ll talk about how comics work” John explains. “We show character design and world building all using the life of Delno as a springboard or inspiration. That life includes his involvement with the Empire Music Hall, and hence life in Paisley in the early 1900s”. You knew there had to be a Paisley connection – “So there will be six modules with a different focus – including cover design and discussion of changing attitudes” It should be an involving 6 modules.

 

When I ask John if it’s weird to be doing a workshop in Paisley from home, he laughs. “Everything is weird right now!” adding, “It was very hard to research especially now with archives closed and facts distant. We’re embracing the weird!” Sometimes weird times can be fun, and it’s always good to have something to occupy you. if you’re looking for that over the next six weeks, you’re welcome to tune in to Metaphrog’s Zoom workshops.

 

You can see more details and a trailer about this event at the following link, with the registration form included too: https://www.createpaisley.org.uk/news/delno-fritz/

 

Article by one of our new Journalist’s Keir Hind, lookout for more of Keir in the coming weeks.

braehead drive in movie

It was a full house when drive-in movies came to the boardwalk at intu Braehead for the first time last night. (Wednesday, July 29)

Grease was the first film shown and it was the one that everyone seemed to want as 150 cars packed with movie fans turned up to watch the iconic film featuring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.

braehead drive in movie

And as a thank you for their work on the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic, anyone who works for the NHS was given free entry to the first screening.

Later during the second show, which was family favourite, Back to the Future a similar amount of cars were parked up in the boardwalk in front of a giant screen.

The Arena at intu Braehead has teamed up with the Catherine McEwan Foundation charity to help raise much-needed funds to help people living with Crohn’s and Colitis get better care, treatment and quality of life.

There will be two films shown on a giant screen every night and four movies this weekend, with the audio broadcast via a frequency that car radios can be tuned to.

Tickets are still on sale for the drive movie screenings that go on until Sunday, August 2 and the movies being shown are Grease, Jurassic Park, Mama Mia, Goonies, Finding Nemo, Lion King, The Lost Boys, Back to the Future and Dirty Dancing.

Refreshments are provided on site by the UK’s top street food operator, The Big Feed.

Derek McEwan, who launched the Catherine McEwan Foundation after his mother, Catherine passed away after years of suffering from Crohn’s Disease said: “It’s great to be at the iconic Braehead Boardwalk raising funds to help children and adults battling Crohn’s and Colitis.

“Our first night has been great and the fact that we could give a little back to our NHS superheroes tonight made it a bit special.”

Scott Martin, intu Braehead Leisure general manager added: “People seemed to move like greased lightning to snap up the tickets when they went on sale.

“It’s a novel way to have a good night out with the family and there are still a few tickets left for some of the drive-in movie showings during the rest of the week.”

Tickets costing £35 per car plus booking fee are on sale from www.lockdowndrivein.com.

Paisley-Town-Hall-Scene-9075

Work to transform the future of Paisley’s much-loved town hall is due to restart – with construction workers due on site at the start of August.

The project will create 21st-century facilities inside the striking Victorian landmark while delivering improvements essential to keep the town hall at the heart of life in the town – and is taking place as part of a wider investment in Paisley’s historic venues by Renfrewshire Council.

Paisley-Town-Hall-Scene-9075

No work has taken place on the town hall in recent months due to the coronavirus lockdown – however with restrictions on construction sites being relaxed, workers can now safely go on site in line with national guidance.

The contract for the advance construction works on the town has been awarded to Morrison Construction and is expected to run until December.

The main construction works are expected to start next year, and while the exact impact of lockdown on the original timescale is still unclear, the project is expected to be complete before the end of 2022.

Other planned investments still being delivered in the town centre by the council include the work to transform Paisley Museum into a world-class destination showcasing the area’s unique and globally-significant story and collections, on which construction is due to start in the new year.

PaisleyTHNetworkBar

And construction work is due to resume soon on the site of the new Learning and Cultural Hub on Paisley High Street, which will be the town’s new home of library services.

Cllr Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd, which operates the town hall, said: “We are pleased work is able to resume on Paisley Town Hall, which is another positive sign as the area’s economy starts to re-emerge from lockdown.

“Although the council faces a very challenging financial outlook, the town hall, museum and learning and cultural hub projects are all well under way – with years of work having already taken place on each – and we intend to see those projects through.

“In the town hall’s case, the work being planned includes investment in 21st-century facilities which will help drive new footfall to the area in the years ahead, as well as essential replacement of outdated infrastructure without which the building would not have a long-term future.

“The completed buildings will be crucial to Renfrewshire’s long-term economic prospects – our vision for Paisley town centre remains one in which we promote its unique cultural and heritage offer to bring people here.

“And while coronavirus has disrupted that work we hope our continued investment in the town hall and other venues will help the area’s economic recovery from lockdown and give confidence to our local businesses.”

The investment in the town hall is aimed at bringing new activity and vibrancy to the town while ensuring the building has a long-term future. It is planned to include:

– a complete and essential replacement of the old and outdated electrical and mechanical systems;

– the preservation of the unique architectural features within this A-listed Victorian gem;

– an expanded capacity in the main hall allowing bigger and better events and driving more footfall to the town centre, boosting the local economy;

– unused spaces brought back into use and entirely new rooms and facilities created including a new café-bar with views over the river, increasing the range of events the building can host;

– a much-improved audience experience including improved staging, lighting and seating with better views, and improved access making it easier for everyone to move around the building.

Paisley Xmas Lights 16.11.19-3639

Renfrewshire Council will not be progressing with the remainder of its events programme this year, as part of ongoing measures to help to manage the coronavirus pandemic and minimise the risk of local outbreaks.

The decision, which was confirmed at the Council’s Emergencies Board, means that the Paisley fireworks and Christmas lights switch-on events in Paisley, Renfrew and Johnstone will not be going ahead in 2020.

Paisley Xmas Lights 16.11.19-3639

Currently a ban on mass gatherings is in place across Scotland and when lifted it is expected that restrictions will remain in place for some time, including physical distancing measures and advice to avoid crowded places. The decision not to run the winter programme, which attracts tens of thousands annually, also takes into account the lengthy planning time required to safely organise major events.

Christmas Lights will still be displayed across Renfrewshire and work is ongoing with local organisations to plan activities that will safely attract footfall and visitors to Paisley, Johnstone and Renfrew over the festive period, including boosting the council’s Spend Local campaign to encourage people to shop local and support local traders and high streets.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Cllr Iain Nicolson said: “I know this will be disappointing news for everyone who supports and attends our popular winter programme and we are sorry that these events cannot go ahead this year. I hope everyone will understand that we must put public health first and will do everything we can to be back in 2021.

“Scottish Government guidance currently prevents mass gatherings from taking place and since we announced the cancellation of our summer and autumn programme, major events and festivals across the country have continued to be cancelled. Even if the restrictions due to coronavirus were relaxed, physical distancing measures are likely to remain in place for some time to ensure we do not experience local outbreaks and a further lockdown.

“Our major events take months of extensive planning and organising – and with uncertainty over how and when they can return, we have to take this difficult, but prudent decision now.

“We are proud of the social and economic impacts the events programme contributes to our communities – and we will continue to focus on delivering a fantastic events programme in 2021, working closely with national bodies and following public health advice.”

The Council is continuing to work closely with businesses across Renfrewshire to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and support reopening, with the announcement of a £1.3m package of support to help local businesses get back on their feet.

Renfrewshire Council advises everyone to stay safe and continue to follow the national guidance on coronavirus set out by the Scottish Government.

For the latest local updates, visit our ‘Information, help and guidance on Coronavirus’ webpage here: http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/coronavirus

dianemitchellmusic

The Diane Mitchell Music School offers tuition and classes to all ages and walks of life, right now they are doing lots of live videos and one to one tuition over the internet, from babies up to pensioners. For adults who may wish to return to music practice or indeed start from scratch to learn new and life enhancing skills, there are groups and individual lessons in a wide range of instruments at our centres in Paisley at Brick Lane Studios and in the Life Church, and Barrhead at the Evangelical Church.

dianemitchellmusic

For young children, we offer a fun way to enjoy learning about music. Based on the Kodaly approach and using up to date teaching resources, we match the age and preferences of the child to their practice.

We will lead your child on a voyage of discovery in music, while providing useful skills for the future. As well as developing musical skills, Diane’s approach ensures that children also gain in confidence, concentration and social skills. We enable each child to reach his or her potential in music, becoming a successful learner, a confident individual, an effective contributor and a responsible citizen.

As well as offering graded exams (ABRSM and Trinity Rock & Pop), the Diane Mitchell Music School helps to prepare and motivate students to achieve their SQA exams and ultimately learn the skills required for a career in music teaching/performance.

Enrol here.

tartan lisa

Lisa Kowalski and the Accord Hospice are working on pulling together an online music event to raise funds for the hospice. It’s on 25th April and will be called Chords for the Accord.

We have pulled together 10 local artists who Lisa has worked with before to take part and they will be livestreaming their sets into a 5 hour music session with any donations to go to an Accord just giving page.

tartan lisa

Chords for the Accord Rosta

 

Artist Time FB Link
Liv Dawn 4.00 – 4.30 https://www.facebook.com/livdawnmusic/
Liam Doyle 4.35 – 5.05 https://www.facebook.com/liamdoyle22/
Charlene Gordon 5.10 – 5.40 https://www.facebook.com/charlene.gordon.37
Jordan Stewart 5.45 – 6.15 https://www.facebook.com/jostewartmusic/
Graeme Kerr 6.20 – 6.50 https://www.facebook.com/graemejkerrmusic/
Hollie Robinson 6.55 – 7.25 https://www.facebook.com/HollieRobinson22/
Lisa Kowalski 7.30 – 8.00 https://www.facebook.com/lisakowalskimusic/
Alan McKim  8.05 -8.35 https://www.facebook.com/alanmckim123/
Laura Murray 8.40 – 9.10 https://www.facebook.com/LauraMurrayMusic/
Johnny Barr 9.15 – 9.45 https://www.facebook.com/Jbmusic91/

 

Bios

Liv Dawn

Although from the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond, Liv is a friend of the Paisley music scene and recently wowed the audience with her pop/ country styled set at a gig at CCs – Callums Cavern. 

Liv started off 2020 with a bang by supporting Tom Walker on his U.K Home Run tour and was a finalist in the BBC Scotland Singer/Songwriter competition last year.

Liam Doyle

Liam Doyle graces the streets of both Paisley and Glasgow with his wonderful voice.  His singing ability has won him a number of national awards and a strong fan following. He is also an accomplished song writer, who writes from the heart and has released a charity single for Alzheimer Scotland. 

Charlene Gordon

Paisley based singer Charlene, of Rock Choir fame, is a polished performer and accomplished vocalist. Charlene’s vocal ability means she needs no accompaniment and can hit all notes, genres and eras.

Jordan Stewart

18 year old Jordan has already been a fixture of the Paisley youth music scene for a number of years and is a real rising star. With her flawless voice, impressive work ethic and warm heart, Jordan is sure to continue to grow her audience.

Graeme Kerr 


Graeme Kerr is a dedicated acoustic performer from Paisley. His set list is wide and varied and includes songs that are rarely heard but are instantly recognisable.

 

Hollie Robinson

Hollie is a, fun loving but 100% professional 16 year old singer/songwriter who loves to perform and entertain people.

Hollie represented the UK at the World Championships of Performing Arts in Los Angeles in the summer of 2017 returning home with 3 bronze medals and an Industry award in her vocal categories. Not long after this she won Paisley’s Got Talent 2017, singing her way to the win with ease. 

Lisa Kowalski


Lisa’s music career really took off with the launch of the Paisley 2021 bid in 2017 and the release of her EP and Hearts of Gold video, which was about busking in the town.  Lisa has since been honoured to perform at many great venues, from St Mirren FC to an open top bus on 6th Avenue New York.  As NYC Tartan Week 2020 has been cancelled, this week she sang Hearts of Gold live on Scott Mill’s Radio 5 Live show.

 

Alan McKim

 

Paisley singer-songwriter Alan McKim is a passionate performer. Alan possesses a refreshing back-to-basics and gritty approach ideal for these austere times whilst succeeding to keep his sound wholly new and fit to fill city stadiums. Alan is a past winner of the highly prestigious Best Acoustic Scottish Alternative Music Award and is a fine example of why Paisley is considered to be a richly talented music town.

Laura Murray

Laura is a Paisley born Singer/Songwriter with a pop-orientated, soul twist. 

In November 2018 she was flown to Germany to represent the UK in Project Aloft Star 2018, performing her original music to many industry professionals. A subsequent single was quite a hit on Spotify and in Germany.

Johnny Barr


Johnny Barr is a Paisley Singer/Songwriter, Music Teacher and Events Organiser. He is member of the London based singer/songwriter collective Winter Springs (https://www.facebook.com/winterspringsmusic) and is capable of performing a wide mix of songs ranging from Motown to Modern. If you enjoy a musician that is capable of creating a performance totally based on where the mood takes everyone then this is not to be missed. Get your requests in!

theveganleather

A MUSIC festival at Paisley Arts Centre that had to be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic is now going ahead… with bands performing an online gig instead.

The Sma’sh Hits all-day festival was due to take place on April 25 and now four bands – The Vegan Leather, Drift, V.C.O and The Gateway Clash – have each recorded a set on video to be broadcast online that evening from 8pm.

theveganleather

The digital music festival features established and up-and-coming bands from the local area that play a wide range of genres like pop, rock and electronic music.

The Sma’sh Hits event, promoted by Renfrewshire Leisure’s arts team, is being broadcast on the Renfrewshire Leisure website and social media channels.

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “We may have had to close Paisley Arts Centre, but the show most definitely goes on.

“Although it’s not going to be the live event we had planned, we are still going to showcase some of our talented musicians. It’s important that we continue to celebrate and nurture the vibrant local music scene.”

Following a string of successful early singles and festival appearances, The Vegan Leather recorded their debut LP ‘Poor Girls/Broken Boys’ in the legendary Chem19 studios in Glasgow.

Released in October 2019, the album has attracted wide critical acclaim and enthusiastic support from the likes of Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos and Radio One’s Jack Saunders.

Shortly after the album release and the band’s BBC Radio One Maida Vale session in October 2019, the band won Best Live Act at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards and were named by The List magazine among the year’s Hot 100 most influential cultural figures in Scotland

Drift is a Paisley-based electronic duo that merges the folk influences of songwriter Linzi Clark with the electronic styling of producer Andrew Quinn to create ambient pop beats.

Formed as a solo recording project in 2018, V.C.O is the brainchild of Josh Adams that has expanded to a seven-piece live band featuring Ellie Buglass, Lewis Docherty, Lizzie McCreadie, Jon Joe McGirr, Calum Stuart and Nathan Syed Tollan.

The Gateway Clash is a versatile post punk band. The band has drawn on the talents of a group of young artists who attend Gateway – a day centre for people with Autism, learning disability and complex needs. Its material is derived from an eclectic mix of influence from all band members.

Go to www.renfrewshireleisure.com to see the Sma’sh Hits festival performances.

Why not learn a new instrument, develop your skill and keep yourself occupied during this time!

Register your interest via Facebook or at 07896689816
Samantha Duncan 1

THOUSANDS of youngsters and adults will be dancing the days away when they’re stuck at home due to measures introduced to beat the coronavirus pandemic.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s Active Schools team has produced a free online dance workshop video for people to follow at home.

And within hours of the sign-up for the video being launched, more than 800 people registered to be sent a link to download the dance workshop, on Wednesday, March 25.

The video workshop is led by a former dancer, Samantha Duncan, who is now an Active Schools Co-ordinator with Renfrewshire Leisure.

Samantha Duncan 1

The 30-minute video features three dances, including one which shows moves that can be done sitting in a chair.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s chairperson, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “It’s a shame that our clubs and activity camps have had to be cancelled, but we’ve all got to do our bit by staying at home, to help stop the coronavirus spreading further.

“To make sure everyone has the chance to stay active and have some fun to look forward to, we filmed a dance workshop that everyone can download for free and follow in their own homes.

“The dance workshop is not just for children and young people, the grown-ups can also join in. And if anyone is in a wheelchair or is not that steady on their feet, they can still take part because one of the dance routines can be done sitting in a chair.

“And we’d encourage everyone to share videos of their family’s dance moves on social media by tagging @RL4Leisure on Facebook and @RLSPortServices on Twitter using the hashtag #RLSportAtHome.”

Councillor Hughes added: “We’re all facing challenging times just now and we’d like to say a big thank-you to our customers for their understanding and support.”

Log on to www.renfrewshire-leisure.class4kids.co.uk to get the free download link for the dance workshop.

 

Photo Booth London