YoYP Champion Cllr Michelle Campbell with young people involved in the Halloween Festival

From soaring through the air as part of a witches aerial performance, creating spooky parade floats and working behind the scenes, more than 700 young people are at the centre of Paisley’s Halloween Festival.

YoYP Champion Cllr Michelle Campbell with young people involved in the Halloween Festival

Renfrewshire’s Year of Young People Champion, Councillor Michelle Campbell, met with some of the volunteers, mentees and Youth Panel members as the town gears up to welcome up to 30,000 visitors to the annual extravaganza this weekend, which is supported by the Year of Young People 2018.

Leading creative companies aerial dance outfit All or Nothing, parade specialists Bridgeman Arts and pyro experts 21cc, have been working with local young people, while a 20-strong Youth Panel has been helping to create the event in tandem with Renfrewshire Council’s dedicated Events Team.

There have been 1,200 creative learning opportunities offered by the spectacle, which is supported by the Year of Young People 2018 event fund managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

Young people have attended masterclasses and workshops and are involved in every aspect, from performance to live event management and technical production.

Around 500 young people will also take part in a Mardi-Gras style parade this Saturday, which will start winding its way through the town centre at 6pm, passing lighting installations and haunting soundscapes along the way.

There will be a series of three separate aerial performances with flying witches suspended 120 feet above the Town Hall from 7pm onwards, making sure no one misses the spectacle.

Year of Young People Champion, Councillor Michelle Campbell said: “Young people are at the very heart of this event and it’s been great to hear about all the different opportunities and experiences they’ve been able to access through taking part.

“As co-creators of the festival, they’ve been able to have their say on every aspect of the event, from the design through to the actual technical production.

“They’ve also been able to develop and showcase their skills through performing or behind the scenes work, and it’s been great to hear how the experience is helping to set many of them on the path to pursue related careers.

“The creative learning programme will help those who would like to become involved professionally in organising large-scale future events like this weekend’s festival.

“It’s also been wonderful to hear how many of the young people are also using the opportunity to be involved towards earning volunteer awards like the Saltire Awards and the Duke of Edinburgh scheme.”

“Renfrewshire’s young people are very impressive and have blossomed being part of this event.”

Some of those taking part will also receive a special legacy ‘Spirit of Halloween’ award at Renfrewshire Council youth services’ Positive about Youth Awards in December.

Patrick Docherty, 16, is taking part in the aerial display and said: “It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve had the opportunity to do things I would never have thought of.

“It’s good to be challenged and learning new skills has made me feel more confident. I’ve also made lots of new friends.”

There will be a packed programme of free family fun in the lead up to the parade, including themed workshops, a live stage and a funfair.

The full programme for the Paisley Halloween Festival 2018 is available at: https://paisley.is/featured_event/paisley-halloween-festival-2018/

Paul Simon’s Graceland was performed in full by The London African Gospel Choir which has been critically acclaimed across the country.

This uplifting and amazing show has sold out venues and receives rave reviews from audiences.

Thirty years after its release, the Choir performed their own powerful twist on Paul Simon’s album, delivering from start to finish. The richness and harmony of the Choir’s rhythmic, evocative and empowering, voices created an overwhelming musical event, for anyone lucky enough to experience this special performance. Performed on Saturday night in front of a packed audience at Paisley Town Hall.

Photographs kindly taken by David Cameron, you can find more of his photographs here.

martha and the vandellas

Photographs of Martha & The Vandellas at the Paisley Town Hall October 20th 2018 The Spree.

martha and the vandellas

All photographs courtesy of David Cameron, you can visit his Flickr Page for lots more Paisley photographs here.

 

Switching on the Christmas lights is a dream come true, and this year it will be a reality for three lucky school pupils!

Aleena Albin from St Peter’s Primary School was one of the lucky winners last year, and helped Provost Lorraine Cameron switch on the Paisley Christmas lights.

Renfrewshire’s Provost, Lorraine Cameron, is once again inviting children of primary school age to design a Christmas card for 2018. Three winners will be selected with each winner having the chance to push the button to light up either Paisley, Johnstone or Renfrew.

The winning designs will also be printed as Provost Cameron’s official Christmas cards and sent out all over the world.

Provost Cameron said: “Thousands of people come to watch the Christmas lights being switched on and I need someone to help me with this really important job. I loved seeing your designs last year and I can’t wait to see what Renfrewshire can create this year.”

Entries must be received by Monday 29 October and can be handed into primary schools or posted to Christmas Card Competition, Member Services, Renfrewshire Council, Renfrewshire House, Cotton Street, Paisley, PA1 1WD.

theatre in truck

Paisley’s flagship annual cultural extravaganza The Spree gets under way today….helped by National Theatre of Scotland offering a truckload of chances to see the area as never before.

The seventh year of the Spree (12 to 21 Oct) sees 87 shows in 17 venues in five towns around Renfrewshire over ten days – with music, comedy, theatre and much more.

theatre in truck

Big-name headliners include Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi in conversation about his legendary career (Fri 12 Oct) and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and the London African Gospel Choir performing Graceland (Sat 20 Oct), both at Paisley Town Hall.

The iconic Spiegeltent in County Square will host musical acts The Orb (Mon 15th), Traceyanne and Danny and The Pastels (Sat 13th), ex-Kraftwerk man Wolfgang Flur (Sat 13th), The Wandering Hearts (Sun 14th), Vieux Farke Toure (Tues 16th), The Leisure Society and Duke Special (Weds 17th), Big Minds (Thurs 18th), and Gang of Four (Fri 19th).

The festival also includes Rimini Protokoll and National Theatre of Scotland’s Do’s and Don’ts (12-14 and 16-21 Oct) – offering a unique experience touring the area in a mobile auditorium inside a remodelled truck, backed by the soundtrack of a local choir.

The show is presented by award-winning German documentary theatre specialists Rimini Protokoll and is part of NTS’s Futureproof festival, marking Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, and some of the young cast were on hand to help launch the festival yesterday outside Paisley Town Hall.

Other Spree highlights over the next 10 days include a sold-out comedy show with Des Clarke and Janey Godley (Spiegeltent Fri 12th), Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert (Paisley Arts Centre, Sat 20th), the ModStuff festival-within-a-festival (Spiegeltent, Sat 20th) plus a visit from The National Whiskey Festival (Paisley Town Hall, Sat 13th).

Do’s and Don’ts is part of The Wee Spree programme over the October school holiday – with a list of (mostly free) shows for kids offering everything from comedy to ceilidhs, plus video game design, circus skills workshops and a dancealong to The Greatest Showman.

There’s also the Spree for All fringe festival, which includes the daily Danny Kyle Stage for unsigned acts in the Old Swan Inn, and taking top local musical talent to venues in Johnstone, Renfrew, Linwood and Lochwinnoch, as well as the pubs and clubs of Paisley town centre.

The Spree is run by Renfrewshire Council as part of a major events programme also including Paisley Halloween Festival (Sat 27 Oct) – listed as one of the top Halloween events in the UK.

The council’s head of communications, marketing and events Louisa Mahon said: “This year’s Spree will be the biggest and best yet as our events continue to grow and attract more visitors to the area.

“The bill has something for everyone – from world-renowned musical talent to a diverse programme for kids of all ages, to some of the best local acts at a venue near you.

“We are also delighted to building partnerships with organisations such as National Theatre of Scotland and bringing some of the country’s finest performers to the town is helping cement Paisley’s place as one of Scotland’s go-to cultural destinations.”

Jackie Wylie, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the National Theatre of Scotland, said: “DO’S & DON’TS has been co-created by the young people of Paisley as part of our Futureproof festival, marking the Year of Young People 2018, and I am delighted that it is part of the Spree programme.

“It was important to the National Theatre of Scotland that, as part of Futureproof, we had the opportunity to work with the Paisley 2021 Legacy team, and we are incredibly grateful to our partners Renfrewshire Council and Renfrewshire Leisure for making this uniquely special co-production possible.”

For tickets and full line-up info, see thespree.co.uk and nationaltheatrescotland.com/futureproof

ramh provost cameron

Charity RAMH teamed up with Renfrewshire Council employees to stock up their Re-use Superstore.

Located in Johnstone town centre and run by RAMH’s Lifeskills service, the store offers low-cost household items for sale as well as work experience and training for those wanting to boost their skills.

ramh provost cameron

Stephen McLellan, RAMH Chief Executive, was at the store to receive the collection from Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron.

Stephen said: “We believe firmly in supporting people recovering from mental ill health. That’s why we started the Re-use Superstore to give people the practical things they need at a low cost.

“Having the store as a place people can gain confidence as well as skills and experience to support them recover and help them to feel capable of finding suitable employment is also a big part of what we do each day.

“The collection received from Council staff will help use stock up our store ahead of the winter season.”

Provost Cameron said: “People always need low cost household items, whether it’s a new cutlery set, winter clothes or some toys for the kids.

“Giving away furniture, soft furnishings and electrical goods that you no longer need is a great way to help support others to keep their homes cosy and warm at a low cost.”

The collection was held during Challenge Poverty Week, which aims to highlight the reality of poverty and demonstrate what needs to be done across Scotland to address poverty.

Residents can support the store by bringing in working, clean and complete household items to RAMH Re-use Superstore at Houstoun Court Shopping Arcade (across from the town hall) Church Street, Johnstone, PA5 8DT.

jason moran
JASON MORAN – THE HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS (only Scottish performance is at Paisley Town Hall)
James Reese Europe and The Absence of Ruin
Bravery, race and the explosive arrival of jazz in war-torn Europe as Jason Moran creates an original response to the extraordinary story of James Reese Europe and the Harlem Hellfighters.
jason moran
 
‘We won France by playing music which was ours and not a pale imitation of others, and if we are to develop in America we must develop along our own lines.’
James Reese Europe (1919).

The renowned composer, pianist and visual artist Jason Moran – ‘shaping up to be the most provocative thinker in current jazz’ (Rolling Stone) – celebrates and reflects on the legacy of James Reese Europe (1880-1919), an iconic figure in the evolution of African-American music who introduced France to the sound of jazz in the closing year of World War 1. 
 
Jointly commissioned by 14-18 NOW, the Kennedy Center, Washington; and Serious, the performance will take place on Sunday 4 November at Paisley Town Hall7.30pm.
In this multi-dimensional performance, members of Moran’s long-established trio, The Bandwagon (described by the NY Times as ‘the best rhythm section in jazz’) and a highly talented group of young British players, will perform new music by Jason Moran inspired by James Reese Europe’s original compositions. In this new commission for the final year of 14-18 NOW, the performance will also include contributions from filmmaker John Akomfrah and cinematographer Bradford Young,
 

The musicians include talented young players from the extraordinary pool of talent that marks today’s British jazz scene.  The UK musicians are all young British players from the Tomorrow’s Warriors stable – Ife Ogunjobi (trumpet); Joe Bristow (trombone); Hanna Mubya (bass trombone, tuba); Mebrakh Johnson, Kaidi Akinnibi, Alam Nathan (reeds) plus the long-established tuba player Andy Grappy;  and the rhythm team that has been at the heart of Jason Moran’s music for many years, Tarus Mateen (bass) and Nasheet Waits (drums).

James Reese Europe and The Absence of Ruin follows other recent projects, created by Moran, that have offered a profound and entirely contemporary insight into the creative world of key figures in jazz history, including Fats Waller and Thelonious Monk. His most recent UK performances included a two-night residency at Tate Modern with his long-term collaborator, performance artist Joan Jonas, and a duet with fellow pianist Robert Glasper at a sold-out Royal Festival Hall.
 
Alongside the concert performances, UK teacher and tuba player Andy Grappy is creating new arrangements of Europe’s music to be played by locally recruited ensembles of young people, playing before each concert.  The project also links into the British Library’s symposium, ‘Revisiting the Black Parisian Moment: transnational black military, musical and intellectual histories, 1918-19’ on October 26; and the project is developing a dedicated website/blog – jasonmoranharlemhellfighters.com.
 
Background
On New Year’s Day 1918, James Reese Europe – an iconic figure in the evolution of African-American music – landed in Brest with the 93d Division’s 369th Infantry Regiment. Alongside their achievements in combat, Europe’s crack military music ensemble popularised the new spirit of jazz to a war-torn French nation fascinated with black culture. Nicknamed the Harlem Hellfighters, the 93rd Division’s 369th Infantry Regiment from New York first garnered notoriety for its world-class band, led by acclaimed composer and bandleader James Reese Europe. Made up of top musicians from the United States and Puerto Rico, the band famously played a swinging, yet initially unrecognisable, version of the Marseillaise upon disembarking for the first time on French soil. Documented as marching across No Man’s Land playing Memphis Blues, Europe’s band – along with other black regimental ensembles – toured France in between tours of the Western Front, sparking an enduring fascination with black culture.
 
The 369th received equal acclaim for its performance on the field of battle. Two soldiers of the 369th, Henry Johnson and Needham Roberts, were the first American soldiers to receive the French Croix de Guerre. The regiment served for 191 days and ceded no ground to enemy forces. While they returned to the United States as national heroes, The Harlem Hellfighters had not been permitted to serve under American command during their time on the Western Front. Throughout 1918, the regiment served under French command, wearing French uniforms. Following a posthumous award of a Purple Heart in 1996, in 2015 President Obama awarded the Medal of Honour to Henry Johnson. 
 
On the 17 February 1919, the 369th Infantry Regiment famously marched up Fifth Avenue and into Harlem before some 250,000 onlookers. A spirit of determination, inspired by the war, surged throughout black America. James Reese Europe himself came to an untimely end later that year, murdered by one of his fellow band members, widely reported across the USA. 
 
‘Jazz may be American music, but it is African American Music’
James Reese Europe
 
JASON MORAN – THE HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS is co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions,  Serious and the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, with support from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.  Producing partners are Berliner Festspiele / Jazzfest Berlin and the Federal Agency for Civic Education, Germany and Renfrewshire Leisure.

It is one of the most infamous witch trials in history which saw Paisley the last town in western Europe to conduct a mass execution in 1697.

Four women and three men were sentenced to death after series of events which started when the  11-year-old daughter of a local laird mysteriously fell ill.

Christian Shaw suffered fits, similar to demonic possession, and accused several people of bewitching her.  Witchcraft was against the law in Scotland and seven people were tried as witches and executed at Gallow Green.

But as Paisley gears up to stage its annual Halloween Festival inspired by Renfrewshire’s dark witch history, retired academic Hugh McLachlan says history has treated Christian Shaw unfairly.

Hugh, who researched the 1697 trials extensively and is editor of ‘The Kirk, Satan and Salem: A History of the Witches of Renfrewshire’, says that far from being a malicious accuser, she was unfairly maligned.

Hugh, who first became aware of the case as a young research assistant at Glasgow University, said: “Christian Shaw has had a very bad press with the notion that she was a particularly bad, evil child who was able to fool the courts and local dignitaries for malicious purposes.

“This seemed to me be not very plausible and grossly unfair so my interest was aroused at the potential injustice.

“The alternative view point that she was suffering from a hysterical malady or mental illness seemed to me to be even less likely, so I researched the case.”

Hugh says the case was different from other witchcraft trials in that a child was the main accuser.

He also believes the story was influenced by what happened in Salem in Massachusetts just a few years later.

He added: “The actual evidence didn’t suggest that Christian Shaw was either mentally ill or malicious, but rather she was actually peripheral to the case.

“If you look at the accusations against the people who were charged with witchcraft, if you removed what they were said to have done to Christian Shaw, they would still have been executed.

“It wasn’t crucial to the case and it’s not clear if she even gave evidence at the trial.”

He says that he believes the story was influenced by a book later written on the case by local minsters.

He said: “When people consider her role in all of this, they weren’t considering her evidence at the trial but this book.

“It was written be local ministers who were very well aware of Salem witch trial and wanted to make a theological point. Witches renounced Christ and the fear of witchcraft centred on that and the Devil.

“But if the Devil existed, so did God, and they were trying to encourage atheists to repent.

“It was 1697 and they were looking to the turn of the century and it was a period of great turmoil.

“The local ministers thought the world was coming to an end.”

After the trial Christian Shaw’s story took another sensational twist when she became a prominent businesswoman who founded the Bargarran Thread Company along with her mother.

It transformed into the cotton company on which Paisley’s fame and wealth was founded.

Hugh added: “I think even today her role in the witchcraft trials is misinterpreted. I don’t think Christian Shaw was a malicious child and that she should instead be celebrated as a successful entrepreneur.

“Women often get a rough deal in history and are written out. This is only one interpretation, but the one that I believe. But I think the other stories should still be told, they live in contradiction and conflict with each other.”

Paisley’s annual Halloween Festival ‘Something Wicked this Way Comes’ returns on Saturday 27 October, with a Friday Fright Night on 26 October, and features an animated parade, sound and light installations and performances.

The festival, supported by the Year of Young People 2018 event fund managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, has been developed with the help of young people. It is celebrating their talents both as performers, as well as contributors to the management of the event behind the scenes.

Part of this is a new production starring a 50-strong cast of young people who will take part in a breathtaking aerial show.

For more information please go to www.paisley.is

We always use our Facebook Page or Group to post images of old Paisley and up to date events as well as stunning photographs of Paisley today.

We thought we would post these four together on the website so you can see the difference side by side, we will also post to Facebook later on so people can always find them.

Paisley Cross before the Cenotaph was built and now from a similar viewpoint (not exact but close enough). Please click on the image for the larger version.


Old Photographs are taken from the book Recollections of Paisley by Donald Malcolm, you can find the book on the following link.


Anchor Mills when it was a working mill till today when it has been renovated and is part flats and part offices with a beautiful atrium at the centre of the main mill, next to the Hammills waterfall (not taken from the exact same place which would be the main bridge in today’s terms) Please click on the image for the larger version.

Young people in Renfrewshire have come up with a list of ten recommendations to improve youth mental health services.

More training on youth mental health in schools and young people being given the tools to help peers who may experience issues, are among ten proposals put forward by Renfrewshire’s Youth Commission.

The recommendations came after a survey of young people aged 11 – 22 across Renfrewshire, which revealed that 45 per cent believe there should be quicker access to mental health services.

Other findings revealed that half of young people speak to a parent or carer first if they are experiencing poor mental health and more than half –  57 per cent – believe the best place to get information is online,

Almost half – 49 per cent – of young people believe there should be a drop-in at school for young people experiencing poor mental health.

The proposals, which also included using Apps to bring resources into the 21st Century, were put to the Youth Generations Assembly in Paisley Town Hall. Pupils from every secondary school in Renfrewshire were asked for their feedback.

The final recommendations will be presented to professionals working locally with young people experiencing poor mental health. They will be asked to adopt these within their organisational practice.

Jade Lochhead, 23, from the Youth Commission on Mental Health, said: “Most of the members of the Youth Commission are still in school, so the recommendations very much reflect their experiences.

“Mental health a big issue for young people and it’s amazing that we get to have our say. I think the more young people who are consulted, the better. We will be the next generation to take things forward and opportunities like today mean we have a real voice.”

Education and Children’s Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson said: “Young people have shown they are able to make decisions on issues which matter to them and want to play a key part in designing effective strategies to tackle these.

“We are committed to giving young people a voice and to understand what they need to be supported. The Youth Generations Assembly is a great forum for them to tell us what they have found out about mental health in Renfrewshire and what can be done to ensure all young people have positive mental health.”