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realtime traveller

 Da Contents H2

July 22 2015
Place: Seoul, South Korea
Traveller: Gail Priest, sound artist

February 4 2015
Place: Bourges, France
Traveller: Gail Priest, sound artist, RT Online Producer

March 26 2014
Place: Split, Croatia
Traveller: Peter Volich, artist

September 4 2013
Place: Linz, Austria – Ars Electronica special
Traveller: Matthew Gardiner, artist, researcher, curator

May 1 2013
place: brussels, belgium
traveller: sophie travers, performing arts producer

January 30 2013
place: glasgow, scotland, united kingdom
traveller: robert walton, director, live artist, lecturer in theatre at vca

November 6 2012
place: auckland, aotearoa, new zealand
traveller: gail priest, sound artist, associate editor realtime

October 23 2012
place: santiago, chile
traveller: tim welfare

September 18 2012
place: munich, germany
traveller: glyn roberts, playwright/producer

July 17 2012
place: detroit
traveller: rebecca conroy, trans-disciplinary thinker maker doer

July 3 2012
place: beijing, people’s republic of china
traveller: dan edwards, writer/journalist

place: yogyakarta
traveller: malcolm smith, artist, arts manager and curator

May 22 2012
place: wroclaw, poland
traveller: janie gibson, actor

May 8 2012
place: beirut, lebanon
traveller: jim denley, musician

place: shanghai, people’s republic of china
traveller: thea baumann, executive producer aphids, director of metaverse makeovers

April 24 2012
place: berlin, germany
traveller: jana perkovic, writer, urbanist

place: hong kong, people’s republic of china
traveller: bec allen, arts producer

March 6 2012
place: barcelona, spain
traveller: jodi rose, sound artist, writer

place: new york, usa
traveller: michaela coventry, dance producer

place: sarajevo, bosnia & herzegovina
traveller: kym vercoe, performer

place: turku, finland
traveller: nigel helyer, artist


Robert Walton, enjoying afternoon tea at The Butterfly and The Pig Robert Walton, enjoying afternoon tea at The Butterfly and The Pig
courtesy the writer
reason for travelling

Returning, for the first time since emigrating Down Under, to the city where I lived for 10 years to catch up with friends and family, and celebrate Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve).

viva glasvegas

Glasgow was the inaugural European City of Culture in 1990 and remains a hot(gritty)bed for all the arts, punching well above its weight with major artists (including the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Turner Prize winners), bands and big ideas. Though only separated by 70kms centre to centre from Edinburgh, there seems no end to the rivalrous banter between the posh, ancient, touristy and better-looking capital and Scotland’s larger, harder-working, catalytic, slightly dangerous, sardonic cultural powerhouse, Glasgow.

A throng of traffic wardens huddle together in a frozen Queens Park A throng of traffic wardens huddle together in a frozen Queens Park
photo Robert Walton
I cringe at using “cultural” as Scotland is so caught up in its own distinctiveness from England and its proud history (and there’s lots to be proud of) that everything can become a little tartan-tinted. But Glasgow bucks that trend by looking outward and is genuinely awash with contemporary, vivid and living culture. That’s why I lived there for a decade and why so many artists stay despite the weather, the history of violence, the areas of abject poverty and, let’s face it, the food, but that, at least, is getting better. You can get stuff done there, enjoy the banter and wicked humour, it’s cheap to live, and the housing (lots of grand Victorian tenements) are great to live in. Glasgow is also an exciting place to visit.

dear green place

Glasgow in Gaelic is Glas-ghu, meaning 'dear green place.’ It’s great all year round, but spring into summer is my favourite time. Yes it can be cold, but wrap-up under the bright blue sky and go for a walk around the beautiful Victorian city centre and creepy Necropolis, or Queens Park and Shawlands on the Southside, or Kelvingrove Park, The Botanical Gardens and Byers Road in the Westend.

Kelvingrove Museum is the most visited in the UK outside of London and is worth a visit. It is the best exponent of those great British city museums that seem to have one of everything and something for everyone. Enjoy the mix of classy taxidermy and an eclectic art collection including the stunning Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Salvador Dalí. Like all of Glasgow’s museums, Kelvingrove is free to enter.

The taxidermied badger cub at Kelvingrove Museum (the badger is the UK’s largest native carnivorous land mammal) The taxidermied badger cub at Kelvingrove Museum (the badger is the UK’s largest native carnivorous land mammal)
photo Robert Walton

When in the city centre, visit the Glasgow Museum of Modern Art (GoMA) and the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA Further out, but worth visiting are the new Riverside Museum and The Burrell Collection.

Tramway, on the Southside, is a vast visual arts and performance venue that you should definitely make the effort to visit. Home of some of the best work I have ever seen, this venue programs the best of international theatre and dance. The Turner Prize will be held here in 2015. Call ahead to check whether there is something on before making the trip South of the river; sometimes it is dark between shows.

The Arches, a cavernous super-venue underneath Central Station, is the place to find Glasgow’s extraordinary performance and experimental theatre scene. Like a bunker for the arts, the warren of theatres, galleries and bars comes alive when fully utilised during festivals like Behaviour and Arches Live. It’s also a great live music and clubbing venue.

Buchanan Street in winter, Glasgow Buchanan Street in winter, Glasgow
photo Robert Walton

The emerging arts are what it’s all about in Glasgow. The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) and The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) have a lot of good to answer for. Their students graduate and stay, and the amazing artist-run galleries (Transmission, Market Gallery, SWG3 etc.) and performance festivals—Buzzcut, Into The New etc—are a testament to these institutions as well as the city. Thus it is worth checking out the degree shows of the GSA and RCS if you are around in June and January respectively.

for a wee swally (drinky)…

…head directly to Stravaigin, the iconic Glasgow bar and eatery, for excellent locally sourced food, roaring fire and fine cocktails, whisky and beer. This is the best place to try haggis. There is no shortage of fine bars and pubs in Glasgow. If you can’t pick one, try them all.

In the city centre, check out Stereo on Renfield Lane which has a great selection of beers, vegetarian food and gigs downstairs. Up on Bath Street, The Butterfly and The Pig serves amazing cakes upstairs during the day and is a great pub downstairs at night, also with good food.

For dancing head to The Buff Club or see if there’s something more exciting happening at SWG3.

At the end of the night it is tradition to stand in the taxi cue at Central Station for an hour, cold and a little scared, but enjoying the banter, outrageous clothing and jovial atmosphere.

Cold nymphs frolic at the edge of the city Cold nymphs frolic at the edge of the city
photo Robert Walton

for sleeping…

CitizenM is a concept hotel that is pretty comfy and very central. The Brunswick Hotel in the lovely Merchant City is nicer, with a great tapas bar, and often gigs and parties. Nicest of all is One Devonshire Gardens, in the West End, but it’s pricey—great for a special occasion though.

haste ye back

If you are staying more than a few days it is well worth making the pilgrimage to Loch Lomond; it’s not far and you can get there by train. If you have a car try exploring the eastern bank—less busy and more beautiful. A trip to Oban or The Isle of Arran is also really worthwhile as both the journey and the destinations are amazing. If you have longer, go island hopping. And if you’ve exhausted everything else, you could always visit Auld Reekie (Edinburgh).

The view north from the bonnie, bonnie (east) banks of Loch Lomond The view north from the bonnie, bonnie (east) banks of Loch Lomond
photo Robert Walton



Parks and Gardens

Glasgow Necropolis

Kelvingrove Museum

Glasgow Museum of Modern Art

Centre for Contemporary Art

Glasgow Museums


The Arches

Transmission Gallery

The Market Gallery

SWG3 (Studio Warehouse Glasgow)




The Butterfly and The Pig

The Buff Club


The Bunswick Hotel

One Devonshire Gardens

Loch Lomond National Park




Robert Walton is a Melbourne-based director, live artist, writer and educator. He is Co-Artistic Director of Fish & Game. In 2011 he left Glasgow and moved to Melbourne to take up the position as Lecturer in Theatre at Victorian College of the Arts.,;

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© Robert Walton; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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