The Whysman Festival headed to George's old stomping ground for an event organised by artists Matt Baker and Tara Beall of Nothing About Us Without Us Is For Us, working in tandem with The Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art (GI). 

George was born in Shettleston, but raised in Craigton, Govan, and spent his formative years in the shadow of the shipyards, so he has a very strong connection to the area.

The night was MC'd by Liz Gardiner of Fablevision, a social media enterprise before the phrase social media had even been coined. Liz has know George since she was a girl as her dad played in George's band and as she revealed on the night, she has worked with him on many a George-ish project...

'Some Questions' would have delighted him in so many ways... the plan was to show three films; Murray & Barbara Grigor's 1990 film The Why?s Man, Cinema Action's 1971 film on the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Work-In & The Govan Raid, a film of a publish art event by Matt Baker in 2011.

There was also an illustrated talk by historian Tim Clarkson, author of Men of the North, about Govan's long-lost Doomster Hill.

It was great to see The Whys? Man film on a big(ish) screen. You take in so much more. Everyone nodded in agreement when Liz said afterwards that the part which always affects her, is the scene where cranes topple to a soundtrack of elegiac music alongside the voice of the late Rev Norman Orr, chaplain for the shipyards of Glasgow and the man who blessed George's Paper Boat in 1990.

Tim Clarkson's talk, all about Govan as the ancient seat of the Kings of Strathclyde and the part in which Doomster Hill - a strange cake-like grassy mound - played in their rise and fall.

Matt Baker described it this way in the Nothing About Us Without Us blog: 
"There we were, about 30 of us, innocently watching Murray and Barbara Grigor's film about George Wyllie (The Why?s man)...then listening to Tim Clarkson's evocation of Govan's Doomster Hill - then Wham! before we knew it we were all pitched into an impassioned collective cry for Govan's history to be recognised in the future. There we were - resolving to make representation to the powers that be....even a communitbuy-out of Water Row was discussed.This revolutionary zeal was then further inflamed by Cinema Action's 1971 film about the Upper Clyde Shipbuilder's 'work-in'  UCS1"
You can see Matt's blog here:

Matt Baker's Govan Raid film can be viewed here:

Leave a Reply.