This week, my Commonwealth Voices radio show kicked off, live from The Forge Shopping Centre (beside the cinema) in the East End. The pop-up radio station will be on air for the next few weeks, running (Bolt style) alongside The Commonwealth Games. For lots of folk the sport is the important bit, but there is also tonnes of great cultural goings on too, which is what we aim to focus on. The culture and, perhaps more importantly, the real voices of the people at the heart of it all, both here in Glasgow and across the Commonwealth nations.
The station launched on Wednesday with a live event, which I hosted as part of my first show. There were lots of important folk there, high hiedyins from The Commonwealth Games, Glasgow 2014, BBC and the local community Including youth choir East40, who have made the UNICEF single Let the Games Begin as the official tune of the proceedings.
The awesome thing about our studio (aside from it being in a shopping centre so I can nip out and get the groceries!) is that it has three glass walls. That means everyone can see exactly what's going on… including my dodgy dance moves. We're going to be going live everyday from 10am until 4pm (with my show 10am to 12pm) everyday. We'd love you to come and see us, but if you can't you can tune in online at www.bbc.co.uk/commonwealthvoices.
On Yer Bike
We're gearing up to the start of The Commonwealth Games, which means loads of excitement, but also lots of traffic (chaos)! I think the best way for me to get around - as I have quite a busy schedule - is going to be walking or cycling. So, this week, I decided to test-ride the new cycle hire system that has been introduced to the city.
Similar to the London Boris Bikes, all you need to do is sign up (ideally via an app) then pick up a bike from one of the 30-plus locations across town.
I was a wee bit cynical, I love cycling but have never found the city that easy to navigate on two wheels and I was wary about the size of the bikes (I'm only wee after all!). However, they were incredibly easy to rent and despite being a little on the heavy side, the work-out meant I could forge my later gym session (bonus!).
I decided to do a tour of some of the big venues for the Games; Kelvingrove Bandstand, The Hydro, Glasgow Green, Emirates Arena, the Athletes Village and Parkhead. I got off to a racing start, and a gloriously sunny Glasgow day with just a little wind helped to push-bike me along. However, there are still parts of the city were it gets complicated, with appearing and disappearing cycle paths and I think drivers are still a little unused to the amount of pedal power on the roads, so for me, a helmet is a must.
There are grand plans for the scheme - it's already more popular than it's London equivalent - and the hope is to continue to improve the cycling routes across the city and help it become one of the UK's most bike-friendly spots.
The Hyndland Fox
All this scooting about town made me as hungry as a wild animal, so I figured I'd check out the latest restaurant to make the West End it's home, The Hyndland Fox.
This foxy new beast opened earlier in the year following a healthy serving of surprise. Work had been going on in the old (original) Peckham's deli on the corner of Clarence Drive for some time, with the simple instruction to 'Follow the Fox'. Was it a restaurant, a bar or a fancy new pet store?
In fact, it's a fox of many guises. Largely, it's a restaurant serving good, honest fare but it also has a bar and, because it's still part of the Peckham's family, there's also a 'grab and go' section allowing you to take home some of the deli's delights. The place itself is light and airy and feels quite continental.
So, pretending we were on holiday, both my boy and I went for dishes with a Spanish flavour: a Chorizo and Manchego Salad and the Chorizo and Hake Stew. The salad was excellent, extremely generous and perfectly balanced. The stew was tasty too, although perhaps a little on the bland side.
We rounded the meal, and our tummies, off with Peckham's Pecan pie (when in Rome, and all!), which was crunchy in all the right places and a sweet end to a good evening, Mr Fox. So much so, that I suspect it won't be too long until we high tail it back again…
Wee Bird Recommends
There's so much going on around town at the moment, it's hard to recommend one thing! However, Wee would like to give a big shout out to Perch Carnival, an acrobatic dance extravaganza this Sunday and Monday night (9.45pm) in Rottenrow Gardens. Folk will be hanging and flipping off buildings… seriously, it's going to be off the ROOF! Tickets (currently) still available online.