I’ve always loved the movies. Growing up, Saturdays in the South Side, were all about trying to get enough ‘chore’ money to go to the Eglinton Toll, the Bedford or the Mayfair.

Better still if you managed to somehow wangle bus fare, The Tiledo! Come Saturday night, Sauchiehall Street would be mobbed with Movie goers, queuing round three sides of the cinema buildings.

Sadly, those days are gone here. Besides, who can afford the ticket price, never mind the popcorn? In our twin city Havana, they still have this passion for movie going and for the kind of politically engaged movies I love.

Less of your big blockbuster shooting sprees, where the ‘good guys’ mow down the ‘bad guys’ and more social comment. I think our cities are well matched not just because much of the populace of both, live in poverty and many of our buildings are equally needing more than a lick of paint; but that we’ve both have this big love affair with the movies!

There’s a saying you end up with the face you deserve. I can’t help thinking we end up with the movies we deserve.

If you’ve not seen any, Cuban made movies, here’s your chance, as tonight, at the City Chambers, the Launch of Glasgow Havana Film Festival 2018, brings the culture of Cuba onto Scotland’s doorstep.

The film festival was conceived by another one

of my brilliant girl pals, Eirene Houston (pictured in red striped cardigan), a screenwriter and director, who has been travelling and working in Havana for almost 20 years. This is the festival’s fourth year and this time the focus is on women behind and in front of the camera. Keeping in step with the ‘Me-too’ movement.

The first time Eirene invited me to go to Cuba to work with some of the actors at the film school where she was tutoring script writing, I jumped at the chance and promptly fell in love with everything and everyone there. I’ll never forget the first morning in the mobbed school canteen the feeling of comradery. From the head of the school to the cleaners, we all ate the same plate of rice and beans and all talked politics and film non-stop! It was the best breakfast ever.

Apart from Cuban movies, including the screening of three newly restored documentaries by Cuba’s first female director, Sara Gomez there’s loads of other free stuff on. Tomorrow, I’m going to be part of a discussion at the CCA. It’s called the Women’s Forum: Women’s Voices in Culture and Politics in Cuba and Scotland 2018.

The chat will happen after the screening of a 30-minute documentary about women’s lives and contemporary issues in Cuba. We will be discussing the ways that women here might get engaged with local politics. Did you know that in the Cuban Parliament more than 50 per cent of the representatives are now women! Putting us lot to shame. Some might say we should all grow a pair but am thinking a new approach might be in order!

There’s lots of social events too with celebrations of Cuban music, dancing, food and of course plenty of Havana Club rum. What’s not to like!

Nothing, so long as some Peely Wally sleezy bloke from Pollok doesn’t ask me up to Salsa dance and thinking he’s on ‘Strictly’ try and grab me by the bum cause, it won’t be about showing movies, more like I’ll be showing him my moves!


The only Bangers you purchased on Monday were bought with Mash.

#passporttocuba www.hgfilmfest.com


It is veritably the case that no such dwelling in existence can be commensurate with ones very own abode.


On no occasion allow a feline mammal with an ebony pelt to meander from one side to the other of your current trajectory.


Don’t let a black cat cross your path.


The only Bangers you purchased on Monday were bought with Mash.