The Ongoing George Square Saga…

Following on from the blog about the George Square revamp, you may recollect that the idea of a redesign has been scrapped. The architect who won the competition called for a public meeting and this was held on Monday 19 February (noticeably at 8 o’clock in the morning at a well known foodies’ restaurant in the Merchant City). The purpose was to try to keep a dialogue going about the future of the look of George Square. 30- 40 people went along. Views included concerns about the level of traffic around the square; apparently most agreed the red tarmac has to go; and there seems to have been consensus that there should be no water feature. Probably a good idea – we have enough water in Scotland as it is and fountains or pools of water just attract litter.

Our office block looks directly onto the Square. Should someone from our firm have gone to the meeting? Well no one went. The Councillors have made an embarrassing U turn on their decision already and I don’t think another meeting about it will really make that much of a difference.

It is a shame the architect has lost out on a potential fee of thousands for the contract, and I can see why he has tried to resurrect the issue- he obviously feels very strongly about his home city’s civic space!

I for one would just like better seating and maybe a bit more grass for the kids to play on when it is sunny enough to sit in the square with a meal deal sandwich for my lunch.

Stirring Debate at Glasgow Conveyancers’ Forum

Ian Ferguson of Mitchells Roberton was one of four Speakers at a debate chaired by Donald Reid also of Mitchells Roberton held yesterday evening in the Royal Faculty of Procurators and organised by the recently formed Glasgow Conveyancers’ Forum. Despite a high profile football match taking place on the same evening the debate was very well attended with an audience of 73 solicitors and 7 guest speakers. The topic of debate was “Separate Representation-For or Against?” This is in reference to one solicitor acting for both a Borrower and a Lender . Ian and Professor Stewart Brymer spoke for the motion and Graham Matthews and Kennedy Foster (of CML Scotland) against.The debate was mature and prompted some very good questions in the discussion following the debate. A vote was taken and the result was around 3:1 in favour of “Sep Rep.”

Book Review – Moth Smoke by Mohsin Hamid

moth smoke

Our second meeting of Mitchells Roberton Book Group took place today. We were discussing Moth Smoke by Mohsin Hamid. I had previously read The Reluctant Fundamentalist by the same author and really liked it so suggested we read Moth Smoke Moshin Hamed’s debut novel.  The novel is set in Lahore during a sweltering summer of 1998 against the backdrop of Pakistan and India rattling their nuclear sabres and the dichotomy of the mounting tension of income inequalities dividing the nation and ethno -religious pride uniting it. Hamid presents an uncomfortable account of contemporary Pakistan, a side of Pakistan that no one seems to know about. The novel traces the downfall of Daru Shezad a junior banker who is fired from his job and begins a descent into drugs and dissolution and for good measure falls in love with the wife of his childhood friend . Daru has lived on the fringes of high society but his lack of connections brings him up against a glass ceiling. He is desperate to reverse his fortunes and embarks upon a career of crime. When a long planned heist goes awry he finds himself on trial for a murder he may or may not have committed. Like the moths in the title reduced to smoke by their fatal attraction to candles Daru has fallen through his appetite for self destruction , his drug habit and obsession with Muntaz . There are several laudable points to the novel. The intricate emotions of the three main protagonists, an ambitious wife and mother, an obscenely rich cuckold and an apt lost soul are richly explored and I like that the reader is left to judge the characters, their insecurities, their arrogance and their crimes.  That said I found the beginning slow and at times the characters annoying.  For me The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a far better novel. I am glad I have read Moth Smoke but I would say it was a one time read not a must read. The other members of the Book Group I think agreed.  So if looking for a novel about modern Asia go for The Reluctant Fundamentalist but most of all pick up Shantaram  by Gregory David Roberts and meet Prabaker one of the most loveable characters of all time for me. Now for something completely different…..Next month  we are reading The Prison of Brenda by Colin Bateman. Sounds  fun.