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Glasgow Royal Concert Hall – Cultural Exchanges via Performance Arts

  • Posted on September 11, 2017 at 2:28 pm

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall is an arts venue in Scotland that is the centre of cultural activity in Glasgow and the region that showcases everything from the classics to modern music, theater and concerts whilst embracing a variety of music genres. The theater was intended as a replacement for the one that burned down in the 1960s. Construction was started in 1980 and took ten years to complete, finally opening in 1990 when Glasgow was declared the European Union’s City of Culture that year. The opening of the concert hall marked a turning point in the fortunes of a city that had gone through a period of neglect and urban decay. The event spaces of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall comprise the main auditorium that is its largest performance space, with the capacity to seat an audience of 3,000; the 500-seat Strathclyde Suite; and a 300 seat exhibition hall. In addition, the complex boasts the Buchanan Suite and the Clyde Foyers, the Strathclyde Bar, the VIP room, and other bars and restaurants. >

The concert hall is the home of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. It has played host and continues to do so to several orchestras of international repute, famous jazz ensembles, famous divas, opera and ballet performances, rock, pop and country music shows and comedy shows, among other intellectual and entertainment pursuits. The hall’s annual seasonal fare usually features an eclectic collection of famous artistes, trail blazers, orchestras, ensembles, choirs and groups and up-and-coming Scottish performers. One of its most memorable events is the Celtic Connections, which is billed as the world’s largest winter music festival. An 18-day extravaganza of music, talks, art exhibitions, workshops and free events held every January/February that is a celebration of the arts, with participants from all over the world.

With a range of diverse and some of the most outstanding venues in the city, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall is well-equipped and able to handle a range of events not only of the musical kind but conferences, club nights, product launches, banquets and weddings among small and large events. Annually, the concerts hall stages 400 concerts and 1,000 other events. Its location at one of Glasgow’s busiest intersections definitely has something to do with it. Operating well known four star UK hotels in several of the country’s important cities, Millennium & Copthorne Hotels UK offers central locations, comfortable accommodation and modern amenities and facilities expected by many of its leisure and business clients. Take advantage of UK hotel specials offered by the group to enjoy a much-needed break or to celebrate a special event.

Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry.

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Beautiful Conway Stewart pens are timeless writing instruments

  • Posted on July 16, 2017 at 5:07 pm

If you are one of those people who like to take your time and put pen to paper then you will now how important it is to have a good quality writing instrument. Not only will a good quality pen glide whilst you write, it will feel natural and comfortable in your hand as you do so. That is why if you are serious about writing you should consider a Conway Stewart pen. With expertise in pen manufacturing reaching over 100 years you really can be sure of Conway Stewart pens.

Conway Stewart pens first came about in 1905, the business was founded by Frank Jarvis and Thomas Garner. For the next 50 years the Conway Stewart pen company enjoyed much success manufacturing fountain pens in the UK. Unfortunately good luck ran out for Conway Stewart pens in 1975. The arrival of the popular ball point pen meant business all but dried up. But the UK had not seen the last of Conway Stewart. In the 1990s the company was revived and is now once more a successful writing instrument manufacturer. The Conway Stewart pen company now specialises in making highly desirable luxury writing instruments. Conway Stewart pens have now taken their place at the high end of the pen and writing instrument market.

Conway Stewart pens are fabricated out of the most marvelous materials that make each individual pen an art master piece. Materials used when crafting each pen include precious metals, fine enamels and celluloid. The Conway Stewart pen collections really must be seen at close hand so as to appreciate their true beauty. The craftsmanship and attention to detail really does take your breath away.

There are quite a few Conway Stewart pens to choose from. You can be guaranteed that whatever one you choose will make a superb gift. The Conway Stewart pen company has chosen to use a British theme with its collections. Each collection is named after a very famous historical figure. You will discover names such as Nightingale, Nelson, Darwin and Churchill in the Conway Stewart pens collections.

Each collection will often offer the choice of fountain pen, roller ball, conventional ball point pen and pencil. In each of the pen collections you will also be able to obtain different colour themes and effects. Naturally if choosing a fountain pen you can choose from a variety of nibs in 18 carat gold.

Why not take some time out to have a closer look at the writing instruments available in the Conway Stewart pen ranges. Write Here is a great place to start to find out more about Conway Stewart pens. Shrewsbury based Write Here have a fabulous website that really does showcase the beauty of each Conway Stewart pen collection.Write Here are a friendly team too, so feel free to contact them for any specific questions you have or advice you require. Write Here is a safe website to shop too, which means that you can safely use your debit or credit card.

History of Coffee: Part IV – Commercialisation of Coffee

  • Posted on June 24, 2017 at 1:33 pm

For many connoisseurs, the period from the mid-19th Century to the late 20th Century is the ‘Dark Age’ of coffee. During this era, coffee lost its Middle-Eastern mystical charm and became commercialised and, quite frankly, ordinary.

When coffee was first introduced into Britain during the 17th Century, it was a drink enjoyed by every social class. While the rich would enjoy coffee almost ceremonially in their social clubs, the poor saw coffee as an essential nutrient, a hot drink to replace a hot meal, or hunger suppressant. It was only a matter of time, with the advancement of technology, that large companies would form to take advantage of the coffee commodity.

Traditionally coffee was roasted in the home or in the coffeehouse. A practice imported from the Middle-East was to simply stir-fry green beans in an iron pan over a fire till brown. Some coffeehouses used a more sophisticated method of a cylindrical unit hung above a fire with a handle to rotate the beans inside. Both these methods were only capable of roasting small batches of coffee, a couple of kilos or several pounds at most, which ensured that the coffee was always fresh.

However, with the onset of the industrial revolution and mechanisation, coffee roasting technology soon improved. Commercial coffee roasters were being invented which were capable of roasting much larger batches of coffee. It was now possible for the few to meet the coffee needs of the masses.

It was in the United States where coffee initially started to be commercialised. In 1865, John Arbuckle marketed the first commercially available packages of ground, roasted coffee. His brand, ‘Ariosa’, was sold over a far larger area then any other coffee roaster. Instead of being confined to a small area close to his roasting factory, Arbuckle was able to establish his coffee as a regional brand. Others soon followed suit and, by World War I, there were a number of regional roasters including companies such as Folgers, Hill Brothers, and Maxwell House. These companies offered customers consistent quality and convenient packaging for use in the home, but at a price: freshness. It could be several weeks, or even months, before the end product would reach the customer.

One approach to prolonging the freshness of roasted coffee was to glaze it with a glutinous or gelatinous matter. After the coffee beans had been roasted, a glaze would be poured over them, which would form a hard, protective barrier around the bean. Once such glaze patented by John Arbuckle in 1868, consisted of using: a quart of water, one ounce of Irish moss, half an ounce of isinglass, half an ounce of gelatine, one ounce of white sugar, and twenty-four eggs, per hundred pounds of coffee. Arbuckle experimented with many different glazes over the years, eventually settling on a sugar based glaze. In fact, Arbuckle became such a prolific user of sugar that he entered into the sugar business rather then give a profit to others for the huge quantities he required.

So why were customers willing to buy this coffee? Once ground, coffee quickly loses its flavour and therefore should be consumed as soon as possible (at the very latest within 48 hours). But this was the age of the brand, where consistency ruled king over quality. Local roasters would often produce excellent coffee, but they could also produce foul coffee, occasionally containing a number of adulterations. Customers wanted to trust what they were buying. They wanted their coffee to taste exactly the same, time and time again.

The first coffee brand to come to Britain was Kenco. In 1923, a co-operative of Kenyan Coffee farmers set up a coffee shop in Sloan Square (London), called the Kenyan Coffee Company, to distribute high quality coffee beans around Britain. Their shop proved very popular and their brand of coffee (renamed Kenco in 1962) soon spread throughout the UK.

Worse was to come to the brew known as coffee. As regional roasters grew into national roasters and then into international roasters, their pursuit of profit intensified. Traditionally coffee came from the ‘arabica’ variety of coffee bush. But in the 1850s, the French and Portuguese began to cultivate a different variety of coffee bush, known as ‘robusta’, on the west coast of Africa between Gabon and Angola. Robusta beans were (and still are) cheaper then arabica beans as they are easier to grow and have an inferior flavour. Coffee roasters looking to minimise their production costs started blending robusta beans with arabica beans in increasing quantities. They also used shorter roast times, to reduce weight loss stopping the coffee from fully developing its complex flavour.

However the lowest point for coffee comes with the introduction of instant coffee – a drink bearing little resemblance in taste to actual coffee. Although the first commercially produced instant coffee, called ‘Red E Coffee’, invented by George Constant Washington, an English chemist living in Guatemala, was marketed in 1909, it is Nestlé who are generally attributed with the invention of instant coffee. In 1930, Nestlé were approached by the Instituto do Café (Brazilian Coffee Institute) to help find a solution to their coffee surpluses. They believed that a new coffee product that was soluble in hot water, yet retained its flavour, would help stimulate World coffee sales. After seven years of research and frequent tasting, scientist Max Mortgenthaler finally achieved the desired results and, on 1st April 1938, Nescafé was launched, first in Switzerland and then later in Britain.

Some claim that it was the introduction of commercial television in 1956 that acted as a catalyst to the success of instant coffee in Britain. The commercial breaks were too short a time in which to brew a cup of tea, but time enough for an instant coffee. There is probably some truth to this claim as, by the 1960s, the majority of the tea industry started producing tea bags, an invention by Thomas Sullivan over half a century earlier (1904). Tea bags were seen as more convenient, simpler and quicker to use then traditional loose leaf tea and so could compete against instant coffee.

The coffee industry soon realised the association between commercial breaks and coffee drinking and started investing heavily in television advertising. Probably the most famous series of coffee advertisements were made for Nescafé Gold Blend. First aired in 1987, these advertisements focused on the sexual chemistry between a couple, played by Anthony Head and Sharon Maughan, acted out in a mini soap opera. The advertisements gripped the whole nation, featuring as frequently as Eastenders or Coronation Street as topics of conversation. This original series of advertisements ran for ten years, increasing sales of Gold Blend by 40% in the first five years (there were two further, less successful, sets of advertisements with different actors). Such was the profile of these advertisements, that they even featured as a news article on the ‘News at Ten’.

With the coffee industry focused on price rather then quality, it was little wonder that coffee sales became stagnant. Coffee drinking was now more about a caffeine fix rather then about savouring the taste, to be drunk in a break from work, rather then to be enjoyed over conversation or while reading the newspaper. Unsurprisingly the younger generations born in the 70s and 80s turned their back on bitter coffee, preferring sugary soft drinks such as Coca Cola and Pepsi for their caffeine kicks.

Does The X Factor And American Idol Produce Great Singers

  • Posted on May 6, 2017 at 3:29 pm

I am based in the UK and we get the X factor, which is the same as American Idol except for the age limit. With the X Factor, there is no age limit. In the UK, we also get to watch American Idol on ITV2. The best part of these programs has got to be the auditions. Here you will find some of the finest comedy ever seen on television, but does it produce the finest singers. In my opinion defiantly not.

Yes, there are some good singers, but no better than I have seen in clubland over the past thirty years. As a keyboard player I have worked with thousands of singers some totally rubbish some are ok, you know, a nice singer. Then you have the good singers, well rehearsed, and well dressed a bit of polish to the act. Then you have the WOW what a singer. I can count them on one hand in over thirty years of working in clubland.

Now this is just my humble opinion of course. I am not a singer; Ive just worked with lots of them. Granted I work in back street clubs and pubs and American Idol has the best equipment, musicians, producers, promotion and the whole world to sell it to, but a singer is a singer right. The only difference is the environment one is a pie and a pint the other is caviar and champagne.

So maybe the title of this blog should read, Does the X Factor and American Idol Produce Great Television? absolutely, one hundred percent YES. Now be honest, how many of you are not that bothered about watching or dont bother to record the show once the auditions are over. All right some of you, but thats only because Simon Cowell is dishing the dirt.

I know some of the singers that applied for the X factor and they didnt even reach the auditions stage. Not because they are bad singers, if they were bad they would probably reach the auditions. The reason is, they are not good enough to make it all the way and they are not bad enough or funny enough to make good television.

I certainly wish all the singers that have won these competitions the very best. Will they be top selling artist? I havent seen much evidence of that in the UK. I must conclude that the X factor and American Idol create great television and make millions of pounds/dollars and give an extraordinary opportunity for a few not great, but good singers.