MIDSUMMER NIGHTS IN GLASGOW

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The Independent Online
While London's West End swelters in clouds of smog and backpacked tourists, Glasgow's elegant district of the same name is en fete, transforming itself for the second year running into one massive street party. From the grass roots to the spectacular, The Glasgow West End Festival boasts events so thick on the ground that even the most recalcitrant residents

will be hard-pressed not to stumble upon something to savour. Today's roster of Caledonian culture includes an informal concert by the Hillhead Strings Orchestra, a walk around the splendid Victorian Bridges of Kelvin, the comedy Hindi drama Baap Bechara Beta Aawara and an open-air Ceilidh in Mansfield Park, which celebrates the 9,000-strong community of Gaels in the city's West End.

As well as ample opportunity to drink in the robust sandstone architecture, the festival also offers visitors to the area the opportunity to learn more about a diverse range of local heroes. Je t'aime Gainsbourg is a hommage to the priapic, nicotined French composer starring members of BMX Bandits and the Pearlfishers, while a late night season of De Niro films includes Angel Heart, Raging Bull and Taxi Driver. Tomorrow, Home is Where the Art is Theatre Company takes a peek behind the net curtains to reveal the life of author E Nesbit, the Victorian novelist best known for her children's books Five Children and It and The Railway Children. Described by George Bernard Shaw as "an audaciously unconventional lady", E Nesbit lived her daily life as Mrs Hubert Bland, something of a misnomer for a woman who balanced artistic creativity with the dignified management of a discreet menage a trois.

If a 100-year-old scandal isn't your bag, you might like to take a step into the future of fashion with the Glasgow Caledonian University Fashion Show or tune in to The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, professor Archie Roy's slide-enhanced discussion about life on Mars. Planetary movements closer to Earth will be celebrated on Saturday the 21st, where the longest day in Kelvingrove Park melts into The Loveliest Night of the Year. After a reception and Picture Promenade, guests can sashay into the solstice to the sounds of a Big Band, followed by the big bang of midsummer fireworks. So go west young men and women for the shorest, sharpest night of the year.

Venues around Glasgow.

Info: 0141-357 6838

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