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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Best Venue in the World" (Copyright: Anyone that matters)
I've known since my first visit here that this venue is special; it's virtually unchanged since the 60s. Grubby glamour, ghosts of dancers & bands past and, sadly, even its own serial killer (Bible John). Fans talk of the sprung floor, the raucous crowd, the obvious enjoyment of the musicians. Musicians talk of the famous Glasgow welcome, the ancient old-school dressing...
Published 13 months ago by Starryceiling

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible
I've never been prompted to write a review of a book purchased from Amazon before, but feel the need here - especially to warn other buyers.

This is a truly awful book and a massive opportunity missed. The writing is dreadful - a lot of quotes from people saying "it's brilliant" like that kid from the Fast Show, but with very little substance or analysis of...
Published 10 months ago by Ian R


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible, 6 Jan 2014
This review is from: Barrowland: A Glasgow Experience (Hardcover)
I've never been prompted to write a review of a book purchased from Amazon before, but feel the need here - especially to warn other buyers.

This is a truly awful book and a massive opportunity missed. The writing is dreadful - a lot of quotes from people saying "it's brilliant" like that kid from the Fast Show, but with very little substance or analysis of what makes it a great venue.

The writer makes lots of comments about why stuff is included in the book, why it is written a certain way, editorial decisions etc. I don't want to read about the authors editorial decisions (especially as she purports to be an editor). And even then the explanations are confusing - she didn't want it to be just a bunch of people saying "it's brilliant" and get to the heart of the reasons why it is, rightly, revered around the world as an excellent venue. Unfortunately that is all the book is - lots of badly edited quotes.

In the introduction she mentions that it would be remiss not to mention Bible John in the historical context of the venue - then goes on to mention Bible John with absolutely no historical background or real explanation of the effect he had on the area/venue.

For a book about a venue you would expect there to be some facts about it e.g. venue capacity, venue layout, venue design. There isn't any real attempt to explain the famous sprung dance floor, other than a vague reference to a rumour about it being done with tennis balls and I still don't know how many people it holds.

The long lists at the end of all the bands who played and on what date is helpful, but surely should have been just a link to a web page as the compilers openly admit that it is incomplete and being updated as the book went to print. Filler perhaps?

Another annoying aspect is the quotes of some bands e.g. the View, are written in some garbled approximation of a Dundee/Scottish accent, while other e.g. Shirley Manson aren't. It lends the whole book a very parochial air and probably makes it completely impenetrable to non-Scottish readers.

Overall the whole book comes across like a badly put together high school project with an inability to extract anything useful from a very limited range of interviewees. As someone who has been to many gigs at the Barrowland Ballroom I came away with a sense of frustration at an opportunity missed to write the definitive history of a world famous venue.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Best Venue in the World" (Copyright: Anyone that matters), 17 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Barrowland: A Glasgow Experience (Hardcover)
I've known since my first visit here that this venue is special; it's virtually unchanged since the 60s. Grubby glamour, ghosts of dancers & bands past and, sadly, even its own serial killer (Bible John). Fans talk of the sprung floor, the raucous crowd, the obvious enjoyment of the musicians. Musicians talk of the famous Glasgow welcome, the ancient old-school dressing rooms, the infamous bouncers; they don't just patronise the crowd, though. Bands have been quoted in Rolling Stone, NME and on TV...all extolling the virtues of this venue. Local bands do their best to finish their tour at the Barras, to avoid the anti-climax of following it with an inferior experience. Playing Barrowland is an accolade in itself. As a fan, there's no greater pride than hearing an artist rave in a national (or international) publication about the reception provided by your crowd.

It's surprising no-one has written about the venue previously in such detail.

So, let's be clear: I'm biased before I start to read. I LOVE this place. The greatest danger for the author (insofar as one review is a danger) was that I'd feel she didn't capture how much it means to me, to musicians, the audience, the city of Glasgow. No need for concern on that score- the passion felt, by all involved in the book, bursts from every page.

The format helps with this- rather than a dry chronological history of the venue, it's written as a conversation. Those involved, like members of a family or a gang, dip in & out of the chat, describing their experiences of this musical temple. From the devastating death of a concert-goer to the legendary strength & organisational skills of the venue's crew to in-numerous stories of hilarity & high jinks, all of life is there.

The author has included substantial sections listing the artists that have played the Barras & the dates they played, as well as an exhaustive list in date order of who headlined when & who supported, This is the food & drink of musical geekdom & the author had a team of such geeks able to supply & consume. A strength of the volume is the willingness to use possibly the best geek resource available: the audience. Not only did this allow dates & artists to be checked off against photos of tickets, booking diaries & musicians' records, it got the most important people involved- those who pay to visit that grubby old place & lose themselves in music for a couple of hours. Naughton made full use of social networks to elicit facts & memories from anyone willing to help; like the venue, the book is more than the sum of its parts.

The only disappointing aspect of the book, in my opinion, is the limited range of artists that have contributed their stories or views of the venue. That seems to be no fault of the author; despite the appearance of accessibility via Twitter & Facebook, many artists still enjoy the protection of numerous of their "people". I guess if there's no evidence that they'll sell more records as a result of contributing, there's no impetus to help. That's a shame but the passion from those who do participate (most notably, Shirley Manson of Garbage & the über-enthusiastic guys from the View)

If you know & love the venue, it's hard to imagine you won't enjoy this thoroughly enjoyable experience of a book.

If you've heard bands (or fans) talk about the venue, reading this will help you understand what all the fuss is about. However, be warned: you may find yourself browsing the listings & spending a lot of money on tickets!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding snapshot of a legendary venue, 7 Oct 2013
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Great little read, thanks for that. Worked there many times love the place, love the book.
Makes me want to go back there soon
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... anyone lucky enough to have watched or played this amazing venue this book is a must own, 27 July 2014
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This review is from: Barrowland: A Glasgow Experience (Hardcover)
A stunning piece off work and anyone lucky enough to have watched or played this amazing venue this book is a must own. Great detail about all the shows at the Barrowland and very well written 10/10
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, 27 Dec 2013
By 
Kim Griffin "jokergirl" (scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Barrowland: A Glasgow Experience (Hardcover)
As described, lovely book and great gift for the boyfriend who loves the Barrowlands and the history. Had clocked it before and curious to read it myself!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barras Review, 25 Jan 2014
By 
Andrew J. Daly "Bookworum" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Barrowland: A Glasgow Experience (Hardcover)
Excellent read. Brought it all back vividly! Has inspired me, at age of 60, to revisit and see a favourite band in one of the best venues in Scotland.
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Barrowland: A Glasgow Experience
Barrowland: A Glasgow Experience by Nuala Naughton (Hardcover - 12 Sep 2013)
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