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  • My Favourite Glasgow Venues – A Musicians Guide

    As a working musician in Glasgow I regularly get asked where my favourite haunts are. As you can probably imagine, this is a fairly subjective thing. One musician will rave about one particular venue, while another will rubbish that place and wax lyrical about their favourite joint, that’s just the way of the world. But, what I can tell you is that we are spoilt for choice here in Glasgow, hardly surprising I suppose as it is Scotland’s largest city after all.

    It would be hard for me to make a definitive choice about an absolute favourite as there are so many places that I love to play. In fact that’s pretty much the key to it really. I just love to do what I do, no matter where that may be. Playing music is much more than just a job; it really is a way of life. You get to meet people that you would never ordinarily meet if you were stuck in a typical 9 to 5 type scenario.

    Take this guy I met the other day while visiting piano shops in Glasgow. You wouldn’t give this fella a second look in the street. Honestly, he was the most normal looking bloke, late 60’s, casually dressed but smart. I know the owner of the place and he introduced us. It turned out that he was a session pianist on some of the biggest funk albums of the 1970’s. I couldn’t believe it. There I was, shaking the hand that had shook the hand of Bootsy Collins and George Clinton – unreal. You wouldn’t get that if you worked in chartered accountancy now would you?

    Getting back to the point, I love playing the smaller venues far more than the big auditoriums. You get so much more of an intimate feeling when the audience is right on top of you. You get to hear their comments, both good and bad, and you can really get a feeling for what is working and what isn’t. Places like King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut really do it for me. Situated on St. Vincent Street it’s also very handy for me as I only live down the road, but it’s the intimacy that I like about it. Considering how famous the place is, it still amazes people when they find out that it only holds 300 punters. I reckon that, over the years, more like 300,000 people have claimed to have been in there the night that Alan McGee signed Oasis!

    Another place I love is Stereo on Renfield Lane. This basement venue has a fantastic vibe to it and I’ve played there a number of times. Always friendly and laid-back, the crowd there really know their stuff. It’s one of those places that you feel just as comfortable when you are playing there as you would if you were just hanging out. Some other venues you just want to get in and get out again as quickly as possible, but Stereo isn’t like that at all. It’s situated on the site of the old Daily Record print works so it has stacks of character too. I really do love it there.

    As I said before, if you were to ask another musician you’d probably get different answers but these are the two that stand out for me. They both have that certain something that sets them apart from the rest.

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  • Business Success With Mobile Websites

    It is clear is that mobile marketing cannot be ignored. Everywhere we look we see people on their phone or tablet devices. More and more areas of our everyday life, from coffee shops to public transport, are becoming wi-fi enabled allowing customers and visitors to browse and search online.

    The proliferation of smart phones means that every business has to pay close attention to how easily existing and potential customers can be engaged. Meeting your clients on the devices they are using is vital. Customers expect an efficient, fast and modern interface with businesses and if you disappoint you may be regarded as a dinosaur and your business will suffer.

    Mobile web searches now outnumber their deskbound counterparts. The explosion in the use of iphone and android phones, as well as the seemingly unstoppable growth in tablet devices has had a major impact of website design as well as general marketing.

    Companies of all sizes need to engage the best mobile website builder they can afford and have a mobile compatible site. There are a few options when it comes to mobile website design.

    One choice which is popular is to the advantage of the need to create a mobile version of their website to do a website redesign using a responsive website theme. WordPress websites in particular have been at the forefront of this and the website and it’s elements resize and reformat depending on the width of the browser screen.

    Responsive web design is a simple way to get in the mobile race as one website is being designed. This form of design is far from perfect but it has made great strides in recent years as the demands of business owners have grown.

    Another option is to create a mobile only website. One advantage of this is that it is only trying to do one job so is able to do that without compromise (as opposed to a responsive design which is trying to be all things to all browsers). Mobile websites typically are fast-running and touch-friendly. Cost-wise they can be had for a few pounds or dollars per month for basic versions, and a custom built site should only cost a few hundred dollars for a basic package.

    An adaptive website is a site which shows different versions of itself depending on the device type that is viewing it. These can be more expensive to build but are an elegant way of catering for all visitors without compromising on design features or page loading speed.

    It is worth talking to a mobile website designer to find the best solution for your business, and your pocket.

    One thing is clear – mobile internet use will continue to grow, and in the future we may be wearing the devices, rather than carrying them. Any company which ignores mobile marketing is putting its head in the sand.

    There is a great opportunity for many business owners currently as we are still in the relative infancy of the mobile web – opportunity awaits those with the vision and boldness to act now.

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  • Choosing A Professional Carpet Cleaning Company

    Be honest with yourself; if you don’t have clean carpets in your house it can be embarrassing when visitors arrive. No amount of moving furniture or strategically placing floor cushions will make things right. From time to time it is necessary to give your carpets a deep clean and shampoo, after all there is only so much that a vacuum cleaner can lift.

    While most of us own a vacuum cleaner we normally call in a professional carpet cleaning company when the time comes to get a thorough cleanse. This article will give you some pointers in choosing the best firm to do the job for you.

    A good reputation is essential in the carpeting cleaning business. Nothing spreads like bad news, so check out reviews and ask friends and colleagues who they can recommend, and who to avoid. Ask as many questions as you can, about service levels, costs, guarantees, and the standards of behaviour of the staff before deciding who to approach for a quotation.

    Not all carpet cleaning businesses are the same. Make sure that the quotes you receive cover all of the work that you want. Some companies will offer a lower price to get the contract and then hit you with hidden costs for items of work that you would have considered standard, so make sure you are comparing like-for-like.

    Where possible ask the company to visit your home or office – this way you know the quote you get is accurate. There are few things worse than a company arriving looking at your premises, giving an intake of breath, shaking their heads and telling you that it will cost you more money.

    Check out online testimonials to ensure that the company is as good as they claim they are. Their website may have testimonials from happy customers, but those will probably have been filtered to remove the dissatisfied clients. Look at Google, Yelp and other independent sites to get a more accurate picture of consumer satisfaction.

    Is it important to you that the carpet cleaning company has green credentials? If so, ask about the chemicals they use – how do they dispose of waste, for example? You also need to know how safe your carpets will be, particularly if you have small children or pets. How long do you need to wait for the carpets to be safe, or are they safe already?

    What kind of warranty do they give on their work, and is there a guarantee if you are unhappy? These are important questions as you do not wish to be left with a damaged carpet that needs repaired or replaced at your personal expense.

    Most professional carpet cleaning companies will take time to answer your questions before and during work. Once you find a company it is wise to stick with them to save you the trouble of looking again and potentially using a bad firm.

    A carpet cleaner will be able to give you a maintenance schedule and this will be based upon the usage of your carpet and the material it is made from. It is wise to follow their advice as this will save you money in the long run, as well as keeping your carpets hygienically clean.

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