Surviving Father’s Day

WEST in the old Templeton factory

Fathers Day looms – June 16 so time for reflection on contributions dads make. OK, so maybe they don’t get things right that often. But sometimes they do.

Germany celebrates earlier – May 30 with Vatertag. This set me thinking. Beer is a good starting point because it brings good cheer, if we follow the rule of contentment before capacity.

A refreshingly different story this month was the decision by Petra Wetzel, who set up the West Brewery on Glasgow Green, to transfer ownership over time to its staff.

For historians it’s a must visit – located in the old Templeton carpet factory (itself modelled on the Doge’s Palace in Venice), and the bar and restaurant next door. Plus all its beers are brewed in accordance with the Reinheitsgebot purity law from 1516.

West started off in 2005 as a result of lacklustre local lager served to Petra’s engineer dad, Herbert, over on a visit from Bavaria to see his daughter then completing her studies at Glasgow University. This gave the idea of setting up a German style brewery in the city and he provided the backing. West went through troubled times initially but is now a roaring success.

This prompted me to reflect on my KGB days in Aberdeen. Wellbeing can also be triggered naturally by the endorphins which gives us the buzz from exercise. These were discovered by a team headed by Hans Kosterlitz and John Hughes at Marischal College.

They would pile into the KGB (Kirkgate Bar) for at the end of the week a sociable pint (Hans favoured a glass of Glenmorangie) alongside thirsty journalists.

Hans had come to Aberdeen to study under the Nobel-winning physiologist  JJR Macleod and won many scientific awards apart from the Nobel. However, his son Michael made suitable redress – securing the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2016.

Hans Kosterlitz, courtesy of The Royal Society

A final nostalgic rekindling this week came from a CD I came across in a charity shop.  A sign of ageing is that you start to like your dad’s favourite bands which you couldn’t stand as a teenager.  Bert Kaempfert comes into that category.

He was the harbringer of “Easy Listening” (come to think of it who enjoys hard listening?) I wasn’t a fan because I mistakenly believed from his celebrated safari songs that he was a white South African in the Apartheid years when the best black musicians like Hugh Masakela and Miriam Makeba were forced into exile.

Bert was in fact German. Not only was he a brilliant horn player, composer (Strangers in the Night for one), arranger and band leader, he also gave the first recording break in Hamburg to a group of Scouse rookies. They became the Beatles.

So after your cycle or run to get the endorphins pulsing, time to pour yourself a West lager and listen to Bert’s That Happy Feeling.

Happy Father’s Day!



Categories: digital history, history on the web

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