barrowland ballrooms

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The Hunt For Bible John

“Bible John” is the popular nickname given to an unidentified serial killer who was active in Glasgow, Scotland between 1968 to 1969. The centre of the case is the Barrowland Ballroom- a popular dancing venue for courting couples -where all three of the victims danced before meeting their deaths. 

Bible John struck first on February 23, 1968, on a frigid winters night at the Barrowlands. Twenty five-year old Patricia Docker went along for a night of dancing with her sister, and got so drunk her sister could not support her on the walk home. As they waited for a taxi, a young man with reddish hair approached Patricia and offered to walk with her home. The drunken woman agreed and left with the man, leaving her sister behind at the ballroom. 

The next day a road builder found Patricia’s naked corpse lying in a door yard,  just feet from her home. She had been raped and strangled. Her clothes and purse were missing, but one detail stood out; Patricia had been menstruating at the time she was murdered, and the sanitary napkin she had been using had been quite deliberately placed next to her body. Though her sister gave police a reasonable description of the man’s appearance, her testimony was considered unreliable because she had been drunk when she saw Patricia’s killer. Months went by, and the case went cold.

Nearly eighteen months later, the killer of Patricia Docker again prowled the Barrowland Ballroom. This time he chose Jemima McDonald, a pretty young secretary who agreed to walk with him home after a night of dancing. Her sister went to her house the next day to drop off her purse, but there was no sign that Jemima had come home the previous night. Frantic, her sister waited for news, but then she saw something odd; a group of children running out of an abandoned building nearby, screaming about a body. She hurried over to the house, and in an empty room she found the hideously beaten body of her sister.  Jemima had been choked and beaten around the face, and again a used sanitary napkin gad been positioned next to her corpse.  Like Patricia, she had been violently raped.  

Police immediately noted the similarities between the Dockery and McDonald murders, and warned the young women of Glasgow that a killer was on the loose. Nobody got a good look at the man who accompanied Jemima home, but the crime scene evidence was in strong favor of a single offender having committed both murders. The killer would strike a final time, and then seemingly vanish into thin air.

On October 31, 1969, Helen and Jean Puttock went to attend a birthday bash at the Barrowland Ballroom. As they worked the room, Helen noticed a tall man with red hair following her; he bought her a drink, and the two appeared to hit it off. The man politely introduced himself to Jean as “John”, and when the ballrooms closed John accompanied Helen and Jean to the taxi stand. While they waited another man - ironically also named John - chatted to Jean, and this man would later tell police that “John” was very well spoken, appeared educated, and seemed to disapprove of ballrooms. Jean, Helen, and John took the same taxi home, and during  the ten minute trip home Jean got a good look at her sisters companion. She described John as being twenty five years old, clean shaven, with short cropped red hair and a slim build. During the trip he quoted from the Bible and spoke about praying instead of dancing (it’s this pious attitude that earned him his famous nickname) Jean bade goodbye to her sister and John when the taxi arrived at Helen’s house, and Continental on her way. 

The next morning a postman collecting mail noticed a white shape spread-eagled on her back in the back garden. Upon closer inspection the shape was revealed to be the partially nude body of Helen Puttock. Like the other two victims she had been raped and strangled, and a sanitary napkin was placed near her arm. Her bloodied clothes were scattered about the garden, but her handbag and stocking were missing - most likely taken as a trophy by her murderer. Jean Puttock immediately met with a police sketch artist and created a very good likeness of Bible John. He was profiled as a power-reassurance killer with a fixation on menstruation, a confident killer who carefully planned his murders and took care of evidence. A poster bearing the police sketch and his mannerisms was circulated throughout the Glasgow region, but despite thousands of tips police were no closer to catching the killer. The case faded from public memory, and eventually grew cold.

Nobody has ever been charged with the Bible John murders, though investigators currently believe serial killer Peter Tobin may be responsible. Tobin was in his mid twenties during Bible John’s active period,  and the police sketch is a good fit for his appearance at the time. However, with no concrete evidence available, police haven’t moved to officially charge Tobin with the murders. The case is still open. 

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Okay but can I just talk for a minute about how amazing Enter Shikari were on Thursday night?
I’ve been a huge huge huge fan for about 11 years now so it was really something to see so many songs from Take To The Skies played in one show. They’re probably my absolute idols.
I haven’t missed a show in Scotland since I first saw them play Dundees tiny Fat Sams, so it absolutely kills me they aren’t returning as part of their November UK tour. Manchester, here I come

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MODERN NOSTALGIA

{21st century music inspired by songs of the past}

KEEN (music inspired by 1950’s and 60’s doo wop, soul, and bubblegum pop)
01.valerie-amy winehouse 02.shark in the water-vv brown 03.candyman-christina aguilera 04.pack up-eliza doolittle 05.tightrope-janelle monae 06.the sweet escape-gwen stefani 07.well well well-duffy 08.the rebounder-amanda jenssen 09.freezing-mozella 10.credit-meghan trainor 11.queen of disaster-lana del rey 12.clumsy-fergie 13.daydreamin-ariana grande 14.god help the girl-god help the girl 15.why do you let me stay here?-she and him

GROOVY (music inspired by 1960’s and 70’s surf rock, psychedelic rock, and folk)
01.who have i become-best coast 02.elephant-tame impala 03.lonely boy-the black keys 04.paris (ooh la la)-grace potter and the nocturnals 05.ain’t no rest for the wicked-cage the elephant 06.let’s get high-edwarde sharpe and the magnetic zeros 07.texico bitches-broken social scene 08.ruin-cat power 09.edge-haim 10.kings-the pierces 11.the habit-lissie 12.barrowland ballroom-amy macdonald 13.the everlasting muse-belle and sebastian 14.my silver lining-first aid kit 15.romulus-sufjan stevens

FRESH (music inspired by 1980’s new wave, synthpop, and electropop)
01.shut up and dance-walk the moon 02.sons and daughters-negative youth feat. eve 03.girls-the 1975 04.uptight downtown-la roux 05.body work-tegan and sara 06.london queen-charli xcx 07.eleventh dimension-julian casablancas 08.all of you-betty who 09.gun-chvrches 10.every night i say a prayer-little boots 11.froot-marina and the diamonds 12.prime-allie x 13.serious-gwen stefani 14.one-sky ferreira 15.hang with me-robyn

DOPE {music inspired by 1990’s r&b, dance, and trip hop)
01.you know you like it-alunageorge 02.little things-tinashe 03.everlasting love-fifth harmony 04.extraordinary-clean bandit 05.boy-little mix 06.baby i-ariana grande 07.mr.president-pia mia 08.90’s music-kimbra 09.hideaway-kiesza 10.monks-frank ocean 11.and it was u-how to dress well 12.two weeks-fka twigs 13.comfortable-fola 14.goddess-banks 15.house of balloons/glass table girls-the weeknd

Bobby! Barney! Very interesting perspective…

This is the caption on the photo:

Robert Carlyle as Barney Thomson at the legendary Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow, Scotland