ARTIST and writer John Byrne is celebrating his 80th birthday this year - here are seven fun facts about the Paisley legend.

1 He dreamt up the Majestics, that crazy, mixed-up Glasgow band that made stars of Robbie Coltrane, Emma Thompson and more in his 80s TV comedy series, Tutti Frutti.

2 His 1957-set comedy drama, The Slab Boys Trilogy, was set in a carpet factory - and it was based on Byrne's own experiences in Stoddart's in Paisley.

3 To mark his 80th birthday, Glasgow Print Studio – where Byrne has worked since the early 70s – is staging two major exhibitions in his honour - John Byrne at 80 and Dear John, A Thirty Year Portrait. They run until October 30.

4 The former is a retrospective exhibition of Byrne’s works and it includes a selection of new and exclusive hand coloured screenprints created at the studio this year (some of which were completed during lockdown).

5 Byrne's work is held in major collections in Scotland and abroad, with several of his paintings hanging in The Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, the Museum of Modern Art and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow.

6 Earlier this year, Provost Lorraine Cameron revealed Byrne is in the running to receive his hometown’s highest honour, the Freedom of Renfrewshire. It has only been awarded five times previously.

7 Byrne continues to write and exhibit regularly. His latest musical play, Underwood Lane, tells the tale of a young skiffle band trying to make it and is written in memory of John’s Paisley buddy, Gerry Rafferty, who was born and brought up on the street.

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