Thursday, 27 March 2008

A Dug of Sartorial Elegance

"You've never seen the like of it". That's an old Govan phrase which has probably fallen somewhat out of fashion. It is the phrase that comes to my mind today as I stand in the Royal Bank at Govan X. Through the door trots a little dog, a sort of scraggy sausage dog type, leading its owner and her beau. Maybe the dog owns the girl - who knows? Anyway, it trots in, casting its head back disdainfully, and so it should as it is a dog with a difference. This is a dressed dogg. A dawg of sartorial elegance. Dressed to the k-nines. Snoop Dug.
Actually, it's not really well dressed at all, but the dog doesn't know that and thinks it is da bomb. For a dog, I suppose it is. The dog is wearing a stripy shirt and blue pullover. I think it's an all-in-one jump suit thing that's made to look like separates.

The girl on the other end of the lead has the look of one with drug dependency. She is shaking a bit and has a faraway look in her eyes. Very faraway. Her boyfriend is narky and gets annoyed with the dog when the lead gets fankled round the back of his leg.

A girl and boy come in behind them and the girl's hair is dyed flame orange and hectic red and the boy has lime green spiky bits through his.
They are entranced by the dog. The girl tells the doglady where she saw wee dog outfits and the lady is excited about this and says she is going to get some more.
I say "excited" but her reactions are as if in slow motion, her eyes fall shut and she struggles to open them.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Right Down to the Last Knife, Fork and Spoon

Wednesday of Holy Week. Govan Old, now closed for regular worship, opens its doors to a Community Service. Govan New and Linthouse has a new minister. A previous commitment means she can't be there, so the service is conducted by a major from the Sally Army's Govan Citadel. He rather spoils the singing by joining in through a microphone at every crescendo (or what he thinks ought to be a crescendo). Annoying

Father Peter, from St. Anthony's across the road, is invited to read a story and offer the benediction. wow. I wonder how the ghosts of times past are feeling about the priest in the black cassock standing on the steps to the chancel, softly speaking in a southern Irish lilt.

Earlier in the evening Ned and I go into the PI to check if the service starting time was on a poster. I ask the janny if he knows.
"Eh, is it the Adonai church service?" he asks, bemused.
"Em, no, what's that? I don't think so . . . "
"It's the Africans," he says, "They've got their church here every Wednesday."
"No, it's the kirk, you know - Govan Old. "
"And they've got another one on a Sunday."
He shrugs his shoulders and starts telling me about all the things on at the PI.
"You could come down and volunteer," he says, "at the cafe, or come to dance classes. There's a tap dancing class on a Monday and belly dancing on a Tuesday night."
I make a face and look doubtful.
An African man comes in and remarks on how cold it is outside. We nod and he goes upstairs to Adonai.
A couple of African girls come into the Pearce and go upstairs.

We leave and the janny follows us out to the front step. A Polish speaking couple pass us. They look young, trendy (Eastern European fashion that is) and the janny tells us that the whole of Rathlin Street is getting done up for the Poles. The whole street - top quality. They're getting everything - right down to the last knife, fork and spoon.
Right down to the last knife, fork and spoon.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Sunny Govan

After a long dreich winter, we see the sun, shining down through banks of rolling clouds and patches of blue.

I stroll along the cobblestones of Water Row and nod benignly to a rough looking man who emerges from the hedgerow by the fairground encampment. He's carrying a rolled up cloth pack. He nods to me and crosses the grassy field towards the Govan Road. I wonder if he's been sleeping rough or in one of the caravans. We're all feeling quite uplifted by the pleasant change in the weather.

At the Post Office in the Govan Market the lady before me in the queue goes forward to be served.
"Oh, hullo Missis White," says the post office girl, "How's you the day?".
"Och, a bit cheesed off. What else can you expect when you're ninety." she says quite brightly.
I look at her. She's old but very sprightly for 90 years. Well done.
The post office girl replies, "Ah know. Ah'm only 27 and ah'm fed up an' a'."
I look at her. She is thin with dirty fair hair, a dull complexion and tired eyes.
The old lady lets out a cry, "Oh, come on hen, ye cannae be fed up at your age. Can you no' go to the dancin or somethin'?"
"No' withoot a babysitter."
The transaction is over and they say their cheerios. It's my turn to buy stamps.

Back out on the Govan Road, I notice buds emerging on the trees and muted hues beginning to transform the black and grey of this urban landscape.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Farmfoods Blockade

I've noticed it's been harder to get into Farmfoods at Govan Cross recently. The door has been blocked by young ladies and a pram with a baby in it. I didn't pay them much attention the first couple of times I was going in because there are often ladies milling about the shops, chatting and smoking. There are lots of youths standing a bit further off, outside the Job Centre and there are a few dogs too. Some of them are scary and I once saw one bite a roll'n'sausage out of a child's hand.

It started to dawn on me that the Farmfood ladies were becoming a regular feature and were actually blocking the way in and out of the shop so, I checked out what was going on and realised that they are talking to a new security boy. I say "boy" as he is really young looking and not in the least bit tough. I mean, I don't think he'd have any chance if the "job centre" boys decided to launch an attack on Farmfoods with their dogs.

I took proper notice of them last night, although I've been subconsciously noticing them for well over a week now. There are 3 or 4 girls standing at the door talking and laughing with the security boy. It was a very cold day yesterday and one of the girls was only wearing a short sleeved t-shirt and a pair of joggies. Another girl is very slim with a pregnant bump and the third has the baby in the pram. They are about 16 or 17 years old. So is the security boy. Today an older lady was there too. She looked about 40 and had dyed her hair a vivid red. Obviously one of them fancies the security boy. Hmmm, he seems to be enjoying the attention a lot.