Sunday, 24 August 2008

Sunday Service

The weather is pleasantly still and grey this Sabbath evening and there is a lot of activity on the streets.

Govan Road's notorious close is tonight's hang out for a baby gang. The boys, aged from twelve down to about four years, seem to be enjoying themselves, running into the close and out again, slamming the door on each other and getting up to all sorts of fun and games on the pavement.

A window on the first floor, above the Liquor Barn, swings open and a teenager wearing a baseball cap leans out and spits down into the street. The little ones gaze up at him. He stares back at them, a bit menacingly, and disappears back into the room. A little while later, a younger boy in a blue and white trackie top takes his position at the window. He leans right out, casually exchanging remarks with the gang in the street. One shouts up to ask him to come out but he replies "Ah've tae get ma da chips". And then he is gone.

A Sunday evening must be prime shopping time for Govan Road residents. A couple passes, both carrying a couple of heavy Asda plastic bags in each hand. He is wearing shorts, white socks and sandals, she is very blonde; Eastern Europeans. Then comes a weary looking mum with a girl and two boys and they all have Asda plastic carriers. A middle aged working man, with his messages in the Asda bags, slips into a close. Over at the bus stop, an African family, maw, paw and the weans, wait with granny and wave her off on the number 23. Then they join hands and cross the street back to their home.

Karaoke is resonating from the Harmony Bar at the corner of Shaw Street and the drunken nasal tones of tonight's singer sound warm and intense. "Oh Flower of Scotland", sung with deep feeling, and after a short break, "Wake Up Little Suzy". This is lacking enthusiasm and the singer trails off a couple of times but picks up towards the end and reaches the last bar with a flourish. Everyone must be sozzled in there as they let him continue for a third number - "Sweeeet Ca-ro-line, da-da-da daaaah".

Two elderly gents, one wearing a baseball cap, emerge from the bar and light up at the door. They've had enough.

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