Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Flutes and Drums

After tea, a few of us meander along the Govan Road together. It's hot and dusty after many days of blistering heat, a bit like Jerusalem. Lights are on in Farmfoods and Hoi Polloi suggests an ice lolly, but when she goes to the door, it's shut. A heavy silence hangs in the air, the warmth is so comfortable but I can't relax as I anticipate the evening's festivities. We sit on the benches overlooking the absent Govan Baby, we inspect the railings of the Gents' Lavvies and wonder about an excavation, we cross back over and sit on the wall by ra Job Centre.
"Ah can hear it," one cries and we all shhh and listen.
"Ah can't".
Ne'er can Ah."
But after another few minutes we do hear it, the distant boom of the drums, building layers of sound as it comes closer to us; tac-a-tactac of the side drum and the shrill flutes soaring above. The walk turns into Govan X, smart and staunchly dignified. The rabble runs alongside, roaring and raucous to the tunes of "Derry's Walls" and "The Sash My Father Wore".

A moment of silence and heads bowed at the cenotaph for the laying of wreaths, then onward past St. Anthony's with a big bang boom and up Golspie Street to double back down Langlands Road and on to KP where the union flags flutter outside The Grapes.
One brave supporter shows his colours at a ground floor flat and the Africans watch from their shop door, bemused but enjoying the rhythm nonetheless.

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