Saturday, 27 February 2010

This Dug Went To Market

I am so impressed by the honesty of the labradoodles who sniff madly round their favourite stall in the Govan market but manage to resist the temptation to shoplift a vast array of bones, chews and rubber toys, all redolent of a strong doggy pong.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

A Walk In The Park

Me and Peggy stroll in the park on a fine Feb day, taking the air and enjoying the splendid architecture of the Linthouse Mansion.

A nautical bench is not dead comfy, but a good place to eat your chips and watch the park gardeners prepare flowerbeds for another dazzling display this summer.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Knit One Purl One

The leafless wintertime trees at Govan Cross have suddenly sprouted woolly leaves courtesy of, apparently, a theatrical community arts sort of thing that is going on in an empty shop in the Govan Shopping Market dump.
Glad I spotted this foliage. Brightened up a cheerless February day no end.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Only For Lovers

As another business in Burleigh Street prepares to shut up shop they offer a tantalising sale, "Only for Lovers"; the poster handwritten in the charming script of the Indian Sub-continent. It wasn't that busy.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Love To Love In Gov'

And so the year rolls round. The Christian calendar is now ably marked by the Muslim shopkeepers of the Govan Road card shop.

Let's follow 2010's progress - we're a bit late in starting, but will begin with St. Valentine's Day, February 14th.

The window is suffused with red; furry hearts, teddies, and red, red roses with plastic raindrops on the silken petals for the one you love. There are cards of every size for wife, husband, girl/boyfriend, my fiance(e), someone special, even one for your mammy??? Rampant commercialism goes beyond it, again.

Always a good month to buy your calendar and diary as they drop to at least half price and you've only missed 4 weeks or so.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Harsh Modernity

Not for the fainthearted . . . Govan Printing Works 1933 and now as Park Sta-ionery in 2010.
Sorry to drag us brutally into the 21st century.
Hey - but at least it's still here and functioning as a greeting card shop! When all you get are streets full of charity shops, community arts projects and blank metal shutters, we have to be grateful that some merchants are bravely trading in spite of everything.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Govan Printing Works

Two historic photos of the Govan Printing Works
at 851 Govan Road.
Right, let's have a good look at this picture taken in August 1933. What a busy window. When, as a child, I started my career in the caseroom here quite a few decades later, this is just how the shop looked. We'll start from the ground up.
The front step has decorative tiles which were coloured yellow ochre, blue and red, set in a classic floral/star pattern. Inside, the shop is narrow and very long - extending right to the back of the building and with an extra length below the back court and yet another room through the wall from that which was behind next door's shop. Anyway, every morning, the shop would be swept from front to back and the front step would also be swept and then mopped with hot soapy water which came from a wee kitchen at the very back end of the shop, behind the caseroom.
The main signage for the shop reads, "Govan Printing Works. High Class Work Done On Premises".
The biggest window sign declares, "Printing Is Our Business" and another sign alongside reads, "Stationery, Bibles and Hymnaries. Leather Goods." A banner display advertises "Swan Fountpens and Inks."
Inside the window, which extends down to floor level, there're rows of shelves displaying books. From my experience, I'd say there would be sales and purchase ledger books, cash day books, receipt books, order books, diaries, notebooks, slim boxes of waxy deep blue carbon paper, scrapbooks, typewriting paper, autograph books, stamp collector's albums, envelopes, writing paper in Albert, Duke, Post Quarto and Foolscap, and no doubt more that I can't think of or don't know cos I wasn't actually there in 1933. If you do, then tell us please!
Hanging in the window are displays of postcards and looks like lots of pictures and photos around the bottom of the window - maybe these are scraps? This is summer time, but by October these would be replaced by calendars which would also be strung up and held by bulldog clips inside the shop, like clothes on a line. (more of this later in the year)
There's a glass case between the shops which displays samples of printed cards for which you may place an order, Madam.
Next door on the right hand side you can see the 'L' of the Lyceum Cafe on the sign and on the other side, the sign says 'Records' and there's sheet music in the window and, I think, I can see a violin. What a fabulous thought! A music shop on the Govan Road. If only . . .
ok, so . . . the next photograph is dated August 1939 and we're on the brink of war but things are still looking dandy. The Lyceum has just had a makeover in the latest Art Deco style. On the other side of the Printers, the music shop is now a Dairy, boasting "Finest Value in Ham, Butter and Eggs" with a banner advertising HP Sauce below. Look at the first floor above the Lyceum - a pretty birdcage is suspended in the window.
The top half of the window is covered by a large poster advertising "High Class Printing of All Descriptions - Let Us Quote". The poster also proclaims "Wedding Stationery A Speciality" and there's a phone number! Is it Govan 306?
TicketWriting is another service offered; Tickets, Posters, Showcards, summat else I can't make out, Pelmets, Displays.
Wonder what happened to Swan Ink which was so prominent in earlier years. By the time I got there, Quink was the Ink, oh and Parkers, of course.
What a glorious shop, full of neat and tidy boxes containing: sealing wax, newspaper wrappers, balls of string of various strengths, tapes and ribbons of varying lengths, ink pads, rubber stamps, rubber bands, rubber fingerettes, rubber erasers, paper spikes, gums and glues, laundry pens indelible, lead pencils erasable, china markers, fountain pens and selection of nibs, scalpels and guillotines, paper clips, eyelets, staples and paper fasteners, raffle tickets, strung tags, dance tickets, correspondence cards, calling cards, condolence cards, celebrations and invitations, acceptance and regrets, in memoriam . . .

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Ten For A Twenty

Loitering on corners; a traditional Govan pastime in which the full gamut of human emotion may be observed. Humour and comradeship, anger and vindictiveness, mockery and shame, a sharing of knowledge and ideas, the exchange of news and views. All this and more, carried out in a spirit of aimlessness, have been witnessed on the street corners down the generations.

At this particular street corner, a stone's throw or so from Govan X, we get an interesting insight into the entrepreneurial skills of a well off young loiterer. We're just staunin, kicking our feet from side to side because it's February and freezing still. A large wad of notes is drawn from the youngster's pocket and a Twenty Pound Note is peeled off. He's a wee smarty with a runt of the litter look, in his late teens but still has to show his i.d. when he wants a packet of fags.

We are invited to check oot the twenty. It's one of the new Bank of Scotland kind, crisp and colourful. Look at the front. Look at the back. Hold it up to the dull street light.
Aye, whitabootit?
The paper's different fae the real wans.
Naw it's no'.
Aye, it is. It is.
Therr's nae hologram.
Aye - look.
The Caxton amongst us proclaims it a fine counterfeit note, well worthy of praise.

Govan's own city trader is well friendly and full of fun. He explains that he pays his supplier a tenner for a £20 note. Then he goes out and spends, taking care to distribute the fake currency evenly throughout the community. He's given this a fair bit of thought.
"Right, so, this is wan 'hing a dae," he says with a grin. "Jump a taxi an' oan the wey ah go, let us aff a minute driver till ah get cash. So then ah go up tae the cash machine and kid oan ah'm gettin money oot and then a pey 'im wi' the fake. Dead easy - just pass them aff in chippies, cairry-oots en'in like that."
"Whoodje get them affa?"
"Naw," he says very firmly and with a quick shake of his head. "That's the 'hing. Ah can't tell ye that." And he rolls the note back in with the rest and stuffs it in his pocket with a knowing look.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Govan Gold Rush

A month after Christmas and everybody's skint. The ongoing regeneration of Govan sees the opening of yet another of Uncle's establishments. Seems like the world and its dug is going mad for gold. Adverts everywhere appealing for us to part with our treasures - old necklaces and rings, brooches, watch chains, anything will do as long as it's shiny shiny! Just send it in an envelope and we'll send you back a big fat cheque. My pal sent stuff she had sitting from the 80s and got back a rinky-dink wee cheque. Gold-diggas.