Wednesday, 25 August 2010

All The World's A Stage

The Lyceum Cinema

The mystery of the disappearing cinema. Click on the link and see what you think.
Choose "Aerial" and then "Bird's Eye View".

How odd.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Through A Glass Brick Darkly

So, me and the pips are having an argument about the inside of The Lyceum. She says there's nothing behind the facade.
"Yes, there is," says I.
"No there isn't, she insists. You can look down on it and it's just open ground. You can look yourself on google maps. Check the aerial view."
"No way," I say.

We are walking past it and the sun is out and shining.
"Look up there," she says, "you can see the clear air through the bricks - the see-through glass bricks."
I am looking and looking, trying to see through the screen which portrays the old Lyceum of yesteryear.
"Where? Where? I can't see that - I can't see any clear air. I'm telling you it's a cinema in there. All dark red velvet."
But then, my eye suddenly focuses on the glassy brick which clearly shows light blue air behind it.

I feel downcast and low. What happened to the cinema? Have I been walking past it all this time and it's just been a front?

Friday, 20 August 2010

pb and celtic's big night oot

Hi again to guest blogger, benk. Newly come to Govan from the north-east, benk is quickly realising that the natives are friendly.

the other nicht on ma late night jaunt tae the g-side wyclef jean was on that radio sproutin aboot his bid tae be el presidente of haiti. i parked up and wuz listening tae him. as i wuz listening ma beads spotted twa lassies walking doon the street. the taller wan had on the bumble bee celtic tap wi trackies and her wee pal had a white pb jaiket and them cut-aff jeans. in her arms celtic was cradling a bottle of budwiser, a packet o cribs and a pot noodle. i watched them walk by, just having a listen tae president wyclef.

suddenly, a turn o events i wisnae expecting. celtic stalked back, looked in ma windae, then walked awa again. i was confused. oot a nowhere, back she came, peeked in the windae, and walked awa. i didnae have a clue. ma confusion turned tae astonishment and bewilderment whenever she stalked back, looked in the windae and opened the door. ma jaiket fell oot on the street. she reached oot her grubby and picked it up. 'that'll need a dryclean' i thought. 'oh expletive' she said, 'sorry pal'. i said it wuz ok. she said, 'ah didnae realise anywan wuz in here, i thought somewan had left their radio and i wuz gonnae shout up 'somewan's left their radio on, the battery will go flat''. 'thats very good of you' i said, as she shut the door and walked awa. i thought tae maself, 'what a wee lovely, it jist goes tae show ye'.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

The Funeral of Jimmy Reid

Our roving reporter, Dan, is on the spot for today's celebration of the life of Jimmy Reid, Shipyard Worker and Trade Union Official who was one of the leaders of the famous "work-in" at the UCS Shipyards in 1971.

Well, it wouldn’t be Govan – and I don’t suppose it would have been Jimmy Reid either - if we didn’t have a bit of ‘Govanitis’ controversy. Yes, even on the day of someone’s funeral.
As the cortege passed along Govan Road, there, on the busy pavements, outside the Old Govan Arms, Jimmy Reid was being given his blessings from one irate ‘punter’ shouting at the cortege, accusing the dead man of deserting his ‘class or class-less’ roots, when he defected from the shipyards and became a political pundit for The Sun newspaper and the old Glasgow Herald.

Ah well, you can’t please everyone -- and the contrast, I’m sure, would have been evident to Jimmy, lying there in his coffin as he made the journey from his home in Rothesay, on the ferry across the Clyde, up the road alongside the Clyde estuary, and thence to Fairfields’ (now Upper Clyde Shipbuilders), where around one hundred shipyard workers, yellow helmets in hand, bowed as the cortege passed the yard door.
Of course, most of the workers were not around at the time of the ‘sit-in’ which had taken place almost forty years before – but the legend lives on.


I did meet one man who was there, retired former Fairfields’ man, John Cassells who had come along with his wife, to pay their respects, as did many others who had nothing to do with the shipyards – but were unstinting in their praise of ‘the Committee’ who had organised the ‘work-in’.
The praise was also, very much in evidence at a ‘Celebration of Life’ for Jimmy Reid, held in Govan Old Parish Church.
The place was packed out and the speakers included many famous friends, such as fellow-Govanite Alex Ferguson (Sir, mind you – and Manchester United manager), Alex Salmond (Rt. Hon. don’t forget – Scotland’s First Minister, and proper ‘punter’), some prominent Trade Union people and Billy Connolly (I don’t think he is Sir yet, although he is a neighbour and good friend of The Queen, up there at Balmoral).
Billy seemed sad that he could not claim to have been Govan-born, but had been educated at St. Gerard’s School, in Southcroft Street, Govan.
The Service (or Celebration) lasted for one and a half hours, with loads of laughs, emotion and mighty tributes, re the way that Jimmy Reid had lifted himself, from the Whitefield Road days of his birth and youth, to become a raconteur, after-dinner speaker and writer – much of his learning self-taught, from countless hours spent in the Elderpark Library in Govan from age fourteen. Jimmy is survived by wife, Joan, three daughters and grandchildren.
David Scott, a former Television presenter, and long-time friend of Jimmy’s conducted the Proceedings and recalled how Jimmy had told him of an incident from his shipyard days – when one of the workers had dreamt-up a ‘scheme’ (or scam), whereby he would take a load of grease up to the greyhound racetrack (‘the dugs’) and grease the floor of four of the five traps – leaving trap number three, allowing a ‘safe –passage’ out of the traps for dog three.
Of course, all of the workers were told of the idea and there was an unusual amount of bets on number three dog in that particular race.
Number three dog won, and Jimmy said that the only things faster than dog three that night were the punters going to collect their winnings from the Bookies before they held a Stewards’ Enquiry.
We know that this story will be told again, as will other countless stories, fact and fiction – about Jimmy Reid and his accomplishments. I’m glad I was able to attend his funeral, the feelings of respect and some distant admiration I had felt beforehand -- for what he achieved were endorsed by those who had known him, up close.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Shady Gets Frostied

For many years, folks have come from all over the country, in fact, from all over the world to live in Govan. Today's guest blogger, benk, joins our happy riverside community from Scotland's north-east. Thanks for yer mad story.

having made the late night trip from casa de fun fun tae govan aboot a dozen times now, the only incident worth noting has been a run in wi the secret police in their wee red bucket spy car asking if i wur mental fur moving tae the g-side. normally it's quiet and a bit deid, possibly due to the big dirty camera which patrols ma sector. on a normal i would come oot the car, lock ma doors, utter a silent prayer of protection ower it and shuffle off tae the close.
the other night however as i was parking, i noticed a shady hanging aboot the close, drinking his four litre bottle of frosty jacks. i wondered whut he was dain and had a wee think to masel, 'here. we. go'.

i collected ma stuffs, got oot, locked ma doors, said ma silent prayer, and shuffled off toward the close. as i got nearer i could hear voices, but couldnae tell how many there wuz, or whut they wur doing. it was raining a wee bit, so i thought 'they might just be having a shelter'. as i got closer shady stepped oot, hudding his frostys. 'ya aw rite?' i said, shady said 'yeh'. 'just having a shelter?' i enquired and shady replied 'aye'.
while conversing with shady i noticed that there wuz only one other voice and it belonged tae a lassie, and i assumed she was shady's. i opened the door. 'see you later m8' i said, and shady said something, but i wisnae listening anymare tae shady. i had ma beads on his wee lass who wuz saying see ya later tae shady and telling him she was going tae wait at her door while coming in the close wi me. this wuz a turn o events i wisnae expecting.

the door closed and i started to shuffle doon the hall when shady's girl nearly fell on iz. 'hen, im engaged' i almost blurted oot, but she beat me to it with 'thank goodness'(almost), as it dawned on iz she wuznae shady's at all, but ma neighbour. 'ive been terrified' she continued, 'he came up to iz and said i was part of the govan young team now'. 'hahaha', i laughed. looking back it wuz prolly the wrong reaction considering the torment she'd just been through, but in ma defence, it wuz funny.
'you forget yer keys'? i continued, asking the obvious, you know, just in case she'd been oot there enjoying shady's company and sharing his frostys. 'yeh, they're at ma work, ma boyfriend is bringing them to me.' 'oh, thats good,' says i, relieved that she would get in her hoose, and espesh that she had a boyf, i wuz safe.
'how long have you been out there?' i continued. 'half an hour, ive been rully scared' she said(kind of), 'i thought to masel, if i just stand in the close, noone will see iz and someone will come and let iz in, and i'll be fine, but i was oot for ages'.
then i felt a bit bad.

i got to ma door and said ma goodbyes to the not shady's girl and went into ma living room tae spy on shady. him and his frostys had moved tae the close directly across and he was tapping on the bottom floor windae, but getting nae response. he went into the close and was aboot tae relieve himself in the corner, when a young black chap interrupted him. he enticed him intae a conversation, and cadged a smoke aff him. whenever wur ethnic buddy moved on, shady relieved himsel. i considered calling up ma friends in the wee red panda spy car, but decided i couldnae be bothered wi the hassle.
i went aff to get a washing, then had a check on shady. he wuz across the road, ootside the solicitors (the irony), having a sing and swiggin his frostys. on the groond he noticed an empty glasser and picked it up. he put it on tap o the bin and tried to roundhouse kick it aff. frostys had worsed fur weared him so he missed, and i wondered if he'd clocked that karate kid film at the cinemas earlier in his night. he tried again and this time he caught it, but a bit rubbishly and it toppled off. he took up his chanting again, and had some swigs.
i shuffled off to ma bed wondering if shady had any pals and what would become of his night.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Don't Bank On It

So, that's my bank stuff been lost again.
I've got nobody to blame but myself. Even when I was handing over all the forms et cetera, I got a very strong feeling that they were all going to get swallowed up in the Files of Oblivion, deep in the vaults of the bank at Govan Cross, and I still did it.
Anyway, I think about getting angry, cos this is the second time this has happened to me inside a year. Not to mention it's the done thing nowadays to get furious with the banks for the flamin mess we're all in. But, here I am. Just standing waiting, with a sort of smile on my face. Like, I knew this was gonny happen anyway, so, why should I get angry when I knew as I handed my forms over that they'd all get lost.

The bank teller's gone away on a hunt with a sort of half-hearted energy. I'm pretty sure he's the one I handed the form into and he's probably not bothered to process it and the application's lying in his drawer.
Anyway, I'm left standing at the glass for a while and I get to remembering the olden days, when there was just a wee bit of glass at the bottom with a hole to speak through. Is that right? Then they got in the full length glass from the ceiling to the countertop.
Wonder if there was a time when there was no glass between the money and the Govanite?

I'm still waiting.
Two lassies come in and one has got on a pair of pyjama bottoms for trousers. They are pink wth a darker pink vertical stripe and sparkly silver, metallic stars. They're loosely tied at the top with a white cotton string - like pyjamas. Well, they are pyjamas.
"Ah've lost ma pin," says she. "Ah can't remember it."
Number, I think she means.

It's quite interesting waiting here. Now I'm thinking of the bank in times past when Stella worked here. There was a guy who looked like Hen Broon and was a right sobersides. One day, he didn't come into work and it turned out he just stayed in bed. Put the covers over his head and stayed there for six months. Stella told us that.

Still waiting.
Now a handsome young man comes to the teller and says, "Ah've been inside eighteen month and Ah've come out an' Ah've got charges on my account but Ah can't have cos Ah've been inside and what would Ah be charged for?"
The teller looks at his statement.
"Your card's been used and you've went into a overdraft."
(That's what he says, 'a' overdraft).
"But how can there be when Ah've no been buyin anything?" says the young ex-con.
The teller examines it further.
"Your card's been used here and here, on this date and that."
"It was just my ma that used it," says the boy. "I gave her permission."
"Well, you can't do that," says the teller, taking umbrage.
"How can Ah no'?" the young man retorts. "Ah wis inside and Ah told her she could."
"You can't. That's fraud. And anyway, she's went over your overdraft and that's how you've got charged."

Oh me. Here we go. It's going to get heated and just at that, my teller comes back to say that they have no record of having received my form and they don't have another in this branch but if I pop into any branch up the town, I can pick one up.

There's a lot to be said for keeping what money you have under the bed, in the back of the clock, in the biscuit tin.