Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Evensong

Unseasonably warm spring weather brings Govan's residents out onto the streets. Temperatures remain high into the evening and small groups gather on corners.
Half a dozen wee boys kick a football back and forward across Shaw Street, bang, bang, banging against the metal roller shutter of the corner property.
Sitting quietly on the ground half way down McKechnie Street, teenage boys and girls are lounging around, relaxing, smoking, chatting, instead of the usual huddling up on a cold March night.
Tenement windows are cracked open in the stillness and from one first floor flat comes a boomshakaboom rhythm. A couple of African men sit by the window, drinking from cans, throwing their heads back, laughing. Another man dances in the room, shifting back and forth, gyrating slowly. A song floats down through vespertine shadows.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Havin Words

Springtime sun has shone warmly today and temperatures have soared to unusual heights, for March.
In the evening, two lads turn the corner into our street and only take a couple of steps before stopping to engage in a hearty argument, shouting and pushing at each other. Gerry is more vigorous than Mick and rails at his pal, who drops his head and starts to walk on.
As they near the end of the street where it meets Govan Road, they stop again and Mick droops down on to the ground and slumps into the corner by the railings at the close mouth.
Gerry bends down and pokes his finger into Mick's face.
"It's back therr, it's back therr," he is roaring aggresively, "Jist get back therr n get it, go oan, goan gerrit."
"Naw, Ah canny," says Mick, curling up into himself and shaking his head, " Ah'm no gaun back." He mumbles a lot.
The pair are 30 somethings, thin, thin, thin with big jumpers hanging baggily around their skinny bodies.
Gerry starts the shouting again, just the same stuff, "Ye've goat tae go back, c'mon, go back n gerrit. It's oan the table in there, in the living room."
A little gaggle of children come dancing by and stop in front of the men; a few five or six year old boys, a couple of older boys, all led by a nine year old smarty pants girl.
She squawks to the street, "They're junkies, ha ha, they're looking fur their hash, look at them, they're junkies." And she continues, even addressing the men directly, "Yous are junkies. Wherr's yer hash? Haha!"
The wee gang of boys are laughing too and jeering at the men.
Mick in the corner is still sitting with his head drooping on his chest. Gerry turns on the marauding mob of children, "Haw, see you," he points to a boy, "Ah know your faimly, Ah know your faimly, Ah'll be huvin wurds wi your faimly."
"Naw ye don't," the boy retorts.
Gerry draws up, "Aye, Darren McC. right. Your cousin. Ah dae know'm, n ah'll be huvin words."
But the boy is unperturbed and faces up to him, "Ah'm no related tae him."
"Aye, ye ur n Ah'll be huvin words," and so it goes on and on, back and forth.
The girl hails a wee blondie boy cycling past on a bike.
"Heh, they're two junkies looking fur their hash."
He stops, turns his bike around and comes back to listen while she recounts the tale of how these two men have been fighting and how they've lost their hash and how it's dead funny.
And all the while, Gerry and Mick stand on the pavement and sit in the corner and listen helplessly.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Enterprizing

I'm sauntering along Langlands Road, breathing the mild Govan air, when I spot a tall figure, lurching and staggering from side to side. It's mid afternoon and the sun is playing mid dappled skies, a few shoppers and walkers pass on the pavement.
The unsteady man has stopped and is leaning against the tenement wall, holding a crumpled envelope up to the sky and scrutinising it intently.
I pass, unnoticed, or so I think for just as I glide by, he lunges at me, grabbing my shoulder.
"Excuse me, gonny take a look at this address fur us."
His speech is slurred and slow.
I look at a pencilled scribble which reads, Charlie S. and a mobile phone number.
"It's not an address, it's a phone number." I say and pull away.
He's insistent, "Naw, listen, see this cerd," he stuffs the envelope in a pocket and starts searching through his black leatherette jacket, "see this cerd, this is mine, but ah cannae remember ma number."
"Ah've got to go," says I, pulling away again but he holds my shoulder tight.
"Could you phone ma phone and then you'll have ma number n ye can tell me it."
"Naw," I reply.
Now he pulls a battered box from a thin blue plastic carrier bag which he'd dropped on the ground.
"See this, ye'll want to buy it. Cost ye a tenner in the shoaps. You can hiv it for a fiver."
So ridiculous, I tut. It's a men's hair dye in a burst open box, the outer lid is ripped off and there's another name and mobile number scrawled on the outside of it. A plastic bottle is rattling inside.
"Right, what on earth would I want with a man's hair dye?" but I can't help myself and burst out laughing.
Now he starts on with the business card again. It's a thin scrappy bit of card with S. M. Enterprizes printed on it.
"Gonny look at ma cerd," he starts lurching about again, all drunk and jerky. His pushes back his straggly dirty fair hair, his eyes are stary and blank,
"Gonny gie us yer number?"
"Away ye go," I say with a sharp push and he falls back against the wall on his long, unsteady legs.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Cream Coooookie

The prices take you inside. None of the charm of your olde worlde shoppe here. More, bright, fluorescent lights and a life size decal of a polis on the glass sliding door entrance that makes you do a double take time and again. (Must be the guilty conscience).
At the top of the first aisle, a young lady stops to ask advice from a shelf stacking employee.
"Excuse me, can you tell us if you sell pouring cream?"
The young man is mild-mannered and polite.
"Em, sorry, pouring cream? What is that?" and then goes on "Oh, sorry, yer not allowed to eat in here."
He's addressing a gallus 7 year old girl with tangled hair, who is balancing a very large cream filled chocolaty cookie in the upturned palm of her hand.
Before he even finishes, the wee girl has chimed in over him,
"Ah'm no eatin it, Ah'm no eatin it but."
The lady is replying, "Ye know that kind a creamy stuff that's cream but runny n ye can pour it."
He's sorry, but they don't.
The cake is being thrust towards the young man and he repeats that you're not allowed to eat in the store.
The wee madam protests grandly, "Aye, but Ah'm no eatin it, right."
"Look, it's not ma rules," he says softly, "I'm just telling you cos if you go round the corner the manager'll tell you you canny eat that."
"But Ah umny eatin' it," she says in a mock exasperated tone and then curtly dismisses him with a smart but huffy, "Right, Ah've fell oot wi you."
They both amble on down the aisle and the cake travels with them. still held aloft, far away from her mouth.
The employee looks at me and sighs, " Dead cheeky," he says.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

As I Was Walking Doon The Broomloan Road

Benk snapped this pic today. In the midst of the disaster that has befallen Rangers Football Club, this higgledy piggledy sign hangs precariously on a fence outside Ibrox, inviting interested parties to embark on a career as a football entrepreneur.

Blogger Dan joins us tonight in black mood. He's ticked, as you will gather.
I'd like to thank Lady Govan for this opportunity to air my thoughts on 'the tragedy' that has befallen me and, at least, half of the City of Glasgow. What a shituation! I apologise for the crude language, a la Sir Sean. I would not, normally, be so coarse, but things are not normal around these parts at the moment, and it seems, so aptly, to describe my mood.
My present remit is not to perform a post-mortem, indeed, I have every faith – knowing 'God is a Prod' – that the 'Blue Knights' or some other Knight in shining armour will come riding to the rescue – hopefully, not another Don Quixote.
I should add at this point that my 'armchair allegiance' has gone, temporarily, to Barcelona FC – it doesn't bother me in the slightest that their players come on to the park making the sign of the cross. I have no prejudices against the 'other half' of Glasgow. As a teenager I wore the Celtic colours when I played in the West of Scotland Juvenile League with St. Constantine's Former Pupils. We won three Trophies and made it to the Final of the Lady Darling Cup, equivalent of the Scottish Cup. I had attended Govan High School but I have good, proud memories of the Connies' team and the boys who played in it.
Back to business, albeit sad business. As well as the sadness, there is anger and frustration that this has been allowed to happen. Forget the James Bond analogy, if it wasn't so tragic, I'd be comparing it to Laurel and Hardy, with Ollie saying to Stanley, 'another fine mess you've got us into!'

For the last 20 odd years, a large photograph of Bill Struth has hung on my study wall. It's a portrait of a fairly stern-faced Mr Struth, Manager of Rangers, 1920-1954. He won 18 League Championships, 10 Scottish Cups, 2 League Cups, 18 Glasgow Cups and 20 Glasgow Charity Cups. I can still remember thinking, as an 8 or 9 year old boy that his policy of a 'wage-cap' for his players, and that his 'strict discipline' was definitely the way to go. Call me 'old-fashioned', and I know that there will be many counter arguments against what I am saying, that we needed to move with the times, player-power, etc. etc., but the pendulum has swung too far. We need people who are dedicated, who are prepared to sacrifice, I mean real sacrifice of time and effort in order to achieve greatness.

Now here's a memory which will surprise the modern reader. As a young boy, I spent spent hours at the main door of Ibrox, on Edmiston Drive, waiting to catch a glimpse of the players. During the summer holidays, we would hang around Copeland Road Subway and wait for the players arriving on public transport for their training sessions.They would walk from there up to the ground and I can still feel the excitement we had on catching sight and following them up the road, finding them 'aye ready' to sign our autograph books.

The emotion of it all has caused me to pen a poem:
What A Shituation
Oh, how I long for the days of youth;
Nae lies then, came oot yir mooth.
No taxing manoeuvres, no one uncouth.
Sure and steadfast in the truth –
A great example was Bill Struth!

Contrast! Now, it is not right –
Surely not – but it just might?
'Will last man out, put off the light?'
But mark the conman, not contrite;
A creep, he smells, his name is - - - - -!