Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Govan's Burning! Pour On Water!

Central Govan Correspondent, Berd, rings to say flames are leaping out the top floor window of 10 Rathlin Street. She's got a photo.
When I arrive, there's police tape across the street and a hundred strong crowd gathering; the anxious, the curious, the annoyed, the quite pleased.
A fireman strides to Richard's bar corner. "Anybody live in number 10? Number 10 anybody?"
A few hands go up, me, me, we do.
"What floor you on? What side? Anybody in your house? Is there anybody in there? Speak up now cos we're puttin the doors in."
At this a Somalian girl becomes irate.
"You're putting the doors in! Noooo! You can't. This place is full of junkies and low life and they'll get all my things!"
She clenches her fists down by her sides and stamps her high stiletto heel in fury.
"So that's how she feels aboot us," says one wag with a guffaw.
A wee wumman says she is in 10 but she's got her key so they don't have to break down her door.
"Oh aye," says the fireman, "Anybody else got a key? We're searching the flats at number 10. Any more keys?" 
"Glad ye thought of that," says the wag, sarkily.
The police tape is lowered to admit fire engines till there's five lined up the street and a fancy range rover belonging to a fire chief.
The Polis begin to take names and ages of those now made homeless by the fire and advise that the Housing will be round shortly.
All sorts of rumours abound; hotels for the night, back in tomorrow, you can get your stuff, you can't get anything, you'll be out for months.

An ambulance is parked over at the Harmony Bar and the paramedics are down Rathlin Street attending to a victim.
Whispers hiss round the crowd; it was him that started it, drunk.
Naw, it was a workie on the roof, left on a blowtorch.
It was him, he's in his pyjamas, been drinking in there for days.
The paramedics lead the wounded man towards the ambulance, dazed and dishevelled in bare feet and a mullet, he smiles to the gazing public and my camera which, of course, misses the moment.
As the hour wears on, people drift past and stop for a gander. A few residents arrive home from work, only to find they can't get in. Tired and hungry, they effuse irritability through the air.
Go round to the housing, they're still open, advise the polis.
Berd insists the Asian man in the thermal vest and ill fitting shoes is the dentist from above Spicy Govan. Whit? Are you sure?
If nothing else, this summertime street barbecue is a good way to meet the neighbours. I get chatting to a lady who tells me she's off on a round the world hitchhike. Come the Spring, she's packing in her job in security and is off on her own to see the planet.
We have a good laugh at the newshound with the red dictaphone and the reporter's pad on which he's scribbled, "Man rescued from top floor flat fire."
Robert and Catweasel consider the situation and progress being made by the fire department, before Catweasel takes off on a quick zip down McKechnie Street to climb over the backs. He wants to check out the report from a passer-by who says there's a massive hole in the Rathlin Street roof, right the way along.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Let The Drums Rattle

Let the drums rattle as the Protestant Boys make their way along the Govan Road in the second largest procession of the year.
A particular favourite is the perraterraways hanging out the first floor window of the Cossar building.
Waaahhhh! Thought for a minute gay pride had joined in, but no, it's the ladies' band, pretty in pink.
A Rangers and a Celtic spit from the upstairs window.
Nice to see the traditional bowler getting an outing in this August heat.

Friday, 10 August 2012


Halcyon days indeed, as this gleaming super yacht berths at the new transport museum of Pertyk.
As if to perfect this day of rich, golden sun, the sleek boat has sailed into full view of Govan, and it's our pleasure to transmit an admiring gaze across the Clyde.
Best place to take in its smooth, pristine whiteness is from the end of Stag Street. We slip through the railings and onto the riverbank, crunching over broken glass, rusting bedsprings and tin cans, and tall, thriving, green weeds.
A man in his fifties sits on the wall, can in hand. Well. he could be in his forties, could be.
Hello says he and hello we reply.
He's taking the sun. His face is red and there are beads of sweat on his balding pate. His maroon jersey and dark cargo troosers add to the heat, so it's just as well he's got a full cairry-oot in the unsubstantial blue plastic bag kicking around at his feet.
A silvery gleam in the dust attracts my eye.
"There's fifty p," and I pick it up.
"Good luck tae ye," he says, well meaningly.
 "Ye's lookin at the boat? They're sayin Rod Stewart's in Glesga for the weekend."
"Aw, right? There ye go. Would have to be somebody like Rod Stewart, eh? Sailing, eh?"
"Aye," says he, and takes another good swally.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Govan Olympics 2012

We're glued to the London Olympics on the tele. It's on from early morning till last thing at night. Our enthusiasm for athletic endeavour knows no bounds.

Today as I walk briskly along Govan Road, my attention is alerted to a full range of sporting prowess raging around me.
Firstly, cyclists. This is a very popular sport in Govan, as this bank of the Clyde is very flat and you can enjoy whizzing along at a fast pace, gold medal level.
And, runners. Young male athletes are often seen belting along the streets. Many of them train after nightfall. Some are practising for the relay; one young man speeding along with another in hot pursuit at his back.
Swimmers too. Aquatic stars leap into the stagnant waters of the graving docks. One mad lad boasted to me this summer that he got hepati'is and he's got a pure rid rash fae swimmin in it.
We witness javelin throwing. Fence posts can be flung a fair distance, no one's measuring. Take it from me.
The Polis join in with dressage events from time to time.
An exciting judo match between a wee boy and a big boy takes place on the pavement. No shortage of spectators at this event. And, you won't get a cheaper ticket anywhere.