Friday, 28 September 2012

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Water Row from Pearce Street

The new flats on Pearce Lane and the old tenements of Water Row stand together on a sun-filled September morning.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Lush Lash

We start chatting as the extremely courteous mungy wallahs of Spicy Govan prepare our delicious curries in their pristine, if basic kitchen. Our topics include the weather, the dead nice salad in here, the Rathlin St fire and the windows of 14 being boarded up.
"Hey," I say next, "your eyelashes are amazing. Who does them for you?"
"I do them myself," the girl replies.
"No way? Yourself? How do you manage that?" I ask, thinking they are eyelash extensions, heavy and black.
"I just stick them on," she says.
It dawns on me. "Oh, they're false eyelashes. 'mazin."
"Yep, Katy Perry. I wouldn't live without them. Had them for about three year."
"Do they last that long?" I ask, sounding as thick as they are.
"No, different pairs. These ones have lasted about three months."
"Do you keep them on all the time?"
"No, no," she tells me, "Just take them off at night and watch you don't lose them. Then stick them on in the morning. Get Katy Perrys though. They're the best kind."
I ask if I can take a picture of this wonder of modern technology.
"Aye, sure."
"How do you keep your eyes open?" is my next question, "They look dead heavy."
She laughs, "I really wouldn't go anywhere without them. I've only got about three eyelashes left! I've ripped them all out puttin these on!"
Yikes!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Sound Of Fury

Were you ever scared of your pals' da's? I was. Mr P. in our close, whose daughters I played with, was a rough man who'd never look the road you were on, but pity help you if you crossed him.
His daughters were all frightened of him too, especially as they'd get leathered with his belt, frequently.
One night around teatime, we were out the back and had got hold of a long tree branch.
A few of us were holding it, struggling together to keep it upright, and for some crazy reason we started to tap Mr P.'s kitchen window. Surely we must not have counted on him being home.
The roar that resounded as the window flew open in a fury was loud enough to be heard in genteel Kelvindale.
We dropped the branch like a lead cannonball and ran for cover, hearts thumping and stomachs churning.

Today, I hear just such a roar again.
A da accompanies his little daughter along Govan Road. He's pushing a bike and she's trailing a dolly and a bag. He's urging her to hurry up a bit, and stop walking on the sides of her wellies. Come on now. Come on.
As they approach me, he turns round and calls to a boy who's 100 yards behind.
A harsher voice this time, "Will you get yourself moving and get up here next to me. Move it!"
The boy is 7, in school uniform and carrying a school bag. He's kind of crying; moaning, cos he's tired and can't be bothered.
They go a bit further and stop again. The da has his hands full. Neither child is making much progress and he's cajoling the wee girl and struggling to pull her along with one hand while steadying the bike with the other.
Without any warning, he turns around to his son and roars at the top of his voice with an unholy curse and unfeigned fury. The noise is chilling. Sets your stomach churning again. The child has almost caught up but at this, he freezes and shrinks back a little.
The da turns and walks on. He's not a young da, more of a square built, cannot be bothered older da. We are level with each other but he doesn't look the road I am on.
A few yards behind the child passes me and his sobs catch in his throat and his fear and sorrow lie deep and sore.

Monday, 3 September 2012

A Word Of Caution

Golden September, and the view from outside farmfoods at Govan Cross is quite continental. The mast of the tall ship anchored on the river and the dreaming spires of our charming Victorian parish church evoke the ambience of a bustling Mediterranean sea port.
Colourful blooms and verdant greenery cascade from the council planters on the Squerr. The Govan Baby is comfortably shaded by the canopy of the Aitken Memorial Fountain. An azure blue sky overarches the grandeur of Water Row's fine tenements and Govan's residents recline, as best they can, on the utilitarian and uncomfortable, hard metal benches.
And uncomfortable may just be the word to describe a fed-up fellow and HM Constabulary.
'Sick to death o' them' seems to sum up many Govanites' point of view; going by the look on the chap's face and the complaints around me.