Thursday, 27 June 2013

A Game Of Who's Who

Rainclouds finally pass over Govan after a long morning's downpour, leaving us with a still, grey ceiling overhead.
A police van is passing along Govan Road, then turns and doubles back on itself, then appears again and comes abruptly to a halt on the zig-zags of the pedestrian crossing from the shopping centre to The Squerr.
A man and woman are about to cross at the green man, but their way is blocked and the woman skips nimbly round the back of the van and over to stand with a crowd outside Greggs. The man is summoned to the front passenger window of the van, where a specky polis rolls down the window and calls into question the man's identity.
"You're Gary McL."
"Naw," he replies.
"Yes, you are," says the polis from his comfy seat, looking down on the man.
The man is slightly built and smartly dressed in casual clothes of blue jacket, jeans and nice trainers with a navy blue cap on his head.
Now begins a back and forward yes you are, no I'm no, with the man getting more and more irate as the altercation goes on. The police all the while remain inside the van, seemingly relaxed.
The man is asked for ID and he pulls a limp licence out of his pocket and unfolds it. Now the policewoman driver gets out of the van and walks round to the pavement where she instructs the man to remove his cap. The policeman gets slowly out of the passenger seat.
The accusation persists, "You're Gary McL." The man shakes his head and snarls angrily.
The police inspect the licence one after the other and return it to the man. Both return to the van and the man skips off across the road to Greggs where a low cheer goes up as the police van draws away.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Day The Schools Break Up

Schools broke up at lunchtime today for the summer holidays.
I am driving towards Govan Cross, passing a row of cars parked outside the Govan Road Campus; the amalgamation of primary schools Cafflic and primary schools Prodisant.

Between two parked cars stands a young girl, tall and fair, with a hand raised, palm flat towards the chest of a boy, sevenish, who is set to race. He's wearing black; football top and shorts, black socks and black trainers. His hair is flaming red and his eyes are set on me as he crouches like a sprinter in the blocks. 
I am approaching at 30 mph. I slow down. I fix my eye on his. He's looking right back at me. I know what he's about to do.
It's the day the schools break up.
Out he shoots. The girl yells and grabs in vain. Emergency stop. The girl pulls him back and he struggles against her. I drive off and he shoots out again behind me and dodges traffic to reach the other side in safety. 
It seems to me that accidents always happen on the day the schools break up.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Midsummer Medication

Cloudy today, which means we may not get the full benefit of the year's longest day. Skies may be grey but the air is warm, and on the metal benches outside Farmfoods there's a full complement of Govanites celebrating the solstice, including labradoodles. 
Across the road, the new Cafe 13 is open for business and diners are seated at wooden tables on the pavement, watching the world - that's to say, cars on Govan Road - go by.

I cross over at the green man and find the way blocked by two guys in identical tracksuits and a straggly haired woman who is chastising them both. 
"Many's in a packet? Many? 'Mon, how many should there be?"
She's waving a small white cardboard box, the kind that holds pills from the chemist.
"There was twen'y-five," one man replies.
"An' noo there's only five?"
The other man protests, cursing loudly, "It wis him. Know whit he's like. Doons them in a wanner."
"Ssssee," she hisses under her breath, pushing them out her way and turning to fling the packet at them as she storms off.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Homework's Set Aside

One of the great things about Govan past, was that you could visit friends and family on foot. A brisk walk would take you to the streets and closes where your grannies, aunties, cousins, pals lived. You'd just drop in,  door on the latch, and they'd give you a warm welcome.
Now, we are sadly dispersed and have to jump a bus, drive a car or even hop on board a plane to see our kith and kin. Unless you're lucky enough to have rellies close by, as I do, just along Govan Road.
The welcome's just as warm today when I appear at the door. We're having a fine spell of weather just now, and it's too nice to sit indoors so we head off for an evening constitutional.

Down on the fancy riverside walkway, we meet a number of dogs out on relief walks between the news and the evening's soaps. Everyone says hello to each other down here; there's a holiday air about it, relaxed and good humoured. Just needs an ice cream van.
Lady smokers are crowded around the entrance of the newly refurbished Riverside Hall, out for a break from the bingo, to fill their lungs.
Our circuit takes us along Govan Road, up Summertown Road, along Vicarfield Street, down Southcroft Street, where we're stopped by two 10 year olds, out on bikes.
"Where you's been?" A. wants to know.
"Out a walk. Where's J.?" we ask.
"He's away in."
"When yous going in?"
"We've t'be in for hauf 9."
"Done yer homework?"
They both grin sheepishly and shake their heads.
"When you doin' it?"
"Ah jist dae mines in ma bed." says A.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Busy Bizzies

Ha ha! Best show of the night comes after the cavalcade has passed. As the young teens gather at the corners - same as every night, chatting and catching up, having a laugh - the polis decide to make themselves bizzies. The eye in the sky just about swivels itself right off the pole.

Eyes Down

You can have a lie down if the excitement's too much for you, or the sun's too hot.
Thank you for the music. Yours for the taking; a state of the art sound system, circa 1982. And the clarty mop used in a recent redd-up.

Float Oan

"We come fae Govan, doncha know"

On The Buses, And The Whiff Of A Caramel Wafer

 Didn't get a caramel wafer. What's new? The boy in front of me did though.

Where's The Calamine Lotion!

"Ooouucchh!" the cry resounds as this ginger victim of today's sun dashes through the procession.

Step Ball Change

Dance is a very serious business, as evinced in the gritty concentration on the faces of Govan's hoofers. And, Asda's back with their lorry and noise this year.

Music While You Walk

 The bands are stirring and bring an upbeat feeling to the evening's proceedings.

Crowds Swarm To Sunny Govan

Welcome To The Govan Fair, 2013

Amazing weather for the Govan Fair, 2013 and a hearty welcome from the Black Man, newly polished . .
and Harry the Hat, my old counterfeiting cronie, who has returned to his usual patch after an absence in 2012. It was his 60th anniversary and he was away to Canada with the family. Great to see you back Harry!
 Sheep's Heid. Thanks for the special wave, always appreciated.
 The Queen - and her mammy, gazing up adoringly.
 Linda, Lady-in-waiting

Thursday, 6 June 2013


The Govan Fair has been hurtled into the 21st century this past month with the advent of a Govan Fair website, facebook page, twitter feed. #govanfair.
Seems every man and his dug can't wait to come to Govan this Friday.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Man In Black

Grief is a force, a power, an emotion of such magnitude that it rises up and causes the bearer of the burden to act in strange and dreadful ways. 
Driving along Govan Road at six in the evening, I see a tall dark figure standing in the middle of traffic at the foot of Southcroft Street. 
Cars are slowing and stopping and pulling around the man when it's safe to do so. 
When it comes to my turn, I stop and wait for the vehicles coming towards me to pass. 
The man in the road is in his early twenties, a six footer with short, spiky black hair. He wears a long-sleeved black shirt, a black silk tie, black trousers and black shoes. 
"For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold. I wear the black in mournin' for the lives that could've been . . ."
The man in black is staggering from left foot to right, on the spot. Both arms are raised high above his head and he's clutching a bottle of dark glass in one hand. He's yelling in a raucous voice. The words are unintelligible, guttural and savage. I sit at the wheel and look at his eyes but they are vacant and staring blankly. 
On the pavement, a young mum with children is watching and making a call on her mobile. A few mourners from today's funeral are making their way up the road, dressed in white shirts and black ties. They seem unconcerned.
A queue has formed behind me and ahead the road is clear. Time to move on.