Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Feeding The Flames


Exit, Pursued By A Rocket

Usual lighting up time is 6 o'clock and so we wander down to join in some bonfire cheer. All is in darkness except for streaks of flame that fail to catch and fizzle out around the pallet tower. We're waiting in the shelter of the tenements of Clynder Street, and it seems as though Guy Fawkes might be safe tonight.
I go in to the wee red shop to buy a packet of Maltesers to stave off the cold. A glamorous Asian lady, in classic western styling and coiffure, serves me. She looks like she's just taken up her post at the till, serving cairry-oots and overpriced pot noodles, after a day as a Solicitor in Glasgow's city centre.
A couple of boys saunter in and purchase a bottle of turps, just a wee one though, and go back out.
Amazingly, it's done the trick and by the time I come out, there's a flaming mass of fire over the road.
This is the most feral fire I think I've been at. Actually, scaring the living daylights out of us. There aren't any big people at this at all - not even ruffian uncles who are quite good at passing the kids fireworks to light and keeping a semblance of order.
This year, it's a free for all - boys lighting roman candles and then holding them horizontally, throwing them at each other, throwing them at girls who are standing by in a huddle. A golden fountain is chucked from one boy to another to another to another. Rockets are set off along the ground and at one point, we actually have to take to our heels and start running.
The temperature is dropping and the wind is picking up. The air is redolent of burning wood and gunpowder.

Build A Bonfire, Build A Bonfire, Put the Planners On the Top

Got a few pallets to get rid of and we drop them off on the sperr grun between Briton St. and Iona St. In the background stands the last multi storey on Broomloan Road, awaiting demolition, and although it's good to see them come down, it's depressing to consider the low cost, shoddy housing that will arise in their place.

Never mind all the artsy projects swirling about Govan, putting money in the pockets of the BAHons. What Govanites need instead, is a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Even those who have departed their riverside home for lands far afield, want to know why our streets, tenements, closes, homes, firesides, were demolished and laid waste.
Let's get the planners back to answer the questions we all have. 
We could make it civilised, say in the Govan Town Hall or the PI. 
If you couldn't make it from Oz or Canada, then we could have a skype link. 
The powers that used to be - and probably still be - could give a background to their thinking at the time.
And then take the floor for open questions. 
And then we could put our side of things and tell them what they actually should have done. 
And then they should apologise for their rampant vandalism without due care and attention to our lives and heritage.
And then we'll all go home, none the wiser, and left with this sorrowful site/sight and warm memories.
Would a human sacrifice to the gods of football help at RFC?
Look at these beautiful doors, solid. In the background is the Gaelic Church, still standing but in a sad state of general disrepair with broken windows. Wonder if the doors came out of there?