Friday, 3 June 2016

Still A Good Night Apart From The Upset

The procession over, we take a walk along the banks of the River Clyde and gaze downstream to the naff big flats on the north shore.


And here is the old ferry slipway which will in due course become a new bridge, carrying westenders over to Govan, to partake in its delights; hogback stones, the Fairfield museum, the Elder Park, and Watson's pies.
A forlorn and empty feeling descends upon the Govanites, as they contemplate the full year that must pass before this bewitching evening falls again.
It's party time, mon up . . . and the music's sorted with stevie's booooom box.
Whilst another crowd spill onto the Govan Road, not yet ready to go home.
The eye in the sky has been deployed to watch over an empty Govan Cross. 
Malevolence? Benevolence? Doesn't matter. There's nobody here.
Really? oh, haha! Have to read it a few times though. There's definitely a line missing from this somewhere.

Fair To Rubbish

The 260 Merkland St is lumbering along with punters waving off the top deck. 
Wee bitta Country and a wee bitta RocknRoll from the Guzzle, now trading as The Amethyst
KT and sunshine dancers march on the spot as the procession slows up and grinds to a halt. We, who are waiting further on, make our way down to the Cross to see what ails them. And there you have it, in broad day-light and with hunners of people watching, boys with weapons set about other boys with weapons. On our side of the road, mums and grans are annoyed, very annoyed at they hooligans wasting it for everybody. S'pose so, but, there's got to be more to it than them just wanting to waste it - I mean, why do they want to waste it? Let's get to the root of that question and maybe we could make some headway.
Anyway, the polis play it all down, contain the violence, get some lads in their van and move along people, nothing to see here.

Sad Affair; The Opening

A grand welcome to the Govan Fair 2016 as we are regaled by the pipes and a bit of heedrum-hodrum, eyed suspiciously by the Ram's Heid and its keeper, surveyed by the Queen of the Fair and waved to by a bigwig on the top of a bus.

Fair Warm-Up

Hurray! Another Govan Fair rolls around and after a slap up feed at Cafe 13, we emerge onto the Squerr in the evening sun. The sounds of a jazz quartet resound amidst the buzz of conversations and occasional shouting, as the good people of Govan choose and re-choose their spot for the upcoming cavalcade.

My heart is relieved as I see Harry the Hat is here again with bubbles and glowsticks to keep the weans happy. We reminisce back to the days when we were engaged together in the printing of counterfeit notes, of many sorts. Good days, aye.
Intae the bucket! All in a good cause!
The Black Man looks studiously over the plans, his plans. Some people have been casting aspersions on his good name. Keep looking down and maybe it'll go away.
A soft fortress, welcoming but exacting, house of God in Govan, St. Anthony's. 
Actually, who was St. Anthony? Must look that up.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Phoney-Money

Step inside the Liquor Barn on Govan Road, and you will find yourself faced with a few stern warnings. It's not the most welcoming of establishments, for as soon as you enter, you are faced with floor to ceiling glass and steel barriers between you and the booze and the chocolate.
Next, you notice large signs urging you to stop and think if you are about to buy alcohol for underage drinkers. A blonde, tired lady on the poster, asks you to think again - what if it was your boy? she pleads.

A sleepy, spotty girl appears from the back shop and asks, with little to no enthusiasm, if she can help me.
Never minding about my original request, I ask what all the fivers and tenners are doing stuck to the glass.
"Uch, it's just for thaym that try t'spend it in here. We just take them aff them and then we stick them up so they canny dae it again. That's a'."

Hmm, some of the notes look pretty good and would pass off nicely in a quick cash handover, but others have gone badly wrong; too much ink, misregister, poor paper quality. Still, it makes for a fancy display and cheers the sterile place up a little bit.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Sweets For My Sweet

An array of romantic petit fours and souffles specially selected for Valentine's Day. 
"You all set?" says Watson's shop assistant to a window cleaner who's just stopped by or a pie.
"Fur whit?" he asks with a bewildered look.
"Wur talkin' aboot Valentines," croaks the woman at the front of the queue with a hearty laugh. 
"That?!" he exclaims and his face breaks into a knowing grin as he shakes his head, "That's a big con."
"Now, now," they say. "You better make sure ye've got a bookey all ready n a big box a chocs."
"Ach away," he laughs, "Better aff wi plastic flooers. They last longer."

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Morning Fry-Up


A queue forms in Gaynor's Cafe on Langlands Road for Govan's late breakfasters. Gaynor herself is handling the rush with her usual air of tranquility, a smiling, detached interest in the customer chat, efficiency in cooking up multiple orders of eggs fried with perfect yolks, sausage link and sausage square, succulent bacon and triangles of potato scones, all ready for last minute shallow frying. The cafe maintains a pristine kitchen of polished stainless steel and bleach clean sinks and worktops.

"Put me oan a breakfast Gaynor, will ye?" says a local biznessman as he pushes open the door and settles at the counter.
Gaynor nods her spiralling black curls and holds him for a moment in the gaze of her stunning blue eyes, "Bacon?" she enquires.
"Aye, fry us a wee roll n bacon, nae fat an a crispy roll."
Gaynor smiles benignly.
"Tottie scone. Like ma tottie scone," he declares.
She nods, turning a line of Lorne sausage, laying down bacon on the griddle, wiping and polishing as she goes.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Have An Ice Day

A pokey hat, a 99, wafers, nougats, oysters, all the delights of the ice cream van are available in Govan's streets today.  
Mr Whippy is still rolling through the streets, keeping tradition alive, the tinkling chimes announcing his arrival and sending kids into a mad rush for money for the van. 

Mr W. has diversified a bit. You have to. It's the same story as the cornershopkeepers; everyone is going to the supermarkets where sweeties are sold in multi packs and packets of fags are cheaper (though one cannot purchase a sing'el in store). This van has added slushies and lots of penny and tuppence trays, packets of tea for our convenience. 
He plies his trade across Ibrox and Govan, serving the schools at dinnertime, Bella and Govan High, the stadiums on match days, up and down the streets in the evenings when ladies in slippers slip out to the van for a cone wi tally's blood - probably even in their jammies nowadays. 

"Are there any no-go areas for the ice cream van, Mr Whippy?" I enquire, hoping to hear some gritty tales of ice cream wars.
"Ye wouldnae enter Shaw Street," says he with a laugh. "Ye'd no come back oot."
c

Friday, 22 January 2016

Give Us This Day, Our Daily Bread

Long Friday queue in the Royal Bank of Scotland, now RBS, the bank that likes to say yes.
The premises at Govan Cross are tatty and in need of a lick of paint to say the least.
Along at Water Row, The Bank of Scotland has had a minor makeover and a couple of spruce ups over the time that the Royal has remained the same.
Staff are just as friendly in both banks though and put up with the all sorts of Govan nonsense with great long suffering.

And in today's queue, long suffering is required by the girl standing next to me as we slowly shuffle along to the tellers.
Phone buzzes and she answers. "Aye, the bank. Naw, no yet." Silence. Still with the phone at her ear, she casts her eyes ceilingwards then looks down and repeats, "Naw, no yet."
Another silence while she listens with a frown to a faint voice on the end of the line.
"Well, Ah don't know what ye want for yer dinner. Jist tell us and Ah'll get it."
Silence and we move forward.
"Well, whit dae ye feel like? ... How dae Ah know? , , , Ah don't know what ye want . . . Ah can go anywhere. Aye, Ah can go into Icelands. Ah can go anywhere."

The girl sighs and gently rubs her long, masacaraed eyelashes. "It's ma turn nearly," she says in a low voice, "Phone us back."

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

You Still Here?


In spite of a series of winter storms, from Abigail to Frank, the Govan Christmas tree has remained standing, well into January and after everyone has taken their tree down. Glasgow city council no doubt hoping it would've been blown into the Clyde and saved them the bother.