Queen’s Park, everyone’s favourite 60-hectare green space at the top of Victoria Road.
I’ve loved it since Victorian times, back when I was a gentleman in a top hat promenading with a lady in a bonnet, enjoying a little light music at the bandstand, throwing stones at the ducks on the pond, then joining the chaps for a game of fives while the chapesses grabbed a quick hawf at the pub over the road that keeps changing its name.
A central meeting point for the whole of the southside, busy residential areas all around its perimeter.
Our own city non-place, urban version of the countryside with municipal verges and tarmac but a steep hill too, obscure paths along its sides and clumps of trees, tall trees, and wooded areas and secret trails.
On a pleasant summer evening a citizen of the world can stroll past the glasshouse, read feminist graffiti on gendered family roles and the patriarchy, smell the basil and rosemary from the allotments, look over the tennis courts and bowling greens.
And the cricket pitch, jeez, the speed of the bowler and the distance the batsman gets.
Serious-looking groups of young people having a picnic, cheese n crackers, maybe leaning against a tree reading a book.
Tea in the park. Too civilised, middle class, well-behaved.
No one shouting or being drunk or building fires. No lurking neds in sportswear, bottle of Buckie in the back bin, no black Alsatian dogs.
A couple of hipster types trying to play football. Aye right, lads.
Back in our day a kickabout in the park drew a crowd of thousands, a wee guy hitting a Mitre 5 against a wall was live on TV, match reports of three and in were on the radio every day.
The 23-a-side kick and rush on the big open space at the end of your street, occasional grass and broken glass, wee Frankie Devlin goes on a mazy run and beats eight men, mad Slugger does what he wants because he’s pure mad so if he pushes you out of the way or uses his hands you just let him get on with it.
So aye, everyone’s favourite green space that isnae Celtic Park, Hampden Park, or Jurassic Park.
There’s a Queen’s Park in London, a Charing Cross too, probably other areas of both cities with the same names.
Only wan Govanhill but.
Londinium wouldnae dare.