I fled the regime in war-torn Shettleston and moved my family to the safety of Govanhill.
Forced to leave our homeland, our culture, in the hope of a better life.
It was a difficult time in the east end of the city.
Ballot rigging in Ruchazie, voter intimidation across Parkhead, an attempted coup in Garthamlock led to mass demonstrations, factory occupations, land seizures.
Defund the Baltic Fleet. Impeach Milton Tongs. Not in my name, Brigton Derry.
After the collapse of peace talks between Queenslie and the Garngad, Carntyne threatened air strikes on Balornock, a curfew was declared in Tollcross and food riots broke out all over Riddrie.
Unrest even spread to Dennistoun, once the eleventh coolest neighbourhood in the UK.
And when big Malky fae the high flats went on bunger strike until giro day, I knew the time had come.
There had to be a brighter future for me and my family.
Head south, they said. You’ll find sanctuary there, among the vineyards and olive groves, where cattle graze and flowers bloom, all that sort of shite.
So we paid a smuggler to get us over the border and he took us to the bus stop in the dead of night and put us on the top deck of the number 57 to Carnwadric.
Bawheids, growlers, goons, oafs. We’ve all been there.
Huddling together for warmth, trying to ignore the empty can of Irn Bru on the seat, the crisp poke on the floor. I was putting my family at risk, I knew I was, but we endured, we had to. And thirty minutes later we set foot in the south side.
It’s a different world here. Here there is shelter, clean drinking water, sourdough bread. My kids can go to school without being attacked by Springboig.
We have everything we need in Govanhill. Pubs that are closed, overcrowded homes, a pond where a hundred people can go ice skating during a pandemic.
I might move back east some day. I still dream of the vast open spaces of Barlanark, the soaring mountains of Cranhill, lost civilisations such as Red Road or Hutchesontown, ancient tribes like the Yoker Toi.
Until then, I have the mighty rivers and valleys of Govanhill.
Cheers, tenth coolest neighbourhood in the UK.