An East German window cleaner from 1985

smiley cartoon graffiti figure on a green wall

I dress like a pure idiot, but it’s not my fault. I’m a victim of the times.

Big specs that were never fashionable. Dodgy tache. Naff sweatshirt. Donkey jacket-slash-cagoule.

I look like an East German window cleaner from 1985.

Think I need a makeover, a new look, a whole new wardrobe.

There’s a gents’ outfitters on Victoria Road but it’s a school uniform shop. Short trousers, acrylic shirts, white socks. Could be.

Then there’s the second charity hand shops and vintage resaler stores. You know, next to the chemists, the vaping shops, the off licences, the three global supermarket chains.

One charity joint was selling a kilo of clothes for 50p. I popped in, nodded at the guy, passed him the money and he slipped me the bag of gear, no problem.

Got myself a stylish new outfit. Sandals, cardigan, corduroys of colour jobby brown.

Strapped on the unsmiling fringe, that unearned air of superiority, and got my un co-ordinated ass back on to the streets.  

Govanhill always welcomes people who look different, sound different, with different cultural norms, so young and earnest me has no probs. Watch me go.

See if I can spot the amazing beardless man.

Maybe pick up some window cleaning jobs while I’m at it.

Cheers, Govanhill.

Do we really need that many plums, mate?

photo of different coloured plums in a crate outside a fruit shop

People sometimes ask me what it’s like living in such a vibrant neighbourhood and I’m like it’s okay mate but sometimes you need a change of scene, know what I mean?

Think I need a break from the city, the stress of the city, with the post-industrialism and the low life expectancy.

Must you be so animated, so noisy, so up-and-coming all the time?

The Govanhill-ness of you and the Glasgow-ness of me.

Me and my seen-it-all-before-ness, my shitty-food-ness, my isn’t-it-funny-ness. Me and my ashtrays that always overflow.

You and your tenements and grey skies and trousers above the ankles. And people, everywhere, outside pubs, on street corners and at the mouth of my close, even the Christian evangelicals at the supermarket. Don’t you people have homes to go to? Don’t I?

And the fruit, Jeez, it’s everywhere. Can’t get away from it. Do we really need that many plums, mate? I mean, I don’t even know what a guava is.

My Govanhill flat could do with a few more mod cons too. Front and back door, a garden.

A spa, maybe three more bedrooms, a marble staircase. Spiral, probably.

Anyway, let’s go to the game, few pints after, grab a kebab, go home, sit in the dark, fall asleep, forget everything, wake up, remember it again, job done, endae story.

A better home, a better life, a better Govanhill.


Fidget twitch

cartoon of a man with a beard and a quiff

So I went for a haircut and had a coffee after. Then I had another haircut and went for more coffee. Then more haircut, another coffee, haircut after, coffee again, haircut again and then a coffee.

I know what you’re thinking.

You’re like what the hell are you talking about and I’m like I’m just walking down Victoria Road mate so blame gentrification not me and you’re like but you’re a nervous wreck ya baldy bastard and I’m like I know I’m a bowl cut cappuccino suede head macchiato minestrone motherfucker but this is what we do, this is who we are, we cut our hair and we drink our coffee.

It’s true, though. Five barbershops and five cafes later, caffeined and uncontained, duck’s arse flat top modern quiff. Fidget twitching, insides boiling, ready to shit through the eye of the needle I picked up at the quilt-making workshop I recently attended.

How else does a neighbourhood survive if not for coffee and beard trims?

Who knows, haircuts might well become currency one day, like in the aftermath of world war four. Or a so-called independent Scotland.

Maybe beards too. And coffee. And if there’s low carbon deodorant sticks for twelve quid then that’s a great day for everyone.

Use the space provided below to tell us more about how not to turn into you, yes you, please thanks Finnieston cheers.

I need more eyes

Photo of glass eyeballs

Mice. Thrice. Wee bandits.

I don’t want to believe it but I have to because it’s true.

Haven’t seen them for a while, the little imps. Maybe they’ve been on holiday, away visiting cousins in Westmoreland Street or something.

Now they’re back, in the bathroom, behind the toilet, scampering around without a care in the world. Wind in their hair, wagging their tails, excited to be here, delighted to see you, always a pleasure.

But now I need more eyes, so I can see out the corner of them.

Every time I enter a room I need to scan so many surfaces to see who is scurrying over what. Both sides of the sink for a start, and then also the floor. That’s three places right there but I have only two eyes. You do the mathematic.

I just don’t have enough eyes to cope.

Don’t know what it is with wildlife and me. Is it payback time for my destructive lifestyle? Could be. There’s too much destruction in the world, it’s true.

I also believe children are the future. But not mice. Nope. Sorry, chaps. Not having it. No way.

Getting myself a cat, a lynx, a lion, a tiger, a leopard. Keep a jaguar in the backcourt, a puma on the landing, a cougar guarding the parking place outside my gaff.

Stick that in your lunch box, mice.

Just hope Lidl still have those panthers in stock.

Never knowingly been to Strathbungo

Very colourful photo of the inside of a fruit shop in Govanhill

Living in the city, roads and streets and lines in every direction.

Never short of places to go and ways to get there.

Yet you follow strict routes which very rarely vary.

From home to work to shops and pubs and friends and family and whatever.

Streets only a few yards away that you never go down.

I’ve never knowingly been to Strathbungo, for example.

Nae offence, like. Good people, I’m sure.

But it’s not quite Govanhill, is it? I mean, where are the vast crowds, the busy intersections, the fruit shops in full bloom, bowls of yellow and purple and orange and green, Govanhill with flowers in its hair.

Actually, think I did pass through Strathbungo once. Some hungover Sunday morning, limping shamefully, trying to get up the road as quickly as possible.

It all looked so prim, man. Modern parents having brunch, a baby in a papoose.

A bit of light drizzle and their kids are encased in waterproofs.

Your wean isnae a trawlerman and this isnae the North Sea, okay?

Jeez, lighten up will ye. Have a drink, have a laugh, let yourselves go a little.

Try waking up lying in yer ain pish outside a high-rise block in Dalmarnock.

It’ll change your life, honestly.

Cheers, Dalmarnock.

It’s not that, it’s this

Photo of colourful equipment in a school playground, with tenements in the background

So I was on the internet looking up a quality of life index.

You know the kind of thing.

Access to running water? Army check points nearby? Regular missile attacks on hospitals and schools?

Then I looked more closely and realised it was referring to a post-Brexit UK. Or Syria. Can’t remember which.

So I kept looking and found another one. More middle class. Whiter.

Can you cycle to work? Sure thing, bro.

Buy organic food? No probs, man.

Green space nearby? Too right, buddy.

Bars and cafes? Pure hunners, mate.

But this is a Govanhill lifestyle blog, isn’t it, packed with curated digital content on fashion, wellbeing, shopping, food, and more, so we need our own version.

Prams blocking the entrance to your close?

Music from upstairs keep you awake at night?

Bin bags piled up on the landing?

The word on the street, inner city trimmings from chaos converters and ghetto plasterers.

4 best corners to buy weed

3 routes through the backcourts to escape the polis

2 lampposts to lean against when throwing up

93 places to find a hip urban audience enjoying invisible social privileges they don’t understand.

So aye, Govanhill. That’s where we are. Cheers.

Pishing on a copper’s shoe

photo of a city street at night

People think Govanhill is just about vegan food and Irish dancing, but it’s not.

It’s not all central Europe and gentrification either.

Living here is about your work. How you’re not paid enough and how fewer and fewer of you have more and more to do.

It’s about your flat. How your landlord still hasn’t fixed the boiler and there’s that leak in the kitchen and the rent’s going up again, isn’t it.

It’s also about the football, following your team, how the midfield is rubbish and we need a new striker and should we sack the manager as well?

It’s about Brexit and Supertrump and the rise of nationalism and the mobilisation of the far right and, you know, historical materialism and the inevitable overthrow of the bourgeois mode of production.

Then there’s the weather round here, Jeez, I mean, why does it have to rain all the time?

And you’ve been having those headaches lately too, haven’t you. It’s fine, like, no need to go to the doctor or anything, although you did fall over twice last week.

It’s about the movies you watch, books you read, music you listen to, the global corporations which have eaten you.

You know, brand names as hinterland.

And it’s about being blootered in the city centre on a Saturday afternoon and getting lifted because you pished on a copper’s shoe.

Sorry, what were we talking about again?  

Aye. Govanhill. Cheers.