Greyhound, corpy, magic

Walking home from the game, feeling fine, good win, three points, happy days.

Here’s a bus. Jump aboard, hit the road, south side, here we come.

Keeping it cool on the top deck with a good mix of passengers. Grand Clarkston ladies, sniffing Muirend numpties, yawning Arden misfits.

Who doesn’t have a favourite bus?

The number 26, the 83B, the 47 Outer. Double decker cruiser behemoth or rickshaw guy with arms.

Greyhound, corpy, magic.

It was what people did back in the day before the car or the bicycle were invented.

The late buses from George Square on weekends, the 909 or the 808 to the edges of the city and beyond. Erskine, Shotts, Bearsden. Students, drunks, fast food and brutal late-night seductions.

Glasgow’s famous 89/90 was the most convenient because it took you past all the hospitals in the city.

The Western Infirmary was always the worst. Too many pubs close by, too many fights, and casualty was full of drunks and loudmouths and desperate staff behind wire grills like a prison or a job centre.

The Southern General was like a hotel lobby, pastel shades, smiling staff in bright uniforms, in and out in 20 minutes.

But cities change, bus routes and hospitals open and close.

People change too.

Haven’t had my nose broken in ages.

Cheers, 89/90.


A book on how to find the best self-help book

photo of the Oxfam bookshop on Victoria Road, Govanhill

So I was walking round the flat with my head in my hands and then I thought, cheer up son.

Go for a run, phone a friend, watch a movie, read a book.

I have books on the shelves at home, it’s true, but I try not to read them. That way I have something to do tomorrow.

It’s a good system, but you end up waiting around quite a lot.

I have different books, second hand, second rate, ancient history, out of date. Different subjects, tartan noir, tartan trews, salt and pepper, heaven and hell.

A second hand book is some people’s favourite place. Mine is Celtic Park, obviously. And my ex-girlfriend. At least three holidays I’ve been on. And my brothers and sisters.  

Think I need a new book, maybe a self-help book.

New shoes, dream job, die happy, inner peace, ten in a row, best in show. Fulfil your potential, actualise your dreams, unlock the hidden secrets of happiness.

Maybe I need a book on how to find the best self-help book.

At least there are good bookshops around Govanhill, as there always are in Glasgow.

Category Is, Oxfam shop, Young’s Interesting Books through the park.

Got that song Some Day I’ll Fly Away stuck in my head last week. Must have been listening to the internet or something.

Popped into the Oxfam shop, went straight to the travel section, picked up a Lonely Planet guide and bam, I was in Ardrossan in no time.

Cheers anyway, Govanhill.

A tenner aff at big Tam’s

Photo of a crutch leaning against a wall

Listen, shopkeepers and dependent drug users in Govanhill. I haven’t been injecting into my groin, okay?

I stubbed my toe and the doctor prescribed me crutches for a week. That’s all.

No need to follow me round the aisles because I have a limp, shop owners. I’m not going to steal those peacock chandeliers.

Or the guy who stopped me on Allison Street and asked if big Tam or mad Tracey had any gear in.

What? Jeez, I don’t know. Do I look like a problem user with multiple morbidities?

I stubbed my toe getting out of the bath. Or was I changing a light bulb? Might have been doing the ironing. Can’t really remember.

And no, that’s not because I had morphine for breakfast, fentanyl for dinner, or diazepam for tea.

People jump to conclusions. I have a few bad habits, but injecting into my toes because they’re the only veins I have left ain’t one of them.

Wonder if footballers get this treatment when they pull a hamstring, tear a ligament or break a metatarsal.

And no, I don’t have emphysema either, despite the wheezing and the coughing. Please. It’s a lifestyle choice.

An older woman even got up to give me her seat on the bus.

Thanks, dear. Don’t worry, I don’t have deep vein thrombosis. Shift your zimmer too, will ye hen?

Cheers, Govanhill.

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.