Why Rab fae Torrisdale Street is a social enterpriser

Shapes and doodles that look like hieroglyphics

That artisan bakery over there used to be a pub, an old man’s pub, but no one ever called it a community resource.

There was a wee café nearby selling square slice and mugs of tea, but we didn’t know it was a magical safe space where like-minded people could gather, share tables, break bread.

Now Rab fae Torrisdale Street is calling himself an entrepreneur because he sells weed from his close.

Says he provides a vital lifeline for those looking for a sense of place and ownership.

I said okay, two grammes but it’s not for me and he said it never is, is it?

I’m joking, of course. It was ten grammes. Two is never enough.

That was also a joke, obviously. I am a responsible lifestyle blogger after all, and would never advocate taking drugs.

I know the dangers. Got high one night and quickly ended up in a shooting gallery then a crack house with junkies and dopers and dealers injecting crystal meth and ketamine into my eyeballs and my toes, before going to rehab and then recovery.

It made me late for work the next morning so I’ve learned my lesson, I know the pitfalls. It’s a downward spiral.

My mum always told me to just say no to drugs, keep saying no, and she was right. I did get them cheaper.

That too was a joke, someone else’s joke. Sorry about that. I just don’t know what words mean any more nor whose they are.

It’s a confusing time for everyone.

I see a bottle shop and I think of jakeys queuing outside an off sales at seven in the morning.

I see a bar and kitchen and think room and kitchen, alcove where granny sleeps, outside toilet.

It’s a coalmine out there. Sorry, coalfield. No, minefield, that’s it. Yes. It’s like a coalminefield out there.

Then I asked Rab if he sold avocadoes and he said naw, that’s the Mexican drug cartels.

Cheerio, Hovangill.


Victoria Road automatic

Photo of a shop front in Govanhill, Transylvania shop and coffee

My favourite shop in Govanhill and it hasn’t even opened yet.

Passed the guy putting up the sign one sunny afternoon and asked what it was and he said a shop and also coffee and I said cheers Govanhill and walked on thinking weird, but not, as usual, can’t wait.

Rising slowly, mainly fair, visibility moderate or good.

So Govanhill’s changing but it was always changing, even when some people didn’t want to come here.

We always had Kurdish barbers, Panjabi street food, Italian ice cream, magazin Romanesc, Irish boozers, African grocers, halal butchers, Polski Sklep, Polish Daisy.

Bin men and bone men and potato peelings and sharp-dressed chancers. And the fruit shops, Govanhill’s most popular characters.

We just needed the white bourgeoisie to become up-and-coming.

But watch out, creatives and innovators. This place is so quirky you might hurt yourself, even if you’re a freelance graphic designer.

Thank goodness you have this spiritual guide to give you a tour.

The shipping bulletin, area forecast, weather reports from coastal stations.

The soothing intimacy, the ritual incantation, travelling the seas without leaving your scratcher.

Kingarth Lane recent hail, Allison Street decreasing north, veering down Victoria Road later.

Complex low pressure, sooner dark at times, occasionally Polmadie.

Visit the uninhabited outlands, the crazy zone, where no one’s ever been. Hillpark, Merrylee, Croftfoot.

Hear the mysterious place names that exist only in our imaginations. Southside central, Strathbungo East, Queen’s Park.

Or stupid names a drunk guy made up, like Nithsbiggins Avenue, Buttermoreland Boulevard, Cathtoria Road. Orgasm Valley, frontal systems, warnings of gales.

So here we go, Transylvania automatic. No unsmiling fringes in sight.

Clear sky, ship ahoy, straight ahead, new high.

Always at last, never at first, variable in between and expected sooner.

Cheers Govanhail, hail hail.

The tenement opposite

View of two Glasgow tenements taken from a second floor window

I look outside and see the tenement opposite, full of people just like me, we, you and I.

It’s always there, the tenement opposite. Unchanging horizon. Nobody move, stay where you are, don’t touch your face, stand two metres apart.

Haven’t seen it for years, the tenement opposite. It’s like I stopped looking, took it for granted, didn’t even notice what was right there in front of me.

It’s reassuring, the tenement opposite. Fine blonde sandstone, west of Scotland light, kids’ rainbow posters in the windows. It’s better than having a garden.

I used to wave to the neighbours there as we clapped for each other once a week.

Tonight I see the moon in its little piece of sky above the roof of the tenement opposite. It’s reassuring, seeing the moon. It means the earth is still turning, somewhere.

Cheers, tenement opposite. For showing me the future. The future is wide and tall and clear, the same as the past.

But then I left my tenement and went outside and met Rab fae Torrisdale Street and he asked if I thought he was immune from the virus because he used to drink in the Corona bar in Shawlands and I said could be, you never know, but now that I think about it of course not, ya fanny.

Then he tapped me a fiver because he needed the fare to get tae his maw’s to go to the chemist but he’ll square me up, I know he will, I know he’s good for it.

After that he made no plea or declaration and I didn’t see him again for 30 days.

So I thought I’d go home and look out my window at the tenement opposite.

But my phone went and it was Conde Nast asking about a lock-in at Neeson’s.

Cheers, Govanhill.