Chips, and hold the adjectives

close up of some chips

Back when I worked in an office we would go for a drink on a Friday and on the way home I’d stop at a Chinese on Allison Street for balls of batter in a bright red sauce congealing before my eyes.

Now it’s a Ghanaian takeaway with a friendly young guy serving fish chowder and yams, and the office is still closed.

Always so many places to eat round here. Afghan, Kurdish, Vietnamese. Halal, vegan, deep-fried. New places which opened then closed, old ones I haven’t even tried yet. Takeaway, kerry out, readymade.

The chippy’s still allowed too.

Hot potato oblong seared in molten fat, yes please.

Closing time on a Saturday, standing in the mouth of a close eating a bag of chips, hoo-hoo-ing and haa-haa-ing, blistered tongue, teeth burning, steam rising. Hold your chip up to the night sky and it looks like an alien monolith, except smaller, and much tastier.

Vinegar, of course, never sauce. No adjectives, either. Not curly or French or crispy or waffle or sweet or fries or anything. Just chips. Scorched fried floury tattie bits to fill the belly and soak up the beer, cheers.

Watch you don’t meet Rab fae Torrisdale Street but. Mad Tracy said the sight of him eating chicken and chips was the most disgusting thing she’d ever seen.

Maybe me and mad Tracy should start a food blog. Take an in-depth look at Govanhill’s culinary scene. I could be the restaurant critic, an undercover eater writing online reviews.

Definitely food. Smiley face.

Served on a plate. Thumbs up.

Pure pish. Sad face.

Still honing my skills but you get the idea.

Until then it’s a yard of ale and broccoli ice cream like everyone else who’s working from home.

Cheerio, Ovenhill.


Always there or thereabouts

brightly lit windows on a tenement block at night

Here now at dusk in Govanhill and places just like it tenements are glowing through tea time windows with curtains open and sitting room lights on.

City winter early evening comfort chair. Pub, restaurant, nightclub, cinema, shopping mall, football stadium and holiday resort right there, at home, in your flat, on the couch, in your slippers.

Our past is written in those windows. You, me, we, all of us. We know these places, and places just like it. We were always there or thereabouts.

We sat in closes with brothers and sisters, friends and enemies, away from the house with the clutter and shouting and never enough space.

We kicked a ball, cracked a window, stained glass, broke a tile, wally dug, aw naw, ran away. We scratched our names into the walls, got caught winching or tasting cheap booze.

We were there when it was somewhere to hide for a desperate guy being chased by the polis or a mob from some other scheme. Or a nice spot out the rain to tan your wine. Might as well have a pish while you’re here, eh?

We were there or thereabouts.

In dark pubs with dim light and strong drink and bare walls and sawdust floor and wooden seats and flat cap, gap tooth men.

In corner shop and sweet shop, with multi-coloured chews and gums and balls and plooms and kubes.

In open space around high rise blocks, landscaped emptiness and public art, bookies, offies, jakeys.

We were there or thereabouts. Our parents and grandparents too. Folk fae roon the corner, families up top, people down by, everyone, all of us, we were there.

And then as now, years ago and at this moment, when the sky clears anything feels possible.

Breathe more deeply, see more clearly our brothers and sisters on the street beside us, all of us together, part of a whole, of something bigger, ourselves and each other, always together.

So cheers, Govanhill.

And places just like it.