So I was with my brother but we weren’t in the pub and we weren’t at the game, we were walking down Victoria Road instead.
Or maybe it was Cathcart Road or Dixon Avenue, Calder Street or Kingarth Lane, or some other thoroughfare popular with traffic and pedestrians and sourdoughballs.
Does Govanhill always sound like this?
Like a building site.
He’s right, of course. He always is. Just don’t tell him I said that.
Road works might be over, cycle lanes complete, but blocks of flats are being built, sewers and drains need replaced. Diggers and rollers on pavement tarmac, cutting and drilling through landscape concrete, hi viz slow motion lo viz blur.
Not quite suburbia round here, is it?
He’s right, again. Too much shared space, too many exotic lifeforms, not enough deadly white silence. No kids in crash helmets on their bikes in a cul-de-sac.
You hear more languages round here, too. Arabic, Kurdish, Farsi and a hundred more to go with the high-density housing, exclusion and ill health. Creaking floorboards, a dripping radiator, the sound of a mattress dropped in an alleyway.
We both look up but there’s less sky in Govanhill, we see roofs instead of sky, hear seagulls on those roofs, not like a gentle sunset by the evening shore but like screeching banshees angry at a tree.
Barking dogs, scurrying mice, I’m sure I heard an owl in the attic last week.
Still, it’s good to be out of the house, walking around, sight and sound. It helps us stay alive.
Up near the park now, buskers busking, almost jazz in the almost sunshine, or Roma musicians with fiddle and squeezebox. A siren in the distance, probably an ambulance or a fire engine or a cop car. Thunder overhead, rain starts to fall in long grey sheets that make so much noise because there’s only us there to hear.
I ask my brother what it’s like in the Gorbals and he said the ice cream van plays the Benny Hill tune, sometimes the theme from The Godfather, and the neighbours through the wall were playing a game of rugby last night. Still, makes a change from listening to you talking pish.
I said shut it Gorbals right and he said by the way Govanhill, keep it down.