The noise of this place

Black and white sign with an arrow and the words 'Hidden Gardens' on a brick wall

Listen to the music of the pipes in a tenement.

The low-level hum through the whole building when flat three-slash-two flushes the toilet.

The high-octave drone when ground-slash-one turns on a tap.

If top floor guy runs a bath it sounds like a spaceship coming in to land.   

But at least the neighbour through the wall is quiet.

Must be exhausted after last night’s cattle stampede.

Or maybe he’s fixing the bolts in his neck.

The noise of this place.

A mouse scurrying, the trap’s snap, a faint squeal from under the sink in the bathroom.

Nae luck, wee sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous bastart.

Or maybe it was a giant cockroach, you just never know.

The noise inside, like tinnitus. Interior monologue, voices in the head, the stories you keep on telling yourself. Round and round, on and on, never stop.

The noisiest place.

The people at the front of the close playing music, smoking weed, drinking cans. Fair enough, quite respectful, you did it yourself back in the day, but not now, it’s a young man’s game now.

Seagulls squalling and circling overhead then prodding through the bin bag pavement smorgasbord.

Six angry women arguing in the street about payment due and tic fae big Malky that someone did or didn’t get.

A speeding car roaring fifty yards down the main road then having to stop at the lights because wee Betty’s crossing to the bookies to put a fiver on Kyogo to score first and nae boy racer in nae kid’s motor is getting in her way.

But tonight it’s quiet in the inner city, in Govanhill. The weather is calm, roads are silent, there’s no one around, no fireworks either.

It’s hidden now, the noise of the people, the will of the people, we are noise and to noise we shall return.

The people are resting, waiting for a happy ending in the strangest corner of the most mysterious city in the world.



No Govanhill, yes

So I woke one morning from uneasy dreams and Govanhll was no longer there.

Gone, girl. Disappeared.

No roads or traffic or trees or people or wind and rain or anything.

Aye right, Gvanhll.

I tried to go outside but it wasn’t the same, it was totally different, nothing was happening at all.

Nae Rab fae Torrisdale Street, mad Tracy who torched her flat that time, vegan young team, nothing.

Aye cheers, Gvnhll.

Where’s Victoria Road and its ever-changing shop fronts selling strange items and trinkets? Tin pot pale face trying to tap you a few bob, slummer with accent and slight entitled air?

None of it there, all of it gone.

Gvnhl, disappeared.

No more stories to write or read.

Not an eye or a pen to neither see nor tell.

Nothing to say, not even a goodbye.

I didn’t know what to do.

I always knew there was something missing in my life. Turns out it’s Gvnl.

Then I remembered that we are dust and to dust we shall return, so I returned home to the dust and shadows to sit on the couch and drink cans. But there was no couch, and no cans either, so I went to sleep and tried to remember those uneasy dreams and bring Gvl back to life.

I heard laughter outside, clinking glasses, a stranger swearing, a motorised wheelchair speeding down Cathcart Road.

An evening class in Mandarin, a night of Lebanese cuisine, knock-off Russian cigarettes.

Vast bellies, slapping flip flops, the smell of baked bread from somewhere overhead.

Not gone, Gl.

Pictures, sounds, impossibilities running through my head.

Still here, G.

Hope I wake up soon.