Govanhill is whatever you want it to be because it only exists in your head.
Just like thoughts. Or a headache.
You only see what you want to see.
It might be some creative hub with studio space and vegan eateries and graphic design and young somethings with something ideas and these or those side hassles.
Wallahs queuing outside twelve coffee shops on Vicky Road. Sightless, sorryless, motherless.
Or you might see the same high street stomp as all over this city, and places just like it.
Overwork and lack of work, the relentless drag of poverty killing the body and the mind.
Three jobs, two kids, new shoes, lost shifts, zero hours, nae money, rent’s due, still owe big Malky for that half n half too.
Young, old, poor, ill, excluded, disabled, invisible.
Me and you, in other words.
Baking cakes of concrete and exhaust fume, garnished with broken table leg. Slow cooked tenement beans, side dish of noisy neighbours. An Allison Street omelette.
But it’s not just that, it’s more than that, and it’s not all just in your head.
Flowers in the air on a Friday evening in the rolling fields and open moors of Govanhill.
Three Pakistani families outside Kebabish, a wee tubby Romanian kid giggling with his sister. Spoon carvers, ring binders, rib ticklers.
Me and you again.
We don’t stop, we never stop.
Ugly beautiful, noble bawbags.
Dazzling smile and snotters in our nose.
Us, in Govanhill, and you, wherever you are.
Parkhead Cross, Riddrie Knowes and Paisley Road West, or Springburn, Tollcross, Drumchapel. Down Great Western Road and Cumberland Street, Alexandra Parade and the Gallowgate, Cessnock subway station and the north face of Mount Vernon. Drumoyne, Shettleston, Thornliebank. Dear old Glesga toon.
Bet it’s the same where you live.