Why Govanhill, why?

A grey box on wheels on the side of a street with a big orange question mark on the side

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.



If you can’t be terrific, be cool

White sticker with 'Cyclists stay awesome' on a black background

So I was walking down the street not minding my own business when I spotted this sticker on a car window.

It wasn’t in Govanhill, it was in a place nearby which starts with ‘Strathbung’ and ends in ‘o’.

But I’m not sure cyclists are all that awesome in the first place.

Obsessing about ankle clips, fondling wee tins of puncture repair kit, saving up all their pocket money to buy a space helmet. They might just be pedalling pedants instead.

I saw a cyclist picking her nose last week, heard another one farting in the saddle at the lights, and I know at least two more who voted for Brexit.

See, that’s the reality behind the ‘sustainable future for our kids’ brigade and the Chris Hoy’s thighs fanatics. Madness, I tell thee.

Actually, don’t stay awesome, cyclists.

Stay terrific instead. It’s much better.

What’s for tea tonight?

Beer soup.


See? It works a treat. Say ‘awesome’ and you’re just a twat.

Wheel spokes are on special at Lidl.


Shut it, ya twat.

See? It works both ways.

But if you can’t be terrific, at least be cool. Cooler than you’re being right now in Govanhill.

Try going the right way up a cycle lane for a start, ya fannies. Think of us poor pedestrians with our big clown feet, weighed down by our anxiety, neuroses, never ending trauma and struggle, plus a couple of shopping bags too.

Just ask Rab fae Torrisdale Street. Knocked over by a yoga mat sticking out a cyclist’s backpack, stepped on a baby pigeon and ended with his legs all up the wall.

Namaste, Govanhill.