Gie It Laldy, Glesca
From where I’m sitting I can see four cathedrals, a huge steel pimple, more trees than buildings, a motorway, a nineteenth century library, sixty-four windmills, a giant crane, a neighbour’s bathroom, one hundred and three other neighbours’ bathrooms, tenements, tower blocks, mansions and manses, and the Campsie Fells, because I live at altitude in the greatest little city in the world: Glasgow.
I wasn’t born in Glasgow, and I’ve spent less than half my life here, but in every meaningful way, Glasgow is where I’m from. Glasgow is home.
Work brought me here, and dick kept me here (one particular dick — I can’t speak to the general quality of Glasgow dick, although the scenes on Sauchiehall Street on Saturday nights suggest it is highly sought after), but there are days when I love the city m̶o̶r̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶n̶ almost as much as the dick I married.
I wanted this piece to be an eloquent, poetic paean to a beautiful city that captured my heart, but the pandemic knocked most of the poetry out of me, so instead, in this short photo essay I will — unironically, but with my tongue firmly in my cheek — share some of the many reasons why I love Glasgow, and Glaswegians (known colloquially as ‘Weegies’).
In the 1960s, Glasgow had a reputation as the premier city in the world for teenage razor gangs. Luckily, in 1968 peace was negotiated between warring tribes by the popular English crooner and Hollywood star, Frankie ‘Mr Moonlight’ Vaughn, who persuaded gang leaders to surrender their weapons. Thanks to ongoing community work our violent crime rate is now lower than many Brazilian favelas.
Within a half a mile of my home, I can buy practically every culinary ingredient known to mankind, from a huge Chinese supermarket or a range of tiny ‘ethnic’ grocers.
That’s a response to local demand, because all of my neighbours are Glaswegians. A few of them were born in Scotland, but that’s just one of the seventy-plus countries that have contributed to the culture of the area.
Many UK cities style themselves as ‘friendly’ — excluding thatLondon, most of them are — but only Glasgow has been voted ‘Friendliest City in the World’ twice by readers of Rough Guides. It’s a well-deserved title as any Glaswegian will tell you, possibly while calling you a cunt (a local term of endearment).
Of course there is racism in Glasgow — because there is racism everywhere — but most Glaswegians won’t hate you for the colour of your skin; if they hate you at all, they’ll hate you for the football team you support.
A Glasgow summer — it was Tuesday, the 8th of June this year — is among the finest in the world. Sunglasses are a necessity, as, at the first hint of sunshine, native Glaswegian men are known to cry, “Taps aff!” and remove their shirts, revealingly blindingly white chests.
At all other times, the ‘dear green place’ is grey.
One reason refugees are embraced so quickly as true Glaswegians is because they themselves immediately embrace the quintessential Glasgow experience: complaining about the weather.
In summary, Glasgow is a complex, vibrant, multi-faceted, multi-cultural city, whose spirit could only be adequately captured by the Bard of Castlemilk, Gerry Cinnamon:
The mayhem of Glasgow is buried deep in my blood
And there’s no other place where a ‘cunt’ might not be a put down
It’s thirteen degrees and there’s folk in the street, in the scud
No’ the best place, but there’s diamonds in the mud
Although this piece does include four dicks and one cunt, it’s not as wicked as my usual smutty offerings. The dicks and the cunt never meet, and there is no gangbang — this isn’t Sauchiehall Street on a Saturday night. Nevertheless, it’s linked to Wicked Wednesday.