from Glasgow


 

Here is a messy, snippety blog with some of the things I have thought about Glasgow whilst I have been living here for the last couple of months doing my project 'Oh My God - I'm Scottish too!!'  I know it's not a coherent piece of writing, but there are too many bits of unfinished writing on my computer, that one day when my computer finally gives up the ghost, will die with it. Therefore, I'm whacking it on this here world wide web. Peruse at will.

Jakeys

In the endless bid to be creative, pedalling my way through the streets, I see countless old 40 year olds, people who have smoked and drank their way to oblivion and old age (but not revered) long before their time. Standing outside the corner shops in the cold and rain, asking for 20p to get a can of beer. And so you give it to them and then they ask for another 30, and you have to tell them to stop taking the piss, but they’re only going to stand there in the cold asking people until they have enough for the tin of beer.

It’s hard not to think that these people must have a shorter shift in a cold climate than somewhere like, say, Devon where at least the sun is often out. Those who lived in Totnes will remember the jakeys who hung out in the car park behind Ticklemore street. To me, they never quite had the desperation of their Glasgow or Edinburgh (yes – even Edinburgh) counterparts. I’m sure it wasn’t all lovely, but I definitely remember joking that it must be alright sitting out there in the summer with a big bottle of cider; a student’s dream eh.

 

Feral Children

My housemate Danny was telling me about how his American friend describes the children of Glasgow as feral, and how it hadn’t occurred to him before that this was the best description for them. There’s this kind of constant social underclass in Glasgow, that doesn’t leave the city, however many programs for social mobility are implemented, however much schools are improved and parents given better access to local facilities. It could be argued that this is because of the continuing influx of immigrants to Glasgow, who serve to replace each previous influx climbing their way up the social ladder. At the moment it’s the Roma, the talk of my area and a huge problem with scrap, ‘feral’ children not attending schools and vast overcrowding in tenements. “Oh you can’t hang your washing out any more,” an old woman warned me at the bus stop on my first night in town, “not since the Roma came. Not since Cash 4 Clothes”.

 

Internationalism and Immigration

Nonetheless, it is my honest opinion that this is why Glasgow is a better (although more troubled) place than Edinburgh. My brother, in his final year at a pretty average Edinburgh high school, thinks his class is diverse because it has an Italian, a Spaniard and two Poles. His Glaswegian cousins, on the other hand, can study Urdu, Turkish, Arabic and Hindi at an otherwise similar school, alongside the standard French/German/Spanish.

As a British Citizen who does not believe in the ‘holy union’ of marriage, I am utterly convinced that one of the better things I can do with the rights that gives me, is to marry someone so that they can enter this country. Not just because it will make their (my spouse) life better, but because it will also make this whole country a better place to be.

 

thats all for now folks. R x