Friday, 27 September 2019
The last post on here featured Queen's Park on the South Side of Glasgow in the winter time, hills covered in snow, but little did I realise I'd be back again six months later with Anne as part of a walk across the city. Over the summer months I've been bagging Glasgow's Parks with her and we've both enjoyed the experience but Queen's Park had not been on the list as she'd been in it before.
" How can you visit a park and not be tempted to go to the summit? " I wondered out loud, amazed. An unthinkable notion to me, who has to climb any hill, especially city ones, drawn like a magnet to the top. No free choice in the matter at all.
" I've got a social life pal, not a sad loser like you. We had young children with us who were happy with a pond and we had to be somewhere else at a certain time. Don't be so judgemental about everything.."
That was me told off. Many hard miles and hours had passed by this point in each others company:)
The ebb and flow of cities has always been of interest to me with the post industrial cities like Glasgow, Liverpool or Newcastle declining in modern times while London, the financial capital, has grown by over 2 million in that period and sucks in/generates a large chunk of the UK's economy, not necessarily a healthy set up for the rest of the UK trying to compete and make a living in a post industrial era. I have read that the overall plan to increase populations in post industrial cities is to attract overseas residents to live in them and that is apparent in both Glasgow and Edinburgh at the moment. Just from a visual and listening point of view wandering across the city Glasgow is much more cosmopolitan than it used to be, even ten years ago, with over a dozen different languages spoken on local buses regularly- more in keeping with the English cities now than it once was. No surprise mind you with 7.6 billion people on the planet currently and 8 billion predicted by 2025.
A planet population jumping and humping from 1 billion to 7 billion in the last 100 plus years alone It took all of human history to reach 1 billion by the 1800s. By the swinging 1960s it was 3 billion. Yet we are still arguing endlessly over nationality and side issues like Brexit. As if that's going to solve anything major or be a miracle cure all.
Smart phones are also a great facilitator and incentive... giving people living in very poor conditions or war zones a daily enticing window into a better standard of life elsewhere and I also notice, with some rueful amusement, that bushmen living in mud huts or families in bombed out buildings invariably and always have a better hand held phone than I have. It doesn't matter that we are eternally separated into tribes by customs and strong cultural differences in society when we live together in groups and probably always will be... smart phones are the new ubiquitous common factor uniting us all at the present time- like cigarettes used to be- striding across any cultural divide with ease. Which probably proves, apart from being useful, it's an addictive drug. Although originally envisioned as technology to make life easier they also have the very real potential to bring down governments, start wars, change generations long held traditions overnight and sway mass public opinion- not always in the right or most beneficial direction. Just depends on whatever propaganda you believe at any given time in history.
Which also highlights why we need newspapers and real investigative journalists- we will miss them when they are all gone... and by that time it will be too late. As an afterthought even during the worst years of the bleak 1980s when Glasgow had mass unemployment, closing shipyards and redundant factories everywhere with many council estates run down and half abandoned, the parks and Winter Gardens were not under as much a threat as they are today. Yet according to statistics we have record employment levels now which should make the UK's 4th largest city a wealthy place- should it not? Which is why I rarely believe the hype, political or otherwise, that is an integral part of everyday life now. For Example.... Killing Eve first series- Brilliant. Killing Eve Second series- woeful pish and a dire waste of talent. Peaky Blinders first series- Very Good- went downhill from that point on-wards though, straight into caricature. The potential pitfall of anything that gets to a certain degree of media endorsement or public popularity... and hype creeps into the house through an open window. Stamp on hype wherever you find it I say- sweep and hoover bullsh*t out of every room!
Sometimes I pick a theme for posts- like a film, book or event to match in with it.
The lyrics to Lou Reed's Perfect Day sums this blog post up. Thank you A. It was truly surreal.... and memorable.
Thursday, 12 September 2019
Part two of my marathon all day walk across districts of south west Glasgow that I used to be very familiar with but haven't visited on foot for 20 or more years. As you can see from the above photo taken in Queen's Park it was back in the winter time, temperature around minus 5 degrees early on in the morning but dry and sunny.
"What are you doing?" I was asked by three twenty something guys, spotting a new unknown face in their district and zooming in like heat seeking missiles out of boredom/curiosity. Having working class roots however I know how to handle myself in these tricky situations.
" I'm lurking around in a suspicious manner in a school playground." I informed them, smiling slightly at my predicament. " What's it got to do with you?"
Telling the truth often works I usually find.
Glad they have retained the decorative interior features of this fine old building. See slideshow gallery in this link above. I would not swap my edge of the city childhood however for one nearer the centre, however affluent, as I just had to fall out the front door every weekend or summer evening to find myself within the glorious rolling landscapes of 'Wonderland'... the Renfrewshire, drumlin infested, countryside of my youth.
Needs further inspection but definitely a cool idea.
This is also 'thinking out the box' in a big way. Worth a watch on You Tube. Aldous Harding. The Barrel. (Official Video.)
Now and then, searching through the banal dross of modern light entertainment like an old time miner panning in a stream-bed, a genuine gold nugget will appear. Very different- like a moving art display and cleverly thought out in detail. My gold nugget of the month award.