I haven’t done any personal blogs in a while, this is due to my being occupied with other things, and frankly unfurling the mess of my recent redundancy. As things look to be more stable I think it’s time to get a few more blogs out that I’ve been sitting on for a while, some of which are going to be a wee bit painful.
Before I do all that, here’s a little aside. This Deacon Blue video of their cover of I’ll Never Fall in Love Again was filmed near where I grew up. The flats you see at the start are the imposing Westercommon flats, that dominate the landscape of North Glasgow, and in fact can be seen across a large part of the north and west of the city.
They’re not as dreadful as some of the other high-rise flats in Glasgow but they’re still monstrosities, and here’s a little known fact, my first girlfriend lived in them. The one on the far right to be exact.
Anyhow, that Deacon Blue video was filmed near the Forth and Clyde Canal near Possilpark. It also manages to capture the sheer stark industrial beauty of the place. Here’s a recent picture of the area taken from this site.
I used to walk along the canal a lot when growing up around the area as it was a handy, and more scenic, walk from Possil to Maryhill to watch the mighty Partick Thistle play at Firhill, or wander along the Maryhill Road to pop into the seedy bookshops looking for comics, books or anything weird and wonderful. Reach the end of the Maryhill Road and you’re in Glasgow’s West End with all the wonders and joys that once held.
It never dawned on me growing up in the 70’s and early 80’s that this area was a prime bit of land, or that it was indeed, somewhere wonderful and beautiful until I saw this Deacon blue video of their average cover of a good song. It reminded me that somehow my memories of living in Possilpark and Maryhill were actually in black and white, even the sunny days I remember in black and white. So this video was scarily like my memories.
That was in 1988, a year after I moved from Glasgow to Leicester. I’ve only been back twice to that area since moving. Once was a year or so later in 1989. I was doing a comic mart in Glasgow one weekend and finding myself with a few hours to kill on a Sunday afternoon before linking up with friends to go drinking on a Sunday night (and with around 800 quid in cash in taking from the day before) I took a walk from where i was staying at the Central Hotel (money was no object! Frankly I couldn’t be arsed crashing on friend’s floors this visit due to working the mart. I needed an actual bed) in the city centre up to the north of the city to take a walk on a shiny day to see how things had changed.
They hadn’t. It was still the industrial landscape I grew up with. The last visit was a few years ago. It’s now utterly different yet it still carries that hopeless honest beauty you get in working class areas when you least expect it.
So this video sums up a snapshot of my life over a number of years. I can’t listen to the song without the video because they don’t work separately, and also the video is a strange little bit or archive of a piece of my childhood and youth which isn’t really there any more. That shouldn’t make me sad, but it does. It makes me painfully sad.