Homelessness in winter

This image below is from this article in the Metro.

The picture is of someone on Buchanan Street in Glasgow who is homeless and is so cold he can barely speak. I know this because I walked past him on my way home yesterday in my short visit to work before going home, and upon seeing him shivering in the snow (which at that point wasn’t as bad as it was in the picture) I chucked a couple of quid into his cup. Upon passing him there was a woman in Dundas Lane struggling also to speak because the cold had taken her voice.

We’re all grateful of a snow day, even love playing in the snow but we’re fine because we can nip home or stay and home while keeping warm and dry. We’re not in the street soaked through, so cold that you can’t use your voice.The fact is there are people right now dying on the streets because the system has failed them, and instead being somewhere warm, safe and dry, they’re shivering to death slowly on a busy main street.

We can help by chucking a few quid, or passing on a helpline number but in one of the wealthiest countries on the planet we still have people sleeping on the street during the worst winter we’ve had in years. This is something government can solve, and with the UK government still intent on causing poverty I can sadly only see this getting worse before, even if, it gets better.


Snowmageddon Strikes!

It is snowing in Glasgow. It has been snowing in Glasgow for hours and hours and hours.It is also cold, oh so very, very cold. Apparently with the wind we’re looking at -10 in places, including my hallway which isn’t full of the cosy, warm heat of my living room.

Now if you’re reading this from say, Canada, you’ll be pissing yourself laughing at our idea of heavy snow but we’re not used to this in terms of severity.I  think the worst is being caught in a flurry of snow and being blinded by the snow getting in every orifice. Ah, the joys of winter…

It is deep out there. A level of deep where a slip means you could vanish into a snowdrift til your frozen corpse is found in the spring.

So with the snow falling the city comes to a halt as it waits for it to stop and things to actually feel like spring!

And it’s still snowing…

Grasping the Thistle: A documentary about Partick Thistle…

Supporting a football team can be easy if you’re just jumping on a bandwagon and supporting a team because they’re successful. When you support a team like Glasgow’s Partick Thistle, success, is measured by different metrics than winning European trophies or billion pound sponsorship deals.

Back at the early days of this millennium, Partick Thistle were pushing hard to gain promotion to Scotland’s top flight. This BBC documentary is full of everything that makes supporting smaller teams painful, and wonderful, at the same time.


One year later…

This time last year I’d just returned to Glasgow from Bristol to recuperate, recover and take stock after a stroke/cancer/slipped disc/general falling apart. Basically I was in a mess this time last year and needed time out to get things together which meant doing things like learning how to deal with post-stroke pain, a slipped disc and everything else which made my first few months back in Glasgow hard.

I’d essentially fooled myself last year I was in a fitter state than I was. I was, to put it bluntly, fucked. Readjusting to the darkness of a Scottish winter didn’t help either, as mornings are a glum vision of twilight.

But thanks to the doctors, nurses and physios of the Scottish NHS I was able to pull enough of myself together to make the idea of living a life viable again. The mornings are still dark though.

So a thank you to Bridget, Hal, Andy, Mike, Lauren, Sloane, Steve, Janet and dozens of other folk that’ve made the last year easier than it could be as I now start to work out where to go next. I’ve not posted much on my current events as nothing much has happened barring being in work since July but with the comics side of things being slowly ramped up I can start to think about the future.

Loads needs still to be done. I’m still in lots of pain, and the phrase ‘pain management’ is an affirmed part of my lexicon. and my walking is slow but I’m walking which is something this time last year I couldn’t do without heavy painkillers. Rebuilding hasn’t been easy but once I work out exactly where I’m going I’ll be sure to let you all know…

Attack of the pub singer

Many of us at some point have encountered a pub where a pub singer is in full flow and been amazed at the beautiful awfulness of them. Vic Reeves used to make pub singing part of his act as the good pub/club singer is that rough diamond where the terribleness of them becomes transcendent and becomes something so glorious it becomes the best thing you’ve ever heard.

The other week standing by the statue of Donald Dewar in Glasgow I heard the greatest, most transcendent pub singer I’ve heard doing a version of the theme from Flashdance.

Yes, I managed to get ‘Donald Dewar’ and Flashdance into a sentence…

Anyhow, this is the greatest thing you will hear. I wish I could have recorded more but I was busy giggling like a loon so wandered off before the singer realised I was recording him, but seriously, this is genius!


Attack of the West End Trendies

I live in a nexus of places in Glasgow. One of those places is the West End of the city famed for people with accents that pay homage to the idea of being from Glasgow and ‘West End Trendies’, that is people like this that Limmy takes the piss out of in the below video.

Or indeed, now trendy and famous comic artist Frank Quitely in his Electric Soup days with his Wendy the West End Trendy strip.

About a minute’s walk from my flat is Finnieston, the trendiest of all West End trendy areas where one can quite literally wade waist deep in people drooling about this week’s new craft ale or that antique dress they saw. It displays the sort of pretension that makes Stokes Croft in Bristol look like Chelmsford on a Saturday night when Chelsea are at home.

On the whole these slaves to fashion are relatively harmless, but I’ve been warned of the ”ironic’ Buckfast drinker since coming back to Glasgow, and today on the train home from work I saw one in the wild for the first time.It was a sight to see someone in their best hipster jumper sip from a bottle of Buckfast while braying at his equally repellent friend brayed back at him. Fortunately I had to get off before I threw up my pelvis but seriously, if you’re ‘ironically’ drinking Buckfast then you’re just a bit of a dick. I can just about tolerate all the other bits of wankiness, but this whole ‘let’s play at being poor’ shtick is a game for pricks.

Next time I get sniffy at people who stand around by entrances looking lost while blocking the way in/out. Grrrrr…..

The hell of a daily commute

Since starting back at work I’m getting used to the daily commute, and not just that, getting used to a commute in a city (Glasgow) I’ve not done a commute in simply decades, and for years in both Bristol and Leicester I’ve lived within walking distance of work so things have changed. Not for the best either as negotiating on and off trains at Queen Street station is essentially like this.

Though with less lunatic Glaswegian cannibal punks trying to kill you.

Kill or be killed seems to be the mantra. Having spent so long in the terminally blasé setting of Bristol it will take some time to adjust to Glasgow’s more energised lifestyle as long as the cannibal punks don’t get me first…