This is Glasgow…
This is the city I was born in, and spent the first 21 years of my life before moving to Bristol. It has without a shadow of a doubt shaped me, though not as I am now as there’s bits of Leicester, London, Nottingham, Bristol and all the other places in the UK, and across the world that I’ve stayed in, visited or passed through. It is however Glasgow which molded me. I’ve blogged briefly about my life there, but the city itself I’ve only recently touched upon the city itself as it’s as much a character in my life as anyone I’ve every known, and in some cases it’s been more so.
Glasgow is a city like now other. It’s not got the horrible disconnect from reality London has. Or the distance from anything relevant that say, Leicester does. Or is as sometimes horribly contrived as Bristol can be. It is a schizophrenic city with extreme poverty lying only a mile or so from extravagance, then again, the city’s always had some of that but now people seem to forget that people living in the likes of Easterhouse, or those that come from the East End, or the working class streets of Maryhill and Possilpark (that’ll be me) are the beating heart of Glasgow. This is a city that embraced the basic socialist idea of trying to drag everyone out of the gutter, not just the chosen or lucky few.
It’s a city which encouraged kids like me to take an interest in art, or film or anything that wasn’t seen as ‘traditional’ working class pursuits, because frankly, it’s a city whose philosophy was to drag us all up, give us the basics we needed to survive and send us out into the world like spores. That’s one of the reasons there’s so many Glaswegians living in every nook and cranny of probably every city on the planet. Well, that and the whole escaping poverty thing.
It’s the city that taught me that people like Edwyn Collins and Roddy Frame were cool. It’s the city I helped, in my own very small way, the future of Glasgow’s comic scene. It’s the city I learned to appreciate me for myself. It helped give my soul the callus it needed to push on into the world.Some of that edge has been blunted over the years as I’ve been worn down over the last few years but I can still draw upon what Glasgow gave me. It’s that certainty of thought, of purpose, even when you know you’re not entirely sure of what you’re doing.
This is Maryhill Road in the 1970’s. I’ve mentioned before that I seem to remember most of my childhood in Glasgow in black and white so this is how I remember the area then.
I’m glad the city is clean. I’m glad we’ve moved on. But I miss those times. I miss the glorious bleak beauty of industrial Glasgow.I miss the community. I miss the variety. Yes, Glasgow is now a fantastic cosmopolitan city, but like any city that’s been heavily gentrified it’s gained much, though at the same time it’s gained the same vacuous people who take over former working class areas and change it for the worst. See also Stokes Croft in Bristol, but that’s a topic for another time….
That aside, Glasgow is still in essence the same. It’s moved on. It’s better in places, worse in some, and in several cases it’s not moved on at all. It’s a sum of it’s parts and that’s the beauty of it.
I don’t know whether I’ll move back. I may in the next few years, or I might not but if I’m to do it then it’s going to be the next four or five years. If I don’t then I’ll probably wander the earth…..or not. I do want to move back but much is dependent upon the next 12 months or so, but whatever happens I’ll always carry Glasgow within me. That will never go away…………