There's the tree that never grew, there's the bird that never flew, there's the fish that never swam, there's the bell that never rang.
Aye, that’s right - Glesga. Hame ae the Gairden Festival (1988). European City ae Culture (1990). Festival ae Visual Arts (1996). UK City ae Architecture and Design (1999). Of course, it aw meant fuck all but. In spite ae aw those awards, festivals and past Tourist Board glories, the place wis still crap.
Glesga Smiles Better ma fucking arse.
Glesga. Murder Capital ae the UK. Glesga. European Capital of Software Piracy. Glesga. Call Centre Capital of the Millennium. Glesga. Global leader in coronary heart disease. Aye. Heart attacks. It’s the only hing wuv ever been any guid at in Scotland. That and fucking snooker.
Still, at least wir no aw diseased wi HIV in Glesga. No like other places ah will mention - like Embru fir example, the anus ae Scotland. And so fuck if Glesga disnae huv a castle, a yearly festival ur a regal 1.609344 kilometres. So fuck if it didnae huv a parliament where no real decisions even goat made. Tourism boomed, foreigners still flocked in thir drove fae far and wide tae sit in the rain oan open toap tour buses. American cunts, Japanese cunts, cunts wi stupit shirts, big cameras and mair money thun sense. Tourists wanting tae spend thir travelers cheques oan deep fried mars bars and tartan tins ae shortbread, and looking fir wrang directions tae the Burrell, the Peoples Palace and aw the places wi gift-shoaps that Glesga’s weans stole fae ae oan primary school trips.
Aye, Glesga’s weans. The Anastasias and Donnatellas, Henriks and Keanus. Fancy names fir shite childhoods in shiter, hoosing schemes. Possil, Cranhill, Easterhooses and the like. The firgotten Glesga.
Aw that domicile tenementia and high-rise blocks that wir shite tae look at, but even shiter tae live in, fifteen flairs up, fifteen flights ae stairs when the lifts wir (bang) oot ae order. Which wis often.
The firgotten Glesga, a high-rise, sick-bag colostomy ae sixties tower blocks that hud water dripping doon the walls (open brickwork fae afore it wis fashionable) and left a shite in yir toilet bowl every time the person living upstairs flushed.
Aye and it wis some view ye goat fae up there too, a bleak, unforgiving vista, a cruel landscape ae boarded up shoaps, stoved in bus shelters and burnt-oot motors in every direction, neglect at every turn, unemployment and crisis loans never far ahind. Still. At least ye wir safe fae the bailiffs up oan the fifteenth flair. Even if the they did decide tae risk the many mortal dangers presented in the stair-wells, they couldnae kick the door in anyway, cause ae the maginot defences ae unopened bills built up ahind it. Red ink oan final reminders, crippling the credit-blacklisted scratchcaird-addicted populace wi low-cost loans at high-interest small print. Aye, wan hings fir sure. Ends never met fir the social under-classes, not fir the people in the Possils, Cranhills and Easterhooses ae Firgotten Glesga.
The people ae Firgotten Glesga survived oan false insurance claims, credit caird crime and robbing fae charity shoaps. Naeboady helped thum, so they helped thumsels. Life here wis ayeis reduced-tae-clear living, chasing best-befores oan two-fir-wan ain brands. Shopping. Barcodes goat swapped. Electricity. Nail varnish goat painted oan the powercaird. Gas. Spiders eggs wir persuaded intae the meter. Water. It dripped doon the walls, whit mair do ya fucking want?
Rising Glesga damp, rising Glesga crime. Not that Strathy polis lifted a finger. How could they, not wi thir resources so tied up and stretched tae the limit oan the mair important matter ae harassing drunk, snake-bitten students fir flinging bin-bags oan a Thursday night. I hereby charge ye with placing an orange traffic cone oan yir heid.
Aye. The vineyards and breweries profited, as lager sales went fae strength tae super-strength. Blue black. Starch oan potato. Blue black. Snooker wi the pink missing. Blue black. The colour ae Glesga’s battered wives swollen faces the morning eftir the night afore. Ayeis swollen faces, that and missing teeth. Domesticated violence came hand in hand wi broken hames and visits fae social services trying tae pit the weans in foster care. Two parent families wir rare, public spending wis rarer. It wis several local government task forces and sock puppeteers since the last fresh coat ae paint in Firgotten Glesga, insufficient funding the lame excuse every time.
Aw aye, it wis a definite case ae New Labour but auld tactics, a Downing Street rubric ae bloated truths and scantily clad lies, broken promises and dangled carrots that ayeis swung wide. The local authority cooncil corruption smelt worse thun the breweries oan a warm day, and the smackheids oan any day.
And talking ae which. The fucking junkies. Firgotten Glesga wis getting as bad as Embru so and it wis, swarming wi junkies intent oan bringing bad neighbourhoods doon further. The stairwells ae Firgotten Glesga wir fillae thum and thir crack boattils, the overcrowding worse thin the prison system ur an NHS waiting room. Aye. And the NHS prescription heroine they wir getting given oan the National Health certainly wisnae helping matters.
And they wir starting younger and younger. Aw the Charmaines, Anastasias, Brooklyns and Donnatellas ae Firgotten Glesga. Aw the Henriks and Keanus and Chesneys. Aye. Weans. Ten-year-auld bairns necking ooer-the-coonter solvents and jellies like smairties, aw ae thum wi baby habits by twelve, addicts by thirteen and corpses by fifteen, smack the salvation ae choice, needle sharing and an early grave the best alternative tae YTS and future unemployment.
Aye. That’s the real Glesga. The Firgotten Glesga.