Thursday 23rd July 2014
I haven’t touched our tour in the United Kingdom in over a month. Obviously, and I don’t need to repeat myself, due to being busy with wedding stuff. It’s also down to the fact that nothing really happened that day. Doctor appointments and talking about finances with dad. Nothing really to excite me to write nor you to read. So I’m going to beam you on to the next day.
Friday 24th July 2014
We were on the road this year. Back on the motorway on the way to Glasgow. Now I don’t want to blow my own trumpet, I have been to many great, great cities. Rio de Janeiro is one of my favourites. But one where I have some of favourite memories, not just because I have a wonderful family residing there, but more so for the vibe and energy of the city, is Glasgow. I know it has quite an aggressive or even violent reputation for some (many of whom hail from south of the border) but I’ve only seen the friendly charm that pours from every pore in the Glasweigans. Yes, you have to take it with the odd expletive. I’ve never experienced too much anti-English feeling myself. It’s not a myth. I’m sure it’s there. (I know a Honduran who went to the UK with ICYE. He likes to tell me about his trip to Scotland. He also likes to remind me that Scottish people hate the English. “Yes, we know, thank you. I’ve never really experienced it, but we know.” This is often ignored and he replies with, “Yes, but they REALLY hate you.” It’s often at that point where his ignoramus makes me want to give him a Glasgow Kiss. “What’s a Glasgow Kiss?” he says. “Arrrhh, not so William Wallace as you thought, are you!”). It did cross the mind on the way up in the car what the mood would be like, especially with the referendum looming.
I also enjoy the Glasweigan architecture. The refacing of the old tenements, as well as retouching the Victorian buildings. The middle class stone houses that you find in Newlands with high ceilings also have a fine touch that aren’t found too easily in the rest of the UK. Unfortunately Birmingham had many of its older buildings blown up in the Second World War (not all, however) and had them replaced with architectural butchery. Glasgow doesn’t get the amount of tourism that Edinburgh does, but it has a more vibrant scene, in my opinion. It also has the majestic River Clyde. Every great city needs a river. Birmingham makes up for it with canals. Though Glasgow has one sellable point that can’t be made by hand or bought with dosh, and that’s that very welcoming spirit. It can’t be touched. There’s also Fopp records. The best shop in Glasgow, probably (though Pamela was taken with Poundland).
All in all, if I were ever to move back to the UK, Glasgow would be my first place. I really do love it.
The way up to Glasgow is always a trip down memory lane. We all got to see the RAC Tower and the nearby Walsall FC ground (The Bescot Stadium I believe it’s called). We got to take a good look at it thanks to an hour’s traffic jam. Further up the motorway was Preston, which is where I studied journalism. Roper Hall and all nighters in the library came flooding back to me. Past Carlise, where I was thinking of studying, but on the open day, a dark day in November, I had a late train and I ended up getting happily snozzled by myself with a good book. A stop where I introduced Pamela to pork pies at the service station with a farm shop and pond with ducks outside, somewhere on the Scottish side of the border. We’ve stopped there since I was a “wee bairn”. Going past Hamilton, I remember going to a theme park there once with my cousin Sam. I lost £20. Sam won many jackpots on the fruit machines but only got tokens to play more (not cash! – we were a bit naive to see that we were being skinned). It was a hot day. In the evening we all went for a curry. What strange memories I have.
Whenever I enter the city, for whatever reason, I must always listen to U2’s Joshua Tree. It’s been that way since I was 12 and I had the tape in my Walkman without fail. It was my mum’s tape. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For and Where the Streets Have No Name. I associate them with Glasgow. I just do. I don’t know why. But I’ve fond memories.
The rest I’ll share with you soon.
Here are the songs.