Glasgow. Gangs. The two go together like Morcambe & Wise, Torville & Dean, Brady & Hindly…

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I am from the greater area of Easterhouse. My wee scheme had 4 streets in it. Four streets and three gangs, the two biggest being the Rebels and the Fleet. One of the Big Enemies was the GYTO from Garthamlock. And there was hardly a brick wall without a ‘Tongs Ya Bass!” tag sprayed on it.

gang01Growing up in the East End in the 60s and 70s, you couldn’t avoid the gangs. There were regular running battles between rival crews, fighting with knives, chains, hammers, swords. In fact, the couture of choice for a gang lad was a long black leather coat. Imagine a greasy, flop haired Spike from Buffy. The long coats were ideal to hide the swords in.

I can remember one day walking through the dinner hall at school. There was blood on one of the tables where it had seeped out of a stabbed lad who had been laid on the table while waiting for an ambulance.

I can remember walking home from school and being hit on the head by a flying glass bottle.

I can remember walking home from school in the fog and being flashed at.

I can remember standing at the bus stop and hearing the zzzzzzzpp of an air pellet missing my head by centimetres.

I can remember so many things to do with gangs and the fear they engendered in me.

So lets talk about ginger instead.

Ginger is the Weegie umbrella term for fizzy drinks. You say lemonade? A Weegie calls it ginger. You say Cola? We say ginger. Limeade? Ginger. Orangeade? Ginger. Ginger comes in ginger bottles – what else – and when I was wee you used to get a penny or two back on an empty bottle.

I lived next to an industrial estate where Alpine, a ginger company, had a warehouse. Every week the Alpine van would come around, tooting his horn, and all the kids would go down with their family’s ginger order. They did a limeade which was a shade of green never seen outside a mad scientist’s laboratory. It was brilliant.

G is also for Garthamlock, where I went to school. But that’s enough of G’s. Time to go and think of tomorrow’s post. And have a wee drink a ginger.


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