No Looking Back

I’ve been doing some research recently for a novel I’m beginning. It’s a crime fiction set in Glasgow and I’ve been using Google Maps to investigate the streets where the story takes place. I had two possible locations in mind: the Southside, where I lived last in Glasgow and where my more recent memories are from, or the east end where I was born and raised. Because I have an idea for a second book using some of the same characters which is very specific to a certain time and place, I had been going to plump for the east end. After poring over Street View, I’m no longer so sure. I knew that the house I was brought up in had been demolished many years ago, but the last time I visited Queenslie the old street grid was still there and I could pinpoint exactly where...

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Glasgow Empire: Where Comedians Went to Die

I don’t know if any of you caught the BBC2 show about the Glasgow Theatre that was broadcast on Sunday evening? You can still catch it on BBC iPlayer (if you’re a non-UK bod, just install Hola or Cyber Ghost and you can access everything with no problems). Anyway, the show concentrated on two old theatres, the Pavillion which still hosts variety shows, and the Glasgow Empire which, sadly, had its final curtain in 1963. The Glasgow Empire entertained the working class of Glasgow since the 1890s and many Scottish variety stars and American movie names regularly trod the boards there. Danny Kaye, Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis, Laurel & Hardy, Bob Hope and many more were welcomed with open arms by a warm Glasgow audience. English comedians, however,...

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Going Home – You can take the girl out of Glasgow…

We’ve sold our house. In an area of the country where houses sit on the market for months, if not years, our house sold within three weeks of officially going on the market. I’m pleased, obviously, but I’m also…winded. The speed of the sale has totally taken my breath away and I feel like the first fallen leaf of an early autumn, twirling and swirling, buffeted by the unexpected gust. it also leaves us homeless in just 8 weeks if we don’t find somewhere to move to. In Scotland, most houses are put on the market with an invite to submit an offer over a specified amount. Vendors have to pay an independent surveyor to conduct a Home Report which points out any possible problems with the property and assigns a value to the house. So, for the purchaser, there are two...

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See Ma Resolutions?

This is written for the same narrator as See Ma Man? I hope you enjoy it. See Ma Resolutions? See me? See New Year’s resolutions? Ah hate them, so ah dae. Every year ah say ah’m no gonnae dae them ony mair, but as sure as a murder oan Eastenders Christmas edition, ah aye end up makin’ a few. Ah mean, efter the excesses o’ Christmas, we aw feel a bit guilty, don’t we? We spend two weeks spendin’ enough money tae keep Greece afloat and sittin oan oor erses, stuffin oor faces wi’ turkey, chocolate and booze. So whit’s the furst resolution we make? Losin’ weight. Ah’m no sayin’ that ah couldny dae wi’ losing a few stone. If ah pit oan a thong it’d split ma erse between two postcodes. And ye canny switch oan the telly withoot seein’ ads fer Weightwatchers, Lighter...

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X is for Durty Fillums

First of all, I hope you all appreciate the amount of research I had to do for this post. My poor innocent soul will never be the same again. During the Bum-chicka-wow-wow heyday of the 1970s and 1980s, there were several porn cinemas in Glasgow. The one I am most familiar with – because my bus to work passed it every day, you dirty-minded lot – was the Classic Grand. The building started life as a warehouse for the Clyde before becoming a picture house (of the regular variety). In the 1950s it billed itself as an ‘Art’ cinema: in reality, it showed porn and extreme horror. This closed in the 60s before being resurrected as the Classic Grand in 1973. By the time it closed in the early 90s, it was known as the Curzon. I have heard that if you were to...

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