Archive for the ‘Sauchiehall Street’ Category

‘If Liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear’ (Eric Blair, or George Orwell as most people know him)

June 14, 2019

And so dear listener, last Saturday night saw me start a voyage of discovery to some of my recent roots……..No, Skippy, that isn’t right. Keep the tape running. I’ll ad lib. 😉

And so, dear listener, I’ve done a lot of travelling and catching up with folk over the last few days. One trip, for example, was with friend Rosie around the part of Scotland where my sister lived and going into a café (for lunch) that she used to frequent and saying ‘can we maybe not mention her or her house, in case anyone overhears and asks questions?’

It sounds daft I know but I didn’t want anyone to overhear her being mentioned and me being asked how she was and the house and so on.

I didn’t need to worry. It was deserted. We could have been discussing nuclear submarines and no-one would have known…………but it’s a beautiful part of the world. 🙂

As is Paisley. With friend uni-Sharon. And her liking of a café that sells goat’s cheese quiche.

I’m beginning to realise that I am very died-in-the-wool and like my cheese and onion toasties with plain bread……not sourdough bread but it is very nice when a good looking waitress tells me that if I don’t eat the crusts, my hair won’t grow curly. 😉

And then a quick cup of coffee in Cafe Nero with friend Debbie from the homeless project I used to work in and a quick resume of what’s happening in the world of the homeless. They’re still out there you know. The homeless are for all year round and not just Christmas.

But I did start off the week like many parents and grandparents at this time of the year…….at my grand-daughter’s annual Dance Class Dance Show. She was undoubtedly the best but was that her…or was that ….well, they all did well especially the Seniors who danced to a techno version of Singin’ in the Rain.

I did find the clip I was looking for and it is an edited techno Gene Kelly but it ends as an ad for VW so instead here’s a montage of Gene Kelly and some other well-known hoofers dancing to a jolly interesting piece of music. 😀 😀

Anyway it all took place in Clydebank Town Hall, just yards away from the Titan Crane down which I once abseiled……..but a wee word about the hall.

The Town Halls of Scotland is a book which, if it’s not yet written should be. They’re brilliant. They’re all basically the same design – a lovely auditorium with an upstairs and loads of rooms off and can turn their hands to almost anything.

I once attended what was described as Service Users’ Forum in Clydebank which was basically an opportunity to meet workers and service users from Blue Triangles all over Scotland and to chat and go through an agenda.

I and another worker, Caitlin, went from the two main Glasgow projects with about three service users (late teens) and it all went well. Except at one point I realised that one of my team was actually face-timing me on his tablet to his pals with a running commentary about how I was ‘single and desperate’……..I don’t think he got any replies. Well if he did he never told me.

But something happened that was really nice on the train back. My team were really excited and talking in a loud voice. The young guy who was sitting across from us leaned over and spoke:

‘Youse homeless? I was as well but I’d got a good worker like youse have (insert blushing icon) and I got maself sorted and now I’ve got my own flat and I’m on a college course……’ and left the train. (It had stopped) Possibly better than anything me or Caitlin could have said 🙂

And Holly the Dog has moved….along with the rest of her family. We’re still talking the west end of Glasgow but in a new part of the world for her and it has been fascinating watching her come to terms with new paths and roads and presumably new smells as she adjusts. There’s a big dod of green grass near where she now lives and it was also nice to say ‘hello’ to other dog owners in the area.

(No. I’ve not moved. I sometimes do dogwalking with Holly and, yes, that’s when it becomes apparent that having a dog can be a good way to meet people…….yes, ‘people’……not necessarily women, but………but whilst I do enjoy the walking I’m not sure about the looking after them in the house bit)

And just a wee word about politicians and drug taking. There’s nothing wrong with it – apart from some of it being illegal. The laws need to change. We need a legal system that offers proper controls over the manufacture, distribution and sale of drugs other than alcohol which is legal but deadly.

Instead we get ‘muffling and veiling’ from them all including a man who, like Donald Trump, is an inveterate lier but even more importantly (like Trump) has no interest in evidence-based policy. Just his own self-interest. Lives could be saved and people could make a return to useful life in society. Instead the rich will get richer and people will continue to die. Let’s discuss drug use openly and honestly with evidence and not pre-conceived out of date notions.

And finally, I went to the library recently and asked if they’d any books on paranoia. Very quietly, the library assistant whispered, ‘They’re behind you.’ 😉

Cya, still wearing that badge and still completely fine*.

Iaint850, about to put his feet up but there’s still editing to do……..

*Maybe next week Rosie…….

And so, at one time, whilst I was working night shift with the homeless, I was considering doing a PhD. Had I done that, I would then have called myself, Doctor John, the Night Worker.

But I didn’t, so here’s Doctor John, the Night Tripper

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I never knew a guy who carried a mirror in his pocket And a comb up his sleeve-just in case (Shania Twain)

November 1, 2018

And so, dear listener, does that impress you much and do you know anyone like this? And, friend Debbie, I will always deny that story about me using a window in the project as a mirror at 3 in the morning. 😉

So let’s move on swiftly but before I do, can I just say that my sixtieth birthday was much more a milestone than a millstone. 😀

I have an idea which may reverse the tide of digitalisation and I want to share it with you. I even have a name for it. I am going to call it Fulfilment by Personal Service (which is in no way derivative).

It hit me last week. I have spoken previously about my dislike of 151 and 789. I don’t understand what they’re talking about (altho’ I did have brilliant service from one of them who helped me through a TV problem that was not a Virgin problem and introduced me to the buttons down the side) 🙂

A few months ago I was concerned about how much I was paying for my phone. Instead of getting rollovers I was getting bills and I put that down to the increased usage when I was in hospital.

But they continued. I spoke to both the above numbers and they told me I was well in credit but that wasn’t the problem. I happened to be passing the Virgin shop in Sauchiehall Street one day and I went in. Two questions later, I was told that my WiFi had been switched off and that was it back up and running. 🙂

Saturday there…a wee date storage issue and I was straight back. Again some questions, some stuff added to my SD disk and some stuff deleted, and storage problem gone. I went to Waterstone’s and looked at books and bought two. Amazon is great if you know what you want but you can’t browse………not browse in a bookshop sense anyway.

Waterstone’s also does coffee and cake. 🙂

And then I got a couple of messages (text as opposed to bread and milk) from the Green Zone aka Maryhill Health Centre. One was explaining that it was now possible to book Skype conversations with my doctor or, in a separate message, the nurses were telling me that it was at least six weeks since they’d seen me and would I like to arrange to pop in and see them? I know which I’m going for.

Incidentally I think all the nurses in the Zone are female and, do you know what? Nobody cares as long as you ‘get seen’. 😉

Supermarket shopping? Self-scan or staffed aisle? Altho’ at Morrison’s this morning finding a staffed aisle was difficult ……until I asked.

So, are you beginning to get the idea? Have you had similar experiences? Please share them here or with me in other ways. I’m not too sure where I’m going with this but I do think we, as people handing over our money, deserve good personal service whether it’s in a shop or at the bit where you go to metaphorically fill your basket and hand over your credit card security number.

Indeed word reaches me as I write this that Ikea have opened a small store In Tottenham Court Road in London to offer a design service before people go online to buy things………

And if you’re interested, my academic editing service (available from john.thompson850@ntlworld.com) is a service designed to meet an individual’s needs albeit all done by e-mail.

And finally, a drugs training workshop I was due to attend was cancelled but I was offered an interesting alternative the following Tuesday.

‘Would you like, jt, to do alcohol in the morning and drugs in the afternoon?’

My smile was of a very wry nature.

Tioraidh, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple.

Iaint850, deeply envious of the multi-talented Bradley Walsh who I once spoke to on the phone.

Now, long term listeners of this blog will remember that, from time to time, I have attended formal dinners at Glasgow University and one of them is due up soon and it is a significant anniversary of that dinner club but I’m not going.

It’s nothing to do with alcohol itself. I don’t miss it and I get no cravings and I put that down to working with a professional addiction worker and not going to meetings where alcohol is the only topic. That wouldn’t have worked for me.

It’s just been so long since I’ve seen many of the folk who’ll be there and there’s a wee bit of anxiety that’s been hanging about that I won’t settle and I’ll get up and walk. I do like to talk to people and I do like to catch up but in smaller settings, e.g. curries, lunches, coffees or conferences on Hep C (coming to a Hilton Hotel near you next week).

It’s no big deal for me but it’s good that I’ve decided now. How will I fill that gap in the diary? Will I do anything social? Well, from time to time recently I’ve been going for walks in the dark, mostly designed to keep me out later and to make me sleep longer. It’s not as sad as it sounds. I have no dog to walk and I don’t jog/run.

I’ll maybe drive the car down to the University and go for a walk in the West End Perk where the phantoms might be dancing (Bridie).

Here, by way of a special request, is/are Bauhaus and their tribute to a great Hallowe’en hero – Bella Lugosi.

“I’m glad mushrooms are against the law, because I took them one time, and you know what happened to me? I laid in a field of green grass for four hours going, “My God! I love everything.” Yeah, now if that isn’t a hazard to our country … ?”― Bill Hicks

June 21, 2018

And so, dear listener, thanks for asking. Feis Spors Ghlaschu 2018 went very well, despite the rain. A pair of gazebos was purchased and it’s hoped that they will breed and the resultant offspring can be sold to raise funds. :p

No. They kept the rain off some of us and, more importantly, our goods. The tuck shop didn’t sell as much as previous years and I won’t mention the fact that the shinty people had their own crisps’n’ginger outlet. Oh. I just have.

A surprise donation of lots of boxes of Haribos was welcomed by us and Glasgow’s dentists and just the usual gripe; parents sending children over with a £10 note and all they wanted was a packet of Rainbow Drops (10p).

For me it was a good day. No anxiety or tiredness about anything (grammatically that’s a crap sentence but two weeks before my next appointment with my heart consultant, I think you know what I mean) 😀

Nice drive home via Mosspark Boulevard and into the tunnel but on the way over – at St George’s Cross as I was negotiating my way onto the correct lane for Pollok Park – there was a strong smell of smoke. From the Art School and the other buildings that were burning.

Earlier this week I tried to negotiate Sauchiehall Street – not as a rubber-necker but as someone who got off the train at Charing Cross intending to walk to Waterstone’s. That end is a mess cos of the city council’s attempts to pedestrianise it and with added extra trees and talk of tidying up the back lanes. When I worked in the two homeless projects in that area I used to visit those lanes to put the project’s rubbish in the bins at about six in the morning. Not pleasant.

Further along you encounter the cordons around the area affected by the fire. Yes, Campus and the O2 have been mentioned as well as the Art School, but rumours that Biggar’s (a music shop that’s been there for 150 years) could well be about to close are just rumours but temporary closure is bad enough for them and the hairdresser’s and several newsagents and the others and that is when you begin to understand the true extent of the damage.

I spoke to quite a few people including traders (I was the only one in the shops) and also a couple of former Art School students who used to do tours of the School. Sadness and pessimism about the future.

And they’re still slowly knocking down the buildings affected by what has come to be known as ‘the Victoria’s fire’ and there is still no decision about the future of the Pavilion.

£100 million to re-build the Art School…..or should we looking at designing a new Sauchiehall Street and its environs? Or should we seek to make safe the other Rennie Mack buildings?

And finally, if we’re going to ask complicated and ethical questions, then what should I have done about the wee girl who came up quite early on with three x 5ps and asked for a 50p bag of sweets? My solution was to tell her to come back at the end of the day. She did. 🙂

Or the boy who complained that ours was ‘sweet’ popcorn but not ‘salty’. In such circumstances then my riposte is usually, ‘Listen son, this is Pollok Park, no’ Pollok Shopping Centre.’ :p

And Jeanette, (BBC pal) do you remember the time we almost did the Jimmy Mack Show from Pollok Shopping but didn’t cos I knew Easterhouse much better. Happy daze. 😀

Cya, still wearing that badge and still keeping it simple (let’s see what happens in ten days’ time)

iaint850, gu dearbh, b ‘e latha math a bh’ ann an Disathairne and thanks to the online dictionary for help with the translation.

And I think I detect the beginnings of a debate about long term legalisation of drugs beginning with the prescribed availability of cannabis oil with the THC left in.

Many people (including the PM) seem to be against the idea based on the view that if such as cannabis, heroin, LSD, illegal highs (formerly legal highs) and street Valium are illegal then they must be dangerous. Well alcohol, tobacco and explosives are also pretty dangerous but they are legal in order to control their manufacture, quality, distribution and to whom they’re sold.

All the illegal stuff is out there and relatively accessible and the ‘war against drugs’ was lost a long time ago and we have no control over it. It’s a market controlled by crooks and criminals and I’m desperately sad that so many people seem happy with this state of affairs.

There is room for an informed conversation as to how legislation could be carried out but the benefits would be good. Even getting people to come forward for help knowing they would not be prosecuted for ‘carrying’ (de-criminalisation) would be a start.

Have a wee think. I will return to this subject. And for every one of my generation and younger, who enjoys a spliff at the end of the day rather than a G&T, enjoy.

I looked long and hard for a piece of music for tonight and I suspect many of you will not be surprised by my choice and that it was written by a Dundonian and sung by two men from Coatbridge.

But this is they from 2009 at the ABC and I well remember my last visit there…..December 2016. Ten years on.