Archive for the ‘The Clutha’ Category

Being homeless is like living in a post-apocalyptic world. You’re on the outskirts of society. (Frank Dillane)

May 25, 2017

And so dear listener, this will be a short blog as it has been on several occasions before – ranging from the day after the Clutha tragedy through to Charlie Hebdo. Much has already been said and I’m not long since from watching the Queen visiting Manchester hospitals through to a SKY News corr telling us the latest word from MI6 and 5 about the latest terrorist threat.

Nor will I say yet again, why oh why does the egotism of politicians mean that we get involved in regime change in places like Libya and Iraq without thinking through the consequences? That’s why reading books is good.

So nothing this week about my job interview, my first walk with Holly the dog for some time and some really happy smiley Communion pics.

Instead two things;

One, ever since Hillsborough and Bradford Park Avenue many of us have been fearful about leaving a venue; not cos of a bomb threat but because it can be so difficult to get out. I’ve not been to Cappielow, for example, for some time but at one point away fans (unless you were Old Firm fans and you needed space to let off flares) were stuck in a pokey, wee stand with two enclosed narrow stairways which, if someone was coming up the way, you could not get down.

The fear was always fire and as new venues developed with large concourses and proper sized exits, that fear disappeared. Slowly. There can still be bottlenecks at the end of a game or a gig or a film but these are fewer. e and aj came to a Thistle game at the start of last season and leaving the Jackie Husband stand is much easier than the North Stand but there’s not feeling of panic. No feeling of bombs.

But in a world where an Islamic State terrorist is willing to join mums and dads picking up kids from an Ariane Grande concert before detonating a bomb, then anywhere is a target – even more than before.

Secondly, there’s been lots of headlines and social media praise for ‘homeless heroes’ helping the wounded and injured and I know people are well-meaning, but what would you expect them to do? Ask for spare change from the ambulance crews?

I work (part-time, paid) in a project which offers supported accommodation to the homeless in order to get them ready for a new tenancy. They can get used to all sorts of things, including living in their own room and other communal facilities, getting proper benefits, and support to find work. Some have various issues and we do what we can to help there.

Some make it; some don’t but at no time do we forget that these are people with feelings like you and me.

Maybe if I’d been there and helped, the headline could have started with ‘ex-alkie’……..

Or if my downward spiral hadn’t been stopped with so much help from professionals, friends and family, then maybe, ‘homeless’ would have applied to me.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but stereotyping can be a real bummer.


This is Stone Roses and did I ever tell you that I got drunk once with Ian Brown?



Nobody expects on a Friday night for a helicopter to crash on top of a pub (Alistair Hay, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service)

December 1, 2013

And so dear listener, there is not much I’m going to say today.

There is a sadness hanging over my adopted home city. There’s not much I can say.

Obviously I had things I was going to write about including post-graduation stuff, the assault course I was supposed to be going on and why it didn’t happen and so on but today they’re not relevant.

Yes, I do write about death and similar but the deaths caused by substance abuse and cancer tend to be slow – other than those that happen as a result of cold turkey. The deaths the other night (including the people on the helicopter) were sudden and unexpected and in a manner we have known, I think, only once before in Glasgow – a city which is not unused to sudden deaths.

The way in which I heard the news was not unusual these days. I woke just after seven, looked at my phone and deleted the Groupon messages and so on and noticed activity on Facebook…….this was people talking about the incident. I immediately switched on BBC Radio Scotland and got……a pre-recorded programme about the outdoors. Why was it not dropped and replaced by a live programme?…….questions can be asked later but the fact was that I went downstairs and switched on the BBC News Channel controlled by London and saw BBC Scotland news people doing a smashing job. It’s a difficult moment for journalists because the basic story has been and gone and all you can do is re-tell and react.

I think I’ve now gone off the notion of a Scottish Broadcasting Service…….maybe some people at Pacific Quay can only get aroused when it’s the Commonwealth Games……anyway….I’m told coverage improved later. Laura Vickers and Aileen Clarke and their production teams played a blinder.

I was impressed at the quality of interviewee and their participation in the rescue; Jim Murphy being asked about blood on his shirt; a retired fireworker helping his colleagues to get in; the rescued who came back the next day to find friends; the pub manager who switched off the gas; the stories not just of survival but of helping others to survive; and the quiet but truly emotional words from the various political leaders and the rescue services.

Neither the Clutha nor the Scotia were pubs I frequented but they are both important in the folklore, history and legend that is Glasgow.

One may be no more. It is a sad day for Glasgow but one from which hope springs eternal. There may be more in the form of a legacy from this horrible event than there is from any other event happening next year.

Let Glasgow Flourish by the Teaching of Thy Word