Glasgow just wasn’t Glasgow last Saturday. Why? We walked down Queen Street, and there weren’t any goths or skater kids standing around outside the art gallery. None. Not one. The pavements, though, were wet. “They must have all just been hosed away,” said C. We looked around the art gallery, but the main gallery was closed off for installation, and none of the rest was particularly impressive. Being too lazy to get on the subway and go out to Kelvingrove, we ambled back up Sauchiehall Street and got ready for our night out.
Sunday morning, I drove C to her ferry, out along the Clyde shore. I tried to admire the scenery, but it was full of mist. We stopped off at a supermarket in Greenock for breakfast, and talked about ourselves, each other, and everything. I worried I was being a bore, or a geek, and then worried I was worrying too much. “You worry too much,” said C.
I dropped her off at the ferry terminal. Feeling suddenly at a loss, I got out the camera, before setting off for the drive home.
When I looked out of my hotel window, I remembered why I missed the place. In a tower block above Charing Cross station, the random architecture of the city looked lovely in the early morning light. To the west, I could see the spire of the university.
I sprawled across the hotel bed. An enormous thing, it took over the entire room. I was alone in my bed that night, so I laid right across it diagonally, just because I could. An awful lot of things over the weekend, I did just because I could do.
Not bothering with breakfast, I showered, dressed, and wandered across Blytheswood Hill, up St Vincent Street and down towards Central Station. Glasgow always seems slightly American in flavour to me, with its city blocks, the street plan ignoring its hills, its urban motorways slashing through the city and over the river. It makes it awkward to navigate, though, if you can’t remember street names. I found my way without too much trouble, though, down towards the station. I was scared, and excited, but I wasn’t scared for very long.
…is one of my favourite cosy, romantic songs. It’s by The Clientele, and it goes something like:
The taxi lights were in your eyes
So warm again, St Mary’s spires
The carnival was over in the rain
And on and on, through Vincent St
The evening hanging like a dream
I touched your faith*
And saw the night again
When I lived in Edinburgh, I thought it was a song about the city. After all, the Clientele did record one song almost definitely set in Edinburgh,** and it has both a St Mary’s Cathedral (with distinctive spires)*** and a Saint Vincent St. Glasgow, though, has both too.
And in your arms, I watch the stars
Ascend, and sleep
The loneliness away for a while
Your fingers wide and locked in mine
I kiss your face, I kiss your eyes
Until they turn to me and softly smile
Edinburgh or Glasgow, I wish I was up in Scotland this weekend. I’m sure I will be again soon.
* Until writing this post, I thought it said “I touched your face”. Listening very carefully just now, for the first time I realised it’s actually “faith”.
** A B-side called “6am, Morningside”
*** Actually, it has two St Mary’s Cathedrals, just to confuse people. One of them, the Episcopalian one, has three distinctive spires that are a major city landmark, especially when you look down the length of Princes St. The Catholic one, on the other hand, is tucked away inconspicuously behind a shopping centre.
Two small things today, because I’m too sleepy to write more.
Firstly, some lovely photos of the dying Glasgow Subway in the 1970s.*
Secondly, reading the paper at lunchtime, I turned to the obituaries to find that one of my favourite writers, Jan Mark, died recently. Although she was known as a children’s writer, her “adult novel” Zeno Was Here is a lovely novel, and one of my favourite books. I’ll write more about it soon.
* Link via qwghlm.co.uk