Walk on the Southside Wildside – Part 2

Well were off again and it’s away from the Vicky Road itself and with a quick double left Max Wall kick into Queens Drive and then into the strange micro-climate of Langside Road.

It is hard to believe that just a few yards either side of this tear in the space time continuum, civilisation thrives.

Let this place be a warning to those that think there is such a thing as the natural economic cycle and that pubs are places are of recreation and enjoyment.

The Albert Bar sort of growls at you at as you pass….. “Sod off if you value your soul. Why don’t you go across the road and visit ……

….The Hampden.

The Hampden bar has all the necessary mod cons for the visiting extra terrestrial. The satellite dishes are there to guide in the Klingon space craft, cunningly disguised with their distortion shield as a weans go-chair and a corpy wheely bin.

Personally I always turn on the pulse drive to make my escape, but just in case there is a malfunction you can always head to that relative refuge of sanity (currently host to the Blue Knights and Craig Whyte) ……

Aaaah you can always rely on ‘The Mountain of Fire & Miracles Ministries UK’ to take your troubles away although the Hampden and the Albert would probably do it on a more permanent basis.

Fortunately if you get by these obstacles to a life of contentment you end up with the life of Riley or as it’s properly known….

……..Life O Riley.

For those of a sporting bent the Life O Riley has its attractions as a half way house to a cage fight without the cage or the rules that say the audience can’t join in. It’s a great pub if you’ve already got a raging hangover that can’t get any worse.

And then we have my favourite occasional bar

Civilisation peeks through the fog of yesteryear in Neeson’s with innovations like electricity and flush toilets. Great pub for taking the missus to,  perching her at the bar with a pint of cider and then nipping over to Life O Riley for the craic (and if you are in the know….the crack).

But all good things must come to an end and we have to visit the great areas of Academia…..Ardbeg street with its blue plaque (that’s a sign stuck to the wall to signify historic interest, not a dental disease)

Here is the plaque in all its Glory.

Personally speaking I found the inscription a bit bland and at odds with the environment. I would have written something like ‘You can stick yer Sigmund Freud up yer erse”.

And so it is on to the centre of all courting activity, Govanhill Park. Here both sexes can size each other up, the man keeping a weather eye on the number of go chairs the woman possesses and her abilities on the monkey puzzle, while she can gauge his talents for rearing a family by standing up on the swings without spilling his can of Kestrel or dropping his joint on the rubber matting.  Bonus points are given if he recognises his own weans.

Activities in this little square of heaven typically contribute to a 500 percent increase in the sale of shotguns in summer week that can be guaranteed sometime between June and July.

Of course things don’t always work out quite iin the way that the very frirst frenchie and fumble suggests. Fortunately Govanhill is at the head of social mores when it comes to looking after the poor wee women who find that the promises of taking her out of the oppressive drudge of Allison Street to the sunny uplands of Castlemilk are simply a chimera.

Angry and disappointed they usually head for ……

….The Samaritan Women’s refuge.

For those arriving with the hump they demand that you throw off the bad temper before entering the grounds. Thus as the sign says you need to be careful due to ‘Humps for 50 yards’.

Eventually we have to head back to familkiar territory as I wave cheerio to the rustic charms I walk down my second favouritely named street in Glasgow (my first is ‘Goosedubbs’ just off the Briggait).

This is Butterbiggins road…..

Leading back down to Cathcart Road, the new M74 extension and a great view over the now wasteland of the old thriving Dixon Blazes

The smoking chimney is the Distillery on Ballater Street, and the roof below it is St Francis. Dixon Blazes of course was the birthplace of the great Gorbals’ Vampire story back in 1954, when a fire breathing dragon terrorised the neighbourhood and took refuge in the Southern Necropolis.. I won’t tell the story here, but if you are interested just stick ‘Gorbals Vampire’. If you are interested a far out take of what I THINK happened really then I did a wee thing called Molly Starks’s tale. It can be found at


They’ve got planning permission now for a Tesco here or across the road. What a great idea, lets destroy some more of the community. Its things like this that suggest men need a refuge from wives hunting for another bargain and fortunately the Gorbals does not disappoint.

The Brazen Head (nee The Granite City) remains Iconic even if its late night club Durty Nellies is a thing sadly of the past.The Irish Italian Gorbals is a frequently used by-line but it is so much more than that. As the Granite it was more of a local bar than the Celtic experience it now delivers. Rangers boys from those days still frequent it. They are Gorbals folk too.

On the home stretch now and heading for our very own listed building…..

McDonalds tried to take it over but they were told they would spoil the ambience and atmosphere of the architecture. Get it right up them that’s what I say. They would have reduced this magnificent monument to man’s artistic handiwork to a smelly old ruin. The Brazen nearly took it over as well but that’s too long a story.

Behind you now across the road just completed is the Gorbals Parish Church, a handy Church Of  Scotland for those who fancy a free breakfast and tea on a Saturday morning.

It holds the record for being made out of copper sheet and still standing undamaged almost a year after it opened. Now if there had been lead on the roof……

And so to the old heart of the Gorbals

Crown Street……

A few months back now a green clad pharmacy assistant was carrying a box of ‘products’ from a security van to the shop.

She was being eyed suspiciously by the hooded and threatening eyes of the jakeys, hiding behind their prescriptions and pretending to queue for the eternally broken cashpoint. They mumbled in synch with each other firing occult spells across the rain soaked pavement. Suddenly it worked and erse over tit went the shop assistant, the box shattering and a thousand wee white plastic containers cascading across the ground.

Like a remake of 28 days later, they attacked.

The assistant got off her mark and one particularly desperate member of the ‘undead’ – a sort of Burns’ ‘Cutty Sark’  – grabbed a wee bottle, ripped its top off and with her bloodstained eyes and Alice Cooper complexion raised to the heavens, she opened her plankton devouring gob and poured every last tab down her gullet.

Time stood still as everyone waited to see what might happen.

She pulled herself upright balancing precariously on hind legs, howled at the grey sky, contorted her face and body in paroxysms of agony and screamed her warning……

“NAAAAWWWWWWWW!!!! They’re feckin sugar pills. Ma figure,,,,oh ma figure…..” and then collapsed.

Her coven returned to queuing and hiding behind their prescriptions, waiting, patiently for the next unsuspecting victim of the Gorbals Ghouls.

Another life in the day of the Gorbals.

…..and of course  my favourite shop

Which I reckon does the best Special Fish Suppers in Glasgow.

I suppose there’s only one place to bring the wander to (almost) an end.

One day we will all probably meet something similar.

The Southern Necropolis.

I had a wander round reading a selection of the stones. They had all gone before Celtic were conceived. Odd that…I don’t know why but I suppose I just can’t conceive not knowing about all that history. Mind you they didn’t know about the Wii either, whereas I just try to avoid the offer to play ten pin bowls in my mate’s kitchen. They didn’t have to put up with that pressure.

Looking back out onto the road I was struck how handy the Caledonian flats were for any suicidal  huns who decided take our musical suggestion….

I mean, never mind the spikey railings; if they jumped out the twenty storey flats they could go straight into a previously dug plot.

Well that’s it…..if you made it here ….well done and thanks for the company…..I’ve just got about another 100 yards to do and I’ll be home, just across the road from here…

St Francis, on Cumberland Street. One of the most beautiful (ex) chapels in Scotland. When I was a wee boy, my mammy used to come out from Coatbridge to go to Mass here. I know she’s still here. She whispers to me on dark nights and wakes me up with a wee shoogle on warm summer mornings. She just makes me feel at home.

Right time to put my feet up and have a cuppa.

Till next time

Hail hail


4 thoughts on “Walk on the Southside Wildside – Part 2

  1. Ronnie says:

    You made the mundane sound sublime.
    You should try real estate writing.
    You need never leave home, dwelling or hostelry, with Google maps, a few pics from the agent and some inspiration.

    1. Just wait until it comes to selling my old 3 piece suite. The mysteries that lie down the back of the cushions, the histoeries of fumbling and tumbling, but most of all the blisteries and friction burns each one with a lusty name!

      Hail Hail


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