Friday, September 12, 2008

hello and hasta la vista and a glasgow kiss

Just this morning after dropping my son off at school I witnessed a fight. That it was immediately preceded by much shouting and hurling of threats is usually enough to convince me that such an event will probably not escalate into serious violence.

It was too public, in addition. Scores of people looked on impatiently to see if anything juicy might materialize out of it. An entertaining scrap of a story to later trade with work colleagues over lunch. I met Rosa coming in the opposite direction and, since she had to queue to withdraw money from a cash dispenser, it provided me with the perfect pretext to stop, look and listen.

The confrontation appeared to be prompted by an incident involving both parties' children. Neither of whom were present by this point. Possibly, those kids had exchanged blows earlier. Or one of their parents had said something out of turn.

This in itself is sometimes enough to ignite a major incident. A couple of months ago a child's father was concussed with a claw-hammer outside his daughter's school. The young man wielding the offending instrument - a parent himself - did not pause in cycling past the playground to reassure himself that serious injury had been done. Vengeance was dispensed. The hoods were up and identities protected.

After a fashion.

Anyway, the exchange of insults this morning reached a more dramatic conclusion than I expected. One woman kneed the other into the street and fell on her with fists and feet. Somebody in the queue for cash behind me laughed. The victorious woman's partner stood above the bloodied party and jabbed his finger at her lying prone in the road. His face was marked with intersecting lines of scar tissue.

Open razors are still very popular in Glasgow, although carpet knives are more frequently the weapons of choice. They can easily be folded away, of course, and are less awkward to attempt to explain away.

I know him and his wife vaguely. To nod to at least. He walks a pit-bull regularly, and his wife sometimes says hello. Despite appearances, neither of them have struck me as being unpleasant in the past. Or best avoided. There are far worse out there. More indiscriminate offenders.

The fracas drew to a close without a blade being drawn. That much was evident, and I dare say some people were disappointed.

There will be repercussions, though. No doubt.

"Tell your man I'm goin' to fuckin' do him an' a'!"

And turning to his wife. "And don't fuckin' get me out my bed for fuckin' pish like that again."

My apologies if I've labored the event. Maybe you too were hoping for a more visceral denouement.

I'd like to say hi to Frankie C. in passing, now back in business and regaling the world with much sober restraint and aplomb. Let's end this with something upbeat.

Written by Randy Bachman; Burton Cummings; Jim Kale; and Garry Peterson. The Guess Who.

BUTTHOLE SURFERS: AMERICAN WOMAN from "Rembrandt Pussyhorse" LP (Touch & Go) 1986 (US)



Löst Jimmy said...

ib - I've been witness to similar such fracas in the environs of Victory Mansions, it's a heady mix here of substance wheeling & dealing, 24 hour party people coupled with the spill over of domestic drunken debachery. It's been quiet here of late but sometimes Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting).
I'm lucky not to be next door to the the worst of the protagonists.

ib said...

löst jimmy, the picture you paint of day to day business in Victory Mansions is all too familiar. I can almost smell the 'Burberry' cologne, or "Kerry Katona' Eau de Toilette, or whatever else they are wearing any given week. The fragrance that never quite masks the chips and curry sauce and Farmfoods fritters.

I had the Techno machine throbbing incessantly overhead late into this morning once again.

The muffled slamming of fire-doors and screaming out on the landings.

Mind you, I'm quite partial to chips and curry sauce myself, admittedly.

Unknown said...

reading this'n, after (catching up) the one about your elderly neighbor... I'm glad they didn't overlap, I guess...

Crazy stories, man. I guess my assimilated, dumb-ass- self had thought that that type bunk-um existed only in the 'metro' section of the paper...

I guess I' ought to count myself lucky that shit don't go down like that around me... I'd end up a stupid statistic rather suddenly.

How do you hold yourself in check, when shit like that goes on?

ib said...

It's just where you are and where you find yourself. Anywhere has its good and bad.

It could always be a lot worse. Then again, it could be a whole lot better.