saint mungo. mary. and midge

The skies might be clear, dusted lightly just with veins of ash, but my humour is grey to middling. Determined to make something of it, I climb down out of the box and venture out to rub shoulders with tourists and Spring Bank Holidaymakers. It intrigues me why so many tourists hasten to this city. Even on a good day. Infiltrating bus and train station, an occupying force. I have had my fill of it. Its people like anemic corpuscles infecting the pavement. Bumping into visitors bristling with rude health. It might be a Bank Holiday, but the hammers and machinery started in on both sides at 7 AM regardless. The scraping of demolition continues unabated. I walk out onto Glasgow Green. A place of public hangings once and gang fights still. And it strikes me then. It is mid morning and the grassy quadrants are startlingly quiet and bare. The topiary shrubs have been freshly hewn; some asian youths are already busy with a game of cricket. Under the great Needle shared with London; Paris; New York. The glass on the westerly face of the People\’s Palace is the same bleached out blue as the sky. Squat on the lawn. Faintly perspiring. Well. It is achingly pretty. As handsome as those vast public spaces between the Eiffel Tower and the Luxembourg Gardens. Over towards the Bois de Bologne. I visited there once, a long while ago.

I am disorientated, but not so much that I can\’t see that this is precisely what a tourist must see.

I am abashed. I sit down on the grass and light one cigarette after another, the morning sun licking at my arms and neck. All prejudices exposed, I exhale and let them go. Later – in those hours between tea and dusk – I go back there with the kids, a ball, a bike. We kick the ball and use two trees as goalposts. I steal the bike for half an hour and peddle about like a lunatic.

A few toy dogs chase each other off the leash and at the edge of the adventure playground a young mother is sick into a hedge. Try as I might, it looks like shit.

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