willie hutch vs. the GHA

Repeatedly, I have asked the GHA – the authority which houses me and thousands of others here in Glasgow – for paint in order to rid my landing of grafitti and the smears of unwanted guests who frequent the building late into the night to either inject drugs or get drunk while averting police intervention.

The entrance to the building is \”protected\” by CCTV and the concierge service is overstretched and underpaid.

I get up in the morning to take my son to school and we step gingerly over suspicious puddles to call the lift. We finally get down to the foyer and find fresh daubings on the walls under the 24 hour big brother scrutiny of strategically placed cameras. No one knows who these uninvited visitors could be. Their names are scrawled and etched into the brickwork. No dogs are allegedly allowed in the building, but the lifts are often swimming in urine.

They clean it up and the dogs keep on coming. Large, vicious looking mastifs with studded collars. Kept on a leash by chain-smoking midgets – mental or otherwise – who require a dog to pack a punch. Smoking is not permitted in these buildings either. It can not be healthy for a Rottweiler to live in a multi-storey block ; I suppose they enjoy having to do their toilet in an elevator as little as I relish stepping in it. Perhaps they will be rescued some day and retired to live on a farm.

I will invest in a baseball bat in the meantime, I tell myself.

Many Somalians live in our block. They are refugees from the war torn regions of the Somali Democratic Republic and they have nowhere else to stay. There are Iraqis and Congolese and people from Romania too. Most of them are good people. They don\’t do drugs and their children attend the same school as mine. At the same time, there are African youths – ex boy soldiers, perhaps – who think it is cool to live in a project more dangerous than the ones they see on MTV.

They openly sell Crystal Methamphetamine outside from the benches in front. This government puts equal opportunity high on its agenda.

I have repeatedly asked for paint but the housing authority refuses. First, they told me not to worry because they have a contract to take take care of it themselves. Then they told me it was really a Health & Safety issue. I might slip or something and perhaps break my neck. Anyway, they added, these blocks will be coming down soon. How soon ? I asked. We don\’t know, they replied ; there\’s nowhere else to put all those people right now.

I laughed. It might take another five years. Two, at the earliest.

What\’s five years to a ten-year-old boy ?

WILLIE HUTCH: BROTHER\’S GONNA WORK IT OUT from \”The Mack\” LP (Motown) 1973 (US)



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