Monday, July 31, 2006


How many people's first impression of Glasgow is 'Christ, it is Fucking hot!'? Well it was mine anyway.

We set off to explore. I do love wandering aimlessly in a new place. Reidski had been there many times before, most notably on his way to London on foot with the Nelson Mandela Freedom March. He and his fellow marchers had a reception with the Lord Provost in Glasgow's City Chambers before setting off. However, he was keenest to show me where he saw various bands in the 70's and 80's.

We made the first of several visits to the Horseshoe Bar at lunchtime. This is a very traditional pub and it somehow manages to serve three course lunches for £3.45. No, for a change that is not yet another of my typos. Three course lunches for £3.45. There was something 'different' about this pub visit but I will come back to what that was later.Unfortunately we weren't hungry at the time so had lunch later, outside in this square...

Glasgow has a very handsome city centre.

The only tiny cloud hanging over us (certainly there were none in the sky) was the slight fear that we wouldn't be able to get into the Celtic/Manchester United friendly match that evening as the tickets had not arrived before we left. But it was fine and we got in easily. On reflection that was the best part of the evening for Reidski who then had to suffer his beloved Celtic losing 3-0 to the Man Utd fourth team. Well, not quite the fourth, but none of the players who had been in the World Cup played. Whoever they were, they played a damn sight better than Celtic did who finished off their programme of friendlies with the record - played 7, won 0 and a grand total of 2 goals scored. (Though they did beat Kilmarnock 4-1 in the first game of the season on Saturday. I am resisting the temptation to ask how good exactly is the Scottish Premier League? Well, not quite resisting it obviously but I an trying.)

The walk back from the ground was weird taking us as it did through an area which was pretty intimidating. Pubs with flags depicting the Red Hand of Ulster and plenty of Union Jacks. Police presence was rather comforting. But THEN...the greatest pub I have ever NOT been in. As we walked there was a pub advertising snooker, dominoes and board games. We were solely tempted to drop in for a quick game of Cluedo but then we saw the next sign in the window. I really regret not taking a photo of the sign as I may be accused of making this next bit up but the sign was advertising:


Erh, is this common in Scottish pubs? Does anyone know?

And so to the next pub which we did go Irish pub full of drunken Celtic supporters and surely the test for what was 'different' about the pubs from the previously mentioned Horseshoe Bar onwards....The No Smoking Rule. Sure enough, we watched a very pissed bloke stand up, take out a fag and go to light it. We wait with baited breath. What will happen? Will there be a fight? Will he be evicted? Well actually, what happened was his equally drunken mates gestured to him madly that he mustn't light up and needed to go outside...which he did with no more than a shrug. The ban works. And I have to declare a bias here. I don't smoke. I hate coming out of a bar stinking of fags, and if it works so well in Ireland and Scotland, why the hell are we still waiting for it here in England? Apologies to all smokers, but you know I am only concerned for your continuing good health.

Several pubs later and I have had too much to drink and not enough to eat. It must have been well past midnight and I didn't think anywhere would still be open to get some food so the joy on finding a fish and chip shop cannot be described. "What time do you stay open to?" I asked. Reidski translated what I said to the guy and then assured me that I hadn't yet again failed to understand the accent...the guy really did say 4.00am. My kind of town Glasgow is!

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