Friday, December 07, 2007

Shopping spree

Donald Dewar
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
A visit to Glasgow is always interesting, whether because of the improbable amount of cash one can get through or the sights and sounds of my native city. Today it was a bit of both. We were leaving the car park (Cambridge Street - wildly expensive if you stay beyond 2 hours) when we overheard a woman talking into a mobile. "No, I'm not happy." "I'm not going to fall out with you. See you next week." The woman must've been my age, I'd say. Friend? Lover? Fascinating.

And then to Fazzi's for a quick expresso. Two pretty girls serving, three tables occupied with people wanting tea or coffee - nothing fancy. Fifteen minutes after we'd ordered I asked if the coffee was on its way; pg1 looked positively hurt. Good coffee, when it came, but sloooow. And there was no loo paper in the Ladies. Has Fazzi's changed hands or merely slipped sadly downhill?

And finally, brethren, there was a street evangelist, right at Donald Dewar's green feet. He was thundering, somewhat repetitively, against all those who were "shacked up together". God has it in for them, big style, apparently. Three girls passed, giggling at his fervour. For a suicidal moment I considered a bit of heckling, but Mr B was pressing on and sense prevailed. He was still at it, on a different pitch, after our long and bibulous lunch.

Actually that wasn't all. There were the beggars, like the kneeling woman. I've seen her on several occasions - she kneels stock still in the street with her hands cupped as if to receive communion. She's amazingly still. I don't know if people give her anything, just as I don't know what kind of life the children have whom I saw playing accordions in the street with a man who could have been their father. They were very accomplished, and the smaller must have been about 8 years old. And I contrasted their chilly labours with the hilarity we enjoyed buying baby books.

Shops overheated and full of shiny things, and cold and disappointment outside. A God of anger and punishment proclaimed in streets where buskers play jolly carols under the lights. People anxiously spending in the celebration of ... what? And over it all, Donald Dewar's statue calmly watching through his now restored specs. You don't get the same perspective, somehow, when you shop online...

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