After my Scottish Cup tour on Tuesday, I then went for a wee jaunt around the city. I walked from Celtic Park to Bridgeton. I was curious to see the library in Bridgeton, which is in a building that used to be a cinema and, appropriately, houses the BFI Mediatheque film archive. On London Road, not so far from Parkhead, are a series of murals created by young people condemning sectarianism. Considering in the space of barely half a mile the colours turn very definitely from green and white to red, white and blue (orange too), seeing words there repudiating bigotry gives hope that one day sectarianism won’t exist in our society.
I have a professional and personal interest in libraries so Bridgeton was a treat. I like old buildings but I also like shiny modern libraries. Bridgeton was well used, shiny and well-stocked. I also liked the teen area near the door, complete with a quote from Twilight.
I crossed the city to Kelvingrove, intending to spend the last hour admiring the art as I have done a fair few times before. That was what I did though was interested in the community display. This space is changed every so often and has featured displays about Castlemilk Woods, Scottish Autism and quite a few worthy causes besides. At the moment there is a display about the Glasgow Science Festival. What caught my eye from the French Art gallery, though, were several pairs of underpants in the display case so I was curious to explore. I discovered that it was a display about a community company based here in Glasgow who have come up with Empowerment Pants, garments designed to bring out the superheroine in those who wear them. While I am not part of their target demographic, I thought they were absolutely great.
After that, I walked to the Botanic Gardens and sat for a few minutes in the Kibble Palace with my thoughts. I wasn’t the only one with at least three people around doing the same. I am a seasoned bench thinker but very often I’m the only one around. Lately, however, I have seen more of us about, not just in places where you would expect like Samye Ling but in gardens and parks too, people sitting alone staring into space, some adopting a Rodin pose, others not. I often wonder what other people are thinking about but don’t quite have the nerve to ever ask them, as much as I am sometimes tempted. I thought about that but also about what I wanted to write about, for what it’s worth.
You don’t need to go far to broaden your mind. Kelvingrove is 3 miles from here as the crow flies, the Botanics not much more. The basis for this blog is that you don’t even have to go as far as that. Just looking the right way will do. It takes time and it doesn’t always work. There are many things and many people different from us and what we know. But that doesn’t mean they are all bad, even if it is sometimes easier to think that. Indeed very often they are good and make our lives incredibly better.
The world is endlessly complex. I have spent much of my life so far trying to understand it, with varying levels of success. There are lots of things I don’t understand in the world. I was tempted to write that I didn’t understand women but that’s not true. I like women and I respect them and regard them as my equal in every way, indeed my better in most of them. Many of them have helped me be the person I am today. It is wonderful that today the Scottish Government once more has a Cabinet of equal numbers of women and men. We are led by a female First Minister and even the good folk of Northern Ireland have a female First Minister too. Maybe the United States will have its first female President next year. Everyone should feel empowered and unthreatened, regardless what colours they wear or indeed their choice of underwear. I dearly hope that happens. Like with most things, it begins with education. Knowing about the world around us, even a little bit, is crucial. It helps to eradicate ignorance and hatred, bit by bit.