Glasgow is famous for many things: Rennie Mackintosh buildings, sectarianism, fake tan emporiums and, amongst many others, rain. It was very showery on Friday and I had decided to have a lie in and maybe go somewhere in the afternoon. It was sunny when I woke up then the heavens opened. Then the sun came out and it was just getting cloudy as I headed for the bus. I was hoping to get a walk in Cathkin Park, one of my favourite places and not so far away from here, but as the bus neared Shawlands, it started raining. Not a little bit, a whole lot, and when I got off the bus at the old Victoria Infirmary, there were rivers of rain running down the road. I walked nearly to the new hospital to find a place to cross the street without having to ford it. I resolved to abandon Cathkin and proceeded instead, as the rain dissipated, to the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park.
Hampden Park is a place with recent happy memories from the Scottish Cup Final (‘And Liam Henderson to deliver…’). The Scottish Football Museum is rather good. The very first thing you see when you walk in the door is the Scottish Cup. Due to the cup being produced in 1874, the winners of the trophy now get a replica. The original is presented to the winning team then goes straight back to the museum. I still wanted to make sure that the real thing was suitably updated. You’ll be glad to hear that the latest entry inscribed to the base of the Cup states ‘2015-16 Hibernian FC’. I walked through a turnstile and spent a good wee while looking through the exhibits which ran chronologically from the early days of organised football right through to the present. That was until one of the museum workers came up to me and asked if I wanted to see the stadium. I never object to any privileged insight into anything (well, most things) and I was led through some corridors and suddenly ended up in the centre of the South Stand, in fact in the box from where David Gray was presented the Scottish Cup on 21st May. It had an excellent view of the National Stadium. Randomly, the big screens at either side of the ground were showing golf on Sky Sports. Celtic do the same thing. Whenever you pass Parkhead, at whatever time of day, they have screens playing video. Energy conservation at its best.
The Scottish Football Museum doesn’t take our national game too seriously with displays of fanzines and about the role of drink in football, for good and bad. I was also pleased to see a display about women’s football, which is becoming a bigger deal with Hibs Ladies playing Bayern Munich in the Champions League this coming Wednesday night. There was also an interesting exhibition about the press with a panel about the commentator Arthur Montford, complete with his old typewriter, and another bit about the Football Memories project which is using sport to help older men with Alzheimer’s. The Museum is using a collection of archive photographs as part of this project, which is excellent.
When I came out of Hampden, it was dry and I decided to go to Cathkin Park after all. It was waterlogged so was treading carefully across the park. Crossing the road into the Queens Park Recreation Ground required walking very carefully around the edge of a huge puddle though thankfully walking towards the Park didn’t require the use of a canoe. I walked up towards the flagpole and it was very pretty and autumnal walking underneath the arching trees. I stood at the flagpole for a bit and looked over the city, the clouds shifting. Towards the city wasn’t so cloudy while it was darker across towards Eaglesham Moor. There was the beginnings of a rainbow and nicely it emanated from a building above George Square which bore the words ‘People Make Glasgow’.
I have spent a fair bit of time in the east lately. What time I’ve spent around the city and Paisley has been for work (the trip a couple of weeks ago to the old Victoria Infirmary excepted) so it was nice just to dodge around and be in some familiar places for a bit. Plus being back at Hampden since the Cup Final was excellent. I like museums like the British Museum which are about society and life just as I do a museum featuring a Hearts fanzine, old football strips and seats from the old main stand at Easter Road. I sometimes forget how much I love this city. I spend enough time elsewhere that being at home is like a holiday and I can travel just four miles and feel like it’s still an adventure, albeit one with plenty of rain and the occasional bit of sunshine just to colour things.