For some reason, stories from my childhood and teenage years have been appearing in my writing in recent weeks. I’m not sure why. I am not so old that my anecdotes are vintage; most of them happened this millennium. When I was a kid, I went through different career choices. First, I wanted to run a pie shop then I wanted to be an architect. When I was in my teens that changed to being a Clerk at the Scottish Parliament, the people who keep MSPs right procedurally. (Don’t ask.) At the moment, I am thinking of lion taming.
I used to like drawing football stadiums. Usually my favourite was Easter Road Stadium (where else?), where I went every so often to watch the Hibs. Being all about the details, I often noticed more of the advertising hoardings and the architecture than what was going on on the park. (Occasionally now I wish that was the case.) At the time, the East Stand was a basic enclosure with bucket seats. Usually, because I was wee, I would stand on the seat in front to see what was happening. Most folk stood in the East then – it was the part of ER with the best songs and atmosphere. Indeed it was where I was one game when Hibs played Celtic and the person I was with (not naming names) spent much of the game screaming at a certain Celtic player who is now our manager. Anyway, I drew ER, sometimes as it was and what it could be with some imagination. I liked the look of big grounds like the Stade de France or the old Wembley that I had seen on TV and drew them, invariably with green seats.
Architecturally, most football grounds can be a bit soulless. Easter Road is modern now and it’s fine but it was built with breeze blocks. The old East Stand was cold but it had atmosphere; the new one, where I sit now, doesn’t so much, except perhaps during the biggest games. I don’t draw now, except the odd doodle, but stadium architecture still interests me. Hampden isn’t the best stadium even in Glasgow but there are bits of it that are all right. It just has a rubbish view, well, except on 21st May, when it was pretty glorious. I remember leaving the North Stand after the League Cup Final last season and there being a cool frosted glass effect on the wall by the staircase. One of the best things about going to Easter Road for an evening game is how the sunset makes silhouettes on the sides of the stands, probably not intended but these are the things you notice when the game is pish or when you’re a kid and your eyes just wander, ready to take it all home to draw.