Most Streets walks happen in the daytime, often on Sundays, otherwise in the middle of the working day. Before this one, I had only done one on a Saturday night – Queen Street – and it was a strange experience, trying to be all psychogeographic and admire the architecture while other folk are enjoying the joys of a Glasgow Saturday night. On Waterloo Street there was a couple winching up a close and a bit of pavement dancing, some laddies play-fighting as they walked up the street. Meanwhile I walked along the street and looked at the architecture, which was quite varied. There are quite a few swish glass corporate offices, including SSE, JD Morgan and Aberdein Considine, as well as more brutalist 1960s stuff closer to the motorway. There was also the troubling juxtaposition of a typical Glasgow red sandstone building with a finial right next to a smoky glass office block. It was a right hotchpotch, really.
Beyond the SSE building as I headed west was a pub. Above that pub was an elegant red sandstone building, complete with statues, including one looking down as if sitting on the ledge. I could imagine the pub’s bouncers looking quizzically as I wheeched out my phone and took a few photos. I actually liked the JP Morgan building. Despite it being a temple of Mammon, it sort-of fitted in with its surroundings and particularly the stunning older building across the street with the high arched windows. I got the sense as I walked that Waterloo Street was a place to work hard and play hard, with the pubs plus the posh Marco Pierre White restaurant which was housed in what looked like an old bank. By the sign was a strange symbol, a handle with a circular top, maybe a pizza slice or a magnifying glass. Answers on a postcard for that one.
Not far away was the aforementioned red sandstone Glasgow building right by the smoky glass office block. The red sandstone building seemed like it was overcompensating for the modernity around it with cupolas, statues and railings above ground, all the stuff that makes Glasgow city centre such a joy to look up in. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not Prince Charles. I like a lot of modern architecture. I like things in glass. It makes me feel like I’m in Manhattan. Waterloo Street was a nice mix. The building across from SSE was a cracker, very like the buildings on Hope Street in particular with the pillars and the many, many windows.
During most of my life, I tend to have a tune in my head. Sometimes they can be things I’ve been listening to elsewhere, other times they can be entirely random. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that this walk was soundtracked by Abba, particularly by the point I reached the end of the line, as the road joined the M8 bound eventually for the Kingston Bridge. There it was also a junction with Bishop Lane, leading to the Hilton, and also Pitt Street with Telephone House on the corner with its art deco stylee. The 1960s space age resumed with the twisting, spiralling pedestrian bridge curving off into the distance. I felt I had travelled quite a bit from Central Station in just a few metres, from city centre Glasgow to the edge of another adventure, even if it was just a few metres into Cadogan Street.