Now and then I have to clear out my inbox of all the ideas implanted there, just waiting for a blog post to come out of them. It just doesn’t happen every time, which is why every so often I have to write a post like this, like Commonplace inbox and Clearing out my inbox, bringing all these strands together.
One comes from the news of 7th May 2018, that Glasgow Queen Street had the lowest satisfaction rating of any railway station in Britain, with only 58% of respondents to a Transport Focus survey positive about the place. To be fair it is in the midst of a massive refurb. It’s a building site. It is also a bit of a scrum to get a train there, particularly as loads of folk dart up the platform for the Edinburgh train announced only a couple of minutes before the thing is due to leave. There isn’t a station I particularly loathe but Queen Street is manageable at the best of times. There are definitely worse.
For some reason, I’ve kept a Virgin Trains East Coast marketing e-mail bigging up Newcastle, which Rough Guide has dubbed the number one city to visit in some survey. Newcastle is great and I’m overdue a visit. Go to the Baltic and walk by the Tyne. The Laing Art Gallery and Hancock Museum are also fabulous. The city centre is like a mix of Edinburgh and Glasgow’s best architecture, I like to think, and I need to be back soon.
Next is an article from the Metro giving eleven reasons why Glasgow is better than Edinburgh (flatter, smaller, cheaper, rocks, funnier, greener, not a building site, still functions in August, doesn’t have trams, isn’t touristy and puts salt and vinegar on chips). As a Glaswegian resident who grew up in the east, I agree with most of these. Salt and vinegar is just plain wrong, with salt and sauce on a chippy the food of champions. The aforementioned Glasgow Queen Street station is a building site right now though it’s easier to navigate that than Leith Street in the capital at the current time. Whether Glasgow is greener than Edinburgh, I’m dubious, especially since the first team to wear the green plays at Easter Road. No contest for the bits about still being able to get about the city centre in August and the tourist tat that fills much of inner Edinburgh.
After that was a clip from a BBC Scotland documentary about living with autism, featuring a girl called Chloe speaking with some incredible insight into her condition. Watch it here.
Recently the poet Kathleen Jamie wrote that she prefers not to use Scots when writing now. Here’s a response to that, written in Scots, naturally enough:
Ah felt sad recently when Ah read aboot the poet Kathleen Jamie whae has decidit no’ tae write in Scots any mair due tae the political connotations o’ writin’ in the language. Kathleen Jamie is yin o’ the best writers in these islands an’ anyhin she brings oot is eagerly snapped up. When Ah wis in Cambridge a year or twae ago, it wis her latest poetry collection, The Bonniest Companie, that Ah read amidst the learned folk doon there. Oor political cultyur is painfully polarised in Scotland, atween yoon an’ nat, wi’ precious fuck all room in atween. As a person whae hasnae yit decidit how Ah feel aboot independence, particularly wi’ Brexit an’ the utter, utter bawbags in cherge in Westminster, the nationalists dinnae hae the monopoly on how we speak. Ye cin be a very proud Scot, very proud, but no’ vote fir the SNP. Wurds cin be political, of course they cin, but they at least ur universal an’ nae writer should be deterred fi’ usin’ them.
Below that in my inbox was an article from the Evening Times back in March about possibly introducing a congestion charge in Glasgow city centre. The Labour group on the Council put an amendment that’s going to the Administration Committee to consider. I don’t think it’s a bad idea then again I’m amazed anyone drives in Glasgow at all, given how good our public transport system is over much of the greater Glasgow area.
Also worth sharing is an article about the writer Jessie Kesson, a pioneer of Scottish literature and an interesting woman to boot. Dani Garavelli is a fine journalist and writes incisively about many things for many outlets. She’s the kind of person we need in the world, her and Jessie Kesson both.
Finally, to sort of tie in with the bit earlier about Scots, I also had a brilliant blog post from the Scottish Book Trust’s website by Donald Murray about the joy of Gaelic and Gaelic words in particular. I can’t do it any justice, go read it and see for yourself.
Right, that’s my inbox a bit emptier now. Cheers just now.
Thanks for reading. To clear the backlog of posts here, I’ve decided to do a rejig. For the next three weeks, Streets of Glasgow moves to Fridays while Loose Ends feature on Sundays. I love both these series and being an unrepentant enthusiast, I want to share these places I’ve been to. Cadogan Street will be here on Friday.