I am in the fairly nice position of being able to do this live. It is 07.36 as I start this, it is cloudy and mirky outside as the sun starts to come up. I have no fixed plans for today yet. Hibs played last night – less about that the better – so I don’t even have football to fall back on. I have a few contenders, including Edinburgh to catch the Rip It Up exhibition about pop music at the National Museum before it finishes, St. Andrews because I haven’t had a wander there in ages, Dawyck Botanic Garden for similar reasons or Arran ditto. Sometimes an idea bobs its way to the top when thinking about something else and maybe by the time I finish this I’ll have a definitive clue about where I’m going today.
The other day I was in Paisley changing buses and I had a few minutes so I went to look at the new Snail in a bottle sculpture on Wellmeadow Street. The snail in a bottle case happened in 1928 when May Donoghue met a friend at a cafe in Wellmeadow Street, Paisley, and had a ginger beer. Only a dead snail was in the bottle and May naturally enough fell ill. She took the manufacturer of the ginger beer to court and won, the judge Lord Atkin citing the parable of the Good Samaritan to establish just how manufacturers should have a duty of care to those who use their products. This became an established principle in law not just in Scotland but around the world and it all began in Paisley. The sculpture was unveiled a few weeks ago and I’ve seen it through bus windows but of course it wasn’t there, removed for maintenance after wind damage. At some point when it’s back I’ll get a photo and stick it up here.
In psychogeographic news, the Evening Times reported the other day that the old gable-end adverts on Paisley Road West are set to be revamped, possibly working with the original companies, maybe by producing a pro-Glasgow or pro-Cardonald design. I like them the way they are but I would approve of a Snug design like those in the town, maybe something involving Crookston Castle or the Battle of Langside or some other historical event that happened in the south side, which is of course the best side.
Before I forget, Streets of Glasgow returns this coming Wednesday. I pulled last week’s instalment, on Virginia Street, for several reasons but mainly because between writing it and when it was supposed to appear, BBC Scotland put on a documentary about Scotland’s links to the slave trade and I haven’t seen it yet. Plus it was quite a hard post to write and try and be measured. Hopefully the Virginia Street post will appear on Wednesday.
Right, to the books, and last week’s travelling book was Love of Country: A Hebridean Journey by Madeleine Bunting. I got 81 pages in and I haven’t picked it up since, unfortunately, though it is a decent book, a mixture of memoir and travelogue. My to-read pile has grown a bit, including the addition of HWFG by Chris McQueer, the follow-up to Hings, an incredibly funnily twisted selection of short stories. I can’t recommend Chris McQueer’s books enough but maybe not to read on a train or bus as the last time I did I got some very funny looks as I nearly collapsed with laughter. It won’t be a travelling book, then, but I might get to it tomorrow. I’ve still got the Wild Geese Nan Shepherd book in my bag to finish so I might read that wherever I get to then Madeleine Bunting then Chris McQueer. What a combination that is.
Talking of trains, the replacement post on Wednesday was one I wrote in the summer about how distracted I can be by all the sensory stimuli about in the world and that particular day in a train carriage. I try my very best to avoid busy trains and buses whenever possible. As a matter of course, when going between Edinburgh and Glasgow, I make my way to the front of the train, which is logically the best place since that is closer to the exit but less people go there, probably because it is a longer walk. I have been known to let crowded buses pass rather than get on them. Getting to work involves a slightly longer walk to get a quieter bus rather than the next one which is usually mobbed with commuters and school children. Plus the quieter bus is also a double decker and that’s always a good thing, getting a broader perspective on the world.
Incidentally, the sun is up and there are hints of blue sky out the window. Also, my soundtrack is Kacey Musgraves this morning. It was the podcast The West Wing Weekly before that but it was an episode I had heard recently so it got changed. I think I’ve written before about how whenever Hibs get beat, I usually listen to country music, usually Johnny Cash and Kacey Musgraves, on the way home. If they win, it’s usually Hibs songs, a draw depends on the manner of it. I just felt in a Kacey Musgraves mood, cheery but pragmatic sort of music for a Saturday morning.
Before I go, I wanted to share a story from The New York Times about the love many autistic boys in New York have for its Subway. Photographer Travis Huggett went around taking photographs of these laddies having a rare time on the Subway. My favourite line from the article was from Travis Huggett: ‘“It’s not often that you get to photograph people doing their favorite thing in the world,” he said. “To have me along, taking pictures — they don’t care.”’ Go read it, it’s a good article.
I noticed typing the last paragraph that I used the very Glaswegian expression ‘rare’ and I am hearing it in that very Weegie way, pronounced ‘rerr’ rather than the way I would say it, rhyming it with ‘bare’ or ‘bear’. I am getting ever more Glaswegian all the time.
Anyway, that’s our Saturday Saunter for this week. Tomorrow a post will appear here. I haven’t written it yet so it’s a surprise. Wednesday will hopefully be Streets of Glasgow: Virginia Street. Thanks as ever to all readers, commenters and followers. Have a very nice weekend.
PS: No, I still haven’t decided where I’m going yet. I will let you know.