The Other Glasgow

I was born in "the City of Glasgow", and lived a short part of my life in the city limits, before moving south of the city and technically growing up in the area known as Greater Glasgow.  The city limit was a 10 minute walk from my house as a child, but it's not where you grew up that defines you, it's how you associate your self in that place, and I think of my self as a Glaswegian; I mean, I am one.  I read a while ago that I am a member of a group that they called the 'new Glaswegian' meaning that there is a difference between the Glaswegian that my parents grew up having to distinguish them selves from, the No Mean City outlook, whereas I grew up with Glasgow's Miles Better, and this wee guy proudly adorned my bedroom window.

Mr Happy.  Taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/lwr/ under the Creative Commons License
But, there's another Glasgow, and one that I forget.  Sometimes, you are proud that the city still has a dreadful image, when some mentions that Glasgow's hard, when in fact it's more like London or Paris in it's cosmopolitan nature, but never really consider what this side of Glasgow is like.

I grew up with it on a daily basis, at High School, and you can see it every weekend in the city centre; the wrong Glasgow, the dark side, the difficult to admit to but impossible to ignore side.


The Dark Side, if you will - those who are affiliated in the wrong way with the two sides of the Green and Blue divide.  On a recent trip back to Houston, I travelled on a direct flight from Glasgow to Philadelphia.  It was full of idiots.  Idiots from the green side of the divide; note that they exist on both sides.  These idiots decided that drinking, singing, acting like utter children, and then one literally threatening Connie and I with physical violence, and then you being to wonder what I am labelling myself as when I call myself Glaswegian.

It is easy to forget, however, that I grew up amongst this type of behaviour, the type that makes me really disgusted that I can be guilty by association with these cretins.  They argument that "They were just having a good time" or "They were on Holiday" is as backwards as it is fundamentally scary to even think that these pardon people from being civilised.  In my life I've met these people all the time (see my ancient series on Neds for context: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) and I have learned how to deal with them in a way that I am happy with - condescension, mirth, pity sometimes.  They missed an important lesson.

That lesson is that whilst they were growing up, the Other Glasgow was ruled by fights, hitting and berating those you don't understand.  In their circle of friends that might still be the case, but My Glasgow, the New Glasgow, this doesn't happen.

The Bruins are awesome, I'm told.


It embarrassed me.  A lot of the people on the plan were embarrassed too, fellow Glaswegians.  And just like Connie being enraged by the recent rioting in Vancouver after their Stanley Cup Final loss (to the Majestic Boston Bruins, no less) you have to remember that the other people who come from where you are don't define you, and neither does where you come from, but how you represent where you come from is important.  And if I chuckle with people in the UK about how Glasgow's a nightmare sometimes, then maybe that's reinforcing a stereotype that isn't true, but it's hard to argue against it sometimes when you encounter such madness as we did on that flight from Glasgow.

We will be traveling First Class next time.