The Body It Bends – A Sunny Day In Glasgow
Week Five sees us back in Blighty and up in Scotland. Now, I’ve never been to Glasgow, something which I promise to rectify in the next 12 months, so I’m going to hand over the reins of TSOBO to the Greatest Living Glaswegian and I say that with a nod in the direction of Stevie, Drew and a bunch of others, but also with the hope that he actually is a bonafide Glaswegian and not from somewhere like Fife – here’s JC…
Back in 1992, the rather splendid US rap act the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy provided a few examples of oxymoronic language in the lyrics of their career highlight, “Television, the Drug of the Nation.”
The phrases detailed in the song were “virtually spotless”, “fresh frozen”, light yet filling” and “military intelligence” . Some would argue, unjustly IMHO, that ‘A Sunny Day in Glasgow’ is an equally valid example of the genre.
But you trying telling that to Dirk Sexyloser, Brian Linear Lives, Walter Afewgoodtimes and Adam Bagging Area, all of whom were in my home city a few months back during the first, but what I hope won’t be the last Bloggers Retreat, all organised by myself, with the help of a few others, including Drew Kitchentable and Charity Chic.
It was a memorable occasion in which a group of seemingly like-minded individuals, bound together by a love of music that was expressed in various ways across the internet, finally hooked up after many years of merely thinking and writing about it and in doing so had all their hopes and expectations of friendship confirmed, and indeed, exceeded.
The rules attached to this guest contribution mean that I’m only allowed to talk about one of the days, and I’ve decided to focus on the Saturday, the middle of the three days everyone was in the city. It was a day on which we woke up, in rooms in various hotels or within our own homes, with ridiculous hangovers after an initial get-together that had delivered a few great surprises and a lot of memories to be treasured. It was an early-ish start as we had much to cram into the day, with the group coming together as one to begin with, before splitting up for a few hours and then convening again in full in the evening.
Boys Turn Into Girls – A Sunny Day In Glasgow
First stop was Mono Cafe and Bar, a famous place in Glasgow as it is also the location of Monorail Records, a business owned and run by the legendary Stephen McRobbie aka Stephen Pastel, one of the mainstays of indie-pop on planet earth. Brian was particularly looking forward to this as his previous visit to Glasgow had seen him go to the store, only for his nerve to fail him and to end-up totally tongue-tied when Stephen served him from behind the counter – he was determined not to make the same mistake twice.
So, it was something of a huge disappointment when we traipsed in to find no sign of Stephen, who it appeared was taking a day off and leaving things in the hands of his assistants. We all browsed the racks and some of us made essential purposes before retreating to the cafe to down various beverages in an effort to quench the collective thirst – it was already a hot and sunny morning which wasn’t exactly ideal for dealing with the effects of the beers and spirits from the night before.
Brian, however, was determined to stay a little longer in the record store….which meant that he had no idea that Stephen was about to pass us in the cafe having strolled in some 30 minutes after its opening and offer us all a friendly ‘good morning’ before turning the corner into his shop….all of which gave the rest of us enough time to look across to be able to gauge Brian’s eventual reaction.
Let’s just say, it was akin to the first time a child gets to meet Santa Claus in grotto down the local shopping centre….Brian’s smile almost certainly lit up rooms as far away as his native Seattle, and we were all pleased to be there for him as he overcame his bashfulness to strike up a decent-length conversation with his hero this time around.
Mono certainly had the potential to be highlight of the day but in truth things just got better and better.
Drew took the majority of the gathering, including our giddy American, out on the train to Airdrie where the treat of a very traditional spit’n’sawdust pub awaited followed by an afternoon at lower-league football. Charity Chic and myself became Glasgow tour guides for Dirk, taking him to some of the cultural facilities the city has on offer including art galleries, museums and music venues. In due course we made our way to Ashton Lane in the west end of the city, home to an extensive range of cafes and bars, including one of the best beer gardens round these parts in which the young and beautiful tend to gather when the sun is shining….and when the sun shines in Glasgow, our locals tend to shed as many clothes as possible without invoking any obscenity laws, albeit sometime the outcome is borderline.
It was also a location where, at long last, Dirk could get a beer that was more to his German tastes than the piss-poor weak stuff that comes out of taps in most UK pubs….or maybe he was just saying that the beer was good rather than leave his spot in the middle of the packed garden where it seemed that every female who came into take a recently spot vacated was even more stunning and attractive to look at.
I had been really nervous about hosting this gathering, not from anything to do with folk getting on with another, but hoping somehow that the advance build-up I’d given Glasgow would meet everyone’s expectations. The Friday had been unsurpassed from meeting up with a few pop stars along the way as we did a pub crawl, but here we were on the Saturday and it looked and felt as if my city was full of aspiring fashion models usually found in Paris, Milan or New York. It was something I’d never experienced before although I tried hard to convince Dirk that this was probably just a typical weekend round these parts. I don’t think he quite believed me.
I’ve actually gone back to look at Dirk’s blog in which he recounts the adventures of the entire weekend. Here’s his entry for Brel Beer Garden:-
“where some folk tend to do nothing else than checking their mobiles for boring football results without secession whilst others stand there open mouthed, shaking their head in disbelief about the sheer amount of most beautiful half naked young girls attending this venue.
Sadly, my phone was damaged beyond repair a few weeks after the boys’ visit and all of the photos that I took have been lost forever, but this is how one half of the garden looks…..
The day ended with us all coming together over food and beers in the city centre where the Airdrie crowd regaled us with details of their adventures while Dirk simply said that what he had seen was beyond words. Drunk was taken, food was eaten and laughs were had.
I thought about the obvious songs to round things off – ‘Perfect Day’ by Lou Reed, ‘Hot Hot Hot’ by The Cure and ‘Girls On Film’ by Duran Duran were the ones that first came to mind. But instead, I’ll go for a cover version of a truly celebratory song, as covered by a Glasgow band:-
Thanks JC – if you fancy writing something for us, drop us a line, we’ll pick a place and you can tell us a story all about it. We’ll provide the music.