BEHIND THE SCENES CONT
2.20pm. Snow falls and we cower on the cathedral steps. One of the boys, a cherubic ten year-old, appears from inside. ‘I have to close this door,’ he says politely. A few minutes later angel-face and his two friends stroll out sedately — closely followed by a well¢irked caretaker. The tiny tykes, cool as crypts, have just broken into the church bookshop. ‘No respect,’ pants the custodian, going off to phone the police.
2.25pm. We discover Mr Ross has been waiting patiently for us across the street. A simple misunderstanding, but his face is bitten against the cold and he’s as frosty as the weather. However, as we pass through the gates of the Necropolis (which stand closed to the public for the next 18 months whilst urgent repair work is carried out on collapsing vaults) and walk across the Bridge of Sighs he mellows, succumbing to the seductive tranquillity of the place.
Mr Ross is a tall, dapper man, whose serene demeanour seems perfectly suited to the sombre nature of his employ. His sole touch of flamboyance is a brilliant blood-red stone which flashes on his finger as he gestures over the 37 acres of decayed Glaswegians. ‘A magnificent place,’ he intones gravely. ‘Magnificent.’
The fecund soil, its life-giving power enriched by the city’s decomposed merchants, is host to a reassurineg intense growth ofwild shrubbery and thick bushes; in the midst of death we are in life (just call me Keats). ‘In accordance with the wishes of the Victorian planners, the impression is of a private walled garden,‘ explains Mr Ross. ‘They knew how to take care of their dead then,’ he says, nodding towards the plethora of grandiose obelisks, monuments and crypts.
Only a few burials take place each year within the Necropolis’ hallowed grounds. The traffic through the gates now consists of a stream of photographers, TV and film companies who are anxious to exploit the breathtaking visual potential. ‘We’ve had Taggart here — and Rab C. Nesbit. He got on top of one of the vaults, with candles and dry ice.’ He frowns. ‘It shouldn’t have been allowed but . . .’ he chuckles in fond indulgence.
Mr Ross lives on site at Daldowie Crematorium. ‘These days cremation is the most popular way of disposing of the deceased. Daldowie is the busiest crematorium in local government: 4000 a year.’ He states blandly, ‘the dead can do us no harm.’ The fears in his job hail from the ominous threat of privatisation — and the constant irritation of vandals.
‘My generation must have a different attitude,’ he reﬂects. ‘We have respect for the dead. I was walking my dog late at night in the cemetery and I came across a group of young girls playing around: “This place is really groovy” they said’.”
He shakes his head dismissively.
Egg on Ronay? Scrambled? Poached?
Fried? Boiled? You name it, The List’s early risers have it cracked, as they go in search of yolk. Oh no!
I The Upper Crust 6 Royal Exchange I
Square, 221 4387. Open Mon—Fri 7am—5.30pm, Sat 7.30am—4.30pm. There is a discernible relation between units of alcohol consumed and the need to have breakfast. No drinks, and you’re happy, next morning, with toast and coffee. Rather too much to drink, and your desire for food approaches absolute zero. But really go over the score, and a strange craving consumes your wasted frame: the only way out of this mastodon hangover. this feeling that Muriel Gray is taking one ofher country strolls through your cringing cerebrum, is to eat an amount that would put a bulimic Texan to shame.
Ifyou require copious quantities of hot food and coffee, you may as well go somewhere cheap, and, in the city centre at least, there’s probably nowhere better than the Upper Crust. In the morning it’s primarily used for takeaway food by people on their way to work, but there are four tables ifyou need a rest or the weather’s bad, and in the summer there are more tables on the pavement outside. Although dishes such as lasagne and chilli only become available towards noon, the full breakfast ofsausage, bacon, fried egg, black pudding and potato scone is served all day — well worth remembering ifyou sleep in.
That lot is a bargain at £2, but there are, ofcourse, cheaper options: a bacon roll is 60p, an egg roll 50p, and a roll on sausage carefully costed at. 52p. Tea is 35p, coffee 45p. There are, in fact, about 40 different types of filled rolls and sandwiches always on offer. The surroundings, as you’d expect at these prices, are not palatial, but it is a warm and welcoming place which will make you feel almost human again. (Stuart Bathgate)
I Babblty Bowster 16/18 Blackfriars Street, 552 5055. Breakfast served 8—10.30am Mon—Sat, Sam—noon Sun. The sane among us breakfast at Babbity’s secure in the knowledge that Jack McLean doesn’t usually drop in until late afternoon. Any maddoes left can console themselves by browsing through U. Voltaire’s latest musings in the theoretical journals available in the bar. The ‘full Scottish breakfast’ — bacon, sausage, black pudding, tomato, potato scone, egg and buttered toast — costs £2.65, but ifyou’re feeling less gluttonous you could have cereal at 75p, freshly squeezed citrus juice
(orange, lemon or grapefruit) for 95p, a bacon roll for 75p, or, ifyou must, a roll with egg (‘runny or otherwise’) for 60p. Aﬁcionados of Ebenezer Balfour from Kidnapped can even have porridge (55p Scots). As it’s also a small inn, Babbity’s has some dishes for breakfast which you wouldn’t normally find outside of hotels. Loch Fyne kippers (£2.30) are considerably cheaper than most other places; for the same price, you could have ‘ham and haddie’ — smoked haddock topped with bacon and poached in milk; while another fishy option is a traditionally prepared Arbroath smokie (£1.95). Turn up on a Sunday between 10.30am and 1pm, and you will be regaled by relaxing music. (Stuart Bathgate) I II Cappuccino 18 Gibson Street, 339 7195. 8am—7pm Mon—Sat, 1pm—7.45pm Sun. Breakfast? A bowl of porridge, two slices of toast and jam and a cup of coffee at home and I’m happy. However, somehow, in the name ofduty, I dragged myself out of bed at 10am on Saturday and made my way to II Cappucino (formerly Sannino, but after confusion with the pizzeria they changed their name). They don’t have any specific breakfasts on offer, but you can mix and match various items on the menu and have a tasty continental ‘petit dejeuner’: hot bagel with butter and jam or cream cheese; hot or cold croissants with butter and jam or chocolate; Danish pastries; and standard drinks (tea, coffee, fresh orange, espresso, etc). I was tempted by the hot bagel and cream cheese (70p), Danish pastry (70p), fresh orange (55p) and cappucino special (75p): grand total £2.70. It’s a cosy place with great service, good value, and tasty food: if] can drag myselfout of my pit at that time again I’ll be back. (Colin Steven)
I Baby Grand Elmbank Gardens, 248 4942. Breakfasts are served 8am—noon Monday—Friday, 10am—3pm at the weekend. Tucked in beside Charing Cross railway station, the Baby Grand offers a full breakfast menu seven days a week. For veggies it is pretty limited, but everybody else is spoiled for choice: roll & bacon/sausage/egg (85p), kippers (£2.65), corned beef hash (£2.80), croissant or bagel and brie/cheddar/paté (£1.90), a full breakfast (sausage, ham, mushrooms, egg, tomato, black pudding & toast — £2.95) and the Baby Grand special (cracked eggs on onion, tomato & ham — £2.95).
I had the croissant & cheddar with toast (60p) and fresh orange juice (70p). It isn’t the cheapest breakfast in town, but the high quality ofthe food makes it good value for money and there’s no nicer place to relax of the morning. (Colin Steven)
I Carlton Highland Hotel North Bridge, 556 7277. Breakfasts served Mon—Sun, 7—10am. Try braving the revolving doors of the Carlton, finding the restaurant, working out the system and getting through a meal, without fumbling conspicuously along the way. If you’ve never been there before, it’s probably impossible.
There are several advantages to the Carlton breakfast. 1)You are allowed as much as you want 2)You might find a rich companion. 3)You can at least pretend to be rich and get one of the many minions to set your napkin straight or mop your brow. The ratio ofstaff to customers must be something like 1:10, though admittedly I was one ofthe stragglers, long after the morning rush.
The food comes in two varieties: hot or cold. Ifat first the cold breakfast seems distinctly second class, think again. You have a choice
78 The List 23 February - 8 March 1990