POUND OF THE UNDERGROUND
Small, but perfectly formed, Glasgow’s Clockwork Orange is still
the dinkiest subway ever built.
That I could ever fall for anything orange came as a surprise. Having sprung from the union between an Austro-Hungarian Catholic and a lapsed Yorkshire/Scottish Knoxian, the windmills of my mind were always painted green - orange flowers and orange vans were a no no. But superstition, like sectarian bigotry, wears off with a little education and age. And so it was one rainy afternoon I found myself boarding an orange Tonka snake from Cowcaddens to Shields Road. What
happened to me that day was a revelation: not on the road to Damascus but on the skinny track to Kelvinhall. Opened for trafﬁc on 14 December, 1896, Glasgow’s tube was closed the same day, owing to an accident. It didn’t re-open until one month later, but from then until now - in the spirit of inclusion - every bum, tramp, freeloader and mini-traveller has been allowed to ride this northern star. The SPT Subway is the world’s third oldest subway after London and Budapest. Its 15 stations are served by a 10.4km-long circular route, and it takes a trifling 24 minutes to do the circuit. All of these details, of course, belie the fact that the Clockwork Orange, this mini-tube that serves just under 600,000 people, is the pounding heart of a glorious city. What happened to me that day is what has happened to many of Glasgow’s inhabitants and visitors before me: I fell in love with its chintz, its cuteness, its irrelevance and the orange web it casts over the
roots of the city’s neighbourhoods.
Even now, as my stretching hand gets caught on discarded gum and punctured carpet seat, the Clockwork Orange remains my first love; the one I will spin around and around for. (Pepi Levi)
oh, the banter
Glasgow’s most gifted of gabologists are in a league of their own. Here are a few of the best Weegie wordages that are unlikely to ever see the inside of an OED. Words: Carolyn Rae
Ah mur/Ah mumie. l am/l am not.
‘Ah murnie gaun tae school today, am doggin' it. '
Beezer A description for something that is excellent. ‘That new sovy ring fae the Barras is a pure beezer.’ Bint A woman of below-average intelligence. ‘That bint doon the shops tried to bump me 20p! ' BIeached/blootered/boggln’l steamboats/pished/hammered Iwreckedlfu’ey lt/mad wl’ it/blazln’ States of extreme drunkenness. ‘Last night ah goat pure mad wi' it after wading into the MD 20/20. '
Cairgo A selection of alcoholic beverages purchased from the off- licence. ‘Get me a cairgo while yer doon at the shops.’
Council telly Terrestrial television; not having a digital or Sky subscription package. ‘I didnae see
the new series of Friends last night,
I've only got council telly.’
Eat the breed A person who suffers from gluttony. 'Hide the Hob— Nobs, eat the breed ’3 at the door.’
V Fannybaws Offensive, yet
affectionate. name for a fool. ‘Alright fannybaws, long time no see.’ Geggy Mouth. ‘Shut yer geggy, I'm trying to get some shut-eye.’
, Ginger Fizzy soft drink. ‘Did you tan
the last of the ginger?’
Glass cheques/Gingles Glass bottles (usually Barrs) that can be returned for cash. ’Looks like yer maw buys yer clothes with glass cheques}
Haw maws Testicles. ‘That's a sin, that boy on River City goat cancer of the haw maws. ’
Joe Baxi Taxi. ‘lt took me ages to get a Joe Baxi last night. The town was hoachin ’.'
Pat Lally Swally. The name of Glasgow's former Lord Provost is near-universal slang for the consumption of alcohol. ‘Fancy going for a few Pat Lallys?‘
Weans Children. Best exhibited in the title of a kids' clothes shop in the West End. Weans' World.
Wide-o A person who is overly confident. ‘That wide-o was trying to chat up ma burd.’
Jay Richardson savours the highs and lows of Glasgow’s sweet charity.
7.36am. Hopes of endless slumber dashed by postman's ringing. Twice, as always. 8.44am. Flatmate leaves for work in real world while I mop up yesterday's tandoori with mini- Weetabix. Outside I hear the marching feet of religious intolerance, so hit city centre. 9.29am. Delay entering Underground until Discovery Ticket time.
9.45am. Emerge blinking into Buchanan Street. Confronted by wall of charity muggers. Evade two brightly-coloured bibs with jink and drop of the shoulder but lose momentum. Moving towards me is an impossibly cheerful student type. ‘No time,’ I mumble for the 53rd day in a row. 10.23am. A Greggs Steak Bake tastes bitter on a guilty tongue and my distracted bites ﬁre cheap molten meat onto a baseball cap beside me. Passing Donald Dewar, I’d swear he winks.
13.4Tpm. Having perused the Herald Tribune and most of Heat, I'm thrown out of Borders with a reminder that it’s not a library. The heavens open.
15.07pm. I hit the West End: cappuccino to go. another Steak Bake, lukewarm this time. Too late to work. so I retire to Ashton Lane.
17.32pm. Glug, glug . . . 22.45pm. Carried from Shawfield Dog Track, where a three-legged donkey I've backed Iimps home to earn me a taxi.
5-19 Feb 2004 THE LIST 17