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Just ain't good enough

  Mon 27th March 2017

Are you giving someone else your time, don't you think that I should know, cos I need you so;

I am on a train from Glasgow and I am sat opposite a man who is a dead ringer for 70s and 80s soul superstar, Johnnie Taylor. I absolutely love Johnnie Taylor's records, and I keep glancing at my fellow passenger, wanting to say, "go on Johnnie, do Just Ain't Good Enough and I'll do the backing vocals."

I turned fifty-three the other day, and once I'd got over being slightly miffed that neither the girls nor Kirsty could manage even a text to acknowledge the fact, I enjoyed three days in Glasgow, my main recreation there attempting the Subcrawl, where you get off at every stop on the subway -- fifteen of them in total -- and have a drink at a nearby pub. I was going well but fell at the tenth hurdle.

As I know you are all dying to hear summaries of my subjective impressions of pubs you've probably not been in and couldn't care less about, here's my report.

1) Cowcaddens: The Station Bar. Young barmaid was jolly and forward, in figure as in conversation. Patron Saints Ale, 3.50.

2) Buchanan Street: Shilling Brewery Company. Gleaming copper vats baring their chests in the brewery upstairs. Waitresses in aprons fiddling with tealights. Incongruous hammer metal on the muzak system. Half of Black Star Teleporter, 2.10. Too poncy for me.

3) St Enoch: Hoonenanny's. The worst pub of the day by a long chalk. Trying to be a cool rock pub, but it can't do that with over-cold keg beer at 3.00 a pint and TV screens everywhere, showing a programme interviewing F1 drivers, who have such interesting things to say. Now That's What I Call Shite coating any conversation.

4) Bridge Street: The Laurieston. At last. It looks untouched since c.1970. Those odd double decked Formica tables. A letter from the Polis from 1974 authorising singing in the pub "as long as it does not inconvenience neighbours." FFS, since when have you had to have permission to sing in a bar? Much original art, including an arresting painting of an emaciated female nude, ribs visible and without The Modern Abomination [a shaved cunt]. She was reclining with an ambiguous expression on her face, turning on its head the male-constructed trope of blissful private female sensual pleasure, which runs in recent times from the Lady of Shallot to last month's edition of Mayfair, with girls taken to raptures with opening their legs for you (and I'm fucking glad they are -- don't knock it).

A bit of a trek to the next one, but more interesting dereliction on the way.

I was toying with the idea of seeing if I could squeeze in through an inviting gap when a car drew up and a couple asked me if I knew what the building was.

5) West Street: The Brazen Head. A Republican, Celtic FC pub, the walls warmed with original shirts from Celtic's adventures in Europe and spoils from Scotland's sparse catalogue of international victories. A copy of the Declaration of the Irish Republic; a huge flag of the county of Donegal. Bellhaven Best, which made me wonder what the worst would taste like, at 2.60.

There was a better pub recommended for the next stop, but what the crawl still lacked was one really properly hostile, unfriendly pub. I hoped to find it at the next one but was disappointed with the complete of aggression shown me.

6) Shields Road: The Quayside Bar. The Union Jack flying outside had been embellished, if that's the word, with "No Surrender". Click-clack tappy-tap floor that announces your arrival. Soft furnishings and hard Unionism. Tennants in a race to the bottom with Magners. The former, 2.80.

7) Kinning Park: The Bellrock. It was with some difficulty that I talked to the man next to me at the bar. I commenced the conversation by referring to a photograph on the wall which was captioned "The Landlady". It was of a curly-haired lass doing that stage-managed come-hither over-the-shoulder pose for some half-arsed wedding photographer. "Landlady's a bonny lass," I ventured. "What?" "Landlady's a bonny lass." "What?" "LANDLADY'S A BONNY LASS!" "Oh yeah, that's her there," he said, pointing to the woman a yard to my left. Whyte and MacKay's whisky, 1.80.

8) Cessnock: District Bar. I haven't written any notes about this pub and I can't remember anything about it other than another Whytes and MacKay's at 1.85.

9) Ibrox: Go Glasgow Urban Hotel. A trip without drugs into the surreal world of hotel bars. Agribusiness lager was clicked electrically through shiny chrome necks, by an un-ingratiating fiftysomething dark-haired woman. A half of St Mungo's "craft" for 2.10.

As I was walking back to Ibrox subway station, I passed a hairdressers. There was the best craic going. "Who cut this?" she said, lifting my hair up disdainfully? I did, but I said "Oh this barber in Lancaster. He's a bit old." "Well shall I just take this back really short and cover it up? Lasses don't like all this long hair up here."

"What are you doing here anyway?" I told them I was out on the lash. "Well I'm going to give you a wenching haircut. You can go wenching after I've finished with you." It is the best haircut I've had since the Turkish bloke in Brussels in 2011.

And to the unskeining of the day, the articulate drivel, the honest bright haze of long-day drinking.

10) Govan: Brechin's Bar. I fell in with a bloke who had been homeless for five years, and who spoke in an accent that was almost a language. He invited me to stay at his flat up the road and I agreed to it. "You watch ya back. Lots of druggies round here. Don't talk to them. They'll see people like you as easy meat."

"The bracken heed?" my bessie said. "You've been in there? Taxis won't pick up from there. How did you find them in there?" "Fine. I just sat there and read a bit of my book." "You read a book?", he asked, laughing.

Then a group of students came in, also doing the Subcrawl for someone's birthday which is on the same day as mine. They took a suitably unsteady couple of photos of me and my fellow birthday boy. They asked me what I "did". I fucking hate that question. "I make blinds -- well I don't make them, I install them. Mainly commercial -- offices, you know, but domestic as well." I enjoy lying though.

I didn't go back to my bessie's flat, although I'd have been quite happy doing so, but went instead to my hotel for "a wee nap", thinking I could do the remaining five pubs later. I woke up at quarter to one. I wrote an over-sexualised cock hard postcard to Wendy which I had the rare reflectiveness to tear up and re-write.

My train today wasn't until three o'clock, so I went to the Imperial for a couple, where the TV switched from Frankie Goes To Hollywood to the news about the stabbings outside the Houses of Parliament. The ticker tape said that the suspect was "British-born" and had been arrested in Birmingham. "Police have not revealed the identity of the suspect..." said the ticker tape, and I muttered something racist under my breath.

I thought fondly of the girls in the hairdressers and thought they deserved at least a postcard. I'd told them about the time I was in Blackfriars a few years ago and ended up spending the evening with the most gorgeous girl in the whole pub, an Irish fortysomething from Co Mayo.

Hello. This is that lad from Lancashire you gave a wenching haircut to yesterday. I'm 53 today and I woke up this morning with the best hair do I've had for years. I didn't meet the girl from Co Mayo so there's no need to be buying hats any time soon but I had a cracking night. Will come back to your place next time I'm up. Honestly it was one of the highlights of my time here x

Had a fab night last night at Wendy's auntie's 60th. She's a really cool auntie, not at all fusty. Wendy said "Yeah, but a lot of blokes, they say they fancy you and then can't get it up." I stared at her disbelievingly for a second or two. Kitty saw me looking at her and laughed, understanding my wonderment and jealousy.

Every time she rings me, I think it's because she is going to cancel Friday, when we've planned to go dancing in Manchester. Her ex is interrogating her about what she's doing that night. He's frustrated that his usually successful way of controlling her social life by refusing to look after their daughter, won't work on this occasion, since she'll be at her auntie's that night.

And to think that on the first couple of occasions he met me, he was leaning on his elbows towards me, attempting to have this faux man to man conversation which I now think was an attempt to divert my attention from Wendy. He is an immature, insecure and jealous man who compounds his contemptible status in my eyes by using his daughter as an agent through whom to cling on to the last vestiges of control over Wendy, a girl only one of us loves.

In the meantime, the distraction therapy isn't really working.


Well, happy birthday, sir. You look remarkably well-preserved for 53. To what do you attribute this longevity? I’d buy you a round if it were possible.

Your subcrawl would require 15 drinks. That would put me flat on my back for days. Even 10 might do it. You’re wrong about the not-caring part. Pretty presumptive of you.

Racist but probably fairly accurate.

Continue with the therapy. It’s the only way out.

Mon 27th March 2017 @ 12:03 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

Thank you! I attribute my good health to decades of heavy drinking and pursuing every type of self-abuse available to me.

I’d like to have another bash at the Subcrawl. Ten is a fair attempt, but walking around with a gallon of ale and two whiskies inside me was getting to me by the end.

Many subcrawlers miss out stops, which I don’t think is right. The version they published in the Guardian about it a few years ago for example only covered nine, because in an almost laughably stereotypical Guardian style, their delicate correspondent didn’t fancy wandering around certain parts of south Glasgow.

There’s some really attractive and interesting women on that site, but rarely are my messages answered.

Mon 27th March 2017 @ 12:54 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

Feckin’ ell that was a fine expose on the finer (and not so finer) Skattish subway pubs, it’s the kind of thing i like to do meself, wander into places to have a look about even though i’m not much in the business of frequenting the pubs anymore mainly because here in America everyone is to busy staring at the telly or more often than not, their phone, the art of conversing with strangers is slowly being lost…

and i hate that fucking question, What do you do? out in the lily-white it’s one of the first things asked right after your name, “so what do you do?” my reply, incorrect grammar included, “i just is…” i don’t elaborate or give any more clues i just stand there smiling and look at the dumbfounded stare and bask in the uncomfortable air created by my answer, if really pressed i’ll cite Jean-Jacques Rousseau and mumble something about the Noble Savage or Brilliant Brat, usually in broken French with Monty Pythonesque ridiculous accent included…

and i swear there was a line somewhere about the undressing and lusty thoughts of strange women passing by, maybe i was just stoned or maybe it was a different post but i laughed because i keep a running commentary about all the sexually deviant things i would do to the various housewives, mothers and professional types i see gallivanting through my suburban landscape, it would garner a XXX rating if ever turned into a book(s) on tape… and most likely have me run out of town on the last steam engine…

Wed 29th March 2017 @ 14:15 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

I’m sure you’d sail through Glasgow and get into even more trouble than I could.

Like most of us I suppose, they like to classify people, and I found that saying that I was from “Lancaster, you know, near Blackpool, (a seaside resort popular with Weegies) in Lancashire” was normally enough to get me the thumbs up in the Coliseum, but the odd one wanting to know about my job in which case I tend to make something up.

Wed 29th March 2017 @ 16:30 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

and Happy Birthday you Sexy Beast!!!, i forgot in my first long-winded comment… Exile would point to my rampant narcissism for the mistake, lol.

Wed 29th March 2017 @ 18:40 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Sexy beast? Where? Oh, right…:) thank you! I had a splendid time in one of my favourite cities in the world (well, you know…of the 2.5 I’ve visited). Thanks kono.

Exile’s blog turned nine in the same week.

Wed 29th March 2017 @ 18:55 Reply to this comment

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looby, n.; pl. loobies. A lout; an awkward, stupid, clownish person

M / 56 / Bristol, "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England" -- John Betjeman [1961, source eludes me].

"Looby is a left-wing intellectual who is obsessed with a) women's clothes and b) tits." -- Joy of Bex.

WLTM literate woman, 40-65. Must have nice tits, a PhD, and an mdma factory in the shed, although the first on its own will do in the short term.

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63 mago
Another Angry Voice
the asshat lounge
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