After all the exotic destinations I have visited in books recently, finally I fell to earth with the current one.
On the other hand, I have not been allowed to visit Glasgow since… hmmm, it is so long ago I cannot remember. Last summer, I think. The infection rate there went too high quite quickly after things were opened up, and they were locked right down again.
Glasgow is just as remote as Bangkok at the moment.
I lived in Glasgow between 1982 and 1999, so it holds many memories. My son was born there.
It is rare for me to make return trips these days. When I do, it is usually for an ice hockey game or rugby.
Daisy on the Outer Line features the city’s Subway, also known as the Clockwork Orange to locals. I used it regularly when I lived in the city centre between 1987 and 1995.
The book is written in Scots and might be a bit of a challenge for those who are not familiar with it. Publication was supported by a Scottish Government Scots Language Publication Grant. I think the last time I read anything in Scots would be A Scots Quair by Grassic Gibbon, many decades ago.
‘Whaurr urr you for Christmas?’ ah ask Frances. ‘Ma sister’s’ she says. ‘She’s cookin a vegan turkey and ma da’s awready fumin. He’s gonnae choke himsel tae death on it on purpose jist tae make a point. Whit aboot you?’
Daisy makes a bit of a scene at her stepfather’s funeral, has a bit too much to drink (or was it the other way around) and then falls asleep on the Subway. She wakes up to find she has travelled back in time, and is in someone else’s body.
Strangely enough, it turns out her stepfather is/was an ice hockey fan (Glasgow Clan), and one of the scenes from the book takes place at one of their home games.
It is an unusual storyline, but I certainly grew to enjoy it. By the time I was halfway through the book, I had forgotten it is written in Scots.
Perhaps I will be free to revisit Glasgow sometime soon. Fingers crossed, please.
ⓒ iain taylor, 2021
When I spent five years in Glasgow in the 1960s, there were still pubs with signs indicating “No women allowed”. The Sarry Heid (Saracen Head) in Gallowgate was the kind of place where if you sought more salubrious surroundings you took your pint to the Gents. Drinking was a serious business, often conducted in silence. Conversation between strangers was tolerated only in the Gents: “Is this where a’ the big knobs hing oot?”, “Ye ken, ye dinnae buy beer, ye just rent it”, “Jings, couldnae be a pishheid”.
I’m sure there are plenty 100% boozers in the city.