Buses Bards & Barbecues

Hey everyone. Saturday was the first one of July & we all know what that means as for me don’t we? Yup that’s right the same as any other month & a trip to Tollcross for the feast of culture that is Bards in the Park.

Yes I know there were other events happening this weekend such as. T in the Park & the orange walk however since neither camping nor sectarianism holds any appeal for me. It was poetry & business as usual except it wasn’t, well instead of Bards being the sole focus of attention I also had a barbecue to attend as the Govan/ Kingston branch of the SNP held their summer fund-raiser.

As I set out on my journey from my home in Baillieston to Tollcross I decided to take the long road well it was the Saturday of ‘the walk’ so I didn’t want caught up in any unnecessary dramas & just like the best soaps on the box, this is one day when you never just when the action is about to kick off. However you do know that it will & that you want to be a million miles away from it when it does.

As I made my way through the East End I couldn’t help but notice the amount of unnecessary union flags. Is this because the people of the poorest part of the United Kingdom are gearing up to show their support for the British Olympic effort? Somehow I don’t think so , I believe these displays of love for the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland may have a lot more to do with the more sectarian side of Britishness. A side which though it is diminishing in importance is still too powerful especially in poorer areas to be completely disenfranchised by those who are fellow unionists.

As I reached Tollcross I walked in to a lively gathering in which opinions were being freely given in the name of poetry. When my turn came, I read a specially selected set on an anti-sectarian theme. I was obviously taking in the mood of the day & thinking not only of the Anti-sectarian event at GoMA but of August & my forthcoming visits to the fringe to which I plan to take a theme based approach. Well it worked for me last year & I think it will work for me again. This approach may present me with challenges but I believe that focusing on an issue a day helps my discipline as both a poet & performer.

At the conclusion of the group myself & Derek adjourned to the Waverley Bar for a post Bards drink & to stay out the way of ‘the walk’ well as a church going presbyterian I simply don’t buy this defenders of the faith myth that these people try to peddle. I mean how can they defend a faith whose churches they never attend?

After discussing the events of the day it was time for me to make my way to the other side of the city for a barbecue with my fellow freedom fighters. To say I was late in arriving would be putting it mildly. Though I did have a good reason for my delay, its called transport. This was the reason I was determined to go for a drink as I thought I would avoid the frustration of traffic delays that this event always manages to cause. However I have to say I couldn’t have been more wrong as by trying to avoid traffic delays I was delayed by traffic. To illustrate this point I waited for over an hour for my final bus which would take me for that 10 minute journey to my destination. Well its orange walk Saturday buses were bound be running at a crawl.

When I finally arrived far later than I should have done I have to say the Nicholson’s were fantastic hosts & made me feel very welcome. Amongst those in attendance were the Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon who just happens to be the local MSP, Glasgow list MSP & one of our party’s brightest young stars the brilliant Humza Yousaf, & the Conevenor of our Glasgow Regional. Association. Natalie McGarry. Though they had all left by time I got there.

However days like these are not all about politics, for though that is what brought us together in common cause. Its social events like this which give us the chance to get to know each other outside the more structured environments of party meetings& personally I would recommend them to anyone newly involved in politics no matter what party. Well in a more relaxed setting we can get the chance to mix & mingle & its often the place where those who start as colleagues become friends.

Talking of friends, It was good to get the chance to see Scotland’s youngest councillor Austin Sheridan whom I am proud to say represents the Baillieston ward. It was good to enjoy the company of Eastwood Councillor Vincent Waters & no SNP gathering would be complete without the company of Kathleen Caskie & Josephine Docherty. So not only did I enjoy good food to fill my belly I was given plenty of food for thought from the assembled company & cultural food to nourish the soul courtesy of the excellent piano playing of Hamish Macbeth.

All too soon it was time to go & one of our members from the west end of the city kindly let me share his taxi across the river before dropping me off at a bus stop where I could get the bus home. As luck would have it my bus appeared within seconds of my departing the taxi.

Well I thought it was luck at the time as the bus quite clearly said on its destination board. However had the driver sought to change it which you really should for every journey, then I, a stranger to this part of town would have known not to get on board as this bus was going in the opposite direction to the one I needed which would have taken me to Glasgow city centre. When I first got on board I wasn’t too concerned as I thought there may be diversions due to ‘the walk’ however when after 15 minutes I still couldn’t see any landmarks I decided to cut my loses & disembark at Singer station.

This if my memory serves me well is a station located much closer to Faithly than it is to home area of Baillieston. I decided that since the bus stop was on the same side of the road as the railway I thought I would check out any possibility of a train arriving anytime soon. However train stations at night especially in unfamiliar areas are not the safest of places. So after about 5 minutes in which I saw no sign of human life I decided to make my way back up the stairs & gamble on getting a bus. Well it did seem like the safest option, though I must say me & safety go together like chocolate & chips its a nice idea but it doesn’t quite work. I mean who else do you know that falls on her way out of a train station? The only upsides to this were that I never laddered my tights & I was wearing a knee length skirt & not a mini.

Thankfully I did find a bus stop & it was one which was on the right side of the road to get me back in to Glasgow . Though the 62 did stop at it I was determined to take the first bus which got me anywhere near to familiar surroundings. As a 66 approached I jumped aboard & got a nice comfy seat all to myself. After a relaxing journey I was back in the merchant city & had time to pop in to a bar I know well for one last diet coke before I called my taxi home & brought to an end an eventful day of buses, bards, & barbecues.

Love & Best Wishes
Gayle X

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