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50 Years Since Lisbon 


50 years ago today I was a five year old child as the men in this photograph took the field for Glasgow Celtic in the European Cup Final in the heat of the Lisbon sun. 

They went in to the biggest game of their lives as underdogs against the mighty Inter Milan and it’s fair to say nobody gave them a chance of bringing the European Cup back to Glasgow.

To win this game according to many  more than a dream, after all better teams that Celtic had tried and failed to break Inter’s impregnable defence and when Inter scored from a Mazzola penalty after only 7 minutes it looked to some at least that the doomsayers may have been right. But undaunted Celtic kept attacking in the hope that an equaliser would come. However, when the referee blew for half time Celtic were still a goal down. Lesser teams would have buckled when they saw the half time scoreboard reading

Celtic 0 Inter Milan 1

This however was not a lesser team this was Glasgow Celtic

The second half started as the first had ended with Celtic on top on everything but the scoreboard. As they relentlessly pushed for an equaliser there was always a danger they could be caught by a sucker punch on the break but this team was not to be beaten and in the 62nd minute a pass from Jim Craig set up Tommy Gemmell whose shot from the edge of the box flew in to Inter net faster than a speeding bullet and as it did so, it changed not only the scoreboard but the game. With Inter’s resistance now broken, the Celtic players scented victory and from that moment on there was only going to be one winner as the scoreboard read 

Celtic 1 Inter Millan 1

As Celtic pressed forward it was only a matter of time before the winner came and come it did when Stevie Chalmers scored from inside the penalty box with five minutes remaining. Inter now were a beaten side and they knew it from then till the end of the game it was simply a matter of playing out time.

Finally  as the referee blew for full time, the fairytale became reality and the scoreboard told the story of the club’s most famous victory and and it’s greatest ever game as it said 

Final Score Celtic 2 Inter Millan 1

As club captain Billy McNeill lifted the trophy to show the travelling faithful it dawned on the world that  Celtic were champions of Europe and the team of local boys who defeated a team of superstars by playing them off the park had won the ultimate prize in European football and in doing so  had become the Lisbon Lions 

They will be forever immortal 

Hail Hail 

Till next time

Love And Best Wishes 

Gayle XX 

One Of The Girls 

On day 27 of NaPoWriMo I look at teenage memories as made by magazines we read as girls and how what we learned between the covers of our favourite magazine went on to play a significant role  in shaping the women we’ve become.

 I was inspired to write this poem after visiting the Scottish Memories Facebook  group where members chat about what we remember growing up and after chatting to members from various demographics within the group on the topic of childhood games I decided to ask the women of the group what was their magazines of choice growing up. Needless to say I was inundated with comments and it was those comments which helped me to write this poem. 

 On completing the poem I had to find a title for it , and having came up with a few suggestions I  consulted with friends on what the most suitable selection should be. On putting it to the vote, the will of the people  decided that the best and most appropriate title  was One Of The Girls and being a believer in poetry democracy in action that is the title I’m going with. I hope you enjoy the read.  
One Of The Girls 
I was a Jackie girl. 

this was the magazine

 which shaped my formative years 

concerns and fears about not being cool enough for school 

briefly removed as I was transported to a place of dreams 

Donny Osmond would never visit the scheme I lived in 

not even on his tours of Britain 

but his posters adorned my bedroom wall 

and turned it in to shrine for my first crush 

the puppy love who made me realise I was one of the girls 

and made me go funny inside 

I blushed the impure thoughts 

I wasn’t supposed to have 

but could never hide from my mother 

I kept my secret stash of magazines

 hidden under the bed in a box filled with memories 

for older generations of girls 

 titles like  Romeo and Valentine 

reminded them of a more innocent world 

whilst those younger than me 

were caught up in the celebrity culture 

created by top of the pops 

and the weekly chart shows on the radio 

Smash Hits and Number One 

were the best sellers for the girls who just wanted to have fun 

and knew that Madonna sang songs that were made for dancing 

potential Prince Charming’s would need to have cold hard cash 

to be the material girl’s Mr Right 

and the mum’s who were brought up with Judy and Bunty 

were far removed from their daughters reality 

as some in the media expressed disdain 

that the new teens were reading stuff on sexuality 

progressive parents thought it was better 

to know the facts of life 

rather than have pregnancies due to ignorance 

changing times meant changing tastes 

on the magazine rack 

and when More arrived 

Jackie’s days were numbered 

well photo stories couldn’t compete 

with  groundbreaking content like  position of the week

it made some of my teenage reading 

look so meek and mild 

there was no longer a market for  the magazines I grew up with 

and part of my childhood died 

as I became a new woman 

with a taste for company and glamour. 

© Gayle Smith 2017 

Dare To Speak 

Hey Readers 

As some of you may know February  is LGBTIQ history month and I am a trans woman so I decided to attend a themed poetry event to celebrate the diversity of our community. I also wrote a  poem to commemorate both my attendance at the event and the struggles I’ve  faced on my personal journey I’ve given the poem the same title as the event and called it Dare To Speak I hope you enjoy the read. 

Dare To Speak. 

I will say what needs said

I am trans 

I am woman 

I am not superhuman 

despite what. my younger friends may think 

black and pink both have places in my closet 

which is for clothes not living in 

I am trans so where does my story begin ? 

my earliest recollections of being different 

are remembering a hot summer Saturday in 1969

I was eight 

my mum allowed me to be a girl 

it was great 

my dad had taken my big brother 

on a fishing trip 

so I got to wear lipstick and get my  nails painted 

I was dressed in a navy skirt 

and tan stockings with a suspender belt 

which my mum had too fasten 

presbyterian fashion was very conservative 

in a home the swinging sixties never found 

then Donny and the Rollers came around 

and sent my head and hormones  spinning 

I thought of highly original sins 

I would never dare to commit 

during my Jackie reading years 

secret tears were cried as I denied myself 

a hundred and twenty three times 

at least 

Jesus wept at the secrets I kept hidden 

throughout the 70’s and 80’s 

yes I was frustrated but better frustrated than dead 

occasionally I would say what needed to be said 

but not until the 90’s did I do more than whisper 

what I should have dared to say  in a much louder voice 

being trans is not a choice

it’s an inescapable truth 

It’s who I am 

it’s who I was born to be 

I respect myself but it’s been a long and difficult journey 

to reach a place of contentment

I have no time for resentment

or holding grudges against those who mock 

they can say what they like 

I don’t care what they think 

black and pink both have places in my closet

which is for clothes not for living in 

I am trans 

I am woman

I am not superhuman 

and despite ignorance, prejudice , fear ,

or transphobes labelling me queer

I will not be silenced

I will say what needs said 

my lipstick will be pink or the deepest shade of red 

I will be who I am 

I have opinions and I will say them out loud 

I am trans and proud 

I am a woman who won’t wait till she’s given permission

to air my views

I will do whatever I need to do 

I will dare to speak my truths 

@ Gayle Smith 2017 

Winter Miracle

Hey Readers

With the winter weather conditions in parts of Europe being shall we say a wee bit on the chilly side, I thought it would be as good a time as any to write a poem which is based not so much on climate change but on adjusting to a change of climate. I’ve given it the title Winter Miracle I hope you enjoy the read.
Winter Miracle

I remember a boy who had never seen snow.

his family moved to Australia before his first birthday

on his return home he got excited

as sitting near the window

he saw for the first time

white flakes fall from the sky

the teacher allowed him to go to the window

to watch what to his young eyes

was a winter miracle

as he viewed the majestic power

of his first snowfall

his silence spoke more than than any words

he gazed in awe struck inspiration

as he witnessed our playground turn

from gray to white

in a matter of minutes

when we went over to join him

our teacher’s patience

was stretched to the limit

and we were quickly ordered

to get back to our seats

on that December morning

she reminded us

this was something we had seen many times

In our eight or nine years on this earth

and our new schoolmate realised

that this time of year really was winter

as a frosty atmosphere left a chill in the class

where it stayed till the dinner time bell

@ Gayle Smith 2017

 

If I Can Be The Best Woman It’s Possible To Be My Mum Can Have A Daughter To Be Proud Of.

Hey Readers

I’ll start this my first post of 2017 by wishing you all a happy, healthy and successful New Year and hope that it brings you whatever you need in the measure you need it.

As for me I am very fortunate that in the these turbulent times I have a home,  a flatmate who is also my best friend and a rich rewarding and varied life filled with friends from all walks of life  who value me for being the woman I am.

When the bells rang in this new year I have no doubt many of you made resolutions some of which were made in  the spur of the moment  whilst others will have been more goal focused and planned for months to be announced just before your first ne’erday drink.

Not having too many vices apart from lustful thoughts on Donny Osmond and I’m not giving them up for anyone I often struggle with resolutions  but I think this year I’ve finally come up with up a good one which may actually be achievable.

Now before you ask I should explain that it’s not poetry or blog related though I have resolved to myself at least to promote them both as relentlessly as I can without driving the rest of the world to distraction. This one however is far simpler than those related to poetry , or indeed to this blog.

So you may be wondering what it is I want to do which should be both easy and life affirming ? Well it’s simple really during the coming year I want to be the best woman I can be and be a role model for women not only for other trans woman but for girls and younger women more generally.

I aim to do this not only by living as the woman I know myself to be, but by the way I live in all areas of my life be it in the spoken word and cultural scene, in my  political life, or in my local community.
To be honest I believe I am already doing this and have been for a number of years however I know that sometimes trans woman are judged cruelly and unfairly by those who are shall we say of a less accepting nature.

Thankfully this kind of prejudice is declining in Scottish society and the last Scottish Social Attitudes Survey illustrated the positive change in attitudes which has occurred in the last few years.

That said , there are what one leading Scottish politicians
referred to as  wee things which I can do as an individual trans woman which though small may matter a lot more than you think.

For example if I can listen to that teenager who thinks the world’s against her and let’s face it all did at that time , or make time for that older woman who chats to me as I hurry home from the shops and never sees anyone else for the rest of the day then then I’m doing what my mother would have done. You see I’ve always known what my mother told me when I was 12 and fancied Donny Osmond was true. There is as she said I a lot to be being a woman than mini skirts and make up. God knows I haven’t worn a mini skirt for 20 years but what my mum was trying to explain was that we live a different life from men and what she didn’t get at the time was that was the life I wanted

Eventually of course the life I wanted became the life I live and though I know I’ll still face challenges on this journey I’ve decided to take I know that if I can do the wee things that I’ve said I’ll try to do I may yet have a resolution I can stick to and honour my mother’s memory by giving her  a daughter she can been proud of

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

A Minute To Mourn And Walk A Mile In Other People’s Shoes 

Hey Readers

As we approach what is always the most sensitive clash involving Celtic and Rangers , I notice that some Celtic fans are calling on our support  to respect the minute’s silence which will be held to remember those Rangers fans who died in the Ibrox disaster of 1971.

This post is written by an unapologetic Celtic fan who likes nothing better than seeing my footballing rivals put to the sword by our brave bhoys. However I echo the calls put out on social media in the last 24 hours to respect the silence and honour the memory of those who went to a game that morning and never made it home.

I make my case by stating that I come from a family which had members at both sides of the stadium on that fateful day. So much as I loathe the orange and unionist position of so many Rangers fans I can understand where it comes from in the same way I can understand Celtic’s Irish tradition as without the migration of Irish workers to Scotland my dad’s side of the family would never have arrived in the city of my birth and I wouldn’t be the Kirk attending Celtic supporting SNP member I’ve went on to become.

As someone who was a 9 year old at the time of this tragic event I have vague recollections of listening to the radio commentary of the game and feeling just a wee bit sick when Colin Stein equalised for Rangers just 30 seconds after Jimmy Johnstone looked to have won the game for Celtic with his goal in the last seconds of normal time.  Trust me if I’d felt sick at Rangers equaliser that was nothing compared to how I would feel 20 minutes later as news of what had happened began to filter through. 

The tragedy of the events of that day and what happened on stairway 13 will never be forgotten by the families who were robbed of  brothers, husbands, nephews, and sons and communities who were deprived of friends and neighbours. Now almost 50 years on  (this year marks the 46th anniversary of the tragedy) it will to some seem like just another distant event in our city’s history. For  those who were around at the time however it has without doubt a far greater significance. 

You see I may only have been a 9 year old at the time but you have to remember that in the days before mobile phones families had no way of knowing if their loved ones would make it home until they actually did. The relief when my relatives particularly the Rangers supporting ones who included my godfather made it to our house for the New Year gathering was clear for all to see and irrespective of our loyalties, we could get on with our lives. Other families were however not so lucky and when they got a knock on the door it was from the police informing them on the loss of their loved ones. 

If I can conclude this post with only one message it would be this. We as Celtic fans have always said and I believe with some degree of justification that we are a club like no other with the best support in the world. This minute of silent contemplation gives us the chance to prove it to the rest of the world particularly the British nationalists who misreport every little detail with regards to our club in what passes for the Scottish mainstream media.  Make no mistake these people are no friends of Celtic and one word or whistle out of place will give them the excuse they were looking for castigate our club and our supporters. Let’s not give them that opportunity let’s keep a dignified silence and as we do so let’s walk a mile in the Rangers fans shoes by imaging that Colin Stein had opened the scoring and it was Jimmy Johnstone who had equalised for us. It could have been our fans who had been mourning the loss family, friends, and relatives. Remember that and for one minute honour the memory of those who went to a game never to return. Then when the silence is over sing at the top of your voices and inspire the hoops to victory. 

Love And Best Wishes

Gayle X 

From Glamour To A Giggle Feast We Tell It Like It Is

Hey Readers

On day 8 of Blogmas it’s time to re-live some Christmas memories as I take you to the panto and trust me Glasgow panto’s are always slightly edgy and cater for both the young and those of us who wish we were.

Over the years I’ve been to panto’s at four different venues and all have had totally unique atmospheres. The most glamorous pantomime in Glasgow is always staged at the Kings Theatre. This for most of us is our first experience of panto and it’s the one your mum will like. This is because the Kings is a wee bit safer than other panto’s and the jokes tend to be a bit less risqué but there can be no disputing the fact there is a magic about this magnificent venue and they really know how to put on an excellent show. Amongst those I’ve seen perform in panto in the Kings are the late and yes I will say great Gerard Kelly, Elaine C Smith, Gregor Fisher, The Krankies, Dorothy Paul, and Ricki Fulton. This was the place where biggest names in Scottish theatre strutted their Christmas stuff and we lapped it up every year.

As for other panto The Tron theatre which is a venue I love tends to make their Panto a wee bit different from the more traditional style and I think more suitable to an adult audience. I have to say I am an unashamed fan of this style of show and it’s pretty popular with workers on Christmas night’s out.

As for the now sadly deceased Arches, they, like The Tron tended to go for something a wee bit unique and whilst retaining an element of panto focused more on making a Christmas show with a twist andbelieve me there was nobody better at producing this kind of spectacle than former Arches theatrical director Andy Arnold. I have to say Arnold is in my opinion a man who has to go down as one of the most innovative directors in the history of Scottish theatre. To take elements of panto and elements of more traditional theatre and blend them in the way he did to make shows which would always leave you with that warm festive feeling takes a very special kind of talent and the Scottish festive season is much poorer for the departure of the Arches which produced so much ground breaking theatre over it’s 25 year history and introduced Glasgow audiences to a new type of Christmas show 

As for the last venue this place is without doubt in my opinion my favourite place for a Glasgow panto I refer of course to the Pavilion theatre. If the Kings was all about glamour, stars and sophistication the Pavilion was geared towards laughter and audience reaction and Pavilion audiences could get very raucous.

To me the Pavilion was about a comic look at Glasgow life with the panto as the narrative to tell the story. The Pavilion was and for that matter still is a bit more edgy than the Kings and the one liners packed a bit more of a punch with regards to topical issues. This is you like was the most Glaswegian experience of panto and with comedians such as Jimmy Logan, Johnny Bettie, and Andy Cameron, and local personalities such as Tiger Tim Stevens and the man who now reports from Hollywood Ross King and in more recent times Dean Park, Nicola Park and Cat Harvey, also treading the boards there it was always going to be that way.

That said there has always been something to suit all tastes in this city which is after all a former city of culture. It is also fair to say Glasgow has always been famed for variety and there is no better evidence of this than a pantomime season which proves that from glamour to a giggle feast we tell it like it is.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X