Sunday, August 20, 2006

My Own Private Glasgow

...for Gary...


Barrowland, Glasgow, July 7, 1973

   It had been a less than thrilling holiday. My traveling companion and I had spent nearly two weeks in cold drizzle which ended up with us in Glasgow, aimlessly strolling the streets in search of something. Her idea of a UK trip was based on British History, guidebooks be dammed. My travel concept was somewhat less defined.

   Travel UK in the early seventies still hadn't quite become the well-oiled machine that it is today, and that is both a good and bad thing. Bad, in that it was easy to fall into a Bill Brysonesque maze of missed opportunities and arcane historical minutiae.  Good  in that it was easy to escape the beaten path and find (lose?) oneself in culture of a different sort.

   Flea Markets and Used Stores provide a grounding mechanism, a way for the traveller to get a taste of local life, an experience that hasn't already been curated, filtered and sanitized to death. Why this place remains etched in my memory, while a dozen museums are but a faint blur says something about the power of the mundane. In the early seventies Barrowland was a fairly gritty experience, it was the only place in the UK where I had a feeling of being "sized up" for a possible mugging (and that fellow's face remains likewise preserved in my mind's eye.) The market here still thrives, as does the adjacent Ballroom.

By Professor Batty



1 Comments:

Blogger Gary said...

Wow, great picture.

The market isn't as scary as it used to be, but it's still relatively unsanitised and very Glasgow: rough round the edges, occasionally dodgy and funny as hell. When it's not being raided by anti-piracy squads, that is :)

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