In the centre of Glasgow there is a grand railway bridge. Locals jokingly call it “the hielanman’s umbrella” suggesting it as a gathering place for parsimonious northern natives, displaced to the big city by reason of glamour or employment. In the absence of traditional highland regalia it’s difficult to tell the teuchters from the ordinary Glasgow stock.
Below the platforms of Central Station you will experience, I believe, the very Breath of Glasgow.
It has a distinct and unique smell. A moist combination of chip-fat, newsprint and the exhaust fumes of countless corporation buses; and old cigarette smoke. It is delicious and homely and, when underpinned by the throaty roar of accelerating taxis, is as comforting as the chunky arms of a favourite aunt; the deep rumble of trains overhead, her heartbeat.
At night, though to be fair it always feels a little less than daytime there, the place becomes a flashing, sparkling mess of life, filled with issues and desires. A place where the rest of the city, the rest of the country, becomes insignificant and wan. It’s certainly not the nightlife hub of Glasgow, but its food outlets, amusement arcades and brightly lit emporia of tat, make it as enchanting, and as cold, as Vegas.
It’s Glasgow, just as I remember it.