I grew up in the East End of Glasgow and I’m proud of it. (most of the time)
I love going home to my family and friends and as much as I love our crazy life, there’s nowhere on earth that compares to home.
When I go to my mums house in Shettleston I’m taken back to my youth. Its like I breathe a little easier. I don’t know what it is, maybe I’m just in love with the idea of Glasgow because sometimes I walk the streets in the East End and I wonder what it is I love about it.
The East End of Glasgow is THE “benefits capital” of the UK with 9 out of 10 people claiming benefit, (85% of working age adults in Bridgeton [an area in the east end] claiming some sort of benefit) and life expectancy for men a mere 68 years old. (My dad passed away age 62.)
I love Glaswegians, we’re a pretty special breed of people; always friendly, brilliant banter, talented, sarcastic, funny. (some of the best musicians/comedians/actors in the world are from Glasgow.)
Walking around the city centre is a lot easier for me than walking around the east end though. I don’t remember so much sadness in people’s faces or so much hopelessness. Maybe my mum sheltered us from it but I think its got worse in the past 15 years or so. Young people are getting stuck in the vicious cycle of poverty, doing what their parents did, and life is becoming a mundane existence and unfortunately, for some, the norm.
My group of friends in Glasgow, who grew up in the Eastend, are the exception to this (happy, successful, working, been to university, college, etc) and I’m sure they aren’t the minority, it just worries me when I read statistics like the ones above and see the evidence on the streets.
I spoke to my neighbour the other day and had a wee giggle to myself when she introduced me to her son’s girlfriend: “Louise is lovely, she talks all proper and stuff but she’s the same as us, she’s normal”
I wondered what that meant. I mean, I’m happy I fit her idea of whatever “us” is, she’s a brilliant wee neighbour but curious how I fit this? I’m Glaswegian, yes, and proud to be from the Eastend, I’ll never pretend to be from somewhere else nor will I ever be embarrassed of it, even with the shocking statistics above.
Billy Connolly puts how I feel, perfectly, into a song.
In 9 weeks our friends from all over the world will come to Glasgow for our wedding, some haven’t been to Scotland before. I’m so excited to show them around the city. I hope it lives up to the expectation, I’ve been banging on for years about how amazing it is! Fingers crossed for sunshine, even Tollcross Park looks gorgeous in the summer!
What do you think of your city, do you love it/hate it? What is it you love?
P.s. If you come visit, just pretend you love Glasgow, cos you know, I’m Glaswegian, which means I can slag it off (sometimes) but no-one else can!! If you do, well, I can always introduce you to the “Glesga Kiss” 😉