Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Tinseltown in the Rain...

I live in Glasgow's West End and I love it. It's an eclectic mix of old and new from the pubs to the cafes to the people: authentic Mexican at the Squid & Whale rubs shoulders happily with the ungentrified 60s glory that is The Doublet; cafe-frequenters wearing Yes to Independence badges can order Empire Biscuits with no sense of irony; Doc Martins and leather jackets are sported by grannies and students alike.

Cafe culture under skies that can do far more than fifty shades of grey - what's not to like? Except there's something rotten in the state of Lanark...

Two creeping trends are threatening to engulf us - hipsters and seriously-messed up food...

I am indebted to blogger Tom Hocknell for his brilliant description of Shoreditch hipsters as looking like refugees from the Mayflower - well make room at Glasgow's Transport Museum for a new boat because the damn thing's landed here. I'm beginning to think the only person who'll feel at home on Great Western Road soon is Cousin Mose...


And where the hipsters flock, so their strange foraging habits follow...

Don't get me wrong, I don't think everyone in Scotland should all be living on some kind of purebred diet of haggis, square sausage and tablet (although when you put it like that) but a new addition to our local restaurants (it will be nameless, suffice to say it includes a pun on the word turnip in the title which has a certain charm) is currently offering "lemon tart - sort of" and "chicken of the wood" on the menu.

Having had to listen to my husband doing his best Jay Rayner impression all the way home, we googled the chicken to discover it was in fact a mushroom and ordered a pizza.

Now you may think I'm just being picky but I have a question: why are we trying to create an outpost of a ridiculous East London suburb in Scotland's coolest city - who needs to live in McHoxton? 

As many of you will have noticed, we had a little chat amongst ourselves up here about Independence last year - when it spilled over and started ruffling feathers down South at Westminster and in Englnad's leafy suburbs one of the least edifying aspects of the whole debate was the virulent anti-Scottish sentiments unleashed in the media. With the upcoming 2016 Holyrood elections and concerns over an EU Referendum, this rhetoric is only going to get worse. I for one am not looking forward to the unedifying spectacle of Labour and the Tories fighting to get a foothold in a country they'd probably just like to see fracked off the planet.

My point? People of Glasgow, stop copying those strange Southern tribes - when push comes to shove, I'm not sure some of them like you very much or even know where you are. If we're going to have Hipsters (and it seems we are so cursed), let's make them our own - brolly essential. And take the chicken out of the woods - tikka masala was invented for a reason.

So rant over and now, as is the style of these musings, time for a recast. I thought I'd keep it contemporary this time and, rather than a historical recast, re-imagine a bit of popular American culture in a Scottish context. So, forget Central Perk,  and come with me...

We're going to take a stroll to the corner of Byers and Great Western Roads and into the Botannical Gardens to visit a new coffee shop where the Irn Bru flows free and the scones are the size of your heid. Welcome to a place where you should never answer a question about your name - I give you The Botunnocks (work with me on the punning, its our national cake) and the cast of our new sitcom Pals (everyone in Glasgow is called pal irrespective of age or gender, don't ask me why - some things, like Irn Bru, are best left unquestioned). We even have a theme tune to Celebrate...


We have a wealth of brilliant Scottish actresses so let's kick off proceedings with two, starting with the role of the eternally infuriating Monica. Bossy, over-organised, whiny, full of advice for her long-suffering friends but totally self-obsessed - who else could play her but the fabulous Shirley Henderson


Not only does Shirley have the looks, her roles as Jude in Bridget Jones and Harry Potter's Moaning Myrtle give her the range - can't you just see Monica on this epic cleaning spree? Maybe she could persuade Hamish MacBeth to join her as Chandler...


Phoebe next and for that role there can only be one choice: Tilda Swinton. It's like looking at Phoebe gone to the dark side - can't you just imagine Smelly Cat curled up on the Snow Queen's knee like some twisted James Bond parody? It would also make for a very interesting story line about Rachel's disappearing baby - We Need to Talk About Emma...

And last but not least - RachelThe shiny hair, the long relationship with a man she's way brighter than, the increasingly sharp fashion sense, the way she smiles and rainbows appear...Who needs an actress when our goddess already moves among us? Nicola Sturgeon, the coffee's on me.

And if you're still not convinced our glorious West End needs protecting, I leave you with this little glimpse of what might be coming unless we stand firm:


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