Mixmag: Glasgae

From CJ Stone's Mixmag column, 1996-1998.

It starts with a whiskey. Well it would do, wouldn't it, this being Glasgow. And not a single whiskey: doubles at half the normal price.

There's me and Kodan and Daniel interlocking arms and saying, "here's to the Celts" and then chucking back these monstrous double-doubles (a Scottish single being an English double) and following these with lager chasers. Whoosh. Like fire in your belly, and then an eruption in your chest, and then a mini nuclear explosion in your brain, a kind of psychic mushroom cloud radiating with a hiss and a splutter through your brain cells. So I'm an honorary Celtic supporter for the night, and an honorary Scot too, being a poet and a revolutionary and a bum and an all-round bull-shitting philosopher like the rest of them. And after two or three or more of these nuclear brain-holocausts (I lose count) well we were just talking gibberish of course. I forget what. Revolutionary clap-trap, no doubt. Or maybe nuclear physics, cookery and transcendental meditation. Or macramé. Or knitting. It didn't matter. Nothing mattered. By this time our brains had mutated into some kind of amoebic slime. They should make whiskey illegal. It's too good.

I was up here for the Castlemilk Writer's Festival. Castlemilk is a huge council estate somewhere in Glasgow. It consists of x thousand people, one shop, one pub and a library. I have no idea why they want to hold a writer's festival here, especially as no one from Castlemilk actually turned up. There were the library staff, and the organisers of the festival, and my friends: Kodan, Danny, Carol-Anne and Woody. And that's it.

I didn't recognise Woody at first. I'd written about him in my book. I'd described him as "the very picture of the furtive pornography addict, with eyes that slopped round like wet oysters behind his thick glasses." Danny told me: "Woody says he's going to nut you one when he sees you." Apparently everyone liked the "wet oysters" description so much they were now calling him "oyster eyes". When I finally did recognise him I was worried. I was waiting for him to nut me one. But he didn't. He said, "oh hi. I didn't recognise you at first. It must be these oyster eyes of mine."

In the end Danny tottered off. I mean: he stumbled off. He was rolling like an ocean liner in a tumbling gale, the sea-sick captain. The Earth itself had turned to liquid. He couldn't even see straight any more. I have no idea what happened to Woody. He probably transmuted into an oyster. And me and Kodan and Carol-Anne - who's been far more intelligent than the rest of us, drinking normal sized drinks at a normal pace - well we were heading off for the clubs. They've got this curfew in Glasgow, so we'd got barely ten minutes to make it indoors before we were nicked. And the bouncer at the first club took exception to Kodan. "You're drunk," he said.

"Of course we're drunk. What do you expect? We've been drinking. Which is why we want to come in here."

"No, sorry. You're not allowed in if you're drunk."

So that was that. The only half-decent club within a five-mile radius, and they wouldn't let us in because Kodan looked drunk. On top of that, we were a motley crew. Me with my Harris Tweed jacket and grey hair, looking like an anthropologist (which is what I am really). Carol-Anne looking like a Librarian. And Kodan with his hip-hop hat with "No Fear" written across the front, and his trousers around his hips showing his boxer shorts, looking like Nothing on Earth. It's no wonder they wouldn't let us in really. I wouldn't have let us in either.

So we jumped into another taxi and headed off for another club, the seconds ticking by, that terrible curfew bearing down on us relentlessly like some dark fate, like a Divine Punishment inflicted upon us by an unmerciful God for the sin, merely, of being in Scotland. I'm not used to this. I'm not used to the idea of having to be somewhere at a certain time, especially when I'm drunk. I mean: what if we didn't make it? What would happen to us then? Would it be like Cinderella at the Ball? Were we all going to turn into pumpkins?

But we made it to the next club anyway, with barely seconds to spare. And Kodan tripped over getting out of the taxi. Carol-Anne and I were about to go in, when the door man said to Kodan, "you can't come in here, you're drunk."

Oh no, not again! Just what was going on here? It made no sense. What else are Friday night's for, if not to get drunk and go to clubs? And anyway, everyone else was drunk, or off their heads on some concoction or another. So what was it about us lot? What did we have to do to gain entry to these places?

Well we did what he had to do. Shamelessly casting our dignity to the wind, we begged, we pleaded, we implored, we beseeched, we entreated.

"Please let us in, please please. Look, he's not really drunk. He tripped falling out of the taxi, that's all. He just looks drunk. He always looks like that. It's genetic. Show him Kodan, walk up and down. There, see, he's dead sober. Tell him Kodan, you're sober aren't you?"

"Yeah man, honest, ah'm s-s-soberrr," said Kodan, straining every fibre not to slur his words.

And under this torrent of disgraceful sycophancy, the bouncer relented. "Oh go on then," he said, waving us in wearily: "anything to shut you up."

It wasn't worth all the bother. It was a handbag club: by which I mean the women all danced around their handbags, and all the men pretended to be handbags so they could look up the women's skirts. And the music was all this chinzy pop stuff, vapid, slushy top-twenty tunes that all sounded the same. Hair-net music. Doily music. Music to put your tea cup on. We had one drink and left.

So that's Glasgae fer ye. Me and Kodan caught a taxi back to his Mom's. As for Carol-Anne, I'm not sure. I think she turned into a pumpkin.

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Comments 15 comments

lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

So I take it Glasgow is not the night-life capital of the world, then. Fun read. Lynda


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

This was in 1997. Don't know what it's like now.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK

That is brilliant! I really enjoyed it thanks! (ex-Glaswegian).


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Thanks Izzy. Have I got it about right then?


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 5 years ago from UK

Probably - it's been years since I went to a night club, but it's true they are strict over letting drunks in. You can get drunk in there if you want (or if you can afford to - their prices are always ridiculously high), or you could be spaced out your brains and that's OK, apparently. Had to laugh at the holding of a Writers Festival of all things in Castlemilk, and then no-one turning up!


cherrycrime26 profile image

cherrycrime26 5 years ago from NY, Now Living in Atlanta Ga

Nice hub, No drinking? Sucks.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Yes, drinking, but no looking like you were drunk. What a weird approach.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

Excellent timing as I've recently discovered the Scotch in my blood. That should make us entente. At any rate I love your style and story here. Celts and Glasgae rule!


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Just don't over do it on the whiskey Alastar: it's not good for you.

Just noticed someone has voted this hub "useful". What on earth is "useful" about it?


Russell-D profile image

Russell-D 5 years ago from Southern Ca.

CJ -- you had a couple of choices you didn't consider. The multiple bars at Jury's and you could have slept it off there or swam it off. Or, go the half hour to Dumbarton to the Inn...where often OBAN is a bar whiskey. See -- I didn't spend all my time there just visiting daughter and granddaughter and being prepped for what last year, 15 years later, became the children's book, "The Loch Lomond Monster". Even got a write up in the Dumbarton Reporter. Cheers!!! David Russell


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I was being shown around my locals Russell, and if you look at the dates it was many years ago now, so I don't know if those choices were on offer then. Mind you, next time I go to Glasgow I'll look out for them. I'll also look out for your book.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

PS I can work out the date: it must have been around November 1996, as this story literally follows it. This describes the day after: http://hubpages.com/travel/CJ-Stones-Britain-Wild-...


Russell-D profile image

Russell-D 5 years ago from Southern Ca.

CJ-Jury's was definitely there; my first stay was 14 years ago and it wasn't new then. We were in Dumbarton 17 years ago. Like what you're doing hubbing older material, my kid's work was also early on, in books written for grandkids birthdays. Today, thanks to illustrator friend, Frank Furlong, they've come to life. In 2 weeks "Before We Were 5" poems for ages 2 -5 releases. All 3 books are in the July LA Book Fair, same people who do the London Book Fair. I'm enjoying your tongue in cheek. David


Alaster Packer 5 years ago

If it was me CJ blame it on the bloody scotch. Shoot, anytime a writer can place me in a place I've never been it's useful! :D


CJStone profile image

CJStone 5 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Ok Alaster, I guess when you finally get to Glasgow you'll know not to look drunk when going in to a club. That's useful I suppose.

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