Tenement life

In Uncategorized on October 24, 2015 at 4:13 pm

They say that some memories are false so this may be a construct but when I was little we lived in a room and kitchen in a Glasgow tenement in the early 60s before moving to the Ayrshire coast. I remember various snapshots of the experience such as green tiled walls in the “close”, a cludgy which was shared with other families, sleeping in the kitchen and keeping the “room” for visitors. No doubt this was considered an acceptable way for my parents to begin family life but in retrospect it is no wonder that the Glasgow overspill to Irvine was such a popular choice.

The stairwell needed to be scrubbed with the banister buffed and the white line paintwork on stone needed to be kept pristine. The kitchen overlooked a more open area where, I think, children played, bins were stored and washing was pegged out. Further across the back trams went up and down the road.

We didn’t live there long but I remember 4 events that occurred before we moved. The first was a woman with a sturdy Silver Cross type pram who was bumping her baby/pram up the stairs when the unsecured baby fell out and hit his head on the stone steps. The second was an over-sized teddy of mine which had seen better days. For some reason my mother threw it out and, as I watched out the window boys rescued it and ran off with their new playmate. The third was the time my father got up early for work and was so tired that when he was getting washed at the sink he pulled it off the wall when he leant on it. Chaos! Finally there was some child knocked down by one of those trams and the adults talked in hushed tones.

So poverty and hardship, certainly, and yet we had a telephone, a coal bunker and a television. Not bad for an impoverished life.


Gemma, it will only get worse

In Poetry on October 18, 2015 at 1:41 pm

Storming away from the champagne flutes
And silver-bell-covered butter curls
He strode from the restaurant while
She, meekly, followed after him.


The waiter brought the full plates
To the empty table and, appearing flummoxed,
Took them back through the kitchen door.
While fellow diners whispered behind hands.


The general hush when they returned
To reheated fare and an ongoing squabble
Only served to make it obvious this was a control scenario
Designed to suck all joy out of an alleged treat.


He will only get worse.
He’s isolating you barb by barb from the world.
Once behind closed doors, his anger will grow.
Leave him now, before you reach that point.

No return!

From Darkness

In Uncategorized on October 11, 2015 at 9:22 pm

16 years after leaving the force Anne Marie Duff’s character is pulled back in to a cold case when the bodies of sex workers are found trussed up “like meat”. As if that weren’t enough fresh meat has been found to show that the murderer is still at large. Not only is (s)he still at large the officer ID number she wore then has been found in the hands of the latest victim.

Leaving behind her husband and daughter on their teal-cast island idyll. Claire Church decides to go back and work with former colleagues, and new ones, against her better judgement. 4 bodies, 4 lines of investigation. The killer is still out there, goading Claire to capture him.

Scared of seeing the bodies, Claire is told in no uncertain terms that it is not the dead she should be scared of. She is sent with an Oxbridge fast track officer for protection to talk to the family of Mimi, a victim. He is not up to the job.

A stuffy hotel room only serves to remind Claire about how much she has left behind. A phone call from her husband makes it clear to us that Claire has been on medication to control mood for years, despite her husband thinking she had beaten her demons with running and solitude.

The horror of death in the morgue is mostly conveyed by extreme close-ups of Claire’s body parts juxtaposed with theirs. Only Claire spots differences between the latest victim and the cases years ago.


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