How daft was I to go up Byres Rd and get the banking done two days before the New Year? I also thought shopping for food was a good idea but then I am clearly fucked in the head, because the Byres Rd was full of hippy dippy students with posh voices hugging each other wearing fifteen layers of clothes and kooky hats and more importantly…getting in MY WAY.
“Miranda, Chloe, how are you, is your horse still the best thing ever? Is Fin and Malcolm still flying in from Bermuda?” on skinny lanky girl squealed right in my ear as she greeted other skinny girl’s in the bank queue. Their Home Counties accent made me want to batter them to death with an Irn Bru bottle. The West End of Glasgow is awash with rich students who are pacing their time getting an education before they buy a small castle in Sussex and get to grips with an Aga.
Ok, I know that’s a sweeping generalisation and my own child attended a fee paying snooty school off the Byres Rd, but for fucksake they really irritate me and my daughter is funny and swears better than me, she hates ponies and has a healthy dislike of posh girls who live of ‘Daddies Money’ and who fuck rugby boys called Degs and Dosh who ‘are actually gay but practise anal on the girls first’. (Those were my daughter’s words not mine, and that’s why I love my child, she has a healthy sarcastic attitude in her life).
I recently did a charity comedy night at Glasgow Uni for a bunch of such like students, some were really cool but there were a dose of Chloe’s and Deg’s scattered around. After the gig a foppish looking fellow who was actually wearing a Sherlock Holmes type hat said to me outside the gig “For a woman you were quite good you know”. I almost stabbed his eye with my hot ciggie, but then thought better of it as that was what his nanny probably raised him on…pain and fellatio, so I didn’t say anything. God intervened and a stray wandering dog attacked his shins and bit into his tweed trousers leaving foam and blood behind before it ran off in a squinty demeanour, probably rabid and feral, but somehow I loved that tufty mad dog.
So back to my shopping expedition in the West End, I managed to get into Marks and Spencer’s Simply Food branch, which is tiny. There were at least four couples with those tripod looking baby buggies cramming up every wee aisle as they chatted and compared babies, wee Osh Kosh Begosh clad Fraser’s and Antonia’s all bundled up as mummies and daddies nattered away. “Excuse me please” I begged every three seconds I tried to reach for some steaks whilst clambering over three baby buggies and reaching round big men and women. One posh woman sneered and said “You know, you can leave your trolley at the end of the aisle, we can’t leave our babies”
“Or, one of you can stand near the door with the pram and one of you can do the shopping? Or are you not allowed to pick food without your husband’s say-so? Or, you can take your conversation and prams somewhere else that doesn’t block up a passageway?” I snapped back.
I am of the era where you left your baby at the front of a shop in a pram and watched it with one eye, if it got stolen; you simply went home and made another baby.
Ok that was facetious and I am joking, but if my husband was with me one of us watched the pram whilst the other did the shopping, we didn’t stroll round a tiny shop nattering and blocking up the fucking shop, coz we are working class and know how to mind our manners!
I expected to be greeted by screams of horror from onlookers but a bunch of other people who were equally pissed off gathered round and one snooty old lady shouted “Yes, for goodness sake, can you move the baby buggies and let us shop; you really don’t need to gather here and chat, now do you?”
Just then an assistant came over and asked politely if the six parents and three prams could move out of the way and let customers do their shopping. The Boden Gang were horrified and snorted and clicked their hooves a bit (by this point I imagined them to be haughty ponies) and they finally shifted the expensive prams into gear and trundled them out of the shop. Fathers were left with babies and suddenly they all looked scared, some of them didn’t even know how to put the brake on the pram. The women harrumphed about a bit and sniffed at the staff, every now and then rushing out to check on their children as it was clear the daddies were incapable of caring for their precious babies on their own.
I wanted to smack those women, but then I realised I was over reacting and should happily just shop and shut up.
I recall my own mammy leaving me and my brother and sister at the shop front of Curley’s the Grocers shop. It was the 60s, the shop sold ‘provisions’ and we were told not to move, talk or touch anything as she waited the queue to be served for butter, cheese, bread, cold meat and tin goods.
It was freezing on that cold main road, but we never moved. Every now and then mammy would crane her neck, make eye contact and shake her fist at us, just to remind us that death would follow if we deviated from her rules. There were prams and other kids gathered outside, babies howled and sniffled, but they too had to wait as mammies in a food shopping queue were relentless in their mission. My big brother would push me about and get me into trouble “Mammy Janey moved and kicked a puddle at me” he would shout into the shop front.
Women would tut-tut and my mammy would scream over the huddle of head scarves and grey rollers “Janey, wait till I fucking get out there, what were you told!” other kids would giggle and start annoying their own siblings.
Before long women would emerge with big brown shopping bags and slap the legs of kids who squealed and jumped about to avoid the death lash of cold hands of freezing skin.
Ah….those were the days!
So it is now 2009 and I am excited about the coming year….lets hope it’s a good one!_