On the busses #2

Ok trying to get back into the whole blog writing thing. Getting to diverted by Twitter, but must remind myself that not all communiques must be 140 characters or fewer.

So I’ve got a couple of gigs to review (I Am Arrows from ages ago and KT Tunstall from last weekend) but will do them in a wee while.

In the meantime I have been posting a lot on Facebook / Twitter about my encounters with fellow travellers on the Glasgow buses so most of you have probably seen my rants already, but thought I’d gather the more recent stories all together here.

They don’t really show Glasgow in a very good light, so after this and after the gig reviews I may have to work on an article about the positive aspects of the city…

Story #1 – not so much about people, but I was travelling back home on the route that goes on country roads, and it was late at night so in pitch darkness, when suddenly the bus had headlamp failure. Lights just went off wouldn’t come back on. Instead of pulling over and summoning help, the driver decided to carry on regardless. He seemed to think that the solution was to crawl along at 5mph clinging to the edge of the road. We finally got to the edge of the town and there were street lights, so he felt that would be ok to resume full speed.  I would have asked to get out and walk had it not been on aforementioned country roads at night in pitch black.  I thought I was marginally safer in the big metal bus.  Marginally.

Story #2 – Waiting at bus stop, there was a mum with her 2 kids waiting.  One girl (who appeared to be called Demilee) was dressed in a school uniform, probably about 5 or 6 and her brother was in a buggy (mum called him TJ) was about 3 or 4.

Girl, to mum, “I’m hungry”

Mum, “Did you not have breakfast?”

Girl, “No”

Mum then scrambled about her bag and produced a bag of Skips.

Mum, to boy, “Are you hungry too?”

Boy, “Yes”

Mum scrambled around again then handed him a Flake.

And they wonder why kids around here have such poor health and end up obese…..

Story #3 – Overheard on the bus: “There are some people who only look at rat testicles.”

I don’t really know what more to say about that one.

Story #4 – Very annoying woman behind me kept yawning loudly.  “Ahhhh. Ooohhhh. Huuuuuuhh.” My god, keep it to yourself lady! Bad enough I have to put up with coughs and sneezes.

Story #5 – Busy bus on my way into town in the morning, mostly commuters.  Heard the unmistakable sound of “Rockstar” by Nickleback.  It was someone’s mobile phone ringtone. Dear god who would have such a “tune”? Turns out it was a balding middle aged man in a badly fitting suit. Figures.  Creeped me out somewhat.

If you aren’t aware, We Are Scientists did a brilliant cover of Rockstar  .  You have to listen all the way to the end to hear the best bit.

On the busses

I don’t like to confirm the negative stereotypes about Glasgow and Glaswegians, but sometimes while travelling on the local busses I encounter people who live up to that image.  Glasgow and the surrounding area has a good network of bus, underground and train lines, so for getting to work and while out and about visiting clients and attending meetings I tend to use public transport rather than drive. It also avoids sitting in traffic, parking fees and allows me to do some work on the move.  And it lets me meet lots of people who have very colourful and interesting lives.  My colleagues and I often joke that we could write a book, certainly I imagine that the writers of Chewin’ The Fat spent a lot of time on Glasgow busses cos there’s a wealth of material out there.  Until I get a book deal or commissioned by the BBC to write their next sketch show I’ll make do with recounting some tales here.

The best place to see this spectacle of human existance is the Monday morning court run.  All the people who have been picked up by the police over the weekend and are travelling in to make their appearance in court.  A while back I was sitting opposite one guy who was speaking on the phone to his Social Worker, explaining a dilemma he had:

“I’ve been summoned to appear in court in Manchester, but I can’t go, I don’t think I can face it, it’s all too much”

Pause while Social Worker speaks….

“I can’t afford the train fare, I’ve got no-where to stay, I’ll have to sleep on the streets, and it’s all gonna be too stressful, I can’t do it”


“No, there’s no way, I can’t go through with it.  The only way I could do it is if I take loads of drugs first.  But I’ve got no money for drugs.  I’ll have to find a way to get some drugs”


“No, that’ll never work, the only way is if I take loads of drugs.  Or maybe I’ll just kill myself, that’ll be easier, then I won’t have to go.”


“No, that’s the only way, I’ll just kill myself, then it’ll all be over”

Long pause…

“Yes, you’re right. I’ll go into rehab. I’ll get clean.  No more drugs for me.  No more booze either.  It’s the only way.  I’ll get clean, I’ll go to Manchester and I’ll impress the court and it’ll all be fine.  That’s the only way.  I’m gonna go into rehab and sort my life out.”

He hangs up.

Now either the man habitually goes through such extremes of position, or he has the best social worker in the world.  To go from wanting to end it all to commiting to a life of purity within the space of a bus ride from Clydebank to Glasgow is a turnaround indeed.

I love Glasgow.