Glaswegians are very nice. Even the bus drivers. They drive like demons, but have the hearts of angels - a driver let me on for nothing, with a smile and the shrug, "Well, there's hardly anyone on, and I'm going in your direction."
So, I really shouldn't have been surprised about what happened when I asked someone for directions to The Polo Lounge. "Er. Sure. Hold on, I'll take you there."
The only surprising fact here is that he was Welsh.
The Polo Lounge is a truly marvellous gay bar - nicer even than The Abbey in LA. It looks like a set from Dangerous Liasons, only fitted with a bar, and only slightly snippy bar staff. The bar lesbians are still menacing but in a jovial "ough! we're just playing with ya" way.
Anyway, the Polo Lounge was astonishingly nice, as was Jamie (mental note: always ask pretty men for directions). And Mark, when he eventually turned up. He was very drunk, and had come up to lecture independent television production companies. He smiled "I've just been interviewed by the Glasgow Herald. They wanted to know my opinions on the future of television."
What did you tell them?
"Hen, I have no idea. I'm drunk - Let's go for a walk so that I can show you the nice buildings and tell you which ones I've shagged in."
Glasgow is pretty. I'd never known this. It's like Melbourne (but colder). It's like Bristol (but less windy). It's like Boston (but less grumpy). It's got so many nice Victorian buildings they've started converting them into multi-story carparks (I'm not sure I like this - but a row of cars parked in an old ballroom makes for an arresting image).
Glasgow is also, according to Mark, a town of pure filth. He pointed to a fantastic wrought iron public toilet - "I was once offered money for sex there. Twenty pounds."
Did you take it?
"No. No, of course not. Well, that said, later that afternoon, I decided I wanted a new pair of trainers."
The evening ended up in a small, friendly club. It wasn't very good, but it was at least amiable - probably due to the vast amount of drugs. Vodka was cheaper than water, and every gay man had come with at least three women of the "revealing dress stolen off my thinner sister" kind.
One woman sidled up to me. "Ya here on yas own?" [nb - I apologise for this. I can't help trying to, uh, transliterate the way Glaswegians speak. For one thing, they sound nothing like Hannah Gordon, and more like Gordon the Gopher].
I told her I was. She jerked a thumb over her shoulder, indicating her gay friend. He was young, spotty, greasy, and wearing a tea cosy. "D'ya fancy him?"
Not really my type, I'm afraid.
"Yeah, but would ya giv him a jump? He's desperate."
I walked up to a man with a remarkable tattoo on his forearm. His eyes were so dilated you could have driven Eurostar through them. "What's the tattoo?" I asked.
"It's my name."
"Sometimes comes in handy." A big, empty grin. "Ya know. Mornings."