People are nicer in Glasgow. Not all of them, obviously, as otherwise Taggart would be about bunnies and cupcakes, but by and large.
I was up visiting the flat there to do a couple of odd jobs. I painted a door badly, shake-n-vac'd the hallway and weeded the window boxes. I then remembered that one of the windows was stuck, and set out looking for a handyman.
This turned out to be really easy. I found him through my local hardware store (actually, there are quite a lot of hardware stores in the East End of Glasgow. I go to the one that looks the least like a serial killer's cash-n-carry). The man behind the counter (he's called Jim. We're on first name terms now) said "Sounds like you need Cory. You'll find him in the pub."
Information: I have never before set out to deliberately find a handyman in a pub. I have stumbled across a few, but those were happy accidents. And anyway this wasn't one of *those* pubs - this was a bunker built out of concrete and fruit machines nestling in the shadow of an electricity sub-station. But still, it was thrilling to walk up to a bar and said "Oh hello! I'm looking for Cory."
The barmaid blinked and pointed to a corner. "Thanks awfully," I said. As I trotted away I could hear her eyes rolling. You see, there's a problem with my diction in Glasgow. I go from being a bit 1940s Newsreader to full on Fauntleroy. It's like I've bumbled in from the Drones club, policeman's helmet tucked proudly under one arm.
Cory turned out to be a tiny man anywhere between 30 and 90. I explained my problem. "I may be round later on this afternoon," he said. Then he looked at his pint, considering it carefully. "Actually, make that tomorrow morning."
"Really?" I said. "That would be utterly lovely."
I figured he wouldn't turn up. But he did and he spent a merry morning teaching me how to repair double glazed windows. At the end of which he charged me a tenner. Do you hear that, London plumber who has been charging me hundreds of pounds not to mend my boiler for five months? Do you? Ten pounds. I gave him twenty out of shock.
To celebrate, I went out to buy bacon. A thing I can't get over is that one bacon roll is £1.20 and two are £1.40. This appeals to both my parsimony and my gluttony. I managed to get most of the way through my order without a problem, but then we reached the following exchange:
Ed (for it is his cafe): Sauce?
Me: Ooh, tomato ketchup please!
Ed: Where are you from?
Me: Er, London. (puts on you-got-me face) How could you tell?
Ed: I couldn't. I just knew you weren't from around here.
Ed hands me the bacon rolls and, as I turn to go, he says "Look after yourself." It's as though the next scene will feature Blythe Duff staring down at my headless corpse.
Instead, Fawkes takes me out for quid-a-drink night with friends (Even the pubs here are pound shops). The conversation briefly touches on whether they've seen more dead bodies than seals in the Clyde.
At the bar, a Very Weird transvestite is talking to a politely bored barlady. The transvestite is very small, with a very deep voice that has all the vibrancy of an automated train annuncement. "I'm planning on doing some more stand-up," he intones. "I don't know what quite yet but it's bound to be crazy. For instance, I was thinking about things that two men would never say to each other at a bus-stop...." He tails off. "I mean, you could have that, couldn't you?"
Downstairs in the gents, two lesbians are kissing while using the hand-dryer. Glasgow lesbians are like this - they're everywhere and they are very happy. So happy that they can't even stop kissing while surrounded by drunk men urinating optimistically towards the urinals. Above them is a poster advertising an upcoming PA by Adam Rickett. It is apparently a great way to celebrate Valentine's Weekend, and it is free to get in, with amazing drink offers. I don't know why I mention this, but I'm oddly fixated by the juxtaposition of two people expressing their sexuality with careless pride and Adam Rickett.
Upstairs I sip at a shooter of black zambucca to hoots of derision. One of the people I'm drinking with gets a message on Grindr. It begins: "ASL?". We hoot at this - who says that any more? The next message he gets is "Cool. Blow job? You look hot."
Baffled, he shows us his Grindr profile pic. It is of the squinty bridge in the docks. He shrugs.
Yet more proof that Glasgow people are friendlier.