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  • Growing up in Glasgow in my day meant it was almost expected that you would either be a Protestant or a Catholic, be part of a gang and, as you grew up, got into crime (or at least took advantage of any opportunity that came up, to earn), started drinking and 'hanging out with the lads', (usually in some favored pub).

    The alternative was you grew up, stayed law abiding, worked all your days 'for the man', had a wee ciggie and a pint at the weekend and, if you were lucky enough to avoid a heart attack, retired to spend a few years trying to survive on the meagre pension which the fact cat government had decided was all you needed to live on.

    I took the middle route.

    Raised a Catholic, I stopped practising. Never did get into the gang culture nor the drinking one for that matter and never once broke the law. The only visit I had to the 'big hoose' (as the local prison is called) was on an exhange visit with the hospital prison warders from the hospital I worked in at the time. That once looking in from the outside was enough to convince me how lucky I was the route I had chosen.

    I never once felt unsafe walking the streets anywhere, even after dark. Only once was I nearly mugged but thankfully, I was a faster runner than they were. (Smoking is bad for their health!). Only one time, for four years, did my family and I endure the experience of a gang of *Neds who, as it happened, lived in a flat above us. These cretisn thought it was funny to throw a brick through our window as a 'welcome to the area' gift when we first moved in, then went on to throw my fathers invalid tricycle on its side and generally act like the moronic individuals they were. The council were impotent and uncaring (as they still are) and the police had their hands tied to do anything constructive due to the pressure of 'do gooders' who believed that having anti-social families living amongst decent law abiding ones would make the ant-social ones (miraculously?) behave and become better citizens. Yea right!

    (* Neds = Non Educated Delinquent's)

    For all it's unsavoury characters however, Glasgow has ten to overshadow each one. The city began as a rough, tough working class place and still retains such areas, despite the city fathers' attempts to market Glasgow as an up and coming, multi-cultural, European, wine bar filled tourist venue. It is all of that, and more.

    Glasgow is an enigma, a concept, a living breathing thing which defies all attempts to adequately, fully pin it down to one definition. Each individual may have their own definition of the place, based on their own experience of it. It has been many things to many people, and will continue to be for the time being, as it continues to develop on it's journey to becoming something new.

    Whatever it may be, to whomever, to me, it is my Hometown, where I grew up and, no matter how it changes, it will always be in me for, to be a Glaswegain takes much more than mere residency. It is a mental outlook, an attitude towarsd life and people. Glasgow is a way of being that only natives of the city can ever truly appreciate!
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