Glasgow has the lowest life-expectancy in the UK and one in four men won’t make it to 65. Once upon a time Glasgow was Europe’s fourth largest city with a population of over one million. Since 1960 the population has halved. Here’s my theory; one half ate the other half, probably deep-fried.
Now I’m not being ‘Fat-ist’, but there are a lot of large people in Glasgow. A stiff breeze coming off the Clyde means a danger of wind-filled bingo wings* carrying half the population away in a migratory flock bound for Inverness.
Okay, maybe I am being ‘Fat-ist’. However, as I’m a couch potato and not far off being spherical myself, I am allowed to use the ‘F’ word. That’s how it works, isn’t it?
In Glasgow the booze doesn’t help either, other than to provide some possibility of ballast in the aforementioned strong wind scenario. Glasgow has a drink problem that makes my evening sherry look like a small drop in an ocean of strong cider.
Having just made myself a prime candidate for a Glasgow Kiss**, if I ever go back there, what are the city’s positives?
Well they had the architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who designed some very nice buildings and cafes. I can heartily recommend the black pudding and scrambled eggs (580 calories) at his Willow Tea Rooms. He also designed one of the world’s architectural masterpieces, The Glasgow School of Art. Sadly it burned down recently. This was after an employee lost control of a chip-pan he’d been using for a mid-morning Mars Bar (260 calories normally, 1200 calories if deep-fried)
Glasgow has also got a number of very good art galleries with some superb collections. Their artworks were left to them by wealthy benefactors who made their stashes from shipbuilding and other heavy engineering.
‘Heavy Engineering’ doesn’t describe the manufacture of mobility scooters, circular coffins or reinforced chairs. It is a collective term for the manufacturing industries that we used to have in Great Britain a long time ago. This was before we decided we all wanted to be eyebrow-threaders, baristas or financial consultants.
The rest of the world protected their engineering industries and continued to make cars, ships and widgets whilst we started to rely on service industries and banking. I mean, what could possibly go wrong with that strategy?
In today’s recessionary times most of our own population can no longer afford the service-industries that our fragile economy has come to rely upon. Thus our eyebrows go ragged, we’re forced to buy Aldi Rich Roast instead of Starbucks and we have sod-all in the way of finances for anybody to consult on, other than to say, ‘Your benefit payment will be with you on Thursday’.
Glasgow is a good illustration of this. The shipyards are gone and there are many cheap retail outlets that have taken their place. Walk down any street in Glasgow and you’ll see all the familiar names like Pound Land, Greggs, Pound Wise, Greggs, Pound Shop, Greggs, Pound World and Greggs. You might even be lucky enough to get yourself a half-price oven-fresh Cornish Pasty (500 calories) at a new Greggs they’ve just opened. If you can force your way through the queue.
Notes for our overseas friends:
*Bingo Wings: Pendulous flaps of fat hanging down from the upper arms of those partaking in less energetic sports, like bingo.
** Glasgow Kiss: A traditional greeting in Scotland, wherein foreheads and noses are touched in a passionate manner. This can get over emotional and may result in one of the participants requiring medical attention.