Tales of the City #9

The scene is Great Western Road, at 10 am – just after morning prayer. A street cleaner in a council jacket runs down the street hollaring at me after morning prayer

Street Cleaner: “Oi, oi!”

I turn wondering what I’ve done.

Self: “Um, yes?”

Street Clearner: “Was it youse that was in the paper? It was, it was youse”

I wait expecting a stream of Glasgow invective.

His eyes light up, he beams a toothless smile and responds: “Hey man, hey, that was just great.”

He’s referring to this piece in the Herald.


  1. Rosemary Hannah says

    Glasgow shall flourish by the preaching of the word …

  2. A fine modern example of the second-person plural being used as a term of respect.

  3. Zebabee says

    The World shall flourish by the preaching of the word. Long may Glasgow lead the way

  4. Susan Sheppard Hedges says


  5. Rosemary Hannah says

    ” St Mungo (who was named originally Kentigern) is said to have preached the sermon containing the words “Lord, let Glasgow Flourish by the preaching of the word.” The thrusting Victorian city truncated its motto into the more secular “Let Glasgow Flourish” which is still in use today. “

  6. I’m all for minimalist theatre but this characterisation disturbs me. Perhaps it’s meant to. Teeth, occupation and dialect are indeed class markers in the UK and maybe that’s the point in this encounter of a celebrated man of the cloth with a rough diamond and the joy of praise rather than the expected aggression. I wonder whether it’s my anti-platonism playing up, that I look beneath the cloth and see a man called Kevin (The Herald certainly sees you as a man of the people) and beneath the hi viz jacket and see an unnamed man and wonder if they truely encountered each other not just as ideal types but as people, as men, as Ich und Du – as ‘masel an yersel’ could be translated. (Intrigued as I am by Seph’s suggestion, I’ve never heard the 2nd person plural used for respect in Scots but this use of the reflexive is common.) Class is such an opaque perception filter and, having in my own life performed similar parts to these portrayed, I hope that each was able to see the other and in this brief encounter on the street see, in eye mirroring eye, a cleaner more Godly vision.

  7. Craig Nelson says

    I found this a very moving anecdote. It sort of made my Christmas. Thanks for the telling. No commentary needed.

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