Saturday, 30 November 2013

The Clutha And John McGarrigle.

       By now everybody will have heard the tragic news of the police helicopter crashing onto the roof of the Clutha pub in Glasgow. All our thoughts, for some considerable time, will stay with all those friends and relatives of the injured and the dead. The Clutha along with the Scotia, just across the road, were much more than places for a drink, together they formed an institution, an oasis of poetry, music, debate, banter and laughter. Those who visited either of them once, usually became life members of both, you could slip seamlessly from one to the other, perhaps even several times in a night. I was a great fan of the Scotia poetry nights, and it was there that I met John McGarrigle. John didn't have an easy life, but he lived it with energy. I always thought that in his poetry, he could capture the full spectrum of human emotions, he could come up with the witty, ridiculously funny, stupidly funny and the profoundly moving. Sadly he will write no more, as John was one of those who died in that dreadful event. 

Old Young Man.

Unemployment. Rising prices
Never bothered me before
Now, struggling for subsistance
I slowly realised my wasted years
steeped in ignorance

The brashness of youth has gone
Leaving behind an emptiness
not easy to define
Old before my time
I yearn for contentment

Where has the young lad gone
That angry young man
That shook his fist in careless anger
At any unfair society?
Shall we ever see him again

Write Nice Things.

last night
as I sat by my typewriter
a junkie 
climbed in my window,
I was writing a poem
a very interesting little poem
about a flower that I'd seen
that day,
the junkie battered my wife
stole all of our money
and when he left
took with him
my television set
and my hi fi unit,
this unfortunate little incident
rather disturbed me
it really put me off writing
my little poem
about the birds and bees
and the flower that I'd seen
so, I wrote about the wind and the trees

Two of John's poems from his little book, Glasgow's McGarrigle. Fat Cat Publications, ISBN 187 1009 014

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  1. Let's not allow our minds to get befuddled. Here are the facts: THE POLICE HAVE KILLED AT LEAST 8 PEOPLE BY ACCIDENT, at one of the main left-wing watering-holes in Glasgow, and they've said "THANKS" not "SORRY".

    If the chief constable had any decency, he'd kill himself. This happened on his watch. Instead, he says THANKS to the "people of Glasgow" for their "acts of kindness".

    There doesn't have to be an "inquiry" to determine that it was a POLICE helicopter that crashed. The police are responsible for how and where they fly their helicopters, for who they hire as pilots, for what equipment they buy and use, and for who they give maintenance contracts to. And the man at the top, where the buck stops, is chief constable Sir Stephen House, who hasn't even fucking said he's sorry.

    He has no right to thank people for their kindness. He's the head of the organisation that crashed the helicopter, for goodness sake!

    Can people please get their arses into gear.

    Now is the time to try to INCREASE CLASS DIVISIONS, not to wimp out and say we're all in the same boat. The BOSSES don't declare a class truce at a time like this. They try to increase their authority and power.

    Several people reading this will probably know people who were in the Clutha at the time of the crash, some of whom may have been killed. I used to live in Glasgow, and it is very possible that one or more people of my acquaintance were among the victims. I would have thought several Glasgow anarchists will know people who were there.

    Simply giving out the emergency number and saying their thoughts go out to everyone affected by the tragedy sounds very much as though they're presenting themselves as just another political, representative, official or civil-society organisation saying the same 'responsible' thing as all the others. They aren't THINKING straight.

    I am not saying they should 'capitalise' on it politically. I am saying we shouldn't lose our senses. Heighten them; don't dull them as we're supposed to.

    Here are the facts again: the POLICE did this, probably by accident. And they are saying THANK YOU to everyone who's helped, not SORRY, OOPSADAISY, WE'VE KILLED AT LEAST 8 PEOPLE BY ACCIDENT.

    And then there's the issue of what the fuck the helicopter was doing, which hasn't been revealed. Not carrying out surveillance by any chance, was it? I don't know, but it may have been. WHY hasn't the basic information been revealed, about who the helicopter was carrying, from where to where exactly. To give the senior cops time to cover their arses? That's what it sounds like. REMEMBER HILLSBOROUGH!

    1. I was open to reading your post and hearing your thoughts, not doubting their validity, but your post credence when you suggested that someone should kill themselves. Dialogue is necessary about this event indeed, dialogue not monologue.

    2. I have absolutely no idea what this comment is about, I have never suggested that someone should kill themselves. I was tempted to delete it, and may yet do so, but here it is, in the hope that you might apologise for the inaccurate suggestion.

    3. Dear annarky, my comment was to David Morrison, not you. I assumed that was clear as I replied to his post? He states in paragraph 2 'If the chief constable had any decency he'd kill himself'. That is what I was referring to in my comment. Apologies if unclear.

    4. Sorry for the misunderstanding, I guess I was getting tired. Thanks for the explanation.

    5. Nae bother annarky. :)

    6. All of the occupants of that helicopter died, which makes this comment pretty disgusting.

  2. I don't think anybody is saying there not questions to be asked, but at the moment, let's let the and bereaved and injured, have some time and space, to get through this. Then we can start the questions of what were they up to, and why the surveillance. There is a whole world of surveillance that has surreptitiously wrapped itself around our society, it is not a new phenomenon, so let's take a deep breath, pause with dignity and show some respect for our friends. Then we can get tore into the whole question of surveillance in this society.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. He was from Castlemilk in Glasgow..

  5. Please tell me this David Morrison character (above) wrote that despicable post from a rubber-lined room at Carstairs Prison. He implies that the helicopter deliberately crashed onto the Clutha Vaults because of some perceived 'class war'??

    He should be utterly ashamed of himself.

  6. David Morrison, you are bang out of order . What a prat.

  7. David Morrison, you should be ashamed. Unbelievable.

  8. i'm still wondering why morrison's post has not been deleted, yet another has, and one was threatened with it. i'm also not sure if the one that was threatened was morrison's post...

    1. The one that was threatened with being deleted was because I thought it was a totally false accusation, the writer explained the position and I apologised and thanked him for the explanation.
      The one that was deleted was simply one swear word, hardly a comment. If somebody has something to say, say it in a reasonable manner, a blog is a public place.

  9. My partner was killed 8 years ago in an incident at work because profit was more important than people. we were the last to know the details an i sat in a court with no bits of paper whilst the bosses had access to all court papers. John and Sammy were close friends of mine for over 30 years and i can guarantee that their families will suffer the same ignorance as mine. If these death machines are flying around our built up cities watching whoever it is they are watching an we are killed in the line of their duty then it is an act of class injury to one is an injury to all

  10. Ann, in your original post, you mention a book, Glasgow's McGarrigle, published by Fat Cats.... do you know where I could find a copy?

    1. It was published in 1988, so I'm not sure that it will still be in print.

  11. There is a small video contribution by John on a u tube video called Mud & Stars Glasgow in which he makes a wonderful contribution with regard the Glasgow housing...for those unable to make out the colours on his face it was the Glasgow Year of Culture logo

  12. The link to the above video is:

  13. What a low -life comment from a low -life scumbag,Morrison go and crawl back under the pile of dung you came from.You say you come from Glasgow,then I'm ashamed for this great City.