Author(s): 'The Driver'
Copyright holder(s): Name withheld
This document contains strong or offensive language
If the city of Glasgow could be embodied in a man, he would probably be a grubby middle aged drunk lying on the pavement in his own foul excreta, begging passers by for the price of a cup of tea. The more sympathetic souls who offer a few compassionate coppers would be reeled in by the sozzled bum's most extravagant hard luck stories and be compelled to dig a little deeper into their pockets to salve their own conscience.
Large corporations actually use similar tactics when they see you with your wallet in your hand. They call it 'cross-selling to customers in spending mode'. However, the major difference is that even if you decline that little bottle of shoe protector with your new Nikes, the shop assistant doesn't usually stick a loaded hypo in your face and make off with your wallet, cell phone and i-pod.
But don't worry, you could probably catch him up easily enough. After all, if Mr Glasgow's circulatory system represented the road transport network of this God forsaken city, then every artery of his would have a thrombotic blockage of double parked cars who's owners 'just fancied going in for a chippy '; every vein would foster a convulsive embolism of tail-backs at long abandoned road works; and every capillary vessel would be calcified by tortuous speed bumps, rumble strips, chicanes and strategically placed bollards. Yes, just follow along until he grinds to a halt with an inevitable stroke, then kick him over and take your belongings back without a twinge of sympathy.
But even as you stood over the wasted cretin laughing, you would notice that every wheezed out breath from his rattling pulmonary system would be thick with carcinogenic diesel fumes that make this city amongst the most polluted in the UK. My least favourite odour from Mr Glasgow's cocktail of gagging halitosis has to be the toasted aroma of malted barley from the Tennents brewery on Duke Street. I don't mind the smell in itself, but I hate what the smell means - another batch of piss water is being brewed up - the anarchic consequences of which are usually visited upon my bus.
"I'm only goin' two stoaps, pal," said a particularly soiled Mr Glasgow as he boarded at Partick bridge. A life of drink, drudgery and nicotine addiction had cut it's curves into his bulbous round face giving him the rumpled look of an over-ripe cauliflower.
"Seventy five pence," said I.
He flung some change into the slot and took his ticket. But instead of affixing his arse to one of the many seats available on my decker, he just stood beside my cab mumbling as we trundled into the city. Occasionally, he turned round and shouted "What?" as though someone had called him, but nobody had.
I put up with his nonsense because he said he was only going two stops, but by the time we had reached the city centre, Mr Glasgow was still on the bus and was now in full flow: "Look at all these fuckin' cars! It's a disgrace! These buses are gonna rule the fuckin' roads. All these cars will be oot the city in future! I'll tell you something, see them fuckin' grand pianos?"
"Huh?" I said, coz you don't see many grand piano's driving down Renfield Street.
"I've lifted many o' them fuckin' grand pianos doon the stairs."
Oh, really? How traffic congestion could put him in mind of his last burglary I'm not sure, but he was beginning to get interesting so I let him continue. And continue he did.
In fact I let him continue his foul mouthed monologue all the way to Rutherglen. For the whole way he rabbled on about humping those 'fucking' grand pianos down the 'fucking' stairs and loading them into the back of the 'fucking' van. But at Farm Cross he became somewhat apologetic: "I'm sorry if I've offended you ladies and gentlemen, I'm a wee bit drunk. I'd just like to say to the whole bus, all the best! Coz, ye see, I'm not angry, I'm just upset. I'm going to bury my mate tomorrow." As if to clarify this he said, "He's deid!"
He then started pointing at people on the bus and saying: "Everyone else has got mates. He's got mates! [point] She's got mates! [point] They've got mates! [point] But my mate, [points to himself] he's deid! Eighty two years old he was, sixty years as a removal man. We used to strip doon them grand pianos and lift them doon the stairs into the van. Young boys these days can't lift fuck all!"
Then, without pausing for breath, he shouted, "Oh, fuck! I don't want tae talk tae those bastards!" and scuttled up the stairs of the decker. The 'bastards' to whom he was referring were three revenue inspectors from the bus company who were waiting to do a passenger ticket check on my bus. Mr Glasgow was for it now! His fare was up ages ago and even hiding at the back seat of the top deck wasn't going to save his sorry ass.
"Have your tickets ready for inspection, please," bellowed one of the revenue squad as they all clumped aboard with their high-viz jackets, shiny shoes and clip boards. The dozen or so passengers sitting downstairs fumbled for their tickets, while upstairs Mr Glasgow sat alone.
Truth be told he was wise to bolt up the stairs. While downstairs with the relatively clean upholstery, he stuck out like a sore thumb. But upstairs at the back, amongst the soiled seats, fag ends, cans of beer, fish and chip wrappers, tossed newspapers and general grime, it was difficult to tell where the bus grot ended and he began. He could actually maintain total invisibility just by sitting absolutely still.
"I'm afraid your Zone Card doesn't cover this zone, you'll have to pay an extra ninety five pence," said an inspector to a frightened little woman. She nervously paid up and the inspector put the money into the coin slot. Now, having dealt with the lower deck to their satisfaction, two of the inspectors marched upstairs...
As soon as their little heads appeared, Mr Glasgow launched into a magnificent vocal extravaganza of abuse: "FUCK OFF! Don't you even fuckin' think about comin' anywhere near me ya bastards!"
"We just want to check-" started an inspector.
"FUCK OFF!" bellowed Mr Glasgow. "Don't even fuckin' start me! Don't fuckin' start me! You got me 'afore, didn't ye? Cunts! Just get away from me! Get fuckin' away from me! FUCK OFF RIGHT NOO!"
The revenue inspectors came marching straight back down the stairs. "Just carry on, driver," said an inspector and all three beat a hasty retreat off the bus.
This had to go down as one of the coolest things I had ever seen on my bus. These revenue inspectors frequently come storming on to my bus like the fuckin gestapo. To them, the driver is under just as much suspicion as the passengers. I've had comments like "Straighten your tie, driver. Smile at your passengers, driver. Get yer gums roon ma plums, driver!" Piss off!
How satisfying to have these power mongering, ass-licking, company men put in their place by the very embodiment of the city of Glasgow. They may pick on easy targets for the odd ninety five pence here and there, but there are simply too many Mr Glasgow's out there for them to ever win the war. Too many! A whole damned city's worth!
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Cite this Document
Mr Glasgow. 2023. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 7 December 2023, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=1651.
"Mr Glasgow." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2023. Web. 7 December 2023. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=1651.
The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Mr Glasgow," accessed 7 December 2023, http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=1651.
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The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2023. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk.