Thanks to a family curse called “family,” I’ve been going to Glasgow every year since I was born and that fucking place just gets weirder and weirder and weirder. I mean, I love it. Every single person in that city is funny as shit but they’re also violent drunks who will snap at the drop of a Tam. Here’s ten memorable moments disguised as quotes from what used to be the manufacturing capital of the world and is now the unemployed knife fight capital of the world.

This article says, “A man claims doctors screwed up by making him piss out of his arse and shit through his cock…”

I have no idea why Glaswegians are so funny. It’s not the booze. Russians drink 100 times as much and they are about as funny as a nuclear war. I first realized this trait when I was about eight-years-old and I was running for the bus with my Gran. The driver stopped the bus and said the above quote. Nobody in the bus laughed though. It wasn’t good enough. They’re a tough audience. I do stand up there sometimes and it’s like playing classical music to the monarchy back when they’d kill people who weren’t amusing.


When a young Canadian boy goes to Europe and sees other young boys playing soccer, he thinks crazy thoughts like, “Oooh, this looks fun. Let’s play.” Then you get closer and one of the kids barks the above quote out like it’s going to cure his rabies. Luckily, my Scottish dad told me a secret trick to avoid this call to arms. You say “Partick Thistle” which is a team so shitty everyone assumes you’re insane and the bullies walk away disgusted. Phew.


3 - “PAKI.”
Two old, fat, Glaswegians busted this out on an even older Sikh as we boarded the overnight bus from Glasgow to London. The Sikh had no idea what just happened but his son did and shit was getting real crucial real fast. The kid said he was going to get “Those Scottish bastards” at King’s Cross and started listing all these English murderers he knows.

That night I saw the same Scottish tracksuit sneak past me to where the angry Sikh’s son was sitting. I was only 18 but was at least ready to kind of try to prevent the murder. Before I could not save the day however, the Scot leaned into the “Paki’s” son and said, “Here you, fancy a bit of whisky?” The kid said, “Yeah, ow right” in his thick, East London accent and by the time we rolled into Victoria Station they were all singing “Flower of Scotland” at the top of their lungs. That’s how deep Scotland’s racism goes. About a fifth of a glass.


It’s in this video at about 5:00

Has anyone checked out the lyrics to that song by the way? Only Scotland would have a national anthem that includes a line about sending the English home to think again. They hate the English in exactly the same way Canada hates America and England cares about as much as America does which is not at all.


I was pissing next to an ugly guy who had a big, black, beard and he kept trying to engage me in some kind of dialogue. This is to be avoided in Glasgow because the odds are one in two you’re going to end up in a fight. First he said, “Are you tryin’ to grow a beard?” To which I replied, “Sort of.” Which led him to say, “That’s no a beard mate. This is a fuckin’ beard.” After a pause he added, “I’m fuckin’ ugly, eh?” Which is a tricky question because I’m either contradicting him or calling him ugly. I went with, “Sort of” again and, as he shook the piss off his foreskin, he came closer and whispered, “At least ah’m no a darkie.” Then he touched his finger to his nose which is a gesture I forgot the meaning of. For the rest of the evening, every time we made eye contact across the bar he’d hold his pint up as a cheers and mouth the words, “No a darkie.”


A Darkie in Glasgow meets a mime.

…and she sexually assaults him.

I actually brought a Darkie to Glasgow once and all hell broke loose. They didn’t want to fight him. They wanted to FUCK him. Like, fuck his dick off and then take it outside and suck on it. At the first pub we went to, I couldn’t help but notice women had begun to creep towards our table like stray jaguars cautious of their own imminent attack. There was a woman slumped over the juke box like my guest was catnip and another girl slowly making her way along the wall. Between my teeth I quietly said to my pal, “Are you catching this?” To which he replied, “We need to get the fuck out of here.”

We escaped out the back door like The Beatles and ended up at The Arches where hundreds of bodyguards wait to throw out anyone who even thinks about hash. Within about five minutes of being there, a mind-melting 10 (rare in Glasgow) walked up to my friend and said, “Here, you married?” After he said no, she explained her friends had made a bet to see who was “gonnee get shagged furst and I’d rather just cut to the chase, yu know?” Once again, he was on the verge of being raped. It reminds me of what my mom said when those suicide bombers drove their flame cars into the Glasgow airport, “What kind of eedjit comes to Glesca lookin’ fe virgins?” Throw ethnic ambiguity in the mix and you basically need a cattle prod to get out the pub.

My friend never ended up closing the deal because we were both staying at my Gran’s and he was too cheap to get a hotel. He regrets that move to this day.


Scottish sitcoms are a tough sell in the States. My wife will watch Still Game with me if we put the subtitles on but Rab C. Nesbitt tapes are too old to have subtitles so I’m forced to go those alone. My favorite Rab moment is during a Christmas special where he goes over to a ghetto blaster that has one of those eject buttons with a cassette tray that comes out in slow motion. He closes it and pushes eject a few times before turning to the camera and saying the above line.

I still say it at lease once a week.

(NB: Ah cannee find it but here’s a good Rab all the same.)


Nothing is scarier than Glasgow kids. Oooh Batman’s worst enemy is a guy who had the sides of his mouth cut open? That’s simply a bad night in Glasgow. In fact, they call it a fucking Glasgow Smile! It’s rare to see a young kid without a severe facial scar and this tradition goes back generations. So trust me. Steer clear of the wains.

One winter night, I went to see Stiff Little Fingers and was bummed to discover it was sold out. Before I could leave, I was surrounded by almost a dozen kids ready to sell me the same ticket. “Thirteen quid!” they shouted like they were fighting words. I calmly explained (in a Scottish accent, I’m not opening no “where you from?” can of worms) that I would like to see SLF for ten pounds but not a pence more so I’m not really worth a long negotiation. They saw I was just as cheap as them and reluctantly agreed. As I handed over the money, one of them yelled the above line and they all got a little closer.

What was I thinking bringing an umbrella out? Wearing rain gear in Glasgow is like wearing a Klansman uniform in Harlem. During a recent Tortoise tour, guitarist Dave Pajo was chased down Glasgow’s Sauchiehall St. and almost killed for daring to wear rain gear.

I threw my extra pound coin at them and ran up the stairs with my life intact. I threw my umbrella in the garbage and have never used one since.


Bar conversations in Glasgow are bizarre. All they talk about is drink. They’ll tell you McEwan’s has a new master brewer and he used to be at Guinness so we’ll see how that changes things won’t we? No. They’ll also invariably look at your pint with contempt and say, “That’s a woman’s pint” before offering you there’s and saying, “Here, try this.”

If you can get away from booze the only other topic is Billy Connolly. Holy shit do they ever hate his guts. They won’t admit they’re mad because he abandoned them for LA the way Sean Connery did (“Connery’s no Scottish. He’s as Irish as the pigs of Dougherty”) and will insist it’s because he resorted to “blue” comedy. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a Glaswegian say, without a trace of irony, “He didnae have to go for all that fuckin’ swearing an that. It’s a fuckin’ shame, so it is.” After a few drinks this gets a lot more intense and it’s not unusual to hear something like, “See if he was sitting here next to me right now? I’d fucking stick a knife into him. Like that.” No you wouldn’t. You’d be fawning over him like a fucking schoolgirl and you’d talk about it every night for the rest of your life.

In the midst of all this patter you have to watch the living shit out of who’s round it is. A Scotsman will never finish his pint if it’s not his round and that often leads to a tenth of a pint rotting in someone’s hand as he waits for the guy whose turn it is to take notice. One time my uncle had had enough and said the above quote which made me laugh so hard I did a McEwan’s spit take.


10 – “PSYCHE.”
This is a really esoteric one to end on but here goes. Glaswegians are cheap, it’s true, but you would be too if you lived in a city with no jobs and the most expensive everything in the world. I’ve always said to people who want to know what it’s like there, “Just get in the shower, turn on the cold, and rip up all your money.” You could also punch yourself in the face if you really wanted the total experience. All you can do there is drink and, as I just pointed out, buying rounds is a way of life, so you need to gather your coins like Scrooge McDuck.

This creates a genetic tick where money cannot be thrown away no matter what and when I was last there everyone I met was playing this game where you go up to a guy with a fistful of change, say “here” and walk away. The Glaswegian has no choice but to put the ten pounds of change (literally and figuratively) into his sagging pocket. This joke makes no sense anywhere but Glasgow and wouldn’t even work anywhere else but being there and watching it happen is a joy that makes me want to hug the whole city.

I kind of get a very brief moment of it here. At the very beginning of the last video here you can see a guy with a handful of change say, “Did you just psyche me?”

MORE ON GLASGOW HERE (Part 1), HERE (Part 2), HERE (Part 3), HERE (Part 4), and HERE (Part 5).