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Idon’t know anyone who ever met Matt McGinn, but I know thousands who wish they had. And I know many others who could have been Matt McGinn, and hundreds who were. I remember a radiogram in a caravan in the late 1960s and an album of songs the likes of which the world never heard before, or since - Oh, take me back to the jungle, let me swing on the trees, away from the rattle and the rumble, I just want to be free. I learned only the other day that Matt McGinn was an Oxford graduate; I was aware of his time at an approved school, but somehow his academic achievements passed me by.

I haven’t been too hot on Glasgow’s geography either; there were notorious, infamous names, numbers, statistics, newspaper headlines - all could tell a tale of a human landscape, side splitting and heart breaking simultaneously, but I remember that 70s Glasgow was as exciting as it was scary to a wee teuchter like me - an unforgettable trip by train to the pantomime at the Kings, our wonderment at the Krazy House, double decker buses, women in high heels, mini skirts and leopard skin jackets, painted nails and perfume; men in Harringtons, or Crombie coats and sights which must have been commonplace to the locals though to a visitor aged nine with heather hanging out her ears were jaw droppers. Men in platform shoes, winkle pickers, Jesus sandals, with embroidered bellbottom jeans, spivvy, cool as get out or rough as a badger’s arse and bearded boys with guitars and pouches of Golden Virginia belted it out like Frankie Miller as their pals across the street blasted on the pipes. And there was The Barras. Glasgow was cosmopolitan, hopeful, gallus and depressing in equal measures.

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iScot Magazine
October 2017

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