Friday, November 8, 2019

Post Bouchercon Post

After doing some googling, it  turns out that Dallas  has topped the list of the most boring cities in America – once in 2010 and again in 2015.
I’m sure that many exciting and cultural events go on in the city, but they are  not obvious.

The book depository from the hotel window.

While we were there, Glasgow was voted the cultural and creative centre of the UK.
I’m sure that many exciting and cultural events go on in Glasgow, but they are not obvious.

The front of the hotel. Sums it up.

 This was from a European study of 190 cities in 30 European countries and Glasgow was first for ‘openness, tolerance and trust’   and for ‘cultural participation and attractiveness.’
So that is all good.

Hotel entrance

I have to say  that  I was in Glasgow for a friend’s book launch the Thursday before we left  to fly out to Chicago.
 It takes me ten minutes to walk from Spooky Towers to the train station and then it’s ten minutes on the train right into Glasgow Central. The Waterstone’s,  where the event was taking place,  is about three minutes walk from the station.

looking up always proved interesting.

At 6pm at night, in late October, Glasgow was dark and drizzly. And dangerous.

The last morning

I think most cities have a dodgy area around the train station, it’s transient  and open. It will stay light and probably warm during the night. It’s an easy place for people to hang around. No questions asked.

The empty registration area

I couldn’t begin to count the lost and the lonely  I encountered on that three minute walk. I was with an ex Royal Marine and his spidey senses were on alert just as much as mine were.

The empty silent auction area.
The MIE basket did very well!
We went onto two sheets of paper.

The drunk and incapable, the drugged out their skulls,  the bleeding, the unconscious, and wide-eyed homeless begging, a Staffie wrapped up in a blanket beside them. More than one   argument that was shortly to flare to violence. The Artful Dodgers bouncing between passers by asking for spare change,  though it was difficult to understand  what they were saying as they had no teeth and a very high blood alcohol level.

Nobody left.

Feral is  a good word for it.

Nobody signing

It would seem from the great days of the Commonwealth Games, the city has been in  a downward spiral. The fortune of all cities is in a stare of constant flux, the ebb and flow of investment, of social care and I suppose Glasgow is rock bottom at the moment.

The book shop closing down

We could blame the conservative government but Scotland has been in the control of the nationalists for many years now. – government wise I mean. I can’t remember it ever being this bad, and from a Govanite, that’s saying something!

The final coffee

Paisley, where I work, was the murder capital of Scotland for many years due to it being a  major centre for illicit narcotics.  I work in one of the two main streets in Paisley and have walked down the high street once in the last ten years, too many drugged out zombies staggering around the central plaza. Denise Mina once told a joke that   there’s a sign on the road out of Paisley, it says ‘don’t worry, we’ll get you next time.’
Funny, but true.

bookmarks, leaflets, all cast aside.

My friend is the councillor  for the area and says that there are no homeless people in Paisley. The council keeps 20 flats empty for emergency accommodation and all somebody has to do is call in at the   emergency housing unit and they will get a roof over their head. Two choose not to do this due to mental health issues I presume. The police and the locals know them, know where they will tend to be and keep an eye out for them, especially in the cold, wet winter.

More advertising …. cast aside.

So the homeless begging around the town centre, my friend says, are not from the town but the pickings are good in Paisley as the resident homeless have houses- maybe not for long but they do have somewhere they can go. The town centre has fallen prey to professional beggars, usually young women,  usually Eastern European. They can be seen being dropped off in a car at their pitch then picked up when their shift is over. 

Empty boxes.

Many cite the ethos behind that as a reason for voting for Brexit.

Still some good coffee left.

My editor had an interesting take on Brexit. Being a Londoner  she knew first hand of the problems the immigration has caused there, which, she correctly said ‘most Scots are immune to’. She quoted a huge number of Poles that had appeared in London. I couldn’t believe the number she quoted  ( it was huge) but, as she said, it is a significant enough number to cause issues within the NHS in those areas. She can’t get an appointment with her GP as the  lists are too full . The education  system is failing  as there are too many children – suddenly.

IMHO one of the best panels was kept to the last morning.

And it’s not the migrating population that’s the issue - it’s the lack of investment into the infrastructure  so it can cope with a sudden peak in an incoming population and that population may need some support to settle.  I think it’s the end result of the lack of that support that may see us leaving the European Union and the lack of financial input has been a constant feature  of the government of this country for the last fifteen years or so, a government led  by exactly those who will benefit when ( if?) Brexit happens.

Jeff being sensible talking about an American writing about a Greek.

While we were away, there seems to be a groundswell of support for Corbyn's Labour government,  something that would be unthinkable six months ago. His costed manifesto, protecting the NHS, one years maternity leave ( paid), free university tuition, free prescriptions, increasing the minimum wage to £10 an hour so it ties up with the living wage, banning the use of animals in medical experimentation  and exploring  the nationalisation of drug manufacture. (Our NHS pays a fortune to the makers of gabapentine etc so that will be an interesting one!!)
The  multinationals hate this of course, but the budget is costed and agreed by most leading economists. For the upper wage earners ( yours truly), earning £80 000 per annum, it works out at  an increase in a tax bill of less than £30 a month.
That's not much really,  to prop up those in society that are falling through the gaps.
What Corbyn really needs to do is get after the biggies - Amazon etc....

While a South African and a South African/American talk about writing a Botswanan (?) and a Vietnamese American.
The moderator was spot on for this panel.
The other panellist wrote, I think an American in many different countries.
The subject of language came up, and the American aversion to vowels.
I had to 'deplane' in the States. I saw something that had been 'deinstalled'.
I am now going to 'deblog'.

Here are some pics of a sloth eating his dinner. Outside of Bouchercon, this was an exciting thing in Dallas.

 Caro Ramsay 08 11 12


  1. The interweaving of Bouchercon photos/comments with the Glasgow/Brexit/social-commentary is almost poetic in some way my mind is grasping for but failing to close fingers on. Jeff would probably say, "What's new?"

  2. So you didn't think that the most unusual thing about that blog was the sudden and totally irrelevant pictures of the sloth?

    Maybe I should have de-italicised/italicized? ;)

    1. Not at all, it fit right in with your frequently whimsical compositions. Plus, I didn't want to draw forth any comparisons between the pictures of the Bouchercon Sloth and pictures of certain other Bouchercon Panelists...

    2. Sloth? I thought it a despelling of "slouth."

    3. Sloth spelled with an a and an i! But not two i's . That would be an ayeaye. Which is a different animal. Or an agreeable scotsman.

    4. Oh, yeah, now I understand everything, Carou.

  3. You must have had a bad time in Florida to produce such an uncharacteristic blog. And I was just about to plan a trip to Glasgow and surrounds.By the way, I liked the sloth because it reminded me of Scrabble - a very useful word is 'ai'. Sending cheer from sunny but cold Minneapolis.

    1. If you come to Glasgow, I shall lend you Mathilda- she's a wee Glasgow brown dog as Billy Connolly would say- always busy and moving as if they are five minutes late.

  4. Oh, Caro, I love the contrast between the vivid picture your words paint of vibrant, fascinating, and beautiful Glasgow and photos of BORING Dallas. My brother lived there for a number of years and I visited him as well as being forced to take several business trips to the BigD. I got the satire from the moment you launched into the short distances in between interesting things in Glasgow. In Dallas, on the other hand, one has to travel GREAT distances to get next to nowhere. From where my brother lived it was a 45 minute ride to anywhere else you might have to, much less want to go. Home to the supermarket—45 mins. Same to the church, or the shopping mall, or A bakery. Or your office. Or the movie theater. I would guess to the library. I think they might have one. UGH!

    1. I did try to find the vibrant centre of Dallas and then I was told it didn't have one. You were missed though! Are you going to make Sacramento?

  5. I’m sorry I missed the discussion on the American aversion to vowels. I’ve always thought when we color, honor, flavor, etc. we were just being efficient and saving all of those pesky “u” letters for our friends across the pond.

  6. I thought you might have missed that panel as you were too busy writing...….

  7. Finding the vibrant center is always a challenge. I know, there goes the sensible label.

    1. Wait just one second... was that a double entendre? Or are we slip-sliding-away into R-rated territory?

    2. Your mind goes where other's fear to tread.

    3. That's me: mind-walker extraordinaire.

  8. Caro, I was sorry not to see all of you. And YES! I will be in Sacramento.

  9. Boring? I have wanted to visit Glasgow since I started reading about that city's eccentricities on this blog, and read a few mysteries set in that city. (According to Gordon Ferris, it even a destination for Jewish people fleeing WWII.) And I love that there is Scottish Yiddish. (Wow!) And Denise Mina's novels, too.
    From photos of the various book and other festivals held there, it sounds so interesting and full of all sorts of fun.
    And as far as the NHS, isn't the Westminster government cutting back on funding essential services, like health care and education? I have read and heard about those costs being slashed. Yet I have heard about how great the NHS is from several bloggers.
    And Brexit: It seems like the campaign for it was so anti-immigrant and racist.
    The government should fund all of these neeed programs and the xenophobia should be opposed. It sounds like over here across the pond, unfortunately.