Tuesday, 16 February 2016


Just around the corner from my house is a block of flats
that's recently had some renovation work carried out (new roof
slates and rough-casting).  One of the paths that leads to the back
of the flats suffered some broken paving slabs in the process
and half of the path was replaced with nice new slabs.

I was struck by how fresh, clean and smooth they were
in comparison to the old ones, and it reminded me of how new
my town used to look back in the 1960s and '70s.  There are two
colours which I used to associate with my town - grey and green.
Grey (a nice light, bright grey) for the buildings, lampposts and
paths, and green for all the grassy areas and fields that
once existed (but now seem to have been built on).

Looking at the surviving half of the original path, it was
old and worn and discoloured, much as large portions of the
town now seem to be.  (And when I catch sight of my reflection,
as I also now seem to be.)   If only the place could recapture that
'fresh and new' look it once had, as too much of it appears a
little shabby and dilapidated compared to years ago.

Is it any wonder that yesterday can often seem
far more appealing than today or tomorrow?


Paul McScotty -Muir said...

Of course in your day Kid (60s/70s) East Kilbride was a New town so it really was literally all shiny and new. Although I’m not a fan of new towns as a general rule, when I drive through EK (I work there) I think its quit nice with lots of long tree filled roads /streets etc but I know what you mean the colours are a bit dim on the original housing stock. EK like most of Lanarkshire’s towns suffers from being a satellite town for Glasgow ( and in some places Edinburgh). What annoys me is the amount of chewing gum “blotches” on pavements in this country (the UK) I’d tax gum (or better still ban it – what’s the point of it).

I used to live in a place called Halfway (Kid and locals may also know the area as Gilbertfield) a small village / town near Glasgow where they knocked down the old tenements and prefab houses and built nice electrically heated large maisonettes etc - it was a fantastic place to live back in the day in the early 60s with a real sense of community ( it had a nice park, playing fields, swing park, football ground, nice cafes and shops etc a local primary school 5 mins away etc) and folk looked after their houses. We moved out in the late 60s / to Rutherglen (then the Hamilton area) and I lost contact with the town. Then, about 10 years ago my dentist moved to Halfway so I popped in for my appointment taking time to look about my old town for a nostalgic visit – “shocked and disgusted” is an understatement the housing stock was ripped apart with graffiti on the walls, broken doors , windows etc - shops shut and replaced by betting shops, £1 shops etc and the playing parks mostly built on with new houses – and seemingly they had just regenerated the are 5 years previously (and are doing it again) – just awful this was a great place.

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

Oh a Kim Basinger lookalike droooool!!! I'd have snogged her even if she was chewing on a “Skoal Bandit” ( some Ek local context there - it's not rude honest).

Kid said...

Yeah, it's disgusting stuff - never partaken of it. I once gave up the chance of snogging a Kim Basinger lookalike because she was eating it.

I don't think I was ever in Gilbertfield that I remember, McS, but it sounds as if it was a great place.

And look - you must be psychic. You replied to my comment before it was there.

Colin Jones said...

Kid, as Paul drives through your town regularly he should drop in for a cuppa and a gawp at your massive collection of memorabilia :D

Kid said...

Why make him jealous of my massive - er, collection? Anyway, he'll see it all on the blog eventually. And besides, I don't have room in the cellar for another body.

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

Strange as it seems I don't think I have ever run into you (Kid) in East Kilbride or in Glasgow at Forbidden Planet or the local area like cafes etc yet I have run into all the local Scottish celeb’ writers and artists at some point in town (Frank Quitely, Grant Morrison etc) - I think you’re a figment of our imagination.

Kid said...

There's a simpler explanation, McS - I'm not a Scottish celeb (outside of my house anyway).

DeadSpiderEye said...

Personally I was never keen on bight shiny and new, buildings it seems to me, are particularly prone to weathering in an unsightly fashion when they're the result of that kind of aspiration. To be sure, the decay of ambitious architecture, that never quite had its high maintenance requirements satisfied, generates a sombre mood, one of pathos with a little irony. Where I live, we got off lightly from that kind of treatment, there was a shopping precinct, converted to a mall a decade or so ago. There are no shops in it now of course, just rows of windows backed up by huge posters, displaying things like tulip fields.Slogans like: building for a better tomorrow are evident, that's funny, cos I thought this was the better tomorrow.

Kid said...

When you grow up in a new town where that's the way things are (bright shiny new buildings), you get used to it, DSE - but, like only noticing how we age ourselves when we see old photos of us, it's not always obvious just how worn down a place can become simply through entropy. Old buildings that have always looked old are no problem; once-new buildings that look old can be a bit dispiriting.

Anonymous said...

I loved the shiney new town of the 60s and 70 s where I played happily as a kid getting up to mischief throwing washing powder in the fountain, toppling a boat in the boating pond, chatting up the bouncers when queuing to get in athe Big 'O' on a Monday night when I was about 16'getting thrown out of the Cinema after managing to get in on a double X certificate on a Sunday Night.. For laughing and making weird noises with my daft pals.... Chucking stanes in the Calder whilst playing with my pals Doon the Glen.... Catching Baggie minnows in The Silent....
Great memories

Kid said...

Great memories indeed. (Although I never chatted up the bouncers or put washing powder in the fountain.) I wish the fountain was still there and that we still had The Cinema, which was the first purpose-built cinema in the U.K. since the war - and it had the largest screen in Scotland.

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