A Short, Eventful Stay in Glasgow

On the bus to Glasgow, I wake up intermittently and go to the bathroom to puke. The night before a blur of Turkish kebab, beer, a floral gin called the Botantist, and the drones of various musicians. It ended up being a wild night, and I stayed up until I caught my bus early this morning. Realizing I should have eaten again before getting on, I get off the bus in Glasgow hungry, looking for something to ease my stomach.

I walk around for a while in the center of Glasgow where the bus arrives, and spot something I can’t resist: a small, hip Japanese restaurant advertising curry. Though it isn’t the most stomach-easing of dishes, I sit down for one of my favorite things.

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Japanese curry

The curry is spiced well, the pork cutlet crunchy, and the rice perfect for sopping up the rich gravy. I immediately feel much better, and walk around before heading to the gig. Meeting Christopher Sky, my friend and a fellow musician I’m performing with tonight, we arrive at the venue.

The Old Hairdresser’s is what I like in a bar, restaurant, and music venue. Craft beer, small spaces, and a menu of artisan favorites. I am beginning to realize Glasgow isn’t just the tough, drunken sensibility and artery-clogging traditional fare, the city is modern, hip, and overall quite delightful.

We mill around for a while talking to the locals and waiting for the show. I set up and play a set that I was very proud of. There aren’t many people, but it gives us the chance to talk to everyone. We hear about the big football game earlier that night, what the scene is like in Glasgow, and the differences between the city and its more sophisticated counterpart, Edinburgh.

Each performance is enjoyable, but we are too tired to stay out afterward. We take an Uber back to our Airbnb, exhausted from the hangover and the travel. Tomorrow Chris leaves, but I’m staying to wander Glasgow for the day.

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As I didn’t have enoug curry, currwurst.

We wake up and part ways. I walk into the city from our airbnb, and get to the center of it effortlessly. I stumble upon the fact that there is expensive shopping and snobby restaurants. I’m surprised, this part of the city isn’t the rough-and-tumble town I’ve heard about. While Glasgow is split up class-wise, I still didn’t expect that amount of glitz and glam I happen upon. Maybe wandering in is what had me disoriented by it, bewildered by the moment a place surprises you, and not in the way I’m usually humbled.

I wander around in a good mood because of the strangeness of it all. I have a big backpack and I leave tonight for London at the bus station in the center so I accept the fact that I may be stuck in this more touristy part of town for the majority of it. By the time I lament the fact, I’m browsing a book store and eating some currywurst.

While definitely not Scottish, I am a sucker for currywurst. I passed by it and strangely enough I can’t get it on the street in formerly German-occupied Slovenia. Kielbasa covered in spicy ketchup and curry , served with a side fries, it hits me in the comfort zone.

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Paolozzi sketches.

After browsing at the bookstore and writing a bit at a small boutique coffee shop, I head to the modern art museum, which is free. I’m excited by that because this is a budget trip for music. Here there is a great exhibition about the video poet Margaret Tait, who was the woman to break out into Scottish film. There is also plenty of contemporary Scottish and American art, including a few Warhol’s.

Now it’s time for a drink. I walk over to the Shilling Brewing Company for some craft beer. They have quite the selection and the ambiance here is quite nice. I linger, thoughtfully, staring off into space and sipping on my beers. After achieving a light buzz I head out for some food. Walking aimlessly I find a Scottish fast food stand where I get a huge portion of deep fried haggis. Planning on getting something else, the salty, vinegary fried animal parts fills me up.

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One of my beers at Shilling Brewing Co.

To finish up the night before my bus ride, I head to a nearby bar called the Flying Duck where the hipsters go to drink and eat vegan food. I get a few college-priced drinks and watch the bar trivia game. Then, it’s time to depart on my bus ride.

Normally you have a hard time on an overnight bus ride. It can be hard to sleep and hard to be awake. But I meet an artist from London with a bottle of wine who shares the entire thing with me while we talk about art, film, writing, our aspirations, our likes and dislikes. We have truly great conversation, and after finishing the bottle off, I drift into a deep sleep that lasts until we arrive at Victoria Station.

 

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