Friday, 31 October 2008

Just illuminations.

So what can one do with a Halloween evening before one goes for a round of guising? What about scaring the shit out of the neighbours son! All you need is a pillowcase, two spars from a budgies cage and some log football socks. The pillowcase must first be made into a mask by cutting eye holes and a mouth hole. A bit of decoration with some felt tip pens and bobs yer auntie. The now finished mask is placed over the head and secured round the neck with sticking tape until it is a tight fit. Now the football socks have to be pulled over the shoes but not too tight so that they look like hobgoblin boots. Now after the neighbours son has been told that hobgoblins have been sighted in the area its time to lure him into the trap.
As he turns the corner and looks into the jungle he sees two hobgoblins dancing in a circle singing the hobgoblin song which goes something like this: (we will call the victim Nicky Rice which sounds quite like the real name) Nicky Rice is our victim, sacrifice Nicky Rice, whilst hitting the two spars together in time to the beat. If you are lucky then the lad will take to his heels shouting "Its just illuminations!" Oh Halloween was more fun as a lad.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Bad Hair Day

Two great fascinations of our youth were dog shite ( or Shogs Dite as my faither called it ) and bangers. Often the twin titans of childhood mirth would be brought together. I mean after all it is only natural to combine two good things to enhance both in the pursuit of greatness. Like Champagne and strawberries, Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers or the kebab pizza.

Whilst enhancing the pleasure of both however, resulting cocktails are not always without their hazards. Just ask Elvis about peanut butter and jam pieces or Gram Parsons about morphene and Tequila. The road to the perfect high is littered with failure.

So we come to the cautionary tale of poor Tam and the exploding dog shite.

Round the back of the steamie in Blackwood Crescent on a cold October night, Astra bangers and 3-2-1 zeros were flying around good style. Once the usual rounds of tenament stairwells and car exhausts had been completed, the old banger in the dog shite ritual was observed.

The "barkers nest" selected was a particularly large unhealthy specimen as I recall. Unbeknowns to poor Tam it's slight crust belied a very runny interior. He also chose to go with the inferior Astra banger, a fatal mistake which he would later regret. I myself would have chosen a Standard 3-2-1 zero for the job as the fuse reliably lived up to it's name. I'm sure Arkos and bobrob would agree with me there.

Tam inserted the infernal device in the pile of shogs and lit the fuse.

He gave it a second and returned to relight it. No sooner had the match touched the fuse when it went off, covering his head in runny shite. Now Tam was blessed with a thick head of hair, but sometimes a blessing can be a curse. This was such a time.

Devoid of anything to clean it off with, and feart of going home in that state, he opted to remove the pungent mess by rubbing his head off the harled wall of the steamie. A gesture which proved to serve no real purpose other than to hurt the already sore sides of the assembled onlookers.

Respect again to Dave Henniker and his wee goldmine of Southside photos. (click to enlarge and you will see that is the real steamie, with harled wall no less)

Urban exploration part 2

I was going to keep this one for a while but Arkos forced my hand a bit. So here it is.
What do you think when the doorbell goes and one of your mates is standing on the landing dressed in a black trench coat with two pairs of jeans on at the same time, because each pair has holes in a different place, rope around his shoulder like a mountaineer and a torch in his hand? Its adventure time! Although the getup is a bit outrageous nobody is looking at him outside because it is too bloody obvious to be real. So it is on the bus and down to Porty pool. Only Porty pool contains no water and we are not going swimming. Porty pool is derelict and awaiting demolition so it is bound to be worth a shuftie. Wait until no one is looking and over the wall pdq. We are a bit far away from our normal stomping grounds but it is worth the risk. A quick sprint across the empty pool and into the main building. The floor is strewn with old floats and wellies, many odd pieces of paperwork that nobody will ever read again litter most of the floor in the turnstiles area. We go through the old changing rooms first and down into the area under the pool. It is really cool in here. The old wave machine is still lurking in a corner and there are stacks of glass portholes which look out into the empty pool. A circuit of the pool later and we are back in the main building. Up the stairs into what must have been the old restaurant area with three large doors looking out onto the balcony. Suddenly a crashing sound from below as if the door has been kicked in! Visions of heavies rushing up the stairs force us out onto the balcony but where do we go from here? There is only one way and that is down! The afore mentioned rope is hastily attached to the balcony railing with sweaty hands,no one wants to be the last man standing so it is a push and a shove to get on the rope first. As the youngest I am last on the rope I am sure that I can hear footsteps on broken glass coming towards me. Hand over hand down the rope in record time with a few rope burns for my effort and off across the empty pool like a shot, over the wall and after the other lads towards the bus stop and the waiting bus! Wait a minute we left the rope, anyone fancy going back for it? No f---ig way that was a close call who knows what the Porty neds would have done to us Southside laddies. All the same it did not stop us from exploring as many derelicts as we could find.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

The only way is up

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Following on from Arkos' excellent piece on urban exploration, it got me thinking about another wee favourite pastime of ours. Free climbing.

Once again an example of something now considered an extreme sport for the fashionable 21st century Metrosexual type. Back in the 70's it was just something you did. We thought nothing of climbing Salisbury Crags as a short cut to Hunter's Bog, rather than trailing round the Radical Road.

These days you see posey looking lithe dudes in Lycra with fancy shoes and ropes up there. I remember doing it in Clark's Commandos with an "Adidas" schooolbag on my back. I have to admit though, from the photos it looks scarier and higher that it seemed back in the day.

Once you got to climbing there was only one way you could go, especially if the Parkie was at the bottom warning you of the dangers "yous'll brek yer necks" whilst simultaneously threatening you with physical harm "I'll fit yer erses" if you didn't come down. Nae choice really. Up won every time.

Ah, but the park was a magic place. Hunter's Bog, Dunsapie Loch for the perch fishing, the Crags with it's views of the city and watching the summer sunsets without a care in the world.

A young man could get stuck up there for hours with only his own thoughts.

Ain't that the truth Bobrob?

For more photos like the ones I nicked from the boy, check out his site. There is a cracker of Hunters Bog in the mist.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

The Lure and Allure of Empty Buildings

"God I love that smell. It's the smell of dead hospitals, you never forget it. For me, it's like chocolate. I'm utterly addicted to it. If I get a scent of dead hospital, that's it, I'm off." Quote by Rookinella, Urban Explorer

The quote above is taken from The Independent newspaper today. The title of the article is "Space Invaders, and it is all about the "latest high adrenaline cult" of sneaking into empty hospitals and factories. Hey fellow bloggers I think us lot might have been way ahead of our time. Mind you loads of other kids our ages back in the day were also probably Urban Explorers too!

But I can relate to how Rookinella, quoted above, feels and can completely understand how the smell of old, empty buildings can be so amazing. I well remember the smell of old tenement flats we used to play in & have our gang hut in, especially one room called the Curry Room due to the smell of the curry poweder which had been scattered there.

But it's not only the smell of these empty place that is so good. There is the thrill of first finding an empty building, then working out if you can get in and how you can get in. And once inside the thrills only increase, There is the feeling of walking where no one has lived for years. A feeling of seeing old familiar household objects, which belonged to previous owners, made somehow new by their gutted and ruined surroundings. And there is the thrill of "What if this building is not quite deserted?" And the thrill of walking down worn, deserted tenement steps as darkness falls, the way in front of you lit only by a guttering candle or flickering workies lamp.

In our day we explored deserted houses, factories, workshops, swimming pools and probably some I have forgotten. We often got chased out of them by security guards and vicious-looking Alsatian dogs. But that only added to the thrill! I don't think I have finished with this topic, & I am sure that bobrob or Alien Orders will also have post to add to this topic!

Never mind the scent of napalm first thing in the morning, make mine the smell of an empty building, mixed in with the smell of a burning candle and the smell of old yellowed pages from The Sunday Post opened at the Oor Wullie section!


Links to explore: Rookinellas photos of places she has visited at:
And also the URL of a site for Urban Explorers to log their conquests at: