Showing posts with label the office. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the office. Show all posts

20 Jan 2011

Make Believe

The Office, Gordon Lane, Glesga

“I’ll have tae call you back, the police wanna word.”
It was a beautiful evening in July but on the west coast conditions were taking a turn for the worse. Barrie was being interrogated in The Office (Gordon Lane) by the boys in blue.

 An hour later he called me back. “You’ll never faaken believed it...” Curiously, every time he says "you’ll never believe it," I almost always do.
 Barrie had responded to cries for help coming from the lane. His fellow drinking compatriot Scott was being attacked by Cyclops, a monocular blade wielding thug. Cyclops threw away the knife at the sight of an oncoming Barrie before making good his escape past two bicycle mounted police responding to the incident.
 The police arrived on the scene to find Scott berating Barrie. Barrie thought the knife had landed on an air-conditioning unit so they made a spectacularly failed attempt to find the evidence. Scott couldn’t lift Barrie- he was recovering from a recent groin operation. The two inebriates were unable to stand tall, let alone scale the dizzying height of the unit- almost 4 metres from the ground. The police charged Barrie with lifting a pole off the air-con unit with the intention of using it as a weapon.
 Barrie was furious “Pole? Wha’ pole? There was nae pole.” In the eyes of the police Barrie was better off the streets and out of sight.

Glasgow Sheriff Court
 August 2010. Glasgow Sheriff Court. At the first trial the evidence, the pole, could not be found. Nevertheless, the judge postponed the trial and served Barrie with a curfew order- off the streets by 7pm. This only served to prevent him from evening visits with his two daughters who were suffering from meningitis.

Toilets at the court- the blue lighting prevents addicts finding a vein
 October 2010. Court Room 16. The second hearing was delayed- as usual. At one o’clock the court went into recess for lunch and Barrie’s lawyer suggested that I wrote a letter of commendation in case he was found guilty. I left Barrie and Scott to their liquid lunch and headed to a nearby cafe. When I returned Barrie was alone. He looked up at me and groaned “You’ll never faaken believe it...”
 The dynamic duo were life-saving while I was busy composing. A widower floated by them, face down, as they were taking refreshments by the banks of the Clyde. Without hesitation Scott dived into the black waters and retrieved the wouldbe suicide victim. The prosecuting witnesses (the police) were watching on as the event unfolded and escorted Scott to the hospital to have him checked out for hypothermia. Back in court Barrie’s lawyer confessed that this was a first in all his years of practice at the bar. The judge had to agree and the trial was adjourned- again.

November 2010. The morning of the big day and Scott downed a bottle of cream sherry, in one, to steady his nerves. Barrie’s lawyer couldn’t call a soused Scott to stand as witness- Barrie was on his own. In Court Room 16 the Procurator Fiscal produced evidence- a metal pole with Barrie's name attached. The police witness couldn’t identify the object as the 'weapon' from the crime scene! The pole, as he recollected from his notes, was wooden not metal. The Procurator Fiscal requested that the trial be adjourned for 45 minutes while they tried to locate the actual evidence! Three quarters of an hour later and- you’ll never faaken believe it! A wooden pole turned up, again with Barrie’s name on it. It was his word against theirs. Was Barrie implying that the police were committing perjury? The judge had no alternative other than to find him guilty of a ‘very serious’ crime.

 January 2010, sentencing day, Room 15, Glasgow Sheriff Court. I arrived in time for Barrie's lawyer to pass my letter of commendation to the judge. The judge peered over his spectacles at the room of assembled guilty and asked ”Is Mr Gavin Evans in court?” Barrie turned to me from the dock and I raised my finger. “Ah, the smartly dressed man at the front!” The heads of the condemned turned my way. “Mmm... Photographer in Residence with the National Theatre of Scotland,” he was impressed. In giving his verdict the judge summed that Barrie was indebted to his referees and, despite the serious nature of the crime, he would commute the sentence from a custodial term to one of 18 months probation.
 Without letters of commendation from 'professionals' could Barrie be serving a sentence in Barlinnie for a crime of fiction? You'd better believe it!

23 Apr 2010

The Office

touch: Kamikaze

Kamikaze felt a firm affinity towards Barrie- they'd scaled the walls of the same dead end streets. This was their last chance to meet before Kamikaze set sail for the South Pacific.
  On the Saltmarket Kamikaze’s smile didn’t fail to mesmerise. Before reaching Barrie’s pitch we heard an almighty stichie coming from around the corner. It was Barrie hollering at his foe-pal Andy to get a “faaken’ moove aan.” 

touch: Andy

Barrie glided towards us like a speed-skater on quicksand. Kamikaze and I stood our ground – he’d have passed through us if I hadn’t put my hand out.

The two embraced like re-conjoined twins - estranged spirits reunited. We escorted Barrie to his pitch and took in some of the city’s salacious sights...

touch: Gordon

Gordon softly wraps his words in Welsh, his voice is a tonic for the guttural assault of Glaswegian. He is a street sage who stands incongruously outside a cosmetic surgeons – one hand swaddled like an amputee, the other clutching a copy of The Big Issue. Gordon is up to chapter 14 of his autobiography – he’s writing it in longhand. He is fond of the staff at the surgery; their respect for one another is reciprocated, they’d never move him on.
  As we parted our ways Gordon vowed he’d always remember Kamikaze’s “wonderful smile.”

The Office

Barrie retraced his steps to one of his off-street drinking dens.
 The suffocating stench of stale ale and piss chokes your senses when you enter ‘The Office.’ The city-centre siding is a convenience-refuge for sub-urban abusers. 

The Office, a shooting gallery where users steal a moment to refuel, is adorned with some of the most eclectic street art found his side of the Camp Nou. 

 Kamikaze concluded, after taking only a few hours to establish a life-long friendship, that Barrie had a “wonderful spirit. 
 We left Barrie to sober-up and set off in search of an unsuspecting all-you-can-eat buffet. Proprietors wince when they see Kamikaze’s metal masticators enter the restaurant. Kamikaze takes ‘All You Can Eat’ personally - he sees it as a challenge to his consitution. He’s barred from sushi bars in Austria for consuming his bodyweight in fish roe and Curry’s eletrical stores for grazing on the halogens. Tonights unsuspecting prey would be a regular curry house.

Constitution restituted and gorged to gouchin’ point, we set the GPS for Govan.
 On Paisley Road Toll the stifled strains of the Verve’s melancholic anthem The Drugs Don’t Work escaped the walls of a fortress bar. Inside the nae-go pub, a straw-bleached blonde with an inseparable grip on the mic was spilling her bleeding heart over a cranked-up karaoke. The sublime soundtrack was the perfect accompaniment to a dreich Govan nicht. This was her moment, and she made it her own.

 The Grand Ole Opry is a cultural haven in the heart of Orange County - all colours and faiths are welcome here. Inside its muralled walls we’re safe from harm - save the occasional burst eardrum, tongue lashing and scathing wit. We’d come to shoot stragglers I’d missed on previous outings. I bagged myself (from top): a showman, a Greek gunslinger, a German Cowgirl and a Duke of Hazard – something for the connoisseurs.

touch: Sandy

touch: Michael

touch: Eva

 touch: Alan
We left Glesga with our ears ringing to the sound of laughter, gunshot and the unsung chantreuse fae Govan echoing “I know I’ll see your face again...”

Gateway to the Pyramids of the M8 - and home.