Glaswegian Survival Guide

by Don Alland

Mah furst baginnin
wen ah wis ainly eight
wis tae lern tae be a teddy boy

they hud th fancy claithes
wi big laing jaikets
n chains n brogues
they wir mah saviours
cuz Glesga wis full a anger
in the Gorbals

n thairs mair

ah wis goin tae the barras
wi mah da
we stoaped tae git
sum roasted peanuts
under the wee railway bridge
n we saw twa teddy boys
draggin a boady
wi is nose in the tram tracks
ah couldane look away
fae ma destiny

ah wisnae skert

oan thi way hame
near oor close
ah heerd sum shoutin
doon by the midden
wuz a wee fight goin oan
mah fren says it wuz
thi catholics in oor tenement
n ah ran n dumped the midden
fa empty cans
n wee sticks
tae make a hatchet wi
tae thrae at the catholics
fir nae reason ataw

afta ah threw ma three hatchets
n stood up tae see wa wiz gaein oan
sum bloody Catholic threw a brick
hitme in the heid
n ah still have thi scar
tae this day

Comments for Glaswegian Survival Guide

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Mar 30, 2010
Tenement Collapses
by: Danny Gill

I was born in Fauldhouse Street in Oatlands next door to the Gorbals in 1948, came home from St Bonaventures school in 1961 back of Tenement collapsed due to old age. Fire Brigade & Territorial Army were there shoring oor hoose up we got sent to a a new Housing Estate in South Nitshill, I hated it leaving the Sue Side I finished my 5 year apprenticeship as a bricklayer and left Glasgow when I was 20 years old to build bricks halfway round the World. Now retired early [Arthritis] I live in South London beside my 3 Daughters and 4 Grandchildren.


May 10, 2009
I grew up in the Gorbals .
by: fiona sneddon lentz

We had a big family, a room and kitchen, for the bunch of us. We were dirt poor went outside to pee. I don't know how my mother did it and kept her sanity too. We lived at 156 Florence St. in the Gorbals and our names were Sneddon. I moved to America in 1977. I was very impressed by what you wrote. Somehow life seemed simpler then. Thank you for keeping the memories alive.
Sincerly ms.fiona lentz.
my e-mail is

Feb 25, 2009
I Like it
by: Frank Maguire

Very well written, and it sure took me way back in time. Really enjoyed reading this little gem.


Nov 09, 2008
The Glesga tongue
by: May

Hi Don
I had mixed feelings when I read your contribution. I was brought up in south west Glasgow and have some memories of the problems with fights etc and felt sad about these memories, as Glasgow is a great city. But I was also tickled pink by your use of language - it brought back fond memories.
Thanks for sharing.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Poetry Invitation.