I'm going to admit something. I am not a football supporter. I don't support any sport, but if I was to support any football team, it might be Celtic, particularly after my experience in one of the supposed roughest pubs in Glasgow, The Brazenhead.
After suggesting what my plans were the previous day, when everyone had told me I was mad, I retorted 'I'm short, I'm a girl, and I've got a sketchbook - how threatening can I be?'
I found out today, that someone's friend had been put in a coma there a couple of years back, and one time the bouncers had been dragged round the corner under the bridge and stabbed to death. I wonder if I'd known that, would I have gone?
I guess having the Old Firm games now start at 12 in the afternoon must quell some of the violence. I did witness an arguing couple a few hours later, the guy of which had obviously had his ego pricked, turning on some random guy busting in his face infront of the green light traffic. No-one ran over to help; I guess you've gotto know the whole picture, but there's just no need for that.
I did meet some lovely people in the pub though: Cheryl, Big Tam, Wullie, Mick and a few others. They all got drawn tho' the drawings of Wullie and Mick are on my mobile since I gave them the pictures there and then. I've since bought a new digicam for such occasions in the future. Looooooong overdue - you can borrow your friends' only so many times...
During the match, venom was spouted forth from many mouths, as I'm sure all you real footie supporters would be well aquainted with, but all in good humour from where I was sitting and when Rangers scored, the pub had one of the quietest moments during the match. The camaraderie in there was great though with the non-pc anthems baled out in good key, and when the game ended with the undesired result, the live music was quick to start. A folk band got up, tuned up and entertained the flag waving masses.
The bar itself is actually a fascinating and quirky 'big wee place', full of character with loads of past football tops hanging from the arched ceiling, memorabilia and photos. There is a few dents here and there which could have been left by a couple of 'heated debates' in the past.
I found a spot on the far end of the bar in the corner where a fairly big burly bald bloke stood looking a little fearsome if it wasn't for the wooly jacket he was wearing. His girlfriend Cheryl from Fife was sitting there looking immaculate and wearing a black blouse with stars on it. She looked like she would have been more at home in a nightclub, but she wasn't the only gal dressed up for the occasion.
I have to say, I expected it to be full of 'sweaty swearing thugs', and it really was just like your local community pub, with a big variety of people old and young, pretty girls and young well manicured guys.
One of the 'older wiser' folks - Wullie, has impressive eyebrows, twinkly eyes, and a cut on one of them. Cheryl thinks he looks like Mel Gibson, Big Tam says he looks like Sid James. I did a quick waterpencil drawing of him which I was pretty pleased with and he seemed to like it too 'Check oot thae photae she did fur me!' and I got myself a pint out of it - nice one.
I have to say, I think I got a good deal - they all took care of me and made sure I was alright, perched on top of the pool table on my make shift 'throne with a view' - 'Artist, ye wanna drink?' 'Ooh, yes please - some water!'' Wus that Vodka and Water?' 'No no, just water please!'' Wullie, buy the girl a drink - Vodka and Water.'
It was a great experience and one of the best introductions to watching football in a pub that I could have had, even if the results weren't what was desired.
As someone pointed out ' Tiorchar Ar La' apparently meaning 'Our day will come' in Irish. I hope so - they've had a good run up to now. And it'll be good again, according to my sources...
Note: I've since been informed that it's spelt 'Tiocfaidh ar la' pronounced 'Chucky ar la' and refers to the day when the IRA will get what they desire. It's a beautiful phrase though, and the Celtic supporters I've met use it with pride when results don't go their way.