A BIT OF THIS AND A BIT OF THAT
BUILDING/STRUCTURE OF THE MONTH
This month we feature Criterion, the Grand Cafe and Saloon at 568
Dumbarton Road, Partick, Glasgow. This establishment has been
constructed inside an old shop using architectural bits and pieces saved
from other buildings. These wonderful Victorian wooden booths came from
Moscardinis in Falkirk. Criterion is in an area that holds memories for
me. As a small boy I stood on a debris-strewn pavement nearby and watched
coffins being removed from a building that had been destroyed during the
storm of '68. [See
'Glasgow - Soup' for more on Criterion.
When you buy all four photos in any Photo Series in The Good Soup Guide.
Ideal Christmas present. Click
and make your
APOLOGIES - THIS MUSIC IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE.
HOW TO ANNOY BANK STAFF
THE GOOD SOUP GUIDE'S GUIDE TO ANNOYING FOLK
Lesson 1a - 'I know that banks like to encourage saving; well, you're
not going to believe this, but I've been saving copper coins for the
last twenty years, and today's the day I thought I'd bring them in...
Bert - wheel in the barrows!'
Lesson 7f - 'Whatdya mean, you can't give me change of ten pounds as I'm
not a customer - surely the very ethos of attracting custom is to treat
those who are not yet your customers with kindness.'
Lesson 8d - 'You're not going to let me withdraw £29? Are you people
actively trying to scare customers away?'
Lesson 9g - 'Excuse me, but given the emphasis on self service these
days, I just thought I'd come round your side of the counter and
withdraw some money. Have you got a problem with that?'
Lesson 14h - 'Isa? Isa? Who the heck's Isa?'
Lesson 45j - 'A credit card? I'm sorry, but has someone tattooed the
phrase, 'I want a credit card' on my forehead while I've been asleep?'
Lesson 56d - 'Hi - I've found this old coin in a drawer, and I wondered
if you could tell me a little about it.'
Lesson 97k - 'You're not going to let me deposit a partly-eaten cheese
and onion pastie? I demand
to speak with the manager!'
Council Hires Hippos to Combat Botanic Goldfish Concern
Concern is growing within Glasgow City Council about the safety of
the goldfish housed in the city's Botanic Gardens. The concern was
expressed at a recent meeting of the Parks Department when it was
pointed out that the current recession combined with a continuing
squeeze on those receiving benefits could see the goldfish taken and
eaten by poor people. The fish have grown to quite a size in the
past few years, with a few in the small pond as large as a fully
matured river salmon.
'It is felt,' said a council employee, 'that if we don't take action
now, we may have a situation where members of the public are helping
themselves to goldfish with the intention of frying them at home and
eating them. As such, the council has decided to hire hippos to act
as guards in the pond. Hippos are generally very protective of their
area, and anyone getting too close is likely to find themselves in
very serious trouble.'
Strathclyde Police are not entirely happy with the situation, and
have advised all visitors to the Botanic Gardens to keep at least
six feet between them and the pond railings.
The Health & Safety Executive have said they don't think there
should be any real problems so long as the hippos wear bells around
their neck to warn of movement.
Public opinion is mixed. 'Hippos? Hippos?' said a wee woman in
Partick. 'What are they like on toast?'
TRAIN OVERCROWDING REACHES CRISIS
Overcrowding on trains has not improved in recent years. In
fact, it's got worse, and is expected to reach sardine-tin squashiness
In response to what is quite clearly a crisis, train operators have
embarked on drastic measures. Over the next two years, the height of all
train tunnels will be increased by around five foot.
'We want our passengers to feel safe and secure,' said a company
spokesperson. 'During their time with us we want them to have as
enjoyable an experience as we can offer, and it is to this end that we
have decided to carry out the impending modifications.'
When asked why the tunnels were being given more headroom, the
spokesperson had this to say: 'When we reach the expected stage of
allowing passengers to stand on the roof of the train carriage, we want
to ensure they will be happy. We will be fixing stout rope at regular
intervals along each roof so there is ample for the passengers to hold
on to. There will be a rope handle for each and every traveller. Of
course, any passenger who falls off will be fully compensated.'
The Good Soup Guide understands that the Health & Safety Executive are
going over the plans with a fine toothcomb, but see no major issues at
Yarn Bombing Pixies
In mid-November strange tea-cosy-like hats appeared on those iron
riverside things that are used to secure ships (what the heck do
you call them?). A whole host of them materialised on both sides of
the River Clyde near the Glasgow Science Centre. Given the cold
frosty weather, The Good Soup Guide expected this to be the work of
pixies who were keeping the iron-things-whose-name-escapes-us warm
over winter. We weren't far wrong. Small labels were attached to
them indicating a Twitter address. Further delving revealed a Facebook address. At the end of our extensive research we came up
with the name Yarn Bombing Night Knit Pixies who 'Make Things Pretty
With Yarn'. About the only thing we could firmly establish was that
Ayrshire seemed to be involved. We imagine, perhaps, a whole load of
women frantically knitting then furtively sneaking around in the
dead of night placing little hats on things. The Good Soup Guide
thinks it is the most beautiful thing we have seen in a good long
while, and very much look forward to more from the Yarn Bombing
Why does the clearing of leaves have to be such a noisy affair?
It may have escaped your notice, but this country, Scotland, is
being held to ransom by foreign power firms. The price of
electricity and gas has increased to devastating levels over the
past wee while. Shareholders get rich while the poor get poorer.
I find it quite astonishing that the government is sitting back and
doing, it appears, very little to sort the problem. And don't be
under any illusions; this is a problem, and one of such size that
unless we sort it very very soon the whole country is going to be
not just a puppet dancing to the tune of foreign millionaires, but
so impoverished that we will effectively cease to exist and become
one of the world's backwaters.
If that's what you want then keep on moaning about the visual blight
of wind farms, keep on waving your fist in the air about the size of
pylons. I'm afraid choice and visual niceties are luxuries we can no
We have to increase our construction of wind and especially wave
power generators, and we have to ensure that we, as a country, are
self sufficient. And the sooner the better.
Also, it is our government who has to own all these wind and wave
power generating farms. Profits should no longer go to rich
shareholders. These days have to be put behind us.
Ignore The Good Soup Guide's advice at your peril.
SCOTLAND HELD TO RANSOM BY FOREIGN FAT CATS
Copyright The Good Soup Guide. All rights reserved. CONTACT:
John Logie Baird vs Chuck
John Logie Baird invented TV. You’ve never heard of him?
He was born in Helensburgh. What, you’ve never heard of Helensburgh
If this were America, Helensburgh would be awash with John Logie
Baird pubs and tearooms and museums and theme-parks and waxworks and
every kind of tourist attraction imaginable. But it’s not, and all
we have is a bust on the salty promenade looking longingly towards
the waters of the Firth of Clyde.
I mean, TV’s important. In fact, if you check in a corner of your
living-room you’ll probably find you’ve got one. If John Logie Baird
hadn’t exercised his grey matter and been a fairly brainy chap we
might not have had TV at all. Your days would be spent staring at
that vacant corner wondering what you could use to fill the space.
In this country of mountains and castles and tartan haggiesses
tourists flock to the likes of Edinburgh and largely ignore wee
places like Helensburgh. As does the Scottish Tourist Board or Visit
Scotland or whatever hat it is they wear these days. As far as they
are concerned the only reason not to wipe Helensburgh off the face
of the tourist map is because on a hill above the town there is a
white house that was, in my opinion, designed by some puffed-up
overhyped Charles Rennie Mackintosh bloke whose sole claim to fame
appears to be a rose doodle.
The tourist information office, like that in many Scottish towns –
if one exists at all – is closed in winter, as is Chuck’s hoose, and
one could be forgiven for thinking that all there is to do is follow
Mister Baird’s gaze and head somewhere else.
During these desolate periods about the only place you can get a map
and leaflet giving information on what to see is in Craigard’s
tearoom, whose owner has done a sterling job trying to put
Helensburgh on the tourist map.
Without a doubt, the town’s strength, in the absence of any TV
visitor centre or museum, lies very much in its excellent range of
small shops and coffee houses. It is a range that would put many a
big city to shame. There’s the magnificent Buffet Shop Delicatessen,
the superb butcher’s Callaghan of Helensburgh, and the wonderful
Clyde Whiskies and Rowan Gallery facing the promenade.
I sense a spirit in the citizens of Helensburgh that is lacking in
other small towns in Scotland. They might be down, but they’re
certainly not out. If only they could find someone who has an
historic collection of TVs to get the ball rolling with regards to a
museum dedicated to The Man.
And meanwhile, he continues to look out to sea, undoubtedly thinking
to himself, ‘Why didn’t I emigrate and invent TV in the United
Why, indeed. At least he’d have been given the recognition he