Story 5: The Pink Hat and Sequins of Glasgow

I have just arrived in Glasgow. I have been a long time away. The clouds are low and it is raining. Hard, persistent raindrops. Relentless grey rain that only Scotland know how to produce. Rain which begins in the morning, like an office worker and continues,  without a lunch-break, all the way to evening.

Autumn is beginning and everyone is rushing by with their heads looking down at the concrete. A habit which will last till spring.

“They almaist luik like real Jimmy Choos” a woman shouts at a friend. “Got them in the Primark, only a tenner.”

A man shivers against the bus station wall.

“Spare any change.”

I round the corner, past the once new, now older cinema complex, towards Buchanan Street. The rain continues at a steady pace.

At the crossroads, outside the yellow brick of the concert hall there is a man in a pink hat. The pink hat sparkles with glitter and sequins. He has a microphone attached to a speaker and he sings loudly, moving his body from left to right like an uncle at an Arab wedding. The speaker system muffles and cracks his words.

It is hard to work out the language. Arabic? Turkish? Romanian? The music is not from here, his pink hat and dance are not from here. He is not from here but he knows something we do not about the rain.

Everyone who walks past, stops a second and stares. Then moves on, a little confused. The music drifts down towards Buchanan Street, a smothered sound. A statue of Scotland’s first First Minister, looks on sternly.

The pink hat protects him from the rain. The song and the dance warm him from the cold. He looks me straight in the eye with a real smile, then turns to his song, calling out to Sauchiehall Street, he smiles, smiles, smiles.

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