notes from the northern colony

glasgow

Wyndord tower block, sunset

Three days ago, on Monday morning, I learned that Glasgow Housing Association plans to destroy the community I live in.

This explains why neither Cube Housing Assocation, nor its new owner, GHA, has cleaned the tower blocks in Wyndford for many months, while still cleaning the other buildings in the scheme, as I have reported here. On hearing the news, my wife, daishin, said: “I think GHA's lack of cleaning, building maintenance, and the continued lack of repairs in the high flats is a strategic move to make tenants want to leave the Wyndford.”

On Tuesday, members of Wynford Tenants’ Union, residents of the blocks that are to be demolished, held a meeting, outdoors, to decide what to do.

On Wednesday, I was interviewed by Glasgow West End Today about our plans. The article is a refreshing corrective to the one published in the Glasgow Times, which is effectively an ad for GHA.

GHA’s brochure is a work of weird fiction. The reality is that the four blocks of high flats are populated by a wonderful, diverse community. There are people who have lived here for decades, people who have lived here for years (like me), and people who have been here a short time and will move on soon. There are people of all ages, and more nationalities than I can keep track of. The reputation for criminality is mostly mythical. When we were offered our flat in 2017, I asked the housing officer how dangerous it really was. Her answer: “Nothing will happen to you here that couldn’t happen to you in Bearsden.” She was correct. What I was not prepared for, though, was the warmth and grace daishin and I have found here.

Bizarrely, GHA is letting everyone who lives in Wyndford, not just tenants of the high flats, but all tenants, and homeowners, vote on the fate of our flats. How would you feel if everyone in your neighbourhood was allowed to vote to evict you from your home, whether they knew anything about you or not?

GHA will soon learn the truth about the people who have made our homes in the buildings they are describing as “low demand” and “low occupancy.” We will support one another, and we will not go easily or quietly.

#wyndford #maryhill #glasgow #GlasgowHousingAssocation #CubeHousingAssociation #gentrification #landlordism #SocialHousing #DaishinStephenson #ScottishBlogs

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Graffiti on wall, the word ZEN with the second and third letters mirror imaged, above a painting of a spotted green mushroom, and a Fixodent box on the ground

It amuses and baffles me when street art is referred to as vandalism. If this is because of the quality of the art, it makes no sense, because the best street art — and there is a lot of great street art in Glasgow — is far superior to most commissioned “public art,” which tends towards the generic and mediocre. If it is because street art is done without permission, it makes even less sense, as most citizens have no role in deciding what “public art” is commissioned and created.

Graffiti, the letters ZEN haphazardly arranged

The city is a book of art and text in which artists and writers are constantly in dialogue. I love to read the city as I walk, and am fascinated when I see new work. Recently, I have noticed a new tag, which seems to be various arrangements of the letters ZEN, so of course I approve. Is this one artist mixing it up stylistically, or a crew with each member doing their own version? Does it refer to Zen, or is it initials or an acronym?

Graffiti, the letters ZEN, red paint on black

The three photos here were taken in the Wyndford, but daishin and I have noticed similar tags in other parts of the city.

#StreetArt #PublicArt #graffiti #zen #wyndford #maryhill #glasgow #ScottishBlogs

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Discarded face mask on the ground

Throughout the pandemic, it has been common to see disposable masks littering the streets of Glasgow, but in the last few weeks it has become almost as common to find reusable masks in the same state.

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Description: graffiti on the ground, with a quote from The Unbearable Lightness of Being, “Beauty is a world betrayed” followed with the response, “No it’s no!”

#glasgow #graffiti #milankundera #theunbearablelightnessofbeing

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As of yesterday, there can be no denying Scotland is an occupied country.

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During lockdown, Maryhill Library has, rightly, been closed. Now Glasgow Life has announced that it will not re-open.

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Spotted near the Halfpenny Bridge this morning. Nice reference to the 1971 novel by Nanni Balestrini.

#glasgow #graffiti #anarchism #socialism #scottishindependence #scottishpolitics #scottishblogs #nannibalestrini

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In the last few weeks, quite a few supermarket trolleys have been strewn around the Wyndford scheme, some arranged so artfully it might be worth applying to Creative Scotland for an award. Presumably they are being taken from the nearby Tesco, but what are those who liberate them doing to bypass the automatic locking of the wheels?

#wyndford #maryhill #glasgow #urbanecology #scottishblogs

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I live near a bar that is a notorious stab inn. A few years ago, there was talk that it might close, and I overheard someone walking by it say, “If they close it, where are the nutters supposed to go?”

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I have written previously about activist organisations whose (in)activity is mostly, if not entirely, confined to social media/surveillance capitalism.

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