Glasgow Memories – RainTown

I’ve got a love that I cling on to
And I’ll stay there til the end
Just you laugh
Cos you’re loaded
Things look different from there

My favourite Deacon Blue song,  happy memories of growing up in Glasgow in the 80s.

Christmas 1988 and I listened to that album RainTown on repeat sitting in my flat on my own while a few miles away a family party was in full swing.

Sometimes you just need to be alone. 

From the opening melancholic lines of Born In A Storm

That hurricane day
Will soon pass away ..

Straight into the title track RainTown

It’s a rain dirt town
Job hurts but it don’t pay
Don’t you see
Don’t you understand
I’m waiting on my phone to ring
To make me all I am
In a rain town

Glasgow back then was the ultimate RainTown,  grey depressing,  drug culture and areas you wouldn’t  walk.

I was working in shipbuilding. studying IT and electronics at college three nights per week. Hoping to make a better future.

There’s a real working class Springsteen-like observational story telling in that album continuing with Ragman and Spencer Tracy .

.. And he cries all night

You could get depressed listening to some of these lyrics if they weren’t wrapped up in such soulful melodies.

Let’s be honest,  there’s only so much of that melancholic shit you can stand.

Fortunately from that point the album steps up a gear with my favourite track Loaded,  the soulful When Will You Make My Telephone Ring with its backing vocals that remind me of TheTemptations

Pale blue eyes
Same old house, no ties
A little bit older
but not so  worldly wise

Very me,  sitting there in my black Bauhaus design armchair from Habitat in the bay window of my top floor tenement flat gazing out over the landscape of the city.  The shipyard cranes and the university tower like the cover image of the album.

I want you in everything
In everything
In anything I do
When will you
Make my phone ring?

The next track Chocolate Girl, an observation on relationships and the outdated attitudes of men treating women as possessions.

Then the upbeat anthemic Dignity,  the track that brought the band to a wider audience.

Another song of working class observations and overcoming adversity,  dreaming of holidays and escape then making it happen.

It’s 4am and I am listening to it now

And I’m thinking about home
And I’m thinking about faith
And I’m thinking about work

No I’m not,  the last thing I think of outside work,  is about work.

I won’t go through every track on the album,  but it’s worth a listen with it’s stories and melodies, lyrics of love, loss and hope.

Just remembered how much I love Town To Be Blamed,  not heard it in years.

Work work work
Rain rain rain
Home home home
Again again again

My town Glasgow,  hard working, is a soulful city.   It used to be known for its poverty and violence, razor gangs and  tuberculosis.

We’ve changed over the years.

No longer the RainTown.


Back in that Christmas 1988 ..

She did make my phone ring a week or so later .. pregnant and uncertain.

Life changed in that moment, even more so in July 89 when my son was born.

Ten years later,  1998, I have three kids and a first class honours degree, working as a freelance IT consultant and a detached house in desirable suburbia.

Glasgow also changed in those few years too, with the Garden Fedtuval of 1988 and becoming European City Of Culture in 1990.

The city may have largely lost its manufacturing but gained IT and financial services and there were lots of opportunities if you took them.

We were on the up.

But listening to the album now,  it seems that Deacon Blue captured the city just before it changed.

It has a special place within me.

It’s  4am and I’ve just woke up, after sleeping since 8pm,  no way will I be rolling over as my brains too active.

I check my social media and a good friend of mine who lost his wife recently is posting songs and memories of happy days.

One of them is Loaded my favourite Deacon Blue which triggered these memories.

I feel for him,  he’s lonely,  after the funeral has passed and everyone has offered their condolences and gone home there’s a reality to deal with.

I called him a few weeks ago,  the Thursday after the funeral,  another  night when he was posting melancholic songs.

A little attention seeking perhaps,  sending out a flag to anyone who cares enough to pick up the phone.

He was surprised when the phone rang at 1030pm,   Who calls at that time?

We spoke for an hour and made plans for a couple of gigs.   It never feels so lonely when you have something to look forward to.

It’s too late to call now .. obviously.

So I dropped him a message,  just a little something to let him know he’s not alone.

Messages are always nice to receive,   But there is a distance with them.  They are a lazy option.   A one sided, post it and forget medium which needs less of an effort and is less personal than a phone call.

If you care you call.

Loaded – my favourite track from the album.

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