Glasgow, Part 1: Thursday and Friday

Experiences like this past weekend are the kind you remember in fifty years, I imagine. I went to Glasgow, no clear plans, two concerts to go to, and a flaring frugality more vicious than a whirling snowstorm. So…

I bet a lot of people don’t read all of these long posts, or don’t want to skim them, or whatnot. So I’m going to try something this time: I’ll bold the bits that sum it all up. Let me know if you like that. Well, especially if you’re not reading regularly anyways.

On Thursday morning I called my friend Murray, who I spent a lot of Hogmanay with. He’d offered to put me up, and said I could stay at his flat this weekend. So, I trekked over to St. Andrew Square, where the buses are. The bus station was closed for repairs, so the buses were just parked around the circumference of the square. I had a hell of a time finding the one I wanted, but I found it. I still had the return ticket I’d bought to get to Edinburgh for Hogmanay, and I hadn’t used it to get back, so I was able to use it for this journey. The driver barely glanced at it as I showed it to him, though, so I decided I’d try to use it on the way back as well, see how that went. Upon arriving, I wandered across the street from Buchanan bus station to the Concert Hall, one of the main venues for the festival. I chatted with a nice attendant, and saw that Coda Music had a booth. Katie, from FolkSoc, had told me about them: they sell just folk music, and it’s the best place to buy it. I left and called Murray again, and we agreed that I’d call him after finding out what my other friends were up to, because he still had exams to revise for and take. I called my friend Tess, from orientation (Becca’s friend), and went to her flat. She gave me long directions, and I was a little unsure of my location by the end, but I followed the right path and made it to her flat. On the way I stopped by the Botanic Gardens, and went in to the pretty greenhouse. It was pretty inside. Tess met me outside her flat and we went up to her room. She was pretty out of it, but she fed me and I played her some music from my iPod on her computer. We sat around for a while, then went and found the venue where my concerts were, and I picked up my tickets. We met up with Alexandra, the friend from Colorado, who suspiciously has several things in common with Alex Pressman (not really suspicious…), and got looked around for the cheapest place to get a good dinner. We settled on a Chinese takeout place. We left with two bricks of food contained in styrofoam. We went back to Alexandra’s flat and ate. I decided to stay on her floor for the night, as she had offered too. I dropped my stuff off in her room, then we went to visit some other Americans, including two Butler kids and two kids from Oklahoma. Most of us went out then to this REALLY crowded pub. After slowly weaving through the crowd and standing around really close to lots of drunk scottish 20-somethings, Alexandra and I decided it wasn’t our scene, so the two of us left. We went back to her room and talked for a while, then she got a call from a friend in India, and took it. I read for a little, and when she came back we got ready for sleep and talked for another while. I think I said before, her dad was Cherokee and her mom’s Swiss. She grew up in Albuquerque and goes to school in Colorado. We talked about all sorts of stuff, and it was really interesting, but eventually we went to sleep.

Friday we got up around 9:30, because she had class at 10. I walked around for a while, determined not to spend any money I didn’t have to. That translated to no subway, and no breakfast. Although, to be fair, I went into Costa Coffee (sort of the UK, or at least Scottish version of Starbucks, although that’s ubiquitous too), expecting to get free toast with a coffee. Alexandra had said that they do that. Unfortunately, she was wrong and there was no free toast. No free toast makes me sad. I ended up sitting in Costa for about 3 or 4 hours. I finished Hide and Seek, the Edinburgh-located detective novel I had been reading. It has a very unsatisfying end. I did a couple sudoku puzzles, and looked around for half-finished coffees to grab before the workers did, so I could finish them, filling my empty belly and preventing waste. Huzzah! I only got one, near the end. It was satisfying though. At one point, a woman who I think had Downs Syndrome sat at the table next to me. I was listening to my iPod, so I didn’t interact with her a whole lot, but at one point she was talking about how Cherie Booth is lucky to be married to Tony Blair, and how she was not lucky. There was a guy on the next table over doing a difficult-looking sudoku too. I chatted with him briefly about that as he was leaving. I finished a really hard one I’d been working on for a while, and then left. I walked around more, then went to Borders, where I looked at books and DVDs, writing down some stuff I wanted to get or to watch. Then I swung by the concert hall again, and went to a free show that was basically an open mike. I saw three groups, the first, a fairly young fiddler named Emma Donalds or some such. Then a band called Dumb Instrument who had really depressing songs. Then, finally, a young sing-songwriter called KTB (who I since realized is named Katie Bennett), who sang some really great songs very well. I then saw Alexandra had called, so I left and went back to her place. I met some of her friends, Alissa, Aly, and Lindsey, all American. Alexanda, Lindsey and I made dinner in Lindsey’s kitchen, after sitting in her room for a while. We made spaghetti with cheese and broccoli. Yum, for not having eaten all day. After dinner, we chatted for a while, and they decided to go see Pan’s Labyrinth. We set off, and I went to my show. It was pouring, and I got soaked. I was kindof casting about in terms of finding the place again, and was literally about to give up, making one last turn, before I looked at the map, when there it was. I actually did that several times this weekend. I impress myself. Anyways, I saw the Duhks first, then Session A9. Both were good, though my expectations for Session A9 were a little high. During the Session A9 show, the banjo player from the Duhks and his girlfriend were standing right in front of me. After the show, I went back to Alexandra’s, and we talked more, especially about environmentalism and relationships.

This was all well and adventurous, but nothing compared to Saturday. Well. Still exciting. But Saturday was good too. Very good.

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