My parents didn’t drive so our days away would mean getting a couple of trains to Largs. We would visit the Pencil Beach, overlooking the Firth of Clyde, which must be one of Scotland’s smallest. I still have a soft spot for that wee beach.
I remember my dad telling me this was where the Vikings landed. Now I had just watched the film The Vikings, so thought I would see Tony Curtis and Kirk Douglas at any moment!
I think it was one of Alexander “Greek” Thomson’s last commissions – the buildings at Great Western Terrace on Great Western Road. I love everything about it. I love the cornicing and the brickwork, the detail, everything is just phenomenal.
Even the way that the sun bounces off it. I tried to buy one in the 1990s but I was beaten to it – I was absolutely gutted. Glasgow must have the greatest Victorian architecture anywhere.
My favourite stretch is the junction of Dumbarton Road and Kilbowie Road, but from a good few years ago. I would sell the Evening Times there and waited for the workers flooding out of the Singer factory and John Brown’s. The men would buy a paper and head into the pub for one before going home.
The woman who ran the Seven Seas, the nearest pub, was a pal of my mum’s and would take all my 2ps and give me soft drinks. That street as it was really just lives in my head now.
BEST CHILDHOOD MEMORY
I know we’re going out of Scotland here, but I’m sure it’s something loads of Scots can identify with, particularly working-class Scottish people. One of my favourite times of the year was getting in my mum’s pal’s car and she would drive me, my mum, my dad and my brother down to Blackpool. My Auntie Gladys lived down there, so that was part of the reason for going.
For me, there’s no finer view than the one from Ben A’an in the Trossachs. The great thing about it is it’s not a massive climb for people who aren’t used to mountain climbing. You can see Loch Katrine and Loch Achray from there. It’s an incredible sight.
This probably comes from rummaging around the markets with my mum when I was a wee boy but I love a vintage clothing shop. There are loads of good ones in the West End of Glasgow, but I think my favourite is Mr Ben in Kings Court.
I used to love going to Paddy’s Market and also the Barras when they really were the Barras. It was always the place my mum would go to get her net curtains. She loved a nice net.
I think the best walks get you somewhere. For me it’s the old road from Balloch to Luss. For me it’s jumping on a train with my juice and pieces and getting off at Balloch then making my way up the old road to Luss towards the pier, where I can jump off and have a swim in Loch Lomond.
BEST SCOTTISH DELICACY
I have to go for clootie dumpling, probably because I remember my granny making it and wrapping it in greaseproof paper. She would put money in it, so the threat of choking to death on a sixpence was always there. I do love clootie dumpling though, especially the stuff that’s so heavy that one slice can hardly be lifted off the plate – and especially when it’s fried in butter. It should come shrink wrapped with a defibrillator. I’ll have a slice of that clootie dumpling please and phone me an ambulance while you’re at it…
BEST PLACE FOR A CUPPA
The University Café in Glasgow. No question. Any time my dad took me up to Kelvingrove art gallery we would go there afterwards. Sometimes it was just a cup of tea and a slice of cake but if we were really hungry we would always get the mince and tatties.
I was in not that long ago and I asked for mince and tatties. The owner told me it was off the menu. I really had to rearrange my mental furniture at that news – I was totally discombobulated.
I had a long discussion with the owner about it and he assured me that there would be a chat about that with his son and I slept well that night knowing the world might right itself and the University Café might once again sell mince and tatties.
BEST PLACE FOR A QUIET TIME
I’ve always gone to Bowling Harbour for this. It does make you think when you look up the Clyde from here you’re looking at a gateway to the world.
I even loved the carcasses of the old boats in the mud and how the light hits the water around them. I’m good at climbing inside anyway but this is a good place to do it.
Marti Pellow plays Aberdeen Music Hall on November 11, Dunfermline Alhambra on the 12th, Hamilton Townhouse on the 14th and Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on the 15th. There are more Scottish dates in 2022.
Marti was speaking to Lorraine Wilson.