The Saw Doctors at Barrowland

Friday was my 45th birthday, and I feel officially middle-aged as a consequence. To celebrate, I’d managed to get some tickets for the Saw Doctors at Glasgow’s famous Barrowland venue. The Queen of the Chooks and I set off down the road as soon as we could get away from work and booked in to our hotel (cheap, central and clean, but noisy and no-frills) before heading across town to the venue. Barrowland is a classic old-style ballroom above a market in a run-down area just off the city centre. This area is characterised by small dingy bars and takeaways and, looking at it, you could imagine yourself in some run-down area in middle America. None of the bars make any attempt to promote themselves as somewhere you’d take the mother-in-law, and I don’t think they’d expect you to do so unless she was one of the hard-drinking kicking and fighting variety (which the Queen Mother of the Chooks certainly isn’t, although she can still hold her own in most company at the age of 91).
The crowd inside were pretty energetic and some of them could even stand up on their own. There were loads of Galway team shirts around the place and the crush at the bar meant that there were usually about seven people in front of you. As I said to the enthusiastic drinker behind me, I was there to get a drink, not his child.
The Saw Doctors themselves were great fun and soon had the place rocking. A great band to see live and we enjoyed about an hour of the show before leaving early. The reason for leaving early was that there were a number of people in the crowd who thought it was huge fun to throw beer across the crowd. After I’d been hit by the fifth lot and my hair (what little remains of it) was soaked with the stuff, I’d lost all enthusiasm for the place and had a total sense of humour failure. It’s probably a good job that I never did see who chucked the stuff around because I would almost certainly have ended up starting something I couldn’t finish. I’ve done that once or twice before in life and lived to regret it.
Next time I go to Barrowland I shall either stand at the back or at the sides near the bar where a lot less of this nonsense seems to go on. Perhaps I’m just too old for this sort of antics, but there’s no bl**dy pleasure in getting beer over you when you haven’t put it there yourself.


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