this is not radio 4
it’s a verbal liberation
thundering through your door

this is not radio 3
it’s a crazy gladness
flying into your tree

this is not radio 2
it’s a sonic transformation
heading straight for you

this is alive, a real living space
this is street-life
it’s a jungle full of grace

this is a man with stockings in his mouth
this is writing on our walls
with no need to head south

this is our voice, it’s a glaswegian call
they think it’s funny when you speak out
and it’s funny when you fall

a cartoon hero with a dignified chant
with a crazy striped T-shirt
and a beatific rant

this is heh jimmy with a slice of jaques brel
it’s a theatre of sound
you can touch, taste and smell

this is life uncovered as your feet take the floor
and your swimming up a river
you did not know you loved before

it’s a tree and a fish
and a bird and a bell
and aw that other crap that the tourist shops sell

it’s laughter and hope and depression and death
it’s a different holy book
it’s your heartbeat and your breath

this is where they rob you
of your skills and your wealth
this is chain smoking life, it’s inherent ill health

they will call you a nutter
they will call you off your tree
if never the exploited nor exploiter shall ye be

this is radio without wage slaves
this is radio in your head
this is radio anything that you want to say instead

this is not radio 2
this is not radio 3
this is not radio 4

this is not radio 4
it’s a live space
it’s a door

it’s a wide open door
it’s a free and vibrant floor
this

is

not

radio 4

 

 

Three Women of Govan, by Jim Ferguson

1. The Bride of King Dyfnwal – December 975

Yes, it is true that my husband was King of Strathclyde and held court at The Hill of Laws in Govan. He was a strong man, capable of great generosity and also great cruelty. The world had demanded this of him and he rose to the challenges of his day. When we recover his body we will inter him on the Sacred Hill of Laws.
I was far younger than he and he chose me for his bride because of my well known devotion to the Church. I could also say that he was swayed by my fine looks but there were fairer girls than I that he could have chosen. Besides, Dyfnwal was an intelligent man and foolishness nor the toleration of fools was not in his nature. Toleration of foolishness was not in my nature either. As I stood on the hill top on the day of our wedding I looked down at the river in all its tranquillity and I knew that we were blessed by God. The people were in high spirits and trusted their King to protect them. As I watched my suitor approach, a lonely figure, moving boldly through the crowd, I felt protected by the great spirit of Saint Constantine, the founder of our Govan church. How else could a King make his way through the crowd unguarded? What bravery, I thought, and determined in that moment that I would dedicate my life to giving my husband fine sons who would rule Strathclyde well and wisely into future years. The Kingdom would be secure. It would be a Christian place. A happy place. My pig-tails blew in a sudden breeze, the horns sounded loudly and there was Dyfnwal beside me. The Bishop solemnly pronounced us man and wife and the horns sounded again. Great cheers erupted from the crowd. A boy swinging an incense burner led the procession back down the hill. My husband and I followed immediately behind him, then came bishops and churchmen, some of whom I knew not to be as pious as they might have been, they were followed by representatives of other Kingdoms, none of whom could truly be trusted, and then followed our local good men and friends. The crowd was already beginning to take to dancing and drinking. The clouds left the sky and the sun caressed the celebrations with life giving light. I had never felt as happy and secure as at the moment when we stepped down from our Sacred Hill. It was the beginning of life.

We tried to extend the reach of our power into the south. And this was to become a source of great agony for me and my husband. My two eldest sons were captured far from home at Dumnail Raise. They fell into the hands of cruel and vicious Englishmen; this was in the Year of Our Lord 945. My poor boys were violently mutilated and blinded by them. Any merciful, honourable soldiers would have killed them: to blind them and to leave them without the means of obtaining progeny was cruelty beyond that borne by the suffering Christ himself. Such an insult to family and dignity has been difficult to live with. And so now, some thirty years have passed and my husband thought to make Pilgrimage to Rome, to find peace at the centre of Christian power but even this was denied him. The news has just reached us that no sooner had he arrived in Rome than he died: and a harsh wind blows up the river. Today our Sacred Hill is empty.

 

2. Annie Miller – Sunday, September 2nd 1787

My name is Annie Miller. My husband died today. He has been shot by soldiers of the 39th Foot Regiment. Though I am myself a Govan lassie I married Alexander Miller of the Calton after meeting him at the Govan Fair. We had much in common from the first. I was surprised to see that Alex was very taken by the fine needle work in the Govan Weavers Society banner. This delicate embroidery made a deep impression on him and he resolved to learn something more of it. I told him that my mother had woven some of the fine yarns that were used in the making of the banner and when I says that I had been taught the same trade by her, he immediately demanded that he be shown the spinning wheel. He wanted to see this for himself. And wha’s gonny dae the carding? I asked him. Only for himself to reply, You’re lookin at the very man.

Awa ye go, says I. But he insisted, and as he carded the wool I spun it into a very fine yarn and aw the time he was watching me carefully, as if to memorise for himself how it was done. Wool is a fine yarn to spin, I says to him, it leaves the hands soft. No ataw like linen then, he says. Like he was a party to my own mind, for I was aboot to say the same. And we laughed, and began to sing together an auld Jacobite weaving song that many who considered themsels North Britons would have looked upon disapprovingly. Near sunset we took a walk along the banks of the Clyde, around the foot of Doomster Hill and it was there I conceived my firstborn.

I am surprised that such a happy memory should come upon me, when now, in our loom shop, not ten feet away, lies my dead husband with a hole in his body. It seems that certain of the worthies of Glasgow were there to witness the bloody mess, and that the riot act had not been read before the bastards opened with their muskets. Lord Provost and the Sheriff-depute, both these men I hold responsible. I hold that these men are guilty of murder, and indeed those who have the dubious distinction of ranking themselves among the officer class, especially one Colonel Kellet who I am told gave the order to fire; a man who clearly cares nothing about leaving children faitherless. And our own weans in there now washing the body. I have told them to leave no blood on the body. My Alex will go to the grave like an innocent. And when, at our first meeting, we were finished with the spinning he says, Do you know how I got cried Alexander, it was after the English poet Alexander Pope: Alas what wonder! Man's superior part, Uncheck'd may rise and climb from art to art; But when his own great work is but begun, What Reason weaves, by Passion is undone. I did not stop to think what this could mean for it was then he kissed me. And I kissed him back, passionately; I am not ashamed to say. If anything killed my Alex it was indeed his passion for justice, for proper wages and to live with dignity, passion for bread for the wee yins, for no house to go hungry. This I thought was passion good and I do not worry for my sense of reason has left me, and now I wish that you leave me alone in my mourning. My man is gone but my reason and my passion will return, and justice will be done for the Martyrs of the Calton. And soon, after the funeral of my Alexander Miller, I will move back to my mother’s cottage in Govan, and there in peace I’ll bring up my weans. There I will weave and spin aince again.

3. From The Diary of Linda Fitzgerald– Friday, September 17th 1971

Just home from a meeting of women in the upstairs lounge of Brechin’s Bar. Mostly we talked aboot the work-in which has been going on for over two month now. I am all for it. It shows you what you can do. We didny have our meeting in the downstairs bar cause folk don’t think it’s right for women to go into a bar if they are not accompanied by men. But that’s bye-the-way, the main topic we debated was our objection to one of the slogans they had adopted at the shop-stewards meeting in June:- ‘Not a Man Down the Road’. As women who work in the shipyards and most of us taking our turn in the ‘work-in’ some of us thought this slogan was out of order. Everybody laughed when wee Rena McIntyre shouted, ‘I’ll bet ye it was that eejit Reid came up wae that wan.’ Fact is it disny matter who came up wae it. It’s the principle; it suggests that we’re no part of the struggle, no part of the fight for jobs. Our jobs are on the line too, no just the men. Ok so we don’t lift and weld and rivet big lumps of metal, we don’t actually build the ships, but we clean, we give out the wages, we make sure aw the necessary stock is in place so that the men can go ahead and build the bloody boats. Tony Benn was discussed favourably, though some reckoned he was trying to use the dispute to further his parliamentary ambitions. I don’t care aboot his ambitions. Not that I wish the man any harm, far from it, at least he showed up and offered us support. And for aw oor men might be bad they’re no as bad as the Tories, though they should know better than to try to write us oot the picture. I mean, ye expect a bit of respect. Ye expect equal pay, equal rights, equality in all and every measure. And I expect oor working class men to fight for the ambitions of every woman who wants to live in freedom and equality. I’ll accept nothing less than freedom and equality with men or women, black or white, and that’s afore ye even think aboot class… If ye thought of aw the cruelty that ever happened in the world it would drive ye affyirheid. I’m reminded of Lady MacBeth and her ambitions for her man, and how that ended up driving her mad as a brush. Shakespeare was a clever bugger right enough, saw aw the angles, would’ve made a fine shop-steward and no mistake. Anyway, when the meeting was closing somebody proposed that we go doon into the ‘mens’ bar and order pints. Ye should’ve seen the looks on the some of their coupons when we aw walked in bold as ye like. It was great. Wan eejit, who was completely steamin, shouts oot, ‘Yeezir in the wrang place ladies.’ One of us shouts back, ‘We’re no effin ladies, we’re the women of the UCS.’ The whole place went quiet, totally silent, then aw the other men in the bar started clappin their hauns and cheerin. It was a fantastic moment until some wee bugger shouted, ‘Yir aw Communists, away back tae Russia,’ and got his coupon punched. Anyhow, I felt, just afore that wee eejit got punched, I felt a great sense of hope. I think we’re gonny win.