Winter 2020

Hyper local lifestyle publication for Glasgow's West End

Hyper local lifestyle publication for Glasgow's West End

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www.westendermagazine.com | 1

winter issue



2 | www.westendermagazine.com







We might be the new kids on the

block, but we have more than 100

years of West End property

experience in our Byres Road

team. And with property, legal and

mortgage services under one roof,

we make moving easy.

Gavin Crowe


0141 227 8200

Angela Douglas

Branch Manager

0141 342 5571

Michael Begley

Mortgage Adviser

0141 342 5577

Book your free valuation

today at acandco.com or visit

us at 108 Byres Road.




www.westendermagazine.com | 3

Cover Image By Gregor Reid Photography

Artist Michael Corr for The Graffiti Project. For more information visit:







4 Editor’s Letter

Fashion, beauty & health

6 Running Therapy

15 WIN! At Rainbow Room



10 West End Wanderland


16 Author Interview:

Graeme Armstrong

20 Cover To Cover:

Book Reviews

Westender living

26 West End Property

Market Update

31 Coorie In Interiors


4 | www.westendermagazine.com



Well, that’s been tough. A week before

lockdown in March my phone

didn’t stop with advertiser after

advertiser cancelling their order as they

closed their shutters. We’ve all been

devastated but kept in touch and tried to

keep each other going over the long spring

and longer summer months.

Laterally, I’ve been feeling personally

lucky that lost business is all I have to feel

devastated about. To anyone reading this

who has lost a loved one, been very ill, or

has a business that’s closed down and isn’t

coming back – I am so desperately sorry.

Self-care seems too small a term to fix

the depth of hurt that’s out there right now.

But taking a few minutes to be in the moment,

enjoy a view, a freshly roasted coffee or a

turn around the local park can be just enough

to reset and guide you in a more positive

direction. Mike Findlay uses fitness and the

great West End outdoors as his therapy.

Mike writes about his experience with running

to improve mental health on Page 6.

We also acknowledge the joy to be found

in coorie-ing in on Page 31. Light those

candles, wrap up in a blanket, grab that hot

chocolate and beat back the winter blues

with Netflix binges and luxurious soaks in

the tub.

And here’s a shout out for you, my fellow

small West End business owner. I hear

you my peeps and I support you. Turn to

pages 10-14 for Tracy Mukherjee’s fave

local shopping spots this Festive season –

and support them too! If you can do one thing

this winter please shop locally. We depend on

it, literally.

Most importantly though, be kind to

yourself and those around you – never before

has community meant so much. This too shall

pass and we will make it, together.

Suzanne Martin

Publisher: Westender Magazine

Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the data in this publication is accurate, neither the publisher nor its editorial

contributors can accept, and hereby disclaim, any liability to any party to loss or damage caused by errors or omissions

resulting from negligence, accident or any other cause.

Westender Magazine does not officially endorse any advertising material included within this publication.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted in any form – electronic,

mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise – without prior permission of the publisher.

Westender www.westendermagazine.com Magazine Promotion | 5

Gaining back family time

Nutritional content? Tasty food?

Everyone round the table? What are

your priorities at family meal time?

Simon Partridge launched Simply Simon born

from a passion for great tasting and nutritious

food delivered to hard working West End

homes so he’s doing the graft not you!

‘Simply Simon is based around health

and wellbeing,’ says Simon. ‘We prepare

restaurant quality meals and deliver them

as meal prep. We have a number of services

including catering for dinner parties (normally

in person but we are doing virtual events

in the current situation), cooking classes

and weekly meal plans,’ Simon explains.

‘One of my meal plan clients told me that they

are “paying me to give them family time!”

I thought that really summed it up perfectly.’

Head chef at The Bothy West End before

moving to Arta and The Corinthian, it was

as Executive chef at Menzies hotel Simon’s

interest in the nutritional content of food was

roused. Asked to provide vast quantities of

healthy grub to visiting major rugby clubs

set to play the Glasgow Warriors, Simon was

presented with a menu to prepare. ‘While the

food delivered all of the required nutrients it

didn’t hit the spot on flavours,’ says Simon.

‘I met with the then head of Nutrition for SRU

and got talking as to how we could change

that and make it more of a dining experience

and not just fuel for athletes. This was the

seed that helped me grow my idea in to what

Simply Simon is now.

‘In the current climate people are

concerned about eating out and we can help

with that. Just because people are anxious

about dining out it doesn’t mean they don’t

want to enjoy the company of friends and

loved ones. We can draw up tailored menus

for people that suits their tastes, deliver their

chosen meals as meal prep to each member

of their group and they can then simply

reheat their food and dial in via whatever

media they use to have a great evening with


From weekly meal plans delivered straight

to your fridge to hosting intimate virtual

dinner parties, Simply Simon caters for all.

Find out how Simply Simon can buy

you back some family time by visiting


Simply Simon Chef

07380 667077


6 | www.westendermagazine.com


Running as


Nearly everyone’s mental health has had

a knock at some point during the

pandemic. Even the most positive of

us have had our moments, particularly with

changing restrictions and lockdowns.

The more cooped-up inside we are,

the more our mental health suffers. This

much we know.

It’s not surprising then that during these

Covid-19 times, many more Glaswegians are

pounding the streets and canal paths with

their trainers than ever before. And I have to

admit, I am one of them.

It seems ironic that a public health

crisis has provided the perfect opportunity

for runners in Glasgow to up their game.

But this is exactly what we are seeing. Take a

look down the Kelvin Walkway any day of the

week, and you would be hard pushed not to

notice the determined look of runners of all

ages and levels of fitness, come rain or shine.

The physical benefits of running are clear

– inches off the waistline and improvement of

the overall function of your heart – but we are

just waking up to how helpful running is for

boosting your mental health.

And the research tells us so: academics at

the University of Arizona compared the MRI

scans of runners’ brains to non-runners and

concluded that running affects the structure

and function of the brain, similar to taking

on a complex task like playing a musical


Scientific evidence from the University

of Oxford shows that the post-run high

is brought about by a substance called

‘cannabinoids’ being present in the body

which is also present within marijuana. It can

present that high and calming influence over

you. Which is partly why running is good at

combating depression.

Beyond the hard science and closer to

home, there is a group of inspiring runners

in Glasgow who are seeing real results with

their members when it comes to beating the

Covid blues.

www.westendermagazine.com | 7

Glasgow FrontRunners (GFR) is one of

the city’s biggest running teams. It is part of

a global network of running teams that are

LGBT inclusive. People from all walks of life

run with the team – you don’t have to identify

as LGBT to join.

It is well known that LGBT people’s mental

health suffers disproportionately compared

to other groups in society. GFR has arguably

provided a lifeline for many during the

pandemic who have seen an improvement to

their mental health through running and also

the social aspects of the club.

Jo Jeffreys former President of GFR

comments, ‘When lockdown happened it

was clear that many of our members were

distressed about not being able to meet

up each week to run together. For many of

them, it’s the highlight of their week. We had

to think innovatively as a committee about

how we could keep the club going and at the

same time, paying attention to guidelines and


‘At the height of lockdown, when we

weren’t meeting at all, we set up a Facebook

group for members to share selfies on their

own individual runs. This was hugely popular

as it helped everyone remain connected.

It grew arms and legs and we then decided

to take it one step further and set up a “don’t

break the chain” running calendar to see how

many hours in the day we could have GFR

runners on the streets of Glasgow. We did

this a number of times as it was so popular.

‘A number of our runners managed to

complete their own marathons through

sheer grit and determination, which has

helped keep the club ethos going during the


‘Our members repeatedly tell us how

GFR is more than just a running club, it’s

a social network and community group.

Some of our members have been feeling

socially isolated and have suffered from

depression and if running itself and being

part of the club can alleviate that, then it can

only be a good thing.’

Cameron has been a member of GFR

for the last two years. He comments,

‘I have suffered from periods of anxiety and

depression all of my adult life. I have tried

medication and meditation, but nothing

seemed to work. I took up running in my own

time and saw some benefits to my mental

8 | www.westendermagazine.com

health immediately. My mood was lifted, and I

also began to sleep better.

‘Once I felt more confident as a

runner, I decided to join GFR. Now I am

a more serious runner, I have seen huge

improvements to my physical health and at

the same time I have seen the improvements

mentally. There is also a real added benefit

to running with the group and it’s a very

sociable and supportive bunch. Members

meet up outside the group, where we can,

and during the pandemic we have organised

a number of social events online including

quizzes and our AGM.’

Aye Run is another innovative running

initiative coming out of Glasgow.

It’s the brainchild of local all-round running

enthusiast, Sean Reid. Combining his

love of running with history and culture,

Sean organises running tours of Glasgow

which appeal to natives and tourists alike.

His runs take in everything from George

Square, the Cathedral, the Necropolis and

Glasgow Green – but also some ‘off-thebeaten-track’

sights looking at architecture

and statues and some of Glasgow’s ‘hidden’

street art.

What better way to stimulate and improve

both your physical and mental health by

running and learning something about your

home city at the same time?

Sean comments, ‘I have always been

passionate about the history of the city,

its stories, buildings and murals that pop up

all over the place. I wanted to do something

different with my runs that brought both

elements together and allowed me to share

my knowledge of Glasgow and its culture

with other people. Our runs are at a relaxed

pace and really are for everyone.

‘Our post-lockdown tours have attracted

more locals than previously. For me,

it’s really rewarding helping people from

Glasgow discover their own city, seeing them

astonished when they find out the hidden

history of a place they’ve walked past a

hundred times without a second glance.’

For more details visit:




Disease –


Advice to Help

You Reduce

Stiffness and

Move Better

Living with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is

tough at the best of times. And, lets face

it, with COVID-19, now is definitely not

the best of times or the easiest to keep

active. You may well be frustrated as you

have stiffened up or lost some of your energy

over the last few months. You are not alone,

many people living with PD are struggling

with the same issues.

To try and help you reduce the stiffness

and regain some of your energy I wanted to

share some of the basics of How to Keep

Active The Right Way with PD. The principles

for these exercises are – Power, Effort and


For many people PD is a bit like driving

your car with the handbrake stuck on. So,

to overcome the ‘handbrake’ any movement

you are going to do needs to be :-

Full of Power – to help increase the strength

of the movement you produce

High in Effort – to make sure you are

getting the most effective movement possible

Large Amplitude – Make it way bigger than

you think you need to.

An example of this would be walking, speed

up your walking by trying to take ‘quicker’

or ‘faster’ steps. What typically happens,

is that you get many more of your normal

small steps, but very little increase in speed

and you can often feel unsteady or worried

you might fall. So, instead of thinking ‘I need

to speed up’, I want you to concentrate on

Westender www.westendermagazine.com Magazine Promotion | 9

J FraserSimpson MSc, Chartered Physiotherapist

Call NOW on 07988 015190 to see how

we can help

taking large effortful and powerful steps.

Done properly you will see a real

improvement in the size of your stride,

which will also improve your walking speed.

This is just one example of how being able

to exercise the right way can help you live a

more independent and active life with PD.

One of my clients, who has been diagnosed

with PD, has very kindly recorded a video to

speak a bit about how we are helping him live

better with PD. To access the video please

go to simpsonphysio.co.uk/parkinsonsspecialist-glasgow

and scroll down to the

bottom of the page.

Visit simpsonphysio.co.uk for a FREE

Tips Report to Help you Start Taking Back

Control of Your Life with Parkinson’s

Disease, and fill in our online form.

Alternatively, call 07988 015190 now to

book an appointment with a specialist.

Simpson Physiotherapy

07988 015190


10 | www.westendermagazine.com

Walking in a West End


No need for a subway ride. The West End is THE

shopping destination this year.

Few of us will be sad to see the demise of 2020. But so

far, we are making it through and as true Glaswegians,

just getting on with it. If you are a small business owner

that ‘blitz mentality’ has just about got you through the

past 9 months. With Christmas coming, this should be

a time of economic growth. So with that in mind, where

should we spend our hard earned cash this Christmas?

Let’s consider our own back yard, support our

small business owners and shop locally.



Immersing itself in a glorious halo of festive

treats Spirito, Crow Road is a one stop shop

for home and gift ideas. Their line of super

cute Pot Candles combining Christmas and

nature come in either robin, reindeer or fox

and are evocatively scented with different

Christmas spices. Scented candles are in

abundance in this stunning gift boutique,

not to mention the most adorable range of

light garlands. The Starburst Chain lights

and fairy lit Table Robins are an oh-so-chic

alternative to the traditional Christmas tree.

There are many beautiful interior ideas

here with a nod to the pared back hygge

style of cosy furnishing without fuss. Spirito

has an outstanding range of home goodies,

everything to make your home a Snugglefest!

No place to go? Thank goodness.


In one of my favourite bijou spots in

West Dowanhill Street, sits Colab Store.

This multifaceted space houses a cosy

coffee shop, event area and gift shop. At its

core Colab champions design, inspired by

co-owners Karen Haas and Peter Mulvenny’s

love of travel, art and design.

For a truly unique Christmas gift, Colab

is definitely worth the trip. Its glorious

apothecary ranges should ensure your skin

is in for a pamper not to mention moisturising

our dried out little mitts from the copious

hand washing. On which point you might

consider treating your hands to the decadent

Meraki hand creams, or indeed anything from

this truly sumptuous skin range.

East of Earl’s Onsen Range is also a

winner in the gift stakes: choose from hand

www.westendermagazine.com | 11

SPiRiTO’s Starburst Chain Lights and Table Robin

balm, coordinating hand wash, bath salts,

and candles. What could be better than

soaking in your favourite aroma, fragrancing

your home plus treating your skin all in the

same heady scent? Don’t forget to check out

the lush range of Nuddy shea butter soap

bars too.

To lift our mood, look to brighter days

ahead with Colab’s range of sunglasses.

It’s an extensive collection with cool designer

vibes. But if we are honest we might have

to deal with a few showers before the sun

appears – isn’t that an analogy for our

current climate. Fear not, the super stylish

Blunt umbrellas come in Metro and Classic

styles. Come rain or shine plus a lovely cup

of Joe to boot, Colab has just the right gift for

Christmas with style.


A Hyndland stalwart Cassiopeia, Hyndland

Road opened the door to its gift and home

boutique way back in 2004. Being a mere

child at that time I clearly don’t remember…


As the name suggests, Cassiopeia is all

about gifts that shine and will bring a sparkle

to your home. Owners Lyudmila and Mabel,

whilst stocking unique gifts from further

afield, love to champion local Scottish art and

design. Designer Jamie Frame’s Topographic

Wall Maps are a thing of beauty. Carved

from birch plywood and finished with natural

wood wax this gift will definitely bring a

smile come Christmas morning. Cath Waters

contemporary take on the Scottish landscape

is beautifully captured in her range of mugs

and coaster combinations. The Rupert

Balmire ceramics range elevate the humble

tea caddy or tumbler to a new level of design


There is also a beautiful collection of

baby gifts too. The Beatrix Potter range has

everything from soft toys and bibs through to

purses and pencil cases. What parent of a tot

12 | www.westendermagazine.com

Home Gifts Jewellery Baby


everything a pet lover needs in the

heart of the west end



Natural Treats

For cats, dogs &

little critters


all natural &

grain free!

165B Hyndland Road, Glasgow, G12 9HT

Tel: 0141 3577374


79 Hyndland Street


G11 5PS

tel: 0141 334 0760

www.westendermagazine.com | 13

Meraki Pure Organis Hand Cream and Blunt Metro

Umbrella, both from The CoLab Store

couldn’t love a Beatrix Potter tooth and curl

box? That may just be the cutest sentence

I’ve ever written.

Whatever the age, from young to old

Casseiopia is the place for that very special

Christmas gift.


Nordic style has become ever more present

in our design consciousness over the past

few years. Hoos Great Western Road is a

hygge wonderland… with a heady sprinkling

of local artisan design thrown in. Hoos is the

destination store for textiles, purity of style

and natural materials.

The Cowboy Dream Blankets by Icelandic

designer Anna Thorunn are made from

100% New Zealand wool and are inspired

by her memories of the beauty and majesty

of her homeland. Normann Copenhagen’s

outrageously cute Little Bird decorative

figures are a beautiful blend of smooth turned

wood with only a smidgin of detail – a little

beak. Coming in 6 different sizes, you can

add to your collection over time.

For kiddies, the love of natural materials

continues. In particular Wooden Story’s

range of unsurprisingly, wooden toys as well

as some knitted gems from Olesen Design

and Sophie Home are very special. These are

forever toys that will always be a favourite,

gracing a child’s shelf throughout the years.

Minimalist, natural, stylish. Hoos has your

designer Christmas all wrapped up.


If you can’t get a special Christmas gift in this

great store, Santa’s workshop hasn’t made it.

Liquorice Tree has an expansive range of

gifts all year round, but at Christmas it ups

the ante. The downstairs Christmas shop has

become a destination venue for Christmas

decor. The range of Scottish Christmas

Topographical Map and Blade & Rose Leggings

from Cassiopeiast

14 | www.westendermagazine.com

Decorations are simply adorable. Who could

ignore a Bagpiping Santa bauble? Personally

I’m always a sucker for a Harris Tweed

Highland Cow.

Jewellery, scarfs, gloves… words to

bring a flut ter to any West End girl’s hear t.

The One Hundred Stars range of city map

scarfs are aux tres chic, whilst Pia Rossini

gloves may just be the cosiest hand

coverings this side of the Clyde. Where to

begin on jewellery? Designer, costume or

just for fun, watches, necklaces, the whole

shebang. The Shrieking Violet range of

pendants with real flowers are simply lovely,

whilst the Elie Beaumont classic watch face

is, if you’ll pardon the pun, timeless.

With the Joma range also stocking

children’s jewellery, these are a lovely

stocking filler each with a thoughtful little

message. Gifts too numerous to mention –

that’s literally Liquorice Tree.


Ready for the festive season with oodles of

Christmas stock – see FB video – this pocket

size gem on Queen Margaret Drive is such a

part of the West End fabric. With an in-house

design studio where commissioned artwork

and cards can be tailor-made for you,

Ae Fond Kiss really does provide a

personalised customer service. Small in size

but big in product range, the boutique has

an extensive collection of jewellery, gifts and

home decor delights. With purchases always

beautifully packed, size doesn’t always



New kid on Park Road Decadent Riot sits

quietly and unassuming in its new home.

But once inside it’s punchy, loud and

refreshing. Looking for a fun, ballsy gift for

a younger relative – or a tragic old hipster

like myself trying to relive their Glasgow Uni

days? This is the place. I love, love, love the

Cassette Coin Purses, fantastically funny

badges and eighties music memorabilia.

With fun jewellery, bags, hilarious cards

and some seriously funky home decor,

this little spot of muso-heaven is a must visit

for a super cool gift to impress.

So many possibilities within walking distance,

it’s easy to see why shopping locally makes

so much sense and not just because of the

fantastic products on offer.

I think what many of us realised this

year, especially during the spring lockdown,

was just how strong the West End is. Never

have we been more proud and invested

in our local community than we are now.

We are reliant on each other to get through

this. So let’s continue to invest our time and

resources in our families, friends, neighbours

and the myriad of small businesses that are

fighting to survive around us.

Merry Christmas!

Little Bird Collection by Normann Copenhagen, available at Hoos

www.westendermagazine.com | 15



by John Parker

hristmas is almost here, and we are

ready at Rainbow Room International

to welcome all our wonderful clients in

for their Christmas hair appointments.

Although Christmas hairstyling may not be

the same this year and Christmas events and

parties not as certain, it’s still very important

for us all to look after ourselves and our hair,

especially in these colder months where

going from wet and windy outdoors to

warm and cosy indoors can dry our hair out

considerably. During the winter months we

would advise you to think of booking a deep

conditioning treatment in addition to your

design cut to keep your hair as healthy as


There are great options for Christmas gifts

to treat the loved ones in your life to some

pampering products and Gift Vouchers are

a great stocking filler as well as a great way

to support the salon. With festive touches

in the salon we hope to spread some festive

cheer and put a smile on our client’s faces.

Our team are ready and excited for a busy

lead up to Christmas.

WIN! Rainbow Room International

are offering one lucky reader a hair

makeover in their Great Western Rd

salon. For your chance to win go to

westendermagazine.com and click

on competitions by the 28th Feb ‘21.



715 Great Western Road, Glasgow, G12 8QX

Rainbow Room International

607 Great Western Road G12 8HX

0141 337 3370


16 | www.westendermagazine.com

Writer’s Reveal

meets Graeme Armstrong


When we meet Azzy Williams,

the central character of Graeme

Armstrong’s debut novel, he is just

fourteen years old, and yet to become one

of the most prominent members of gang,

The Young Team.

In that window to his adolescence,

Armstrong shows us the hurtling inevitability

of gang culture that awaits not just Azzy,

but all the boys in The Young Team,

the overlooked youths of North Lanarkshire.

Having swapped stealing beers from home

for haggling with an ‘eld alky’ to buy them

alcohol from the off licence, Azzy and his

pals charge into the weekend, inflated with

attitude, dizzy on adrenaline and Buckfast,

and looking for trouble – guaranteed to

be found in their ‘enemies,’ the rival gang,

Too Boiz.

The Young Team, Too Boiz… they’re all

young boys living in poor postcodes, in a

hurry to grow up and it’s the street they

turn to for their training. As Azzy tells us

‘They don’t teach yi how tae survive oot oan

the streets in school...furget PSE, social

education...Yi learn fae yir pals, n the army

ae big cousins, brurs n elder wans who feel it

their duty tae lead and mislead yi tae the form

ae truth that the streets offer.’ An armour of

designer labels – Fred Perry, Lacoste and the

ultimate aspirational garment, the Berghaus

Mera Peak – go some way towards giving the

illusion of self-assurance.

Over the next few years, Azzy is drawn

into a life of violence, drug abuse and the

suffocating pull of gang culture loyalty.

Regular altercations with Too Boiz create an

escalating cycle of retaliation that steers the

story towards grave territory. In public Azzy

acts recklessly, while privately beginning

to imagine a different path. Teachers see

his potential, as does Monica, a former

girlfriend – and he sometimes sees it too:

‘A momentarily hate maself n the way A talk

www.westendermagazine.com | 17

n aw the time A’ve wasted.’ A post-festival

anxiety attack in his childhood bedroom,

and later in a car packed with his weed

smoking pals are vivid and affecting in their

bleakness. They’re also quietly hopeful

moments that reveal Azzy’s inner turmoil

taking siege, his growing resistance towards


While The Young Team is fictional,

Armstrong’s own observations of gang

culture – having lived it and left it behind

– make this a compulsive read. You can feel

passion and fight from him on every page

to show us the insecurities and anxieties

crackling away under the exterior of these

young men; the heavy burden of masculinity

and all they misunderstand it to be; and the

complexity of existing in a perpetual cycle of

debts, from the financial to the moral.

Adjusting to Azzy’s street vernacular

is initially challenging. When you do, his

witty, beautiful observations on life and

his compassion for all – from his enemies

through to his mother – are poetic, his voice

lingering in your mind long after you’ve read

his story.

When did you decide to write The Young

Team? I began writing this novel in January

2013 in my first tough days of stopping

using drugs for the last time. On Christmas

Eve 2012, I went to church instead of out

with the young team with my mum for the

Watchnight service and went cold turkey

the following day. I had tried and failed

several times before, but this time was like a

Christmas epiphany. That was my moment

of transformation. The Young Team was a

constant companion and a reason to fight

and strive and just to keep going through

these hard times. Seven years later… it would

be a Times Bestseller. My faith stayed with

me as well. It has become an important part

of my life.

What was your writing process?

I wrote consecutively, star t to finish.

The Young Team was written as a

bildungsroman trilogy. Each novel

represented the succinct age periods, 14, 18

and finally 21. This was seen as a commercial

decision but really it wasn’t. The novels

were very long – the total words would have

been around 250K – a Lord of the Rings

length saga. I combined these into a single

novel and began to cut them back across

the five years of working independently and

seeking representation. Finding a literary

agent was the hardest part of the process.

Once I was signed, I continued to edit and

refine. After several months work, it was sent

out to publishers and was acquired quickly

by Picador at Pan Macmillan. The dialect

required particular effort in its crafting to

make sure it was a realistic linguistic portrait

that was both authentic and legible to the

outside world. The language of the novel

is incredibly important to me in terms of

representing my community.

How cathartic was it to write?

It was not as cathartic as people might think.

I was aware that I was creating something.

It wasn’t like it was a sudden release.

I’ve actually written a memoir style of events

and that was much more cathartic because

that was more of an outpouring. But The

Young Team took craft; it was hard work.

How do you think gang culture affects the

shape of self-esteem in such formative

years? Young men survive in these

communities by safety in numbers and I think

self-esteem is a big word that young men

wouldn’t consciously use or think about. I

heard a good quote once that in your teenage

years you want to be the same as everyone

and then in your twenties you want to be

different and I think that’s true.

Poor mental health is a theme affecting

many of your characters yet most are not

even conscious of their suffering in order

to take steps to get support. Do you feel

like any progress is being made here?

The themes of mental health and masculinity

are intertwined here. In the novel, we see

panic and anxiety, complex trauma response

and suicide hidden behind the hard shells

of characters, without any mention of

professional intervention. This was absolutely

my experience. There is a definite reticence

to seek professional help in communities like

this because of stigma and quite frankly the

outcome of seeking help. Often, if someone

presented at a GP with mental health

complaints, as some did, they were offered a

course of anti-depressants when, potentially,

they would have better suited talking

therapies, abstinence from substance abuse/

18 | www.westendermagazine.com

alcohol and focus on diet and exercise.

The holistic factors of overall wellbeing were

never considered. Lifestyle is fundamental

to mental health. Poverty is a massive driver

of poor mental health. Unless in direct crisis,

access to talking services typically takes

months. Young men self-medicate with

alcohol and street Valium – a direct factor

in our surge in drug fatalities in Scotland –

the so called ‘blue-death’. I know countless

young men who have committed suicide –

the latest one of my own young team in the

summer. It’s an epidemic, but without access

to treatment – it continues. If we break our

leg, we receive prompt treatment and physio

– but if we’re struggling with panic disorder or

depression – the treatment is patchy at best

and we’re ignored with lethal potential. Why?

At one point Azzy says of another lad

‘I felt heartfelt sorrow that we’ve put

that…mark on his face and doomed

him forever to think like this.’ You invite

understanding and compassion for all the

young men, even those in the rival gang.

I think that’s mandatory. It’s too easy to

make this a story of ‘we’re the good guys

and they’re the bad guys,’ whereas the

reality of territorial and recreational violence

is that there wasn’t good and bad guys;

they were just guys. When you look at it

from the vantage point of being beyond it

you realise that. Facial injuries become such

a brand on a young man. Someone with a

face injury is a victim of violence but people

assume – often wrongly – that they’re a

perpetrator of violence, in gangs or organised

crimes. It becomes a real challenge for these

young men to get a job or even just move on.

Azzy acknowledges his ‘maw’, who is

constantly worried about her son’s safety,

as the ‘true unsung hero ae this story.’

Bearing in mind your own journey, how did

your mother feel when The Young Team

was published? The Young Team isn’t a

book any parent wants their child to be able

to write from lived experience. My mother

witnessed that journey and descent firsthand.

Seeing her son come home covered

in blood after being seriously assaulted,

collecting me from police stations, attending

court and just daily life with someone who

is substance dependent is very challenging.

Without her support, I’d have left home at

sixteen and dropped out of education. My

fate would have been predictable. You can’t

undo the past, but I hope that my journey

in gaining both bachelor’s and master’s

degrees, living substance and alcohol free

and the writing of this novel are atonement.

She is absolutely the ‘unsung hero’. I stand

by these words – she never gave up on me or

accepted the life I had chosen for myself.

You acknowledge Trainspotting as an

influence for Azzy, and presumably for

yourself. What else inspired you?

Ken Loach’s Sweet Sixteen. I recently

spoke to Martin Compston which was really

exciting as he was one of my boyhood idols.

That was the first time we saw our lives

reflected on screen and seeing the emblems

like a blue Berghaus Mera Peak really spoke

to us. When I started to write this, Sweet

Sixteen was a film I really thought about.

What have you been working on this year?

I’ve had the summer off to focus on writing

but I’m returning to work. I’ve supported

myself for these last seven years by working

in the motor-sales. It’s long hours and

demanding but I’m convinced there’s a novel

in there somewhere! My next fiction offering,

Raveheart is based around rave culture –

definitely more Kevin and Perry Go Large in

tone than something like Beats. Following

this is the true story of my experiences

in gangs in memoir. The working title is

To Live and Die in LA-narkshire. This is a

different enterprise from The Young Team.

It’s challenging and darker, I think. Real life is

often more unbelievable. Long term, I would

love to return to university and take my PhD

in English.




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Hard Pushed

by Leah Hazard




‘Another night, another vagina.’ With one of the best

opening lines I’ve ever read, this enthralling book is

a (genital) warts and all account of life as a midwife

in Glasgow, from moments of joy to the depths of


The book is divided into

manageable chapters and

doesn’t have to be read in one

burst, although I read it in three

days and found it hard to put

down. Each chapter focuses on a

different patient or type of patient,

although Hazard is keen to point

out that the patients described

are often composite patients,

in order to protect


The author made the transition

to midwifery following the birth

of her own children, and she

recounts the terror of learning

on the job, being thrust into the

heart of things, albeit supervised,

and the long, agonising shifts

where mental and physical

resources are stretched to the

limit. Hazard gains skills and

confidence and is soon able to

announce herself with the cheery

‘Midwife Hazard, at your cervix’!’

We are reminded of the oscillating

emotions the public servant,

one minute receiving a thank you

card, the next being shouted at

by a mother who places all of her

pregnancy complications squarely

at the door of the midwife.

We are told how the harsh

realities of what was witnessed

on the maternity ward continue

to haunt staff, even as they try

to ease themselves back into the

rhythms of family life.

We modern humans think we are so sophisticated, yet we

learn here that September is the busiest month for the maternity

ward as it’s nine months after Christmas parties, mistletoe

and cold nights. I found fascinating the depiction of the range

of mothers from a wide spectrum of backgrounds. We have

the chavvy Scottish teenager who won’t get off her phone,

the Chinese woman who is starving and has clearly escaped from

her traffickers, the Somali woman who is deeply scarred from

FGM. They all present very different problems, and moving from

one to the other on a busy twelve-hour shift demands mental

gymnastics in order to cater for the disparate needs of this

motley client group.

Towards the end of the book, Hazard begins to deal with the

paucity of resources on the wards, the cutbacks which lead to

blunter instruments, the lack of beds, the lack of consultants

and so on. She rails against the lack of focus on mental health,

whilst many fetishise food fads, the right muslin or googling every

detail of their pregnancy. ‘In one of the world’s wealthiest nations,

we can and should do better for our midwives and for our women.’


www.westendermagazine.com | | 21 5


by Robert MacFarlane

and Stanley Donwood


Ness is a very strange,

brilliant book. It’s part poetry,

part song, part novella,

a stunning combination which

explores an apocalyptic world

where the land comes to life

because it needs to come

to life.

The setting is on a salt-andshingle

island upon which rests

a ruined concrete structure

known as The Green Chapel.

In this structure there is a ritual

led by a figure known as The

Armourer, a ritual with terrible

intent, a ritual involving the

Song of the Bomb.

The Armourer is assisted

by The Engineer, The Botanist,

The Ornithologist and The

Physicist. Together they are

hatching terrible plans to

wreak destruction on the

earth. Moving inexorably

towards the Green Chapel are

five forms – more than human,

made of tidal drift, green

moss and deep time – where

they will finally converge and

become Ness.

It’s a glorious mixture

of the ultra-modern and

the archaic, reminiscent of

Russell Hoban’s Ridley Walker.

The sections of the book

are divided by hagstones,

which is a clever touch,

and Donwood’s illustrations

evoke the desolate, dreary

setting of Orford Ness in

Suffolk, a place redolent of

centuries of warfare, including

a recently decommissioned

atomic weapons research


The book has been called

‘Gawain and the Green Knight

for the atomic age, a black

mass for dark times.’ It’s a

book to be read over and over,

aloud, and enjoyed. I’m sure in

years to come it will be viewed

as a modern classic.

This is a terrifying book

but must be read. We’re all

doomed. Yes, no matter what

we do, we’re all doomed.

However, you’ll be glad

to know that when and

how we’re doomed is still

within our powers to control.

So, a happy ending then.

The chapter headings ‘Heat

Death’, ‘Hunger’, ‘Drowning’

and ‘Wildfire’ are a flavour of

how we are killing our planet

and, by extension, ourselves.

The book is full of frightening

facts and figures and the notes

section is replete with scientific

studies to support the writer’s

arguments. The afterword is

the final nail in the coffin which

removes the last vestiges of

optimism within the book,

as two years after finishing

the book, he realised that this

optimism was misplaced.

So, why read such a doomladen

tome? It’s important

that we know what’s coming.

He argues that political

activism is the only way

forward – not different straws

or more expensive plastic

bags at the shops. Switching

to veganism will help,

but only if we all do it right

now. It takes eight pounds of

grain to produce one pound

of hamburger meat. Cut out

the cow and eat the grain.

It’s a no-brainer. The ice-sheet

in Greenland is losing a billion

tons of ice a day. Louisiana is

losing a football field of land

every hour.

But we won’t all suffer

equally. The first country to

industrialize and produce

greenhouse gas on a grand

scale, the U.K., is expected to

suffer the least from climate


The Uninhabitable


by David Wallace-Wells


22 | www.westendermagazine.com


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24 | Westender www.westendermagazine.com

Magazine Promotion

Legal Matters

Pandemic pessimism

or pragmatism

When lockdown occurred in the spring

lots of us took the chance to have a

clear out, or do some gardening or

otherwise catch up on long forgotten tasks.

Despite the pandemic there was a kind of

optimism in the air that summer was coming,

covid would be conquered and we’d all get

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Foolish, weren’t we? Now we’ve got new

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So why not indulge in pessimism this time

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And if there is no one in your life who meets

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Westender www.westendermagazine.com Magazine Promotion | 25

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26 | www.westendermagazine.com

up up & AWAY

the west end property market

With reports of house prices soaring following the

lifting of lockdown restrictions earlier this year, it has

been an extraordinary time for home buyers and sellers.

Loraine Patrick speaks to three West End property

professionals to find out what the picture has

been like in our area.


Did lockdown get you thinking of

moving to a new house? Want space

for a home office, a garden or a move

out of mum and dads? You are not alone.

The 10-week pandemic enforced

hibernation earlier this year followed by

advice to work from home saw a pentup

desire for change on the home front.

Existing homeowners looked to trade up

for green space and a home office, renters

who after a few months back at mum and

dads desperately wanted their own space,

and there has been a rise in searches for

second homes in rural locations, places to

retreat to in times of short notice lockdown.

More specifically in the West End of

Glasgow where there’s long been high

demand for all types of housing stock, sales

immediately after lockdown saw multiple

parties bidding, dramatic closing dates and

some surprisingly high prices. Cameron

Ewer, Head of Residential Sales in Scotland

for property agency Savills puts the initial rise

into context.

‘In the three months since lockdown lifted

prices have risen about three per cent. There

have been cases where properties have

gone for much more than that but on balance

across all house types the increase is around

three per cent.’

Cameron goes on to explain what sets

the West End apart right now ‘is not just that

it’s locally acclaimed, we have seen a 70 per

cent increase in buyers looking up here from

London. Property here is more affordable

in comparison to other parts of the UK and

that includes Edinburgh, and our ability to

offer space and access to the countryside

all within an hour of the West End of the city

is unique. Not everyone is going for the full

escape to the country – it’s about getting

close to that without necessarily stepping

away from a city life. It’s about a balanced

city life and that is something Glasgow and

specifically the West End has to offer.’

Property in the area traditionally sells

quickly but right now West End houses

and flats are coming on and off the market

www.westendermagazine.com | 27

28 | www.westendermagazine.com

at speed. Alison Gourley is an expert in

property law at Solicitors and Estate Agents

Mitchells Roberton. She is acutely aware

of how fast lawyers need to react, getting

written offers out and being ready to respond

with the right advice. ‘We are getting phone

calls on a Monday morning about a property

going to market,’ says Alison. ‘It would be

launched on Wednesday, have viewings on

Thursday, Friday and Saturday and go to

closing date the following week. The whole

process is often even shorter than that.’

‘We have been snowed under with

business,’ she continues, ‘there still seems

to be a strong desire for people to get on

with their lives and make the changes they

had planned for. The housing market is one

of the biggest drivers of any economy and it

looks from our perspective like there’s still a

lot of activity going on. There is a big push for

people to get into their next house.’

Add to this a stamp duty holiday on

properties up to the value of £250,000 in

Scotland – which covers much of the West

End’s tenement stock – and you have all the

ingredients for an extraordinary period for the


However, the pandemic may have

motivated people to change home but there

is caution from lenders. Aaron Reilly is a

Mortgage and Insurance Consultant with

brokers Scott Weir Mortgages. He says

the pandemic may have caused people

to re-evaluate their lives but that’s come

at a time lenders have a reduced appetite

because they are factoring in an increase in

unemployment and a downturn in property


Aaron goes on to explain ‘the very high

demand for mortgages comes just as lenders

have less capacity because most of their

staff are working from home. Furthermore,

entry point mortgages or mortgages with

low deposits have all but disappeared.’

Aaron describes how the lending market has

changed since June. ‘Mortgages with 5 and

10 per cent deposits have been removed

and the entry point has been a 15 per cent

deposit. There are three or four lenders

offering restricted access to 10 per cent

deposit mortgages, but they are available

only to existing homeowners and only offered

for a day at a time to manage demand.’

So, with lenders trying to manage the

flow of applications and factoring in risk it’s

important for borrowers to shop around for

the best mortgage product available. Aaron

continues, ‘the rates on even favourable

mortgages – those with 15 or 25 per cent

deposits – are increasing on a daily basis.’

He advises using a broker if you want to or

need to move. ‘The difference in appetite

between one lender and another is huge

and there’s a lot to navigate in terms of how

lenders are viewing staff who have been

furloughed, self-employed, used a bounce

back loan or the income support scheme.

‘We are often able to help in cases where

mortgages have initially been refused.

Our knowledge and experience of the

lenders’ criteria mean there are lots of cases

where we have been able to go back to the

same lender and get the mortgage for our

client. Brokers are impartial and are going to

do what’s best for you.’

So, after an extraordinary year in the

property market what is the outlook for

2021? Our experts agree that people are now

motivated to change home and the market in

the West End will remain particularly buoyant.

Cameron fully expects these unprecedented

levels of demand to continue. ‘The imbalance

of supply and demand is driving prices

forward. There will be more attention to

pricing however and growth will perhaps level

off, but the volume of transactions will remain

because moves are happening because of

lifestyle not financial choices.’

A view echoed by Aaron who believes that

the outlook is sound. ‘I don’t think there will

be a shock to property prices in the West End

but I do think the market will settle and there

will be a slight correction. People who buy

here or trade up tend to be in occupations

unaffected by the pandemic such as medical

professionals, academics or teachers and

their outlook is pretty secure.’

Alison agrees, ‘these prices, the really

high figures – I can’t see them going

backwards. Buying in the West End is like

buying a good quality car and I think that is

something the West End has always had.

You look at Edinburgh and see flats going for

£600,000 – that is exactly where we could be





www.westendermagazine.com | 29




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www.westendermagazine.com | 31

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damp issue as previously there had been no

extractor or even heating. A new suspended

floor was installed complete with electric

underfloor heating under the new oil finished

engineered oak floor. Each step discussed

with the best options run through and agreed

between Greg and the couple.

Bold colour was important to Emily

and Nathan. ‘We didn’t want anything too

dark,’states Nathan. ‘Shaker is a traditional

style of cabinetry so we wanted to go bold

with the colour and Greg assured us he could

organise the lighting to allow us to colour

match our preference. We’re delighted with

the end result.’

The kitchen is finished off with Glacier

White Corian worktops, with a Danish oiled

staved oak worktop on the open shelved unit

– a lovely open detail and useful storage area.

‘Working in different elements to create

interest was important to us,’ continues

Nathan. ‘Greg had some great ideas he

incorporated into our plan and made sure the

whole flow of the kitchen just worked.’

Please call ahead for a FREE

consultation appointment at

The Wee Kitchen Shop.

The WEE Kitchen Shop

304 Crow Road, Broomhill G11 7HS

0141 334 4747



www.westendermagazine.com | 35

36 | www.westendermagazine.com








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