In between my two stints in Inverness (second one still going, of course, with no end in sight – which is no bad thing), I spent eighteen months in Glasgow. Apart from the rain, pollution, accent, insular attitude, sectarianism, Buckfast, traffic and lack of access to the hills, I really enjoyed it.
Glasgow boasts (and boy, does it boast) a compelling character, some lovely green space, a great nightlife, fabulous museums and so much diversity between the city’s different areas. Plus it has a subway and a suburban rail network, which for a train geek like me is great.
That’s all slightly by the by, though. While living in Glasgow, it was around the time I was trying to write up my early mullet-hunting adventures into a book, and I made huge progress while living in Glasgow (it was probably the rain). One factor was some routine I managed to instill in myself, meeting weekly with a friend to write in a west end coffee shop. It was a lovely wee place, with a friendly owner, Lou, and lovely drinks – not least the quite magnificent and never-since-matched white hot chocolate (cream, no marshmallows, thanks).
It was called Biblocafe, so-called because it was also a place to buy second-hand books (not to mention the occasional photo or painting that people exhibited).
When my first book came out back in 2010 and I was looking for somewhere to do a Glasgow reading, Biblocafe was suggested to me. Having owed a lot to the place for getting the book written, I thought that a highly appropriate idea and approached Lou who very happily hosted my event.
It was a lovely evening, with something in the region of twenty or so people stowing out the ground floor (see picture) and being awfully sporting in buying a good pile of books between them.
Not living in Glasgow, of course, I’m not convinced I’ve been back to Biblocafe since the reading. I was sad to discover on Facebook the other day, though, that it’s now closed.
Here’s the full story from Lou herself – it’s sad that it’s down to circumstances that were totally outwith the business’s control, and in a part of Glasgow that thrived on friendly independent bookshops, it’s a really sad loss, not just for the area but of course for Lou who as the owner who worked so hard to make it a really enjoyable place to hang out.
When, in thirty or forty years’ time, they do the inevitable documentary about the making of Up The Creek Without a Mullet, they won’t be able to visit Biblocafe and say that this is where most of it was written.
Neither will they be able to get a white hot chocolate with cream and no marshmallows. Come to think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen white hot chocolate served anywhere else since then.