When I spent a bit of time in Glasgow between universities during the mid eighties, I got quite lucky when it came to getting temporary jobs and earning money. The first job I had was working for the property surveryors, Richard Ellis, and me and my mate would traipse around the centre of the city, supping cups of coffee, looking at all the pretty girls and a range of daily newspapers and, well, just enjoying life. It really wasn’t difficult to sit in the coffee shop, and look across the road and rate the building on our list an a, b, c or d. At the end of the week we were given one hundred pounds cash in our hands and, of course, I was also signing on. Money for nothing and chicks for free and we would drift up to ‘Nicos’ in Sauchiehall Street and get blootered.
After that my next wee job was a week’s work demonstrating for four hours every day for thirty pounds a stint; that’s right demonstrating! Some ingenious director had decided that the best place to get German student look alikes for a series on the protests in Berlin at the end of sixties and into the seventies against the Vietnam War was the ‘Goethe Institut’. “German student look alikes” and they gave the job to a 1.73m Scotsman with black hair. Anyway,It was in the ‘Goethe Institut’ that I met and got friendly with Kurt and with his doctoral thesis on Nietzsche and a fondness for quoting Oswald Spengler’s, “Der Untergang des Abendlandes”I should have seen it coming. Kurt was an arrogant big shit and while it took me a wee bit of time to realise that, my mates in ‘Nicos’ soon had him sussed and there we were one afternoon having a quiet libation after a morning of “Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh” and Donald said when we were both in the toilet, “your mate is an arrogant big shit.”
Anyway, Kurt soon became unbearable and when one evening on Byres Rd he made the jump from telling me that Glasgow was decadent to telling me that my mum was decadent, I just cracked and tried to hit him. Unfortunately, the combination of the ten or so beers that I had drunk and the boxing skills that Kurt had acquired in the German ‘Bundesliga’ meant that while I swung at mid air he cut my face open with three lovely crisp punches. Fortunately, however, there were a few lads who broke up the no contest although they seemed more worried about Glasgow’s “miles better campaign’ being tarnished than they were about me lying in a pool of blood on the road. Kurt was sent in one direction and I in the other and off I staggered up towards Knightswood.
Now Kurt’s ex-girlfriend lived in Hyndland, which as anyone knows who comes from that part of the world, is sort of between Byres Rd and Knightswood and ‘ego’ had nothing better to do than to drop in on her on his way home. So there was me sleeping my little head off when in she came to tell me that Kurt was coming round and that he was very very upset and angry and sounded like he might want to kill me. “Maybe ye shuid go”, she said, but the ten pints had made me either very brave or very foolish and apart, from anything else, I was tired, so I decided that I wasn’t going anywhere and soon there was Kurt, all two metres of him, in the room proding and poking his finger in my chest, provoking me and telling me to get up and get dressed and get out and all of a sudden there was me exploding, sticking the heid in him, watching him bounce off of the mantlepiece and bundling him out of the room and locking the door and then there was him smashing his fist through the panels on the wooden door and there was me cracking a antique vase off of the mantlepiece and there was him thinking, “well I might kill the wee bastard but he is at least going to bleed all over me.”
The following day, face badly bruised and a couple of stitches in my heid, I walked up to see Donald and my another mate, Davy. Now, you might remember Donald from the beginning of the story and you might remember that he didn’t like Kurt. Anyway, there was Donald, working under Davy’s car and when he looked up and saw my face he said, “Whit happened to ye?” Of course, I wasn’t going to lie and when Davy came to join us he asked me, “Whit’s his address?” Now, of course, I never told them but …. well anyway, I never saw Kurt again.