As a youngster growing up in the south side of Glasgow, we had plenty of green space to help us occupy our time.
Of course, as the park was open to you and your ragtag group of pals, it was open to everyone.
You wouldn’t be long in starting a kickabout before someone would amble along and try to fit themselves into a game which was being taken far too seriously to allow strangers and unknown quantities in.
Most of the time, a polite rejection was accepted but in Glasgow, a hundred naws can still become a yes due to the compelling and compulsive nature of the quizmaster.
By which I mean their threatening air or whatever crudely fashioned weapon they had to hand.
And that’s when things got interesting, the unknown element wasn’t always welcome in Glasgow. From there, a quick and easy line is drawn to snapped ankles, slapped faces and burst balls, of any variety.
On one night, one brave, which should translate as stupid, compadre felt it was time to stand up for himself and all of us.
A quick belt to his face soon put him back in his place. An actual belt.
The assailant whipped off the belt from his jeans as if he was rolling out a new sleeping bag. Faster than you can say ‘steady on chaps, let’s have a spirited discourse about this’, the faux-leather was wrapped around a fist and the buckle was driven into an unsuspecting face.
Being buckled in Bella Park is hardly a rare occurrence, but the sore head from this night out would last longer than the customary pain.
To be fair, while he wasn’t deserving of assault on this occasion, the victim was due a boot in the balls on so many other days and nights. With hindsight, given his and Glasgow’s dispositions, it was something he had coming, but it was a painful and unpleasant night.
It would still be far more enjoyable than Biffy Clyro in the same park.