Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Swingergate Day 28: a Large Pinch of Salt

Welcome to my wee photoblog on Glasgow, where we feature the joys and unjoys of walking and cycling through a fascinating, beautiful and often badly run city. For the blog's origin and an alphabetical list of posts see the 'Introduction' post -
Today is 17 November, Day 28 of the Tommy and Gail Sheridan Trial. For our two previous visits to the High Court, see

Heading down our usual Bridgegate route to the High Court: no Anwar crosses our path today.
Clock is lit up - winter is here for sure.
The trial is getting more bizarre by the day; recent highlights include Bob Bird, the Scottish editor of the News of the World describing how he stripped to his underwear to watch a secretly recorded video of Tommy Sheridan. From the Scotsman -
'A "cloak and dagger" meeting was arranged and Mr Bird met a man who turned out to be Tommy Sheridan's best man George McNeilage at an address in Pollok, Glasgow, where he was asked to remove his clothes. The court previously heard that Mr McNeilage was worried that Mr Bird would be "wired". Mr Bird told the High Court in Glasgow: "He said 'I'm Tommy's best man', at which point my blood ran cold as I thought Tommy Sheridan was going to burst into the room with a video camera." Mr McNeilage then showed him a videotape and asked for £250,000 for it, the court heard. Mr Bird said he considered the tape of interest.'
And today will see revelations about how the NOW's psychic agony aunt (now former resident psychic, she didn't see that coming) got in touch with Sherry to warn him the paper was after him - http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2010/11/18/tommy-sheridan-perjury-trial-psychic-agony-aunt-tipped-former-msp-off-about-newspaper-s-24-7-surveillance-court-hears-86908-22722625/

Said Mr Bird: '
As a psychic agony aunt, she did make a lot of predictions that did not come to be true'. Wonderful.
The revolving door of Scottish justice
Wee gusts of wind were blowing leaves about in pretty spirals, some of them higher than me - I was reminded of the Robert Heinlein short story 'Our Fair City' in which a hack writer uses a sentient mini-whirlwind to overturn a city council run by corrupt, gangster-connected politicians. So no possible parallels with Glasgow, then.

The alley between the new and (on right) old High Courts; Glasgow Green in the distance, where those guilty of capital offences were hanged
Pretty cold this morning, and salt has been spread about the entrance; a wee pile has been left on one of the stone balls
Here they come
Some sort of exchange happens between the figure passing on the right and Sherry. . .
. . . a friendly one obviously. The figure seems to be hovering just above the ground. Perhaps it's Clarence the Angel from It's a Wonderful Life, though Sherry's favourite Jimmy Stewart movie is probably Mr Smith Goes to Washington
Goodness what a terrible picture; apologies all round
The media go off for coffee; the large pinch of salt remains
Heading back along the Bridgegate; cheap clothes the Paddy's Market end, modern galleries at the further Merchant City end, where they probably describe this environment as 'edgy'
A message in stone; an old Debenham's ad
Legs 'n' Co - described itself as a 'Gentleman's Club'. . .

. . . and has moved to  (or become) Forbidden, which defines  itself in less gentlemanly terms as a lapdancing club. From their website:  'Glasgow's stunning new lapdancing club has arrived.. . . Offering two floors of Forbidden pleasure. We are located just behind the St.Enoch centre in Glasgow city centre. Our stunning girls from all over the world are ready and waiting to perform for your pleasure. So for a fun night out with mates or with clients, there's something for everyone at Forbidden in Glasgow. Be sure to come and see us soon!'
Well, we can be fairly sure Anwar won't be along with his client any day soon.
A bid to allow Scottish councils power to ban lapdancing clubs was rejected  by the Scottish parliament in July 2010.
The bill had been proposed by Sandra White, the SNP MSP who was previously notable for complaining  that there was too much  cricket on Scottish television - see
I think she was right about the case for extending council control: but the case is not helped by the perception that the bill was not so much about  protecting women, as an expression of that old Scottish puritanical fear that, as Mencken put it, someone somewhere may be enjoying themselves (such as cricket lovers or sleazy men). 

For the 'hotel' along here see previous post

Back home. This is my copy of Edward Aveling's  The Student's  Darwin (1881), an introduction to Darwin's Theory of Evolution. This copy originally belonged to a now-forgotten critic called Neville Lynn, who has somewhat eccentrically inscribed his ownership on the title page. While writing the book,  Aveling had written to Darwin requesting permission to dedicate the work to him, an honour Darwin declined. In 1895, Aveling - who was then living with Eleanor, Marx's daughter - filed the Darwin letter among Marx's correspondence. It was later erroneously assumed for many years that Darwin had written to Marx, and that Marx had offered to dedicate Das Kapital to him.
(See Wheen's 1999 biography of Marx or just google.)

In December 1893, Aveling wrote to Lynn asking him for help in publishing some of his  plays (written under the name of 'Alec Nelson'. Lynn has pasted the letter into the book (the envelope is also here).
Sex and socialists and the News of the World go a long way back. Aveling died in 1898,  and Lynn then pasted onto the end board of the book a couple of obituaries,  one short and quite dismissive from The Referee, and a rather kinder one from the News of the World, which,  with fine Victorian delicacy, describes Eleanor as 'Miss Eleanor Marx, a daughter of Karl Marx, the author and politician, a lady with whom Dr. Aveling associated himself for years'. As the NOW records,  Eleanor had committed suicide just a few months previously. Just about everyone admired (even adored) Eleanor, who was one of those rare individuals who (as Kingsley Amis puts it) redeem the rest of us. Aveling was not much admired, far less adored, and had secretly married another woman while living with Eleanor, who killed herself in March 1898 after discovering the betrayal; the News of the World was pretty much alone in being nice about Aveling. 


  1. Great photos, Glasgow looking bleak I'd say. In re Eleanor Marx/ Aveling the Darwin dedication is a great story and a great error was nearly perpetrated. Thanks for that Edwin. Nice book. I had a few presentations from Eleanor to her close friend of Olive Schreiner. She once described Olive's company as 'mental champagne' so it was not all gloom. Havelock Ellis wrote that when he first became close to Olive Schreiner that he regarded Eleanor Marx as her 'chief friend.' Both were writers closely involved in radical and feminist politics as you know. Oh and Eleanor translated Madame Bovary-- I got £1200 for a smart copy in original publisher's cloth (1886) She also translated Ibsen. Aveling sounds like a mismatch, possibly burdened by the wonder of his wife and the fame of her dad. N

  2. Hi Nigel! That part of Glasgow is indeed a wild mix: sleek galleries at the Bridgegate (I worked there in the early 60s when it was a fishmarket), lapdancing clubs, hotels for recovering drug addicts, the High Court, old clothes traders, the RC Cathedral and upmarket shops and so on.

    Aveling was described by a contemporary thus: 'The truth is that in moral terms Aveling presented something akin to an optical illusion: looked at in one light, he could be seen as feckless, happy-go-lucky but fundamentally sound; in another, as an unmitigated scoundrel'.

    Not an uncommon type at any time of course. Would prefer to own a signed book by Eleanor!

  3. Hi Nigel
    As a descendant of the Aveling family I'm extremely pleased to see you have something directly attributed to Edward. I've researched the man for a number of years now and whilst I know have some idea of the man himself I have nothing to connect me personally...deep breath...would you consider selling me the book ? A big ask I know...but nothing ventured.... Tim Haynes

    1. Hi Tim, Edwin here - sorry, I want to keep the book - if I change my mind will let you know!

  4. Hi Edwin...I guessed as much...thanks for the quick reply. If you ever want to pass the book/letter along to someone who would truly appreciate it...I'm your man!

  5. Hi Edwin...I guessed as much...thanks for the quick reply. If you ever want to pass the book/letter along...I'm your man...thanks