1 June 2014
The streets of Govan are quiet. Sunday. A still day which holds some of the promise of the coming summer but which is still reminiscent of the spring not yet gone, a chill breeze belying the streaming sun in a cloudless sky. In Elder Park the preparations for the Govan Fair can be seen. Small markers are placed in seemingly random places in the grass – viewed from above they give a rough idea of the planned layout for the rides which will provide excitable children and weary adults with entertainment on the coming Friday.
Darryl walks alone, up early. With his tracksuit top zipped up tight to protect against the early morning chill he slips through a hole in the fence. Walking past the statue of Lady Elder he slaps the plinth. He chuckles, to himself at first then again, louder as he realises he is alone and un-judged. Hands in pockets he walks into the park proper to survey the area. He feels at home. He’s lived five minutes from the park his whole life and much of that has been spent, running with his crew or just hanging about. Looking around at the grass and the trees he feels at home. Not from a sense of civic pride or an impending sense of knowing he will be here again soon, in his element as part of something larger and in his eyes more worthwhile but purely from a perspective of personal power. He has the park to himself, a park that has existed for the people for well over a century, and its his. It will be his again later, in the view of many more than the birds he shares it with in the early morning.
He walks the paths for a few minutes, getting his eye in for the entries, the exits, the ways in and out should they need them in a hurry. After having an idea of where the major fixtures will be he saunters over to the swings. The park echoes with the sound of a clanking chain as he kicks a swing before sitting down. Hands wrapped around the chains he starts swinging. Up and down, he keeps his head straight as his body swings, keeping all of the park in his view as much as possible. Still he is alone. A magpie hops across the grass opposite him, he leaps off the swing and it flies away in a panic. He smiles to himself again, feeling a sense of power over the very earth that is in front of him. His mission to case the park is successful. He feels that familiar buzz ahead of the fair on Friday, knowing there will be scenes whatever happens, and that he’ll be right in the middle of everything. With his work done he slouches off, back out through the gate. He bumps into an old woman as he turns a corner. “Watch it misses,” he snarls, carrying on down the street. She shakes her head and waves an agitated hand at him, already resigned to not being able to do anything before she’s even started walking off again.
The scene is set. Darryl and his crew have an advantage before the biggest day of the summer.