Down and Out in Woolmanhill

Union Terrace Gardens continues to divide opinion across the City.  Here, city-centre resident ARCHIE FRASER explains why he is a ‘YES’.

As a life-long user of Union Terrace Gardens I have followed, with keen interest, the debate on its future, and the remarkable passion it has engendered. I am overwhelmed by the community spirit, civic spirit, and, from my associate Ronnie MacKenzie sitting here next to me beside the statue of Edward VII, surgical spirit.

Throughout my colourful and eclectic career as a vagrant, I have travelled far and wide and spent the night in many a Town Centre. And I can honestly say that there is not one, not one my friends, which is as sad and bedraggled as ours. Dundee included. Gasps? Do I hear gasps? As you were, that’s just Ronnie hacking away on the tab end of a Lambert & Butler.

So that’s why I am in favour of replacing Union Terrace Gardens with something new, something exciting, something vibrant. Something with fly-overs, beneath which I can sleep off that bottle of Croft Original, and a world class Cultural Centre designed by leading architects Diller Scofidio & Renfro in which I can surreptitiously consume the steak-bake I’ve liberated from the bin behind Gregg’s the Baker, before the security men work out where that awful smell is coming from.

Many is the time I have toured the Union Terrace Gardens, marvelling at their blood-spattered steps and needle-bedecked paths, and wishing, fervently, for a grove of mature upland pine trees behind which I might evacuate my aching  bladder without the risk of PC Bobby Constable catching me in the act.

To those concerned about the proposals, I say; ‘Be not afraid of change’. I have spent many a happy day staggering around the Castlegate since it was pedstrianised and then, much like myself, entirely ignored for a number of years. But the splendid opportunities for bellowing incomprenhesible obscenities at strangers presented by the Mercat Cross pale in comparison with the potential for startling passers-by offered by the acoustics of a dramatic outdoor amphitheatre.

Right now, the rheumy eyes of the world’s Gentlemen-of-the-Road are on the tramps of Aberdeen. For this bold vision, this vagabond Shangri La, we must stand upon our calloused, fungal-ridden feet and be counted. Years from now, in my final moments, as I lie in a ditch, a gutter, or if I’m lucky, the doorway of a vacant shoe-shop, reflecting on all the golden opporunities I have allowed to pass me by, I refuse to look back and think that I missed my chance – my one chance – to experience a dynamic new parkland drawing people into its heart through connecting pathways, and regurgitate White Lightning all over it.

So please, get involved and vote for the City Garden Project. I can’t vote; I’ve been of no fixed abode since 1973.

TANYA SOUTER – lifestyle advice with a local flavour.

This week offers a chunce fer a lassie tae tak control o her life.  Since it’s a leap year, us quines can get doon on one knee and pop the question on the 29th o February.  So, if your boyfriend disnae look like he’s ga’n tae pull his finger oot onytime soon – read my guide tae the perfect proposal!

First of a’, ye hiv tae be sure he’ll accept. If yer onythin’ like me, there’s a stream o desperados fa ye’ve callously knocked back in Tiger Tiger on a Setterday night.  If ye look beyond the tremendous feelin’ o’ self-worth it gives you, apparently it’s a devastating blow for him.  Experiencing that yersel widna be fine.  So tae be certain he’s going to say “Yes” or at least “Aye, fitiver”, why not get yer tartiest mate tae gie him the glad-eye fan you’re at yer Zoomba?  If he keeps his hands tae himsel’, he’s yours!

Next ye’ll hae tae pick a venue.  Maist quines wid prefer tae be asked in a romantic setting – wi’ candles, music an’ bonny flooers.  But if your man’s been dragging his heels lang enough tae mak you resort tae fit is, let’s face it, his job – best mak your proposal somewhere public, preferably full o his mates, so he canna back oot later on.  Try surprising him at work or even in the pub fan he’s watchin’ the fitba.  A’body there will ken that ye love him, but that you’re deeply disappointed in him an’ a’.

Finally, assumin’ it’s a’ gone smoothly, ye hiv tae think aboot goin’ public.  There’s 3 simple steps tae makin sure ab’dy kens your news.  First of a’, get een anither’s names tattooed on yer necks. Nithin’ oozes class mair than that. Top tip, if yer nae a hunner percent sure you’ll keep him, get your een daen in arabic. Saves on the laser surgery efterwards. Secondly, book a swanky venue fer a party!  Ye canna ging wrang wi’ the Abergeldie Bowlin’ club – cheap drink an’ staggerin’ distance fae the Albyn.  Oh aye – an’ mak sure ye get a photie o’ yer shindig in the Evenin’ Express.  Preferably wi’ yer spotty 14 year aul cousin stunnin’ wi’ his spaver doon! Lastly, an’ maist importantly, pit it on Facebook. It’s the modren wye tae get yer news oot tae abody ye ken. And abody ye dinna ken an’ a’!

Look after yersel’s!