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`Betwixt Deil and Deep Blue Sea'

FIRES fuelled by wooden beams burned in cleared sites. Rubble was being trucked from busted gable ends and demolishers worked in a fume of dust and smoke. You would've thought that the Ruskies had finally lobbed over one of their big megaton jobs: streets wiped out, landscapes pulverised. On a gutted site near a fire that drizzled sparks on him, a greybeard sat in a lopsided armchair, placidly smoking his pipe. I nudged Eddie and pointed to the old guy. He spared the greybeard a cold glance then turned h is attention to the windscreen through which could be seen advancing streets shorn of their pavements by snow, and of their buildings by the Hammer....

Most of the old Gorbals had been leveled by now. Housing Planners had taken their slum-erasers and rubbed out all the people who'd lived there. Some original specks still clung to the Redevelopment blueprints but these would be blown away shortly.... The movie house [the Planet Cinema] was bracketed by the defunct O'Leary's betting shop and the derelict Blue Pacific Cafe, mention of which is made in local bard John Scobie's `Ode to a Flea Ranch', where he described the kinema as being `A crackit planet b etwixt the deil and the deep blue sea...'

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