Moskva

Moskva. I’m finally here this is it. Got off the train at Belorusskaya station fine but finding my digs took an hour. The Hotel Versali turned out to be a flat in a tenement in Moscow. Take your shoes off please. They’ve a thing about shoes in Russia.

Am shattered but it’s still only 8pm. It’s dark and cold outside but no wind. I walk down Tverskaya towards the Kremlin. Through the eyes of a child. Cant believe I’m here. Theres a shop full of people, its amazing, vaulted ceilings and chandeliers. This can’t be Moscow?

Moscow is cold. Spies , cold war, dodgy characters. Eh naw , they’re like you and me. Families walking around. On towards the Kremlin it’s like a wedding cake. Amazing. I walk on and on, the Kremlin by my side, all floodlit n turrets n onion domes, just amazing. And then theres the river, the Moskva. “Follow the Moskva, down to Gorky Park”, I whistle the song.

Turning a corner and theres St Basils cathedral. Fuckin hell its beautiful, like a Disney castle but this is no mock castle. This is history. This is Red Square too. I walk across the shiny cobblestones. I have a wee moment to myself, a wee tear- can’t believe I’m here. Haha am standing in Red Square, crying. Theres no tanks, no soldiers- it’s a buzzing market, a celebration of harvest time. The BBC never portrayed it like this. Bastards. Lied to me for years, my entire childhood.. because Russians are like me and you. Theres laughter, young couples taking selfies ffs. They’re like you and me.

And the smells! Theres paella in a huge wok, burgers, kebabs, honey, pumpkins, hot teas. I have a spiced sea buckweed and honey tea its lovely. I’ve calmed doon now. Take a wee video, send it home. ” that’s not real, must be photoshopped” comes a reply. Its fuckin real alright, it’s just beautiful I want to shout.

Ploschad Krasny means Beautiful Square , but that doesn’t fit the BBC narrative eh. Red Square is better, more sinister, communist. Bastards. I never paid my license, I was a rebel, breaking the law- then Elaine paid it without me knowing. Some rebel haha.

After an hour I wander back to my digs. Every corner brings a lovely building, floodlit and reflected in the wet shiny cobblestones. One in particular is sensational. I take its photo several times and then its doors open and people stream out, down the steps. Theres greatcoats, women in knee high boots, Russian hats, laughter. Jesus Christ, its it’s the Bolshoi ballet… the bolshoi fuckin ballet. I’m dreaming…must be. Another wee tear down my cheek. Mum would have loved this, loved this.

I try to sneak in for a nosey, but a huge guard mutters something menacing in Russian. Hands up, I retreat sheepishly. Worth a try eh.

It’s a long walk back to my digs, I climb the worn steps of the tenement close. It could be Glasgow, not Moscow. Yes that’s exactly it, similar vibe. Red Square for George Square, the Moskva for the Clyde.

They’re just like us, just like us.

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