QUOTE (Paul Kelly @ 23rd Aug 2006, 03:08pm)
In 'The Garngad Heritage, The Unpublished Work', Robert McLaughlin says he remembers that one of the families that stayed next to him at Tharsis Street in the 1940s was the Collins family, and that he thinks one of the Collins boys was convicted of murder in later life. I recently came across a book in a bookshop here in Gaborone called 'Hugh Collins - Autobiography of a Murderer'. The book is about convicted murderer, Hugh Collins, born in Royston (Garngad) in 1951. It is the story of the archetypal Glasgow hard man. The Gorbals had Jimmy Boyle. The Garngad had Hugh Collins. The book won't be everyone's cup of tea and the language is very strong.
Collins describes his early years growing up in Royston (Garngad) and his teenage years as a member of the Garngad gang - The Shamrock - of which he claims to have been a founding member, aged 15, along with his friends 'Wee' Joe Mulligan, Joe 'The Bear' Devlin and Albert Faulds.
He gives a vivid description of Glasgow's street gangs of the 1960s:
The Shamrock (from Garngad), The Cumbie (from Cumberland Street, Gorbals), The Calton Tongs, The Bridgeton Spurs and The Maryhill Fleet. He describes how he was stabbed and slashed, aged 15, in a gang fight against The Cumbie, and again, aged 18, in a gang fight against The Tongs. He explicitly describes his gangland life which continued into his 20s and which ended ultimately in tragedy. In 1977, Collins was convicted of the murder of William Mooney, whom he stabbed to death in a Glasgow bar. Collins was released from prison in 1992 and nowadays lives with his wife in Edinburgh.
The early part of the book has a lot of info on Garngad in the 1950s and 1960s. Chapter 1 of the book starts as follows:
I'm five and a half years old, attending St Roch's Primary School in Glasgow. The teacher, Miss O'Donnell, has asked us each to stand, walk to the front of the class, and tell the others what our fathers do.
'My da's a railway worker,' says one, and sits down.
'My da's a postman. He delivers the mail.'
It's my turn, and I walk to the front with some pride.
'My da,' I say, 'is Wullie Collins. He's like Robin Hood. He takes from the rich and gives to the poor. My da's a bank robber.'
The class erupts, shrieking with laughter. I'm immediately embarrassed. Miss O'Donnell is taken by suprise. That's the end of that exercise, and my Granny is summoned.
'He's not a bank robber, Hughie. You mustn't say that. You musn't ever say that.'
So who had told me? Did I get the idea from Ginger McBride?
I guess you will have to buy the book if you want to read more.