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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS IS A VERY GOOD READ, FULL OF PATTER, ACTION
Glasgow's Gorbals had quite a reputation in the 1960s as arguably one of the darkest, most frightening and dangerous places in the world.

Colin MacFarlane - like television presenter Lorraine Kelly and writers Jimmy Boyle and Ralph Glasser - is a child of the Gorbals. Born in the 1950s, he witnessed the last days of the old Gorbals as a major regeneration...
Published on 11 Dec 2007 by JOHNMACKIE

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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Like a Disney version of the real thing.
I read the reviews expecting this to be a realistic portrayal of a gritty and grizzly area of Glasgow, but to be honest, it was a bit like reading an Edith Blyton story. The only thing which wasn't presented were the 'lashings of pop' to go with the cuddly and cosy tales of the 'tearaways' and 'vagabonds'.

I was brought up in the area in the 60's and it's...
Published on 17 Oct 2011 by IainG


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS IS A VERY GOOD READ, FULL OF PATTER, ACTION, 11 Dec 2007
This review is from: The Real Gorbals Story: True Tales from Glasgow's Meanest Streets (Paperback)
Glasgow's Gorbals had quite a reputation in the 1960s as arguably one of the darkest, most frightening and dangerous places in the world.

Colin MacFarlane - like television presenter Lorraine Kelly and writers Jimmy Boyle and Ralph Glasser - is a child of the Gorbals. Born in the 1950s, he witnessed the last days of the old Gorbals as a major regeneration programme began in 1961 and a once great community went into rapid decline.

A tough kid who grew up on street corners and in back courts, MacFarlane lived in the same street as Johnnie Stark, the fictional `razor king' of Alexander McArthur's 1935 novel No Mean City, which has become a classic of Scottish pre-war literature. MacFarlane played in the same filth-ridden tenements, witnessing drunken fights and violent gang battles, just like those McArthur wrote about.

As late as the 1960s, Gorbals men still wore bunnets and women headscarves, the steamie was treated as a social club, razor gangs terrorised the streets and crime, rats, poverty and drunkenness were all part of everyday life.

But in The Real Gorbals Story, MacFarlane also describes another world - one of ordinary hard-working people, desperately trying to survive in the toughest conditions and against the odds. Here MacFarlane talks about what it was really like to live in the old Gorbals and recreates the characters that inhabited that unique, bygone world.

Colin MacFarlane is a journalist and has written for a number of national newspapers, including Scotland on Sunday, The Sunday Times, the Scottish Sun and the Daily Record. He lives in Pontypridd, Wales.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Real Alright, 21 Jun 2008
By 
Tomvox (Llanelli, Wales) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Real Gorbals Story: True Tales from Glasgow's Meanest Streets (Paperback)
Colin has captured the genuine feel of what may have been a physically run-down area but what the people turned into a tightly-knit community. To anyone growing up in 1950's or early 1960's Glasgow the Gorbals was an area to be avoided. These infamous slums however had a heart - the people of The Gorbals. Colin gives voice to how people had a strong community spirit that survived the 1960's redevelopment of the area and why even today people will be proud to say "Ah'm fae the Gorbals". I understand he is producing a follow-up to come out in late 2008 recounting his own change from a Gorbals Boy to a cosmopolitan man. I look forward to reading it knowing that you cannot take the Gorbals out of the boy (and I'm sure he wouldn't want it any other way).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS IS THE BEST BOOK I HAVE READ THIS YEAR. THE AUTTHOR BRINGS THE OLD GORBALS BACK TO LIFE WITH A SERIES OF BRILLIANT TALES, 21 April 2014
By 
John (Charleston, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Real Gorbals Story: True Tales from Glasgow's Meanest Streets (Paperback)
The Real Gorbals Story was recommended to me by a friend. I enjoyed every page...it is that well written. I give it five stars as the author has managed to bring all the old characters back to life and captures the humour and antics perfectly. He has two other books No Mean Glasgow and Gorbals Diehards....both are up to the same brilliant standard....only a real numpty would disagree!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NO-ONE WILL EVER WRITE A BETTER GORBALS BOOK !, 7 Dec 2007
This review is from: The Real Gorbals Story: True Tales from Glasgow's Meanest Streets (Paperback)
Hey i was around the Gorbals at he same time as Macfarlane and i remember him well. He was a bit of a wildman and after reading his book I can tell he still is. Macfarlane like myself was a member of the local Cumbie gang and I can remember him in his Levi Sta Press trousers and hand made Arthur Black shirt. He was always well dressed and had a good line in patter. He was quite bright at school and recognised as a good story teller. I was going to write a book about the Gorbals but there is no way I could match this as it is a real page turner. Well done Colin you have come a long way from the wild streets of the Gorbals. I remember you once quoting to me the line,"Men who are not mean have got to walk these mean streets."...and you were absolutely right. The streets of the Gorbals were wild yet exciting places for every one of us.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a very good read full of true life stories from the gorbals, 3 Jan 2008
This review is from: The Real Gorbals Story: True Tales from Glasgow's Meanest Streets (Paperback)
I was born in Thistle Street in 1953 and The Real Gorbals Story has got the feel of the place and the characters spot on. The last reviewer says he can only remember three characters well perhaps unlike like the rest of us he did not venture out enough to experience what was going on the the magical old gorbals. I know I was there and I can remember Macfarlane and his pals...this book is a must for all those interested in the old place. I still live in the Gorbals and all the boys agree that this book has got to be one of the best ever. Buy it and see!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PURE DEAD BRILLIANT BOOK ABOUT THE GORBALS, 10 Dec 2007
This review is from: The Real Gorbals Story: True Tales from Glasgow's Meanest Streets (Paperback)
To all of the Gorbals live Fans. The new book by Colin MacFarlane is pure dead brilliant. What a great story teller he is. The Real Gorbals Story is one of the best books I have ever read. The wee twists and turns of the story line pull at your emotions. What is so great about it is the creation of the "feel" of the old Gorbals. There is no book on the subject that can touch it by a million miles. Do yourself a favour and go and buy as many as you can afford. One for yourself to keep-you can dip into it whenever you feel that longing to be in that magical place in your imagination,for a good old therapeutic belly laugh or wee greet for absent friends. Then give one to each of the people you like/love the most. I guarantee it will be the best Xmas present you can give-even if they never experienced the magic of the place the work stands up on its own as a bloody good tale. Only one fault that I could find is that Colin mentions that the Steamie and the bagwash were one and the same thing. NOT SO! The bagwash I remember was in Waddell St and owned by a big Polish man. The stuff he put in to clean the clothes bleached them to an unrecognisable colour and rotted the fabric. Anyone remember this? Cheers Rita

Submitted by: Rita Moffat
Glasgow, Scotland
20/11/07
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES, 28 Aug 2013
I knew the gorbals ,was born at 336 florence street I found the stories true and very funny loved the (glasgow patter).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this, 10 Dec 2014
By 
Squawky parrot (Chester, England) - See all my reviews
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I'm not from the area, but I really enjoyed this, as did my partner! A fascinating glimpse into a childhood that was completely different to my own. Even though it was different, I really identified with the author when he said that he sometimes has dreams about the people and places that have long gone. I love some of the phrases and expressions the people used! Even though some very dangerous and frightening things happened, the overwhelming sense was one of pride and strength in the community. I felt very sad in the final chapter and started reading it again!!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent amusing stupendous book, 8 Jan 2008
This review is from: The Real Gorbals Story: True Tales from Glasgow's Meanest Streets (Paperback)
The Real Gorbals Story is quite simply a magnificently funny. moving, sometimes brutally candid account of being brought up in the old Gorbals of the 1960s. It's a book that will uplift your mood and make you think about how people had to cope with those times on the meanest of Glasgow streets. Macfarlane has done himself and the Gorbals people proud. I defy anyone from the old Gorbals to write a better book.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely read about the old Gorbals, 18 Dec 2007
By 
desperate dan (hoganfield loch) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Real Gorbals Story: True Tales from Glasgow's Meanest Streets (Paperback)
Colin Macfarlane's life story The Real Gorbals Story is a welcome addition to all that has been written about the place before. Unlike No Mean City this book is full of humour and wit that captures the optimism of the Gorbals people. I read it on the beach abroad but even reading it there I could feel the atmosphere of the place overcoming me. It's a must buy for all those who have an interest in the neighbourhood and all its good, bad and ugly characters.
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The Real Gorbals Story: True Tales from Glasgow's Meanest Streets
The Real Gorbals Story: True Tales from Glasgow's Meanest Streets by Colin MacFarlane (Paperback - 6 Sep 2007)
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