Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions


The Clockwork Orange Tour

February 28, 2016 by Richard Wright in Journal, Life, Running

Clockwork OrangeToday I ran in exactly the way that Anthony Burgess doesn’t and never did. Fact.

I’ll tell you about it in a minute, in painstaking detail. I wanted to warn you first though that at the end I’m going to ask you to give me money. Good with that? Okay. Let’s press on.

Glasgow has just one modest loop of subway, running in a sort of circle through the city centre, Southside, and West End. It straddles the River Clyde, with fifteen stops around the route. Glaswegians have long referred to the Subway as the Clockwork Orange, which makes sense only for as long as you don’t dwell on it. Orange has long been the colour theme of choice I suppose, though the shade of the carriages is officially ‘Strathclyde PTE Red’, as orange has strong sectarian overtones in these parts. Clockwork though? At no time has the subway been operated via clockwork mechanisms, like some mammoth steampunk artefact from an alternate universe. And to get the obvious reference out of the way, to the best of my knowledge deranged gangs of behatted droogs have never perpetrated ultra violence on or near Glasgow’s modest subway.

This is why we don’t let you name anything important, Glasgow. You don’t think it through.

Anyway, gorgeous morning for it and all that. Frosty, but clear and sunny too. The run started with a five mile warm-up from my house to the first station of the jaunt. The pace throughout was nice and easy, with plenty of stops and starts (mostly to take photos / collect evidence). June’s ultramarathon will be a bit like that, and part of what I’m trying to work out is how often to slow to a walk, and for how long. At the moment they’re all brief stops, but I think come June I’ll be looking to walk for at least ten minutes in every hour (and as it goes on, I have no doubt that ten minutes will start to feel way too little). Anyway, here is the evidence that the Orange was run.

Yes, I’m going to make you look at all the pictures. Every one. Fifteen subway stations. I made myself run around them. LOOK AT THEM WITH YOUR EYES AND FEIGN INTEREST. THERE WILL BE A TEST.


CessnockThe sun doesn’t always shine on Cessnock, but today it did, so that was nice.



Intimidating, like a fortress or a massive iron pitbull terrier, this is just along from that stadium where sometimes some men get very excited about footing the ball.



Every second shopfront in Govan seems to have a sign offering to purchase your new or used gold at very reasonable prices. That’s probably all you need to know about Govan.

Clyde Tunnel

Not a tube station, obviously. I only recently found out that there was a separate pedestrian tunnel under the River Clyde, running parallel with the main one for motor vehicles. Today I ran through it for the first time. It’s long, and deep, and a bit worrying. You have to buzz a control room to get in. The ceiling creaks all the time. Every so often there’s a booming, metallic clang, as though a vast gate has been opened somewhere behind you to allow a sweeping horde of monstrous demons in to hunt you down.

I ran this bit a little faster than I intended.

Clyde Tunnel Entrance

Clyde Tunnel


PartickTop Partick fact: the very first international association football match was played there in 1872, between Scotland and England. It was a draw.


KelvinhallTwo decades ago, I lived in a flat across the street from this subway station. There should be a plaque.


HillheadRight around the corner from Glasgow University. Barely conscious students everywhere. One of them was probably wearing that cone as a comical hat hours earlier. Bloody students.


KelvinbridgeI lived here too. Well, just around the corner. There is now the following awesome graffiti under the stairs I was standing on when I took this, as follows.


St George’s Cross

St George's Cross

There’s probably a novel to be constructed out of the names of Glasgow subway stations, actually. I wonder if anybody’s written it yet? This approach to the station looks like a trap set by gangs intent on harming you. Perhaps it is.


CowcaddensI have absolutely nothing to say about Cowcaddens tube station. This is tiring. I wish I hadn’t started this now. Which is how I felt when I got there this morning, actually. SEGUE ACHIEVED!

Buchanan Street

Buchanan Street

The red building on the right used to be the Old Athenaeum theatre. My first trip to Glasgow was as an extra in a show that toured there, when I was but a lad. A year later, I moved here permanently.

St Enoch

St Enoch

The entrance to St Enoch was recently redeveloped to look like one cup from an enormous fetishistic bra. I don’t know why.

Bridge Street

Bridge Street

Once surrounded by intimidating tower blocks, a series of overdue demolitions means that Bridge Street station doesn’t even have that. It’s pretty grim.

West Street

West StreetNobody ever gets on or off the subway at West Street. Until today I wasn’t even certain that it had an exterior.

Shields Road

Shields Road

We’re nearly done, thank god. Only one more to go…

Kinning Park

Kinning ParkAND IT’S A WRAP! Well, I actually ran a bit further back to Cessnock, otherwise it wouldn’t be a full loop. You don’t have to look at Cessnock again though. Many of you will never have to look at Cessnock again, gods be good.

I am now feeling a bit shagged and fagged and fashed, it being a day of no small expenditure. Before I go though, a reminder that I’m not just doing this running thing for my own perverse, masochistic sense of self-worth. In June I’ll be running the whole of Hadrian’s Wall, crossing the UK from Carlisle to Newcastle, and trying to raise money for Water Aid while I do so (because my daughter told me to). When I quietly announced this a couple of weeks back, some of you got right to it and made sure that I hit 25% of my fundraising goal overnight.

Thank you so much for that.

As it’s a payday for many tomorrow, I’ll be flashing the link around on social media to see if anybody else would like to help. Because I love you the most though, I’ll just leave the link here so you can mosey over and consider whether you want to join in.

If I reach the fundraising goal by June, Eva and I will be extraordinarily happy. If I don’t, then I’ll be back. To post pictures. Of the whole thing. 69 miles of detailed photography of hedges, junctions, hills, and so much more.

You have been warned.

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