“Try as I may, I never seem to get to the nub of what I'm supposed to do, or be, or...all permutations of the above. What's sure, as the traffic flows beneath my feet, is that I can decide now, whether or not to make that decision to become one with machine and metal and concrete, in other words my manifest destiny lies with me. I light a cigarette and, disgusted by its nicotine inflicting head rush, crush it into the bridge's dull tarmac and keep an equally dull eye on the river of vehicles 30 feet below. Tavernier imagined a post apocalypse in Glasgow. However, it's more unimaginatively dystopian than that now, in the decades since the film Deathwatch was made. A shopping haven, homogeneous chain hotels and bars, a commercial epicentre of service industry and empty tax dodge office spaces. Whither the knowledge economy? Sure, everybody can attain a degree in anything from medicine to film and TV studies, but where to go after the qualifications are gained? I hear a lot of well educated voices inject snippets of classical verse and offer post-modern analysis as they serve cocktails and produce measly Scottish versions of US sandwiches. Or PR bods translate screeds of conversation drunkenly on an unwinding Friday junket. And me? I'm the never-was sort. Glasgow's awash with ex-band members, masquerading as journalists and cultural gatekeepers; the rock n' roll, or post-rock self-consciously arty brigade and I know a fair few, acquaintances sipping memories from glass tankards and shot glasses, suspending post-adolescence that little bit longer, guying themselves into believing that there will be a comeback. 21 is musically middle-aged, despite old stagers in and out of music endeavouring to raise retirement age to some ludicrous upper limit, working 'til we die, or are farmed out to the waiting rooms, where our pensions are siphoned off by the public and private sectors and we dribble our last into reheated portions of ready meals and a cocktail of the psychiatric industry's finest. Shirley Williams I read in some bullet point interview was espousing the old age work ethic; fine, but why stoop to conquer? Some of us are defeated years previous and look forward to what I'm viewing now; a non-future, nullity, utter nullity. The glib would call this self-loathing, self-defeating, vain. Other would say this is paralysed analysis, lazy self-indulgent cynicism. I can't escape my own failure. If I wish to cull myself from the herd, I shall. It provides a bizarre comfort to know that if I can't function on any level I can take myself out of the human equation. No drunken slow capitulation either; fast and swift, no mouth to bottle agonising...” Jill Helenius' voice was sure, steady, even on a mobile outdoors in 11AM Tuesday city traffic “Have you been to your GP? Is there family, friends that you can talk to?” The Depression Alliance line male voice spoke in measured, well-trained tones. Jill sighed, the sigh of a resigned person who'd heard all the requisite cliches and was heartsick of them; this was only an exercise in gallows humour, a last, faceless attempt to lighten the load before the off “No, yes and no” Helenius' voice now rising, a touch of annoyance at the lack of originality, this was end-of-the-pier counselling, or end-of-the-rope “Hmm...” the male voice was almost humming a soothing mantra as Jill cut the ethereal link and faced the street traffic, a hissing crawl along St Vincent's Street. Not today, not today, she picked up a walking pace and headed for Central Station. Some more visits to be made before I can decide, she mulled over plans as some shafts of winter sun broke through an iron-clad sky “Would like to meet....” she muttered writing an imaginary personals column description as she neared the pedestrian crossing.