From nineteen stories up, we still talked to people on the ground. Once, three of us cousins leaning over the sill could hear Gina, all the way from the ice cream van, shouting at us to get away from the bloody window.
The wild wind was always kraaled here, herded back and forth between us and the monolith opposite. So spiteful, the wind, so weedling and mournful.
You could see the motion of the water in the toilet bowl as the building rocked itself minutely.
The side of the building was relief concrete, cast to look like smooth stones. I used to wonder was there a wound in a beach somewhere, from where the stones had all been plundered to decorate the façades. I believed in the individuality of each large pebble. Only recently was I able to see repeat patterns, id never seen that before.

At night, each window, lit up from inside, glowed a different colour of curtain. In the day, the individuality of each home was less apparent.
I experienced those flats every day for thirteen years. I loved them. I loved the scale, I loved being high. A friend of mine from Siberia visiting Glasgow couldn’t believe how ugly they were, he couldn’t believe there was such ugly architecture anywhere in the world worse than Russia, and he found it here.
In the eighties, when tenements were being sandblasted and the council were giving out grants for new windows, there was a municipal fashion to paint murals on gable ends. Round the corner from us was an epic depiction of railway workers. It celebrated the history of engineering in Springburn.

On the other side of Sighthill cemetery, the flats got a facelift too, but it was different, it wasn’t figurative, it was simply telling us about the fabric of the building and its geometry. the grid of the side was picked out in yellows, whites and and greys, in V shapes that resembled Zulu beadwork id seen in Johannesburg.
It also looked like knitting, like a small portion of the chart you might use to knit this garment.

Sighthill is a housing scheme in North Glasgow, built in the 1960s on a former pig farm and chemical dump. The scheme made national news in 2001 when assylum seeker Firsat Yildiz was fatally stabbed on his way home. In the aftermath, local residents formed unity groups in solidarity with the many people seeking assylum who had been dispersed there by the Home Office. Their activity highlighted Sighthill as an area of extreme economic deprivation.
Sighthill Gala Queen was commissioned by The Lighthouse for The Scottish Show 07. The garment is modelled by Hinda Khogali. Hair design by Leigh Ferguson. Photo by Alan Dimmick. Graphic design and layout, Mandy McIntosh for Ham and Enos.

Sighthill Gala Queen is available as a knit-kit. For details on how to purchase the kit, email