I've had for many years a misconception - really, more like a gap in my knowledge - about how countries outside the United States respond to crossing cultures, tight borders, and the invariable necessity in tenement housing of sharing a toilet with a stranger.
Spence's "Colours" had a lot less to do with strict Scottish survivalism and more on multicultural tensions raised in Glasgow, a city with a broader spectrum of cultures than I had first thought. (I should have probably guessed, it is the third-largest city in the UK).
This isn't a world tour by any means - the primary characters are Scottish or Irish, and primary divisions are along the infamous Catholic/Protestant faultline; expect plenty of taunts and football hooligan beatings in this regard.
But slowly, as the memoirs inch forward in time, the change inevitably comes. Folks from India and South Africa plant the seeds of escape in the main character's head, hinting at a world larger than the tiny slice of Glasgow prospect housing he has inhabited since birth.
Ultimately more human than historical, the book's exaggerated accents in dialogue are addictive enough that you find yourself testing your own Scottish accent out loud at the Glasgow street kids, Rangers fans, and factory workers in the pay line, while the stories themselves, largely of growing up and pushing against the social and economic bars of the Glasgow working-class cage, remind you of what it was to get by when the world was new, big, and frightening.
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