Glasgow Q&A: Halina Rifai on the Southside

Southside resident Halina Rifai produces podcasts including Podcart and A Sonic Hug with The Big Light, and works with organisations like Dardishi and We Are Here Scotland to help amplify BPoC creative voices in Scotland and beyond

Article by Halina Rifai | 18 Nov 2021
  • Halina Rifai

What do you like about the Southside of Glasgow?
I've lived here for over 17 years now and it feels very much like a small town within a city. There have been numerous changes including half of the bastarding West End of Glasgow and some of London moving here but all in all it’s still a great place. I love the number of parks here, I love the diversity moving from one area to another, I love the local shops and I love that there are businesses that are still here from when I first arrived.

How important is community there? How do you connect with the local community?
There is a real sense of community here and there are so many incredible people doing stuff for the greater good in different hidden pockets as well. I was volunteering with my local foodbank pre-pandemic and that really made me feel like a stronger part of the community. I think it’s really important to invest in local businesses, shop local from our local greengrocers Zucchini to our butcher W. Cranston and more.

In other areas, the business community really seem to come together. Businesses like The Glad Cafe, organisations like Govanhill Baths, South Seeds, Milk Cafe, Zia-ul-Quran Mosque and many more do incredible work in the community and provide a lot of opportunities, support and love.

Where’s your favourite place in Glasgow?
I think it’s probably always going to be Queen’s Park. I have struggled with panic attacks and really bad anxiety for years and I was agoraphobic for a while. Part of my recovery has been walking and it’s always been Queen’s Park that has been the place for a lot of it. 

Favourite music from Glasgow of all time? 
I am going to have to go with Mogwai. Buying Young Team in 1997 was a bit of a gamechanger and I have loved the band ever since. 

What band / musician from Glasgow are you loving right now?
Uninvited are a bit exciting! Very much part of the revived indie rock scene in Glasgow but their vocal harmonies are pristine, and they have this curious Americana-pop vibe in their music. 

Do you have a favourite Glasgow artwork?
The mural of Scott Hutchison by Alex Coyle on Allison Street. It’s a poignant reminder of a great man.

What makes Glasgow special?
I think as polarising as opinions can be and how divided things can become with certain aspects of society in general here, when the shit hits the fan and people need to come together, they do. I have witnessed it on numerous occasions and it’s a really beautiful thing.