Getting to know you: Fulton MacGregor
What’s your earliest memory? I’ve got an image in my mind of being in the first house I lived in, which I think I lived in until I was about five. I could describe in my own mind the layout of the house – I’ve got an image of playing with a big toy train set. I don’t know if that’s my first memory or not, but it certainly came into my head first.
Where was the house? It was in a wee town outside Coatbridge called Glenmavis and then we moved down to Coatbridge when I was five.
What were you like at school? My first school was Coatdyke Primary and I was there from P1 to P3 and it closed down, actually. We all went down to London to the Houses of Parliament to protest against its closure, but it didn’t work out, unfortunately.
That was your first foray into politics? First foray into politics, but imagine having to go down to London to save a school?
Then I moved to another primary school. I just remember getting on with it at school. I liked the social side of it, the friendships. Some people that I made friendships with at high school and at primary school I’m still good friends with now. I have good friendships that go back 25-30 years. In high school I wasn’t overly academic with the science and maths subjects, I was always more interested in the social subjects – much to my dad’s disappointment as he’s a mathematician with first-class honours.
What’s your greatest fear? I’m actually quite open now, actually, in the three years since I’ve been in here – about talking about a fear of lifts that I’ve got. It’s something I’ve had for quite a long time, but I’ve always managed to disguise it from folk. It all stems back to being stuck in a lift, not long after we left the first house, actually, we moved to one of the high flats in Coatbridge. We lived on floor 13. Age six or something like that, I got stuck in a lift with a friend, one of those old-fashioned metal lifts. Probably in reality we were only in it for 30 or 40 minutes, but it felt all day. It was absolutely terrifying, there were no buzzers working in it or anything, we were just stuck, and I have not been in a lift since. And yet for all those years, I would make up things like, ‘Oh, I’m just getting that exercise’ or whatever the case might be, but see now, I tell people and the funny thing is that folk are open to hearing about it, people are understanding. I don’t know if that’s the greatest fear ever, but my fears for the future have changed since I’ve had children. It puts a lot more things into perspective. My worry now is about their future and I often think about what world are we leaving them as adults and their children, if they go on to have children. Over the last five years, since my oldest boy has been born, I think that is a real worry. I’d be honest and say I always cared about them before, but the intensity of that worry is totally different. I can’t quite explain it.
I was going to ask what your greatest achievement is – but I’m getting the impression that might be your children? It certainly will be, the two of those. Two boys – five and two. Three years between them, which is the exact same age gap as between me and my oldest younger brother – I’m the oldest of four. I’ve always thought it was a good age gap because it’s probably too much of a gap to be really fighting with each other, but a small enough gap that they will play with each other and have similar friend groups.
What’s your most treasured possession? I was really into Lord of the Rings as a youngster – still am – I loved the films; I must have read the book when I was wee too many times. The school was always bored of me because I always wanted to do every essay I ever done on Lord of the Rings. My mum and dad got this chess-set thing, it was one of these ones you bought up. There were only so many in the world. They had a wee jewel thing on it and you had to buy the pieces once a month, so it took like 32 months or whatever to get it, it was done over a few years, you paid maybe £20 a time. My mum ended up putting it in the loft and it actually resurfaced again recently. I’d say that’s something the family are pretty proud of. I was down at my mum’s house the other day and one of my brothers, Gus, had taken it away to take photos of it to put it on his Instagram or something because, as I say, it’s a collector’s item and there’s only so many in the world that are complete. And she was like, “He’s not brought it back yet, do you want to have a word with him?” I said: “No, I’m not having a word with him, he’s not going to do anything with it” and she said: “I know, but it should be in this house!”
You might need to check eBay if it’s not back soon… I think it’s back now, I think she finally said to him!
What’s your guiltiest pleasure? There’s many an episode of Paw Patrol – and I think you’re going to totally agree with this here with any kids’ TV programme – where the kids stop watching it but you continue to watch it. And I’ve actually watched episodes right to the end to see what happens. And I think to myself, what am I doing?! I’m quite a late bedder, so when everyone else in the house is down, I quite like those hours between 10.30 and 12.30-1 where I just sit and watch boxsets on Netflix. I just work through them, with a big bag of snacks. I’d say that was my guilty pleasure.