I am proud to say that I was born and lived the first 18 years of my life in Glasgow. Since then I have lived in Edinburgh and then for the past ten years in St Boswells. But though I have not yet returned to live in my native city I visit regularly and I am proud of being a Glaswegian and of what the city of Glasgow has achieved since the early days of the Glasgow is miles better campaign.
So three things have prompted this blog entry. The first a remark by what is increasingly the annoying male broadcasters on Radio Scotland morning show, the second the unfair write-up in the latest Thomas Cook Guide book on the city and the third my weekend spent back home in Glasgow.
You would expect that as Radio Scotland covers the whole country they would be careful to remain impartial but not it seems for the cocky male presenters in the morning show. Commenting how great Edinburgh looked during the papal visit they then went on to comment that “Even Glasgow looked ok.” As if this was a great surprise to them.
Then whilst in Glasgow this weekend to see the wonderful Glasgow boys exhibition at the Kelvingrove I read in the paper that on the bright side the exhibition had broken all records with 105,000 people through the door but on the negative side Glasgow has again suffered from the new Thomas Cook guide-book which has looked at all the negatives and not seen any of the positives.
So I felt a blog sticking up for Glasgow was in order not that I am not aware that there are negatives I am but in saying that what city or location doesn’t have negatives and in today’s gloomy economic recession maybe we should be looking at the positive side of things rather than the negative all the time.
Glasgow has to be first and foremost one of the most friendly places in the world. We all know that big brand stores like Tescos and Marks and Spencers train their staff to talk to us at the check out about our purchase. Sometimes this works and sometimes the falseness shows depending on the member of staff. In Glasgow people are interested in you so if you go into a shop chances are they will ask about you and what you have been doing and it doesn’t just stop there people in Glasgow are proud of the city, keen to talk and love to welcome visitors. This weekend my son of six chatted away to an elderly lady sitting in the foyer of the Kelvingrove Museum. So interested was she in him and his experience he even told her what was causing him worry at the time. Which was that the dinosaur toy that he had bought at the museum shop had words printed on his bottom and wasn’t this rather unusual? The women who looked a well brought up Kelvinside type didn’t bat an eye and they had quite the conversation. Then later we bought a paper in a wee newsagent off Argyle street. The lady serving had never seen my husband in her life but greeted him as if she saw him every day and asked how he was and what he had been up to. It leaves a good feeling. Plus when I am in Glasgow I never cease to enjoy the habit of people watching and listening in on people’s conversations the Glasgow sense of humour is second to none.
Glasgow also is wonderful for the variety of food it serves. Yes there are the clichés of the deep-fried mars bar, irn bru etc etc. But you also get wonderful places like my favourite Cafe Gandolfi which has been serving great quality food in a wonderful setting for over 25 years consistently and with fantastic customer service from breakfast to dinner. Choose your favourite meal as they all are great there. Glasgow also is great for Chinese or Indian food showing the rich culture of its history.
This takes me on to my third and final point the culture and history of Glasgow. Glasgow started as a tiny wee village on the side of the Clyde and has become the biggest city in Scotland. Along the way we have had the Tobacco Lords who brought to the culture the Glasgow trend to wear its wealth on it sleeve which continues today as Glasgow has the best shopping in the UK as we Glaswegians like to shop and look good. Glasgow may have been in the past seen as bleak and industrial but yet think of the art in the city from the Glasgow boys to the great Charles Rennie Macintosh and the Glasgow School of Art still giving us talent to this day. We have the rich culture of the ship building with the Glasgow ability to work hard and stick up for what we believe in with ambassadors like the late Jimmy Reid. And finally the ability through out its history for the city to reinvent itself some of the industry has died and like any city is suffering again in the current climate but it has and it will reinvent itself as the City of Culture showed.
So my very short defence of my home town. I could wax lyrical about its location on the Clyde, the beauty of its many buildings, the unique parts of Glasgow such as Byres Road, its great citizens such as the late Edwin Morgan, Billy Connolly and so forth but I am going to close it here.
In conclusion my husband often laughed when we were first going out that Mother Glasgow like the song clips our little wings so we don’t go far from it. I don’t know if I will ever live in Glasgow again I love living where I am. But I do know that I will often return to my home city and always I am proud as the song my papa used to sing to me of admitting “I belong to Glasgow dear old Glasgow toun.” And I am proud very proud of what Glasgow has achieved in my life time as a city. So don’t be put of by the negative gibes and if you have never visited Glasgow do and if you have but not for a while return I am sure you won’t regret it.