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Issue 36 - Bravo Glasgow

Scotland Magazine Issue 36
December 2007

 

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Bravo Glasgow

Scotland's biggest city has another event to shout about

Congratulations Glasgow! The city has been picked to host the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Excitement reached fever pitch in November and when the announcement was made there were celebrations across the country in typical Scottish style. I particularly liked the pictures of dour politicians holding hands and hugging each other, and of new First Minister Alex Salmond punching the air.

The news was announced not long after London won the 2012 Olympics, which means it’s going to be a busy few years for the United Kingdom. And because we won’t have had quite enough sport by then, we’d going to pitch for the Football World Cup in 2018 as well.

There’s bound to be much squabbling over funds of course, but luckily for Glasgow much of the necessary infrastructure is already in place.

Hampden Park, Scotland's national football stadium, will be filled with more than 25,000 square metres of rubble and polystyrene to create an athletics arena. There will be bowls at Kelvingrove and other sports including shooting, seven-a-side rugby, netball, aquatics and table tennis at other venues across the city.

Glasgow is already a vibrant, happening city but the games will bring further lasting regeneration, which can only be good for Scotland as a whole.

The Clyde waterfront is one example of a successful regeneration project in progress. Each year in autumn, the Paragraph Publishing team are dragged from our desks to staff our yearly Whisky Live event in Glasgow, and each year we stay on the waterfront. The previous four years have been like watching time lapse photography, each year there are less betting shops and more luxury flats.

The two-day show has been coming to Glasgow since 2003, but this was the first year our event has been tied in with BBC Good Food Show at the SECC on Finnieston Quay.

Previously, Whisky Live Glasgow had been held in a marquee in the centre of George Square but unfortunately we rather outgrew it (imagine the difficulties we had catering for 3,000 people in a tent). The SECC on the other hand is about the most user-friendly building in existence, and it’s absolutely MASSIVE.

Critics say that purpose-built ‘conference and exhibition centres’ like the SECC can be rather soulless, but I think it is what you bring to it that makes it special. This year’s rather striking props at Whisky Live were provided by Glasgow Wood Recycling Project, whose business is in transforming old whisky barrels into cool benches, tables and seats (warning: you will want one in your garden).

And it always amazes me how many whisky fans will trek halfway round the world to get close to the drink they love.

People come from as far afield as America and Australia, and we regularly see the same faces. But the real satisfaction is when those people that ‘don’t like whisky’ learn to appreciate it. It gives you a warm feeling inside that isn’t the alcohol.

It was also the first year that the BBC Good Food Show appeared in Scotland, showcasing culinary delights of all kinds. Next door to Whisky Live there were cookery demonstrations, celebrity chefs, regional and national producers, cooking equipment and more. It’s impossible to resist spending, and you may find yourself walking away with bags heaving with pies and curries and olives and cutlery, and wondering how are you going to get that new ultra-mop home on the plane? (With plenty of sniggers from the check-in staff, if you’re wondering. Well, at least I didn’t try to bring home one of those barrels).

Sally Toms