Press Trip to Glasgow – Day Two

Are you supposed to deep fry haggis? I guess the Scottish deep fry mars bars, so I shouldn’t be surprised they deep-fry their national dish, too. It made a pretty good breakfast, to be fair, it fits in well alongside the sausages and eggs, and tastes a little bit similar to how you’d imagine deep fried spam to be after getting the treatment. That’s not a taste tingling claim, really, is it? At least I got to try it.

For the second day, I’d been set up with a list of places that might make for interesting features in a travel article, as well as a meeting with the director of Glasgow’s UNESCO City of Music publicity campaign. I started off at Trongate 103, a funky public art gallery that seemed to be really focused on its local impact – why it’s a good place to visit, I guess. The downstairs exhibition was a commentary on how similar the outskirts of Glasgow are, with endless lines of boarded up houses – some identical and some different, but only a little – lined up to make a kind of photographic border. They looked like truly dingy places to live. Upstairs there was a great exhibit on art done by mentally ill people, which was weirdly repetitive and in all kinds of random places (the sides of books, napkins, paper plates)… bizarre.

Next up I decided to go the cathedral. I’m not really sure why, as I’ve spent a large part of my life living close to a cathedral and found it far from inspiring. It as pretty, but it did end up being worthwhile, as I found the Necropolis behind it. Okay, so an ancient graveyard is a pretty odd thing to find interesting, but it was like arriving in a vampire movie, with huge Celtic crosses and little caves all built into the hill. Thousands of memorial statues lined up across a big field, while there’s a big tower at the heart of it, looking over the entire city. I was stupid enough to leave my camera at home, which is a real shame as this would have made for some great photos.

My only excuse for what I did next is that I didn’t have long until the UNESCO interview, and it was directly opposite. Glasgow has a religious museum, which is the kind of thing I’d usually pay not to go in, but then again I had a free press pass into everywhere (thank you VisitScotland) and time to kill, and I was actually pleasantly surprised. I’ve been in one or two of these kind of things before, and they tend to present religion as fact and concentrate only on the on they’re trying to promote, but this had all kinds of things from all over the world, and came across as giving ideas rather than preaching. There was a mummified corpse from Egypt, skeletons from the dance of the dead in Mexico and statues representing pretty much every religion you care to name. Not a great prospect, but it turned out to be seriously impressive.

I spent the rest of the afternoon running an interview with the woman from UNESCO, who was a classical music lover, and new precious little about the local contemporary scene, but promised to send on as much info as she can get hold of, so I’m sure it will be useful in the end, and then shopping for CDs Te price difference for albums between the UK and Ireland is incredible, and I even found a shop that was closing down and clearing out loads of fairly new albums at £2 each. My CD collections grown by about 25 albums, result!

The evening entertainment – apart from a couple of hours in the hotel writing and watching a dire game of football on television- was an American country singer called Phil Vasser, who came across a little like Elton John with a bad accent. I have to review the gig, something that I’m delaying for want of a nice (r) way to describe just how dire he was. He’s bound to have fans, but it was utter dross.

Still, a good day overall, especially the large stack of CDs I acquired and the spooky Necropolis.

James x

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