By Calum McMillan
People always say that Glasgow has had umpteen social problems but keeps finding ways of getting over its difficulties and transforming itself. Maybe, belonging to the city I’m able to renew myself too, and keep extending out into some new area – Edwin Morgan
When I was considering writing this piece I found myself perplexed as how I could really describe how I felt about Glasgow for a creative point of view. But when I eventually found the above quote of poet Edwin Morgan I suddenly found the perfect word: revitalised.
Over the last five years I’ve spent ever increasing amounts of time in Glasgow, and on reflection it is entirely obvious just how much spending time in this astounding city has helped me to transform myself.
It was not only the venue for my University education but it proved to be a constant source of inspiration and motivation, whether I realised it at the time or not. My time in this city inspired me to write, to pick up a camera and ultimately to explore. Explore myself, as much as the city.
Looking back on my experiences in Glasgow opens the flood gates to a tidal wave of wonderful memories. More amazing gigs than I can ever begin to count, so many tremendous nights in even more tremendous company, a whole lot of new and exhilarating ideas and a handful of epiphanies. I’d be inclined to say that for a half a decade long affair, that’s not bad going.
Certainly it’s been infinitely more successful and satisfying than any of my actual affairs.
As much as the city has been a soundtrack for all of those things, it has occasionally provided a deafening backdrop to darker times. Its sense of drama and suffocating weight should not be underestimated. As thrilling as its streets can feel beneath your feet, they can also be incredibly daunting. Pretentiously enough though, I find myself thinking that kind of complexity is an intrinsic part of the beauty of it.
The beauty of some parts of Glasgow is obvious. The University of Glasgow sits atop the West End like a glorious and ridiculous testament to the idea that “classic” and quality are in fact the same thing. The city’s skyline highlights the sunrise and the moonlight like the shadow on the face of your lover in the night. Fancy signs and swish designing are making space for the ever seductive “free wifi” sign across the doors of every venue. The puddles that line the streets reflect the lights back into the faces of a hundred different visionaries while the bar stools lend moral support to a thousand more. Myself included. Though if I’m totally honest, I often find more support in the glass of whisky than I do the bar stool.
All that being said, I still find myself getting frustrated with the public transport making me late for one of my gigs, or groups of undergrad hipsters swarming and making me late when I have places to be and things to do. I’m amazed at how beige my perceptions can be when presented with such a vibrant and colourful environment.
But then I remember that this is the kind of city where giant Pandas are painted on the walls in lanes for no obvious reason and all of a sudden I remember why I simply can’t get enough of Glasgow.
Follow Calum on Twitter: @CalumMcMillan2