Glasgow: Paolo Nutini's Top Spots
He’s one of our favourite Scottish musicians and his mum and dad own a chip shop. You can see why we want to be Paolo Nutini’s friend. David Pollock tracks him down on tour
Becoming a global music star is hard work on the way up. When The Midgie tracks down Scots singer Paolo Nutini he’s just waking up in a hotel room in Indianapolis, midway through a punishing summer-long touring and promotion schedule of the States which is designed to break him as an artist across the pond. What better time, we thought, to catch him in a homesick mood and ask what his favourite Glaswegian hangouts are?
Despite the early morning yawns and the fact we’ve interrupted him while he’s checking the online news of his football team, Glasgow’s Celtic FC, he’s a friendly interviewee. ‘It’s hard for me to put into words what I miss when I’m away,’ says the singer, who comes from Paisley, a town just outside Glasgow. ‘It’s the attitude of Scottish people, you don’t get it anywhere else in the world. When I walk into a room and talk to folk in Scotland, it feels like I haven’t been away. I miss my lovely lady, she’s in Paisley. And without romanticising it, I just love going home to see my mates, sitting about having a drink and a catch-up with them.’
Paolo’s Top Spots:
Nice 'n' Sleazy
‘I have fun every time I’m in Sleazy’s, without a shadow of a doubt. You see some great gigs there, even if you don’t know what’s on and you just turn up at the door. A lot of the best nights I’ve had in there have involved going downstairs, sitting on the floor and just seeing what happens.’
‘For me there’s a sense of comfort in Paisley, because it’s where I spent my whole life – my family are there, my wee Nana’s there. For most of my life I lived with braes (hills) on my back door and a big body of water in front of the house. You wouldn’t swim there, but it was a nice place to go and sit. Brodie Park, it’s been a while but that was always the best place to go and play football. Skirlies Café is somewhere I’d recommend if you want a bite to eat.’
King Tut's Wah Wah Hut
‘I’ve never actually seen a big band at King Tut’s, you know that? But it’s the kind of place you can see anything. One night they’ll have a really great band playing their ass off and the next there’ll be a nice acoustic thing on. One gig I remember seeing there is Matt Berry, from The Mighty Boosh and Garth Marenghi. That just shows what a range of stuff you can find in Tut’s.’
The Merchant City
‘We like heading down this way when we’re going to a restaurant. There are a few nice veggie places like 13th Note there – my girlfriend’s the vegetarian, not me, but I quite like a lot of the food you get – and I’ve had some good tapas in that area too. Then there’s a cool wee vintage shop down there, Mr Ben’s, and a nice coffee shop next to it (Mono) which sometimes does acoustic nights too.’
I’m glad Fopp’s still there, it’s a good place to buy records. I mostly buy vinyl albums these days, because I’ve bought a new house and I’ve got my granddad’s old speakers and his record player. I much prefer the way it sounds, from the bass to the stand-up piano on an old Fats Domino record, and hearing music on CD just doesn’t do these sounds justice. To me it’s as close as possible to being in the room and watching these guys play, although nowadays there seems to be more and more of a clear divide between how a song sounds on record and how it sounds live. But I like to hear each of the musicians’ individual playing, and vinyl’s the best way to do it.’
Glasgow Museum of Transport
‘This is going to sound a bit weird, but I used to go to Glasgow’s Museum of Transport with my school a lot and I really liked it. You’d sit on the wooden benches and draw the chassis of car or buses or trains. That was just brilliant. That’s what I want to do when I’m back home actually, I want to have a day where I go to the Transport Museum and draw cars, that would be pretty relaxing. I’m not much of an artist, but I have moments where I surprise myself.’
Paolo Nutini plays the Caird Hall, Dundee, Tue 13 Oct and O2 Academy, Glasgow, Wed 14 & Thu 15 Oct. His album Sunny Side Up is out now.