A local's guide to Glasgow


Glasgow comedian Susan Calman knows a thing or two about student life out west, having spent 4 years studying law there. She takes a break from tickling the old funny bones to wax lyrical about what makes Glasgow smile better

‘I've always loved Glasgow. I was that person who stayed and studied in the city they were brought up in and I never regretted it. The thing with Glasgow is there is just so much on your doorstep, whatever your 'thing' is. Better still, the Glasgow people are always there for a wee chat or with a great tale to tell. I can remember when I first arrived at Halls. I was living on £15 a week. Yeah, £15. And that had to cover my food and drink for a week; as a result, I became pretty familiar with the 50p vodka and orange from the QM union In fact, to this day, I can't touch it as a drink, which says it all really …

I used to go to the 13th Note by the Clyde (there's one on King's Street now, which is good too) but the one by the water was a favourite, and is now gone. I had some great nights there. That sort of night of live music night is what the Brunswick Hotel does really well now. They do club nights too. But for a truly great night everyone should experience, at least once, the Sub Club and The Arches. On the Southside, it’s the Shed, which has just started live music nights too. The Stand Comedy Club too is great for comedy year-round – we get a good crowd in and the Red Raw night at £2 a ticket is just a great laugh.

Most bits of the city have something for everyone. In fairness, you could start at one end of Sauchiehall Street and go from one end to the other and you'd hit plenty of bars along the way. Which reminds me: go to the Glasgow Film Theatre, just off Sauchiehall Street! It's great. While you're there, go to Cafe Cosmo and have a beer or a coffee. I went to see FrightFest this year and the GFT do amazing mini-festivals and one-offs year round. Get on the mailing list. Now. Don't miss the Kelvingrove Art Gallery either – it really is as incredible as people say it is and you can just keep going back time and time again. And it's free. That’s another incredible thing about Glasgow. You can see all this amazing art throughout the city without having to spend a penny.

Don't be afraid to look beyond your university either for a good night out: as great as your own union can be, it can be too easy to get stuck there. It can be a bit intimidating at the start but don't be afraid to make friends in other faculties, or in fact at different unis, and get yourself signed into their unions. Similarly watch the friends you make in Fresher's Week. Spread yourself thin and work out who you actually want to hang out with in the longer term. Join a team or society too. It's a good way to broaden your circle and get to know people. Whether it’s a debating society or hockey team, there are always plenty of options. It sounds obvious but work hard and learn stuff, it really can be fun. Few students these days can afford to be re-doing years, so get the balance right and throw your all at it. It’s only after you’ve left, you’ll realise what an incredible opportunity you have had.

Embrace it and learn to laugh at the bits that are a bit, well, different. After Halls my first flat found me sharing a twin room with a girl who liked to have sex quite a lot. While I was trying to sleep. Not ideal. So think carefully about who you want to live with. In the end the people you live with will become engrained as part of the student experience, I remember a blazing row over a tin of chicken masala. Learn how to cook cheaply. Buy lots of vegetables. Make the most of free stuff, as well as student discounts. Glasgow has everything you would want from cinemas and museums to great festivals, like the Glasgow International Comedy Festival, Glasgay and The Merchant City Festival. Go to the Science Centre and watch a film at the IMAX, spend a day trawling the great record shops in Glasgow or check out the Barras Market. Check out the charity shops. Don't be afraid to venture round the corner. I lived in Partick in the West End and didn't know the Southside at all – which is great – till I actually moved there years later.

Take every opportunity you are given. I went to the States as part of an exchange programme to work on Death Row in North Carolina. This is the starting place for as many opportunities as possible. You will never have this time again, so take it and enjoy it.

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