Why I love Glasgow - By Ewan Morrison
The author reveals his love affair with the dear green place
I love this place. Here’s why. Glasgow is a fairly modern city, most of it was built on the back of the sugar and tobacco trade in no time at all, and as a result it has this wonderful, rational, almost surgical structure. It is absolutely impossible to get lost in Glasgow due to its ‘gridiron structure’. The streets run North, South, East and West, you don’t need a watch here or GPS or a compass, just use your own body as a sundial and read the streets (well, if there is any sun). The retail district (the seventh largest retail avenue in the world), the gay district, the art district and the nightclub district are all interconnected by the grid, as they are in New York and Chicago. And this is marvellous, modern, rational and dispenses with the need for asking locals where the hell you are.
The internationalism embedded in the very structure of the city manifests itself in some fabulous and exotic hidden places, known only to us elitists and lovers of the Orient. Malaysian food in Asia Style, with its irregular, delicious homemade noodles, is a place where students, TV workers and Asians swarm daily. If you can try to order off the menu that is not in English, just by pointing at what the staff are eating and saying, ‘Please, yes, yes! I will try this please’, this is worth the embarrassment.
A little tour to the Barras provides such exotic samples of the city’s conflicts and loves as Timland – a wholesaler which provides ‘fans of Celtic football club with top quality goods at prices fans can afford’.
If you’re in the neighbourhood of Partick, you have to visit Delizique for cheese, hams and daily baked bread to die for, or go next door to Cafezique. It’s quite easy to come to Glasgow and just live between these two culinary havens. After you’ve been ‘ziqued’, head down the road to The Rio Cafe to take in one of their music nights complete with cute 50s-style retro interior. GenYers abound with Bakelite specs and skinny trousers, while GenY chicks are burlesque and often have tattoos and beehives. If picking up one of these types is your desire, or just dressing up like one of them, then Glasgow’s Club Noir is the place for you.
Glasgow boasts too many Turner Prize-winners to even believe; and they came out of the Transmission Gallery, which is now part of a bigger multi-gallery complex in Queen Street. This is close to the music epicentre of the world, Mono, which probably has the best record shop in the world and is strongly connected with everything extremely valuable in music lore. The art, music and gay scenes in Merchant City are all within four blocks of each other, so if you’re into retro, postmodern, same-sex things to find on vinyl or to dance to, this is the place to be.
Ewan Morrison is the author of Tales from the Mall.