Glasgow - why do we love it?
Paul Mackman on why he 'hearts' Glasgow
I left London for Glasgow four years ago, and I can say without exaggeration that I truly love the place. For me, Glasgow is the finest city in the UK, and my third favourite in the world. New York and New Orleans top the list, I'm afraid! However, both NYC and NOLA are pretty relevant.
Glasgow's thriving arts and music scene mean the galleries and buskers are some of the finest in the country. The talented busker-per-block layout along Buchanan Street in the city centre could double for Royale and the raucous never-ending party of Sauciehall Street is a close second to Bourbon St.
And let me tell you about the space.
Glasgow was built alongside New York during the Industrial Revolution. One of the few grid layouts in the country, with brownstone buildings aplenty, and enough space in the streets to see acres of sky at any time, it's no wonder Glasgow has doubled for Philly in World War Z, Gotham in The Dark Knight Rises and San Francisco in Cloud Atlas.
Not that it's all big parties and dramatic cityscapes. Drift West to the University District and you can find sleepy retro cafes, leafy parks and the gorgeous redbrick Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which is just about my favourite building in the world. Head South and East for a taste of the working city, with a little more 'authenticity'.
Obviously the Scottish countryside is not far away, and on a sunny day (which is more frequent than even the locals will admit) you may as well be in New Zealand. But you don't have to go that far. There are numerous sizeable green spaces, Pollok Park among them, which I'd say is a rival to London's Richmond.
Walking or cycling to work makes a huge difference to quality of life, as does being able to reliably get a seat on the bus or train. For that reason alone, I'd say my residual stress levels have halved since leaving the Big Smoke (London).
Recently, the city's motto has become: "People Make Glasgow." I think that's a huge part of it. The UK is famous, perhaps excessively so, for being a nation of reserve. Glasgow is one of a few clear exceptions. The city is extremely friendly, even to the English like myself, and as a result you never feel truly alone.
So, yes I heart Glasgow. Maybe you will too!