We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars – Oscar Wilde
There’s no getting away from the fact that Glasgow has a reputation. In fact it has many reputations: an amazing music scene, vicious football rivalry, friendly citizens, hey, even knife crime! It is often (incorrectly) credited for the inception of the iconic, artery hardening, deep fried Mars bar. Yes, these are stereotypes but there’s no escaping the fact that people do pay them heed. Unfortunately, one of the biggest stereotypes about Glasgow is that it is a hard, gritty place. A place of shipbuilding, No Mean City and the infamous ‘hardman’. And this stereotype sticks. I was shocked to discover when working with teenagers – many who were involved in gangs, violence and drug dealing – in London that they considered Glasgow a dangerous city to visit. The only other thing they associated with Glasgow was Shrek.
Add to this a healthy dose of east coast/ west coast rivalry and Glasgow emerges as Edinburgh’s poorer, uglier, mouthier wee sister. A wee sister that doesn’t even own a castle!
This frustrates me because Glasgow is a beautiful city and there’s beauty to be found everywhere: architecture, festivals, people, spirit(s).
One of my favourite things to do is walk around the streets of Glasgow city centre and really try to notice things. An easy way to notice beauty in Glasgow it to look up. We’re too busy rushing, heads down, texting and walking simultaneously.
So, here are some reasons to take some time, go for a walk and look up.
- Glasgow is filled with stunning architecture. Looking up allows you to notice details: elaborate turrets, faded old adverts, beautifully coloured stone.
- Light. There’s no getting around it Glasgow can be pretty grey but, look up, and you’ll notice amazing sunsets, rainbows and geometric shadows cast on buildings.
- Refreshment. When we were wee, on stormy nights, we’d get wrapped up, go for a walk and see who could hold their face up to the sub zero rain bullets for the longest. Okay, maybe it seems slightly torturous but give it a shot. It’s invigorating, it’s essentially nature’s blusher (free make up!), it’s great for your skin AND there’s nothing lovelier than the contrast of taking your icy cold face into a cosy pub for a glass of red wine.
- Mindfulness innit? Just taking time to focus on one thing, noticing tiny details and being aware of your surroundings helps to take your mind of whatever mince is troubling you.
Go on, get out of the gutter and find some stars!