Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

GLASGOW ROCKS; Lindsay Johns Soaks Up the City's Atmosphere Ahead of Its First Hosting of the MOBO Awards

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

GLASGOW ROCKS; Lindsay Johns Soaks Up the City's Atmosphere Ahead of Its First Hosting of the MOBO Awards

Article excerpt

Byline: Lindsay Johns

FORGET Trainspotting, the Gorbals, the tedious "See you, Jimmy" jokes. Glasgow is an intoxicating place to be right now. Within minutes of stepping off the train at Glasgow Central, and walking down Argyle Street and into St Enoch's Square, I find strangers being among the most helpful and welcoming I have ever met.

Glasgow has a rich musical heritage, be it classical, Celtic, rock or hip hop. It is now an official Unesco City of Music -- Glaswegians spend more on live music per capita than any other UK city. It makes sense for it to be hosting the MOBO awards this month for the first time. Eminem, Fifty Cent, Kanye West and The Game have played here and tonight Jay-Z supports Coldplay at Hampden Park. Even Dizzee Rascal will soon be regaling Glaswegians with his Cockney rap.

After dining on exquisite haggis, followed by prime Aberdeen Angus steak with creamy mash at Guy's, an intimate restaurant in the Merchant City district, I headed to Trongate 103 for the opening of a much vaunted arts and creativity space. Glasgow is bursting with creative types, many of whom have found a new home in this funky, six-storeyed, former Edwardian warehouse.

The next morning, rejuvenated by a huge Scottish breakfast of square sausage and black pudding, I set out for the Glas-goSchool of Art, to genuflect at the high altar of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Glaswegian Gaudi. Famous for his distinctive design, his influence can be found all over the city. The dark, foreboding library is the highlight of an outstanding tour.

I then head to Left Bank in the leafy West End district, recently voted Urban Restaurant of the Year at the Scottish Restaurant Awards 2009. Tempted by the self-proclaimed "best-ever" BBQ ribs, their piquancy leaves me drooling.

Come Saturday afternoon and I am standing in busy Buchanan Street -- the pedestrianised, main shopping thoroughfare -- watching a kilted bagpipe player busk beside a West African drummer. It is a musical fusion which for me is symbolic of the changing face of Glasgow.

The Two Fat Ladies seafood restaurant in the city centre is a fine choice for dinner, where sardines in a teetotallerfriendly Bloody Mary sauce, the fish platter for main and the Scottish sweet delicacy "tablet" are divine. …

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