Welcome to my place . . . Glasgow
It may not be the prettiest place but the people make up for it, says Andrew Horne
Andrew Horne: “Billy Connolly once said that Glasgow is the friendliest city in the world until you get to a taxi rank at 11 o’clock on a Friday night. He was right.” Photograph: Mark Mainz
Andrew Horne arrived in Glasgow via London in 1994 to set up the Glasgow Drug Crisis Centre. “I had never been north of Luton and had really no idea about anything to do in Scotland, or Glasgow in particular,” he says.
Horne is now the director for Addaction Scotland, the largest drug and alcohol charity in Britain. He is married to a London-Louth woman, Anne Coogan. “We have four children, all hard-core Scots, so much so that we sometimes need an interpreter to understand a word that they are saying.”
Where is the first place you always bring people to when they visit Glasgow?
Kelvingrove Art Gallery is a must. The building is stunning and the contents even better. As you walk in you are often met with an organ recital, a spit fire hanging from the ceiling and Dali’s crucifixion in a side room. It also has a Rennie Mackintosh room which pays homage to Scotland’s number one architect and designer. The hanging heads are also a scream.
Also, there is nothing like an Old Firm game, when Celtic play Rangers, but tickets are hard to come by.
The top three things to do there, that don’t cost money, are . . .
1. Walk the River Clyde from the Tall Ship to the People’s Palace.
2. The People’s Palace, a museum dedicated to ordinary folk, includes Billy Connolly’s banana boots.
3. Little known is the fossil museum, Fossil Grove, out in Victoria Park. It houses fossilised tropical rain forest trees.
Is Glasgow green?
Two phrases are used for this city – “the dear green place” and “people make Glasgow”. The first phrase concerns the number of public parks there are throughout the city. The reason for this is that both rich and poor stay (Glaswegian for live) in tenements. These date from the times when many people had no access to gardens – thus the need for communal spaces. The second phrase sums up the city. It may not be the prettiest place but the people make up for it. They will literally go out of their way to help you. If you get lost they will walk with you to help you find what you are looking for. Remember to give yourself lots of time for every interaction as even buying a newspaper can entail a five-minute natter about the state of the world.
Billy Connolly once said that Glasgow is the friendliest city in the world until you get to a taxi rank at 11 o’clock on a Friday night. He was right.
Where do you recommend for a great meal that gives a flavour of Glasgow?
Mother India Café is always brilliant. We eat there for every birthday. Really reasonable. You cannot book, so you just need to turn up. The best time to eat is probably four in the afternoon to avoid queues. Mother India is also good as is the Wee Curry Shop on Buccleuch Street. Glasgow is the curry capital of the British Isles.
Where is the best place to get a sense of Glasgow’s place in history?
The River Clyde. It made Glasgow. Home of ship-building and the world-wide trade that brought wealth to the city. Walking up from the Clyde you will notice that the city is built on a grid system that was copied by most American cities.
What should visitors save room in their suitcase for after a visit to Glasgow?
Square sausage, Irn Bru and a good peaty whisky.