Do you remember when Glasgow hosted the Commonwealth Games? Unlike Nadine Dorries, I do.
The weather was glorious, the city abuzz, our mascot was nightmare-inducing and we were fretful and nervous about embarrassing ourselves in front of “The Visitors”. It reminded me of the time I, Unsporty Spice, was picked to be in the school netball team. I gave it my all, stress-napped afterwards and never, ever played again.
But now, at long last, Glasgow is bidding for an event it is surely destined to host. The Eurovision Song Contest will take place in the UK next year in lieu of Ukraine, and while a clutch of cities across the country have volunteered to put on the contest, none of them can compete with Glasgow’s sparkling credentials. The bookies agree; right now, Glasgow is Paddy Power’s favourite to host, with the odds sitting at 5/6.
Of course it’s the odds-on champ! How could it not be? Eurovision is camp, daft and fun – and so is the city I call home.
Our biggest entertainment venue, the Hydro, looks like a disco spaceship conceived by someone who went to the Sub Club and never left. (And is so fitting a location it’s already starred in the Will Ferrell film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga).
Our most memorable marketing campaign saw the bright yellow Roger Hargreaves cartoon character, Mr Happy, grinning like a rave culture symbol across buildings and billboards. Our greatest export is a sometime-purple-bearded man who wears zebra-print shirts, plays the banjo and tells jokes about jobbies. Shouldn’t Eurovision be bidding for us?
And bloody hell, we know how to party. No Eurovision act, no matter how weird, is going to feel out of place in this city. Just ask my pals. Their mostly unprintable Glasgow house party anecdotes range from seeing a man snort a mound of ground-up Berocca (yes, the vitamin C supplement) before producing a pet rat from his jacket pocket, to “phone a magician called Terry to come round and perform tricks for us every time we pull an all-nighter”.
I once witnessed a six-piece band complete with bagpiper cram into the living room of a Sauchiehall Street flat to play an impromptu set that culminated in one guest gleefully crowd-surfing into the kitchen.
Our drag scene is legendary, we’re one of Europe’s top LGBTQ-friendly cities and, as former Eurovision contestant Lulu shouted this week, we’re “music mad”.
Without Glasgow there would have been no Bronski Beat, Mogwai or Deacon Blue. And would the inspiration for Abba’s Super Trouper have come so easily had Björn never visited our fair city?
Even Glasgow’s cringier music acts offer something to be celebrated when viewed through the glitter-smeared lens of Eurovision. If we win the bid, I’d love nothing more than for the event to open with Darius slithering down the Finnieston Crane, clad in sequins and belting out Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time amid a fusillade of confetti cannons. Give me Michelle McManus in a ’70s jumpsuit! Marti Pellow in a mankini!
Our Dear Green Place isn’t the only Scottish city in the running; Aberdeen has thrown its hat into the ring, and Edinburgh council leader Cammy Day has hinted the capital may follow suit.
Honestly? I’d begrudgingly settle for either of them if Glasgow was unsuccessful.
We have competition from cities in England and Wales, but given these countries voted to leave the EU, I reckon they should be automatically discounted.
That just leaves us and Northern Ireland, but only one of us can say our national animal is the unicorn. I rest my case.
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