I suppose, all things considered, it would have been nice if Glasgow had hosted Eurovision.
We would have reveled in the praise showered on our city for its friendliness and humor and how our nightlife and entertainment scene is on par with the world’s finest destinations. But if it had to be any other city, Liverpool, as loudly renegade as Glasgow, would have been my choice.
And of course, we would have been assured of commercial spinoffs trickling down from the city’s economic infrastructure for the benefit of punters. No one would have been able to put their finger on what those rewards would have been or quantify them. And any further inquiries about real, proven numbers would have been rendered obsolete in the daily news feed. We all should have accepted that, well, sure, it made our lives better.
Phrases such as ‘boosting the night economy’ and ‘increasing footfall in our key hospitality industry’ were reportedly rolled out. There would have been ‘guarantees’ of more jobs and Glasgow’s hurt night economy would have suffered.
And who knows, maybe there will have been overtime for those greedy garbage collectors who the town leader has accused of acting like fascists by demanding a modest pay rise during the Climate Festival. You know, the same workers who put their health at risk daily during the pandemic by keeping the city clean.
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But the main winners would have been the upscale hotel chains. During COP26, they doubled their rates for a few weeks while continuing to pay their permanent and seasonal staff barely living wages. The gig economy – “we’ll call you when we need you” – has always prevailed and some middle-class landlords have taken advantage of the opportunity by renting out their rooms to pay for next summer’s vacation in Cancun. .
Ask residents of Glasgow’s East End if they’ve seen any fallout from the 2014 Commonwealth Games beyond a world-class velodrome and new homes near Glasgow Green being built by a consortium of the world’s biggest players. construction industry in Scotland. But not before some residents whose families had lived in that part of Glasgow were evacuated.
In recent years, central Glasgow has become Marvel Comics’ favorite filming location overseas. At any time, you’re likely to encounter men and women in disguise performing Hollywood fantasies for a nice tax break and a few bucks to help with the town’s cash flow situation.
On some city streets, residents think they live in Westworld. Or Zombieland. “Is that guy at the bar with the bad skin and a leg in his pocket a real person?” At least they don’t need to spend too much time making the streets look like those of a dystopian post-nuclear apocalypse. Glasgow is becoming a year-long reality show, relying on the imagination and capricious whims of the global corporate entertainment industry to throw them a few crumbs and thus divert from its slow descent into sprawling public restrooms.
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At any time, the city will announce that it is in the running to host the World Drone Owners Symposium or a Star Trek convention. Council leaders will say the city has long been at the forefront of fantastic space technology. There will be “results” and “deliveries” everywhere.
This Cop26 was awesome, wasn’t it? Apart from the fact that no one is quite sure that anything significant has been achieved. Despite all the promise, there were very few ways to fend off the forces of creeping capitalism that are causing the bulk of carbon emissions. Much of this is because they bribed corrupt governments in poor countries to let them grow cheaply in those wild, green areas that provide the lungs of the world.
Meanwhile, Glasgow’s hospitality leaders are still looking for a sense of purpose and leadership from national and local governments to help the nightlife economy recover from the pandemic and the effects of extreme Brexit on the Supply Chain. But in the meantime, the city council has stealthily increased parking fees by 25% … just as downtown businesses try to recoup their Covid losses.
The only growth has been in multi-storey Portakabins and storage units masquerading as student accommodation for a grand a month. Large swathes of the west and north-east of the city center are rapidly turning Glasgow into the world’s largest bedroom community for wealthy overseas students looking for an ‘experience’ while working-class students are told to sleep on someone’s floor or delay their education until they can get affordable housing.
At least failing to secure the Eurovision Song Contest will spare us the sickening spectacle of dozens of third-rate Scottish politicians saying ‘we’re doing this for Ukraine’, NATO clients in their war by proxy to bring Russia to heel. And we won’t have them with an assortment of media loafers live-tweeting their newly discovered appreciation for Scandinavian Oompah metal and the enthusiastic Baltic House mafias.
In a series of articles over the past two years, Donald Macleod, one of Scotland’s biggest nightclub entrepreneurs, has blasted the Scottish government for its adamant refusal to help them during and after the lockdown. Earlier this year he encouraged them to revisit the idea of a Night Commissioner, or ‘Night Tsar’, which has been crucial in helping Manchester’s entertainment sector recover.
“Our sector faces enormous challenges,” he wrote. “And we must remember that this role is not a panacea, but with employment levels well below pre-pandemic levels and dramatic falls in footfall, trade and rising costs and supply chain issues that are hampering any recovery, it’s definitely time to revisit this idea.”
Glasgow is already one of the world’s fastest growing entertainment hubs for new bands and new sounds. It has an indigenous music scene which regularly produces a treadmill of original artists like Gerry Cinnamon and Chvrches.
The entertainment economy that helped them emerge is being hit and staging another big budget event like Eurovision for the benefit of the itinerant, affluent demimonde won’t help either.