Freelance composers’ diaries assemble themselves rather randomly, so it was a tremendous throw of the dice that caused me to attend rehearsals and a concert in Glasgow during the Most Momentous Week in Scottish History (so far). It also happened to be the 35th anniversary of my original move to the city (I lived there for twelve years on and off.) However widely spaced my return visits, I always feel instantly at home, and compulsively interested in the fortunes of my former abode.
Frequent television news reports from Glasgow show a backdrop of fabulous new buildings along the Clyde, suggesting the makeover of the dilapidated city I once knew is complete. But staying in the Blythswood Hill area this week, I was sad to find this formerly gracious and bustling business quarter empty and run down. (Clearly, commerce has upped sticks and moved to the futuristic riverfront). The length of Sauchiehall Street bordering it could have been any bargain shopping street in the northern half of Britain. Well, that’s what I thought until I reached the corner of Pitt Street, and the reassuring but somewhat psychedelic premises of Geoffrey (Tailor) Kiltmakers, with its intriguing shopfront populated by strangely camp kilted mannequins. Out of many possible choices, my picture shows a business-suit-kilt, no tartan involved, accompanied by a thoroughly bouffant sporran. The amber tie and pocket square add extra allure. We could only be in one place: Glasgow (= Glaschu = “Dear Green Place”).