Drinking One word Buckfast Quite why its makers should choose to call it 'tonic Wine’ is an unfathomable mystery The only thing that its tonic qualities could pOSSIbly Cure is the affliction of sobriety. Still, one can understand why Scotland’s west coast seems to have taken the brew to heart it’s the only alternative to Glasgow's piss-poor pubs. At one end of the spectrum there are Glasgow’s style bars: over-designed, over-
hyped and ~ fortunately - over there. These Jumped-up stomping grounds for posers in puffa Jackets and
clothes horses with orange tans have all the atmosphere of a mirrorball all glitz and completely hollow
At the other end of the evolutionary scale are the iakeys' drinking dens where they serve Buckie on optic s and you can get stabbed for owning more than one pair of shoes
There’s little between the two extremes and they all shut at the ludicrous hour of llpm except on weekends when Glasgow's naiiiby-pamby counCIl allows denizens of the Dear Green Place to stay up until midnight
Edinburgh, by comparison, is a drinker's oasis: bars that are CIVIlised Without being pretentious proliferate, and the dedicated imbiber can drink until 3am seven days a week.
In the austere post-war years, a few folk decided Scotland needed cheering up. ’Let’s have a festival' someone suggested. 'Good idea,' said another 'Excellent,’ agreed a thud 'We'll hold it in the capital.’ And thus was born the Edinburgh International Festival. And lo, the Fiinge and Film Festivals were born the same year. And they begat the Book Festival, the Jazz And Blues Festival, the Folk Festival, the Science Festival, the Children's Festival and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.
Edinburgh nurtured its festivals and they grew bigger and better. Their fame spread throughout the world And this made Glasgow green. With envy.
Until then, Glaswegians had directed most of their energy into building ships, attending Old Firm games and havmg fights (these last two being closely linked). As industry dried up, they decided they wanted ‘culture’ With a capital C. So they invented their own festival.
And lvlayfest was guite good. After a lot of lobbying, Glasgow somehow convmced Europe it should be City Of Culture 1990, And that was really very good,
But Glasgow got coiiiplac ent and Mayfest got steadily worse. And then it died. So now there's only one Scottish city that holds any decent festivals And it's Edinburgh, obviously
Glasgow folks may have trendier clothes. They may be as hard as Joan Collins' nails But when you're on your way home pishecl and freezing, iust dying on a steaming hot bag of chips, smothered in litres of tangy Chippy sauce, what have you got7
A dry poke of chips, that's what. You can squeeze on a sachet of ketchup all you like, but what's the point of liVing if you don't have a slathering of Edinburgh's finest foodstuff '(llll)l)y sauce sliding about all over your 80p's worth?
Legend has it the east coast blend is nothing more than brown sauce with extra Vinegar, but (as every sc hool-kid who's ever begged for ‘niillioiis ae sauce' knows) the silken brown nectar is a recipe from the gods.
Edinbuigh chippies’ superiority runs deepei than ltJSl an old Red Kola bottleful of sauce, though. Take white pudding for example OK, so a few of the “HMO er
sophisticated Glasgow outlets have extended to this fine a la c/art option But wander into your average
Weegie c hipper and you’ll be fobbed off with a black pudding and no apologies. Besides, our (hippies are poslier While Glaswegians deep-fry lvlars Bars, Edinburgh’s Pasquale used to serve battered lettuce Now that was a health-consCious treat ~ c?st)eCially With millions Of sauce.
YOU'VE SEEN THE EVIDENCE. In the red corner, Glasgow. Bigger, more down-to- earth, broader of accent and wetter of weather. In the blue corner, Edinburgh. Prettier, greener, older, windier and probably more staid.
Glasgow can lay claim to a greater number of stars, though Edinburgh brought forth Connery, the greatest star of all. Both cities have had their saints, and both have been sinned against by their own sinners. Glasgow's better equipped for unattached women, but how many of them would settle for an Edinburgh partner?
Edinburgh pulls in more tourists; and will be home to the Scottish parliament. Glasgow has cheaper taxis, a subway, a better train network and a more vibrant nightlife (despite the curfew).
Few will disagree with the six opinionated punters to the left (though of course their views don't represent those of The List).
Apart from football, clubs and street style, what advantages can Glasgow safely boast over Edinburgh? How about live music (and the people who make it), designer shops, friendliness and a proudly cosmopolitan outlook — check the curries. You could say the city has a more cohesive sense of identity, but Edinburgh folk might call that inward-looking.
Edinburgh's miles better for festivals, licensing hours and. . . er. . . chippie sauce; but where else does it score over its cousin to the west? Well, sectarianism’s a lot easier to avoid, there’s more handsome architecture and more parks, a wider choice of restaurants and — did we mention licensing hours?
could say we‘re all sitting pretty. We don't have London's pollution and lousy, overpriced
public transport. We
don’t have the street violence of New York; the pretensions of L.A.; the arrogance of Paris; the rudeness of Rome.
If you really can't decide between Glasgow and Edinburgh, there is one solution. You can always live in Falkirk.
23 Jan—S Feb 1998 THE lI8T21