THE RECENT BBC DRAMA SERIES Glasgow Kiss elicited some telling comments from the linglish press. Southern sophisticates like ;\..-\. (iill swooned with relief at the revelation that hidden somewhere in (ilasgow —< behind all those pockmarked tower blocks. l‘oulmouthed junkies and other troubling signil’icrs of poverty — there were smartly-dressed middle-class folk and nice hottses to be l‘ound. This sense of startled pleasure revealed not only a laughable need to religure (ilasgow as a little Northern Notting Hill. but also a continuing reluctance to accept the
social and cultural diversity ol~
Scotland. .\luch easier to stick with the tried and tested stereotypes 7- hard men. hardship. hard drugs —— and to treat any deviation from that pattern as an anomaly. So powerful and enduring are the stereotypes ol‘ grubby. gutsy Scots that. culturally speaking. (ilasgovv is often taken for a mangy' and ill-kept one-trick pony.
Yet viewers of The ('row Ruutl. Trill/i ()r Hare and Life Support might recall that Glasgow Kiss was not the lirst television drama to reveal another. prettier (ilasgow shining through the grime ol 'Iitggurl and Rub ('. M's-bill.
liurthertnore —- as the current (i/usgnw
('mtm't'lions season at the (ll-"1' proudly shows »- the city has provided a
14 THE lIST 3 ‘9 0:1 2:23
versatile location for a variety of lilm projects.
This versatility is particularly apparent at present. thanks to the
high-profile release ol’ The House ()_/~
.llirt/i. Terence Davies‘ lavish film adaptation of the lidith Wharton novel. Davies found his ideal approximation ol~ genteel turn-ol-the- century New York not in the Big .-\pple itscll~ or even in 'l‘oronto. which ol‘ten serves as .\'ew York's lilmie body double. Instead. he chose the grandiose architecture and lttsh parks of (ilasgow. .-\nd .’\.;\. (iill might be surprised to learn that star (iillian Anderson managed to avoid stubbing her toe on a derelict or linding a dirty hypodermic lodged in her bustle. Although (ilasgovv has been named as both 1990‘s liuropean (‘ity
()l~ (‘ulture. and 1999‘s (‘ity ()1‘
Architecture. many still casually assume that Scotland's urban elegance is concentrated in the liast. 'l’erence Davies’ vision represents a welcome willingness to redress that balance and to recognise the breadth of (ilasgow’s potential.
.\'o one could deny. ol‘ course. that (ilasgow‘s domestic cinematic canon boasts its lair share ol gritty realism. Indeed. many ol' the proudest moments in the recent history ol
Clockwise from left: My Name Is Joe, Carla's Song, Small Faces, Ratcatcher, Gregory's 2 Girls, House Of Mirth, The Slab Boys and Orphans
British lilm have ascribed to that very dirty. dismal. uncompromising aesthetic that .’\..-\. Gill l‘intls so depressing. That Ken Loach. the master ol British kitchen sink realism. should choose to film in (ilasgovv seemed inevitable. and the resulting lilms. My Name Is ./()(' and ('(trlu's Song. rank among his most admired work.
Other highly acclaimed projects — such as (iillies MaeKinnon’s Small l‘tl('(’.\' and Peter .\Iullan's ()I'p/IUIM‘ -— have helped to conﬁrm (ilasgow's tough-guy image. with violence. alcoholism and deprivation sharing centre stage. Actors like (iary' l.ewis. Douglas llenshall. Robert (‘arlyle and .\lullan himself becatne synonymous with the (ilasgovv archetype ol‘ the wounded. frustrated working-class
G'lllan male. playing characters as angry. Anderson repressed and unt'ult‘illed as James Kelman's literary protagonists. managed to l)ark tales of drugs and gangsters avoid also dominated Simon Donald's 'l'lit’
lilo OILS/inland David llaytnan‘s 'I'lit' .Vt'ttr Room. Recently. however. an ever-expanding range of creative styles attd viewpoints have been finding expression. .lohn Byrne’s semi- autobiographieal 'llit' S/ul) Boys. and Lynne Ramsay’s much-praised Rtllt'tllt'lll'l'. took a gentler and tnore lyrical approach to working-class lil'e
finding a dirty hypodermic lodgedin her bustle.