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Enjoy yourself Glasgow 2014, it's later than you think

It would be disingenuous of me to pretend that I am full of anticipation for the opening ceremonials of the XXth Commonwealth Games, and I know I am not alone in being less than hugely excited by the prospect of the opportunity to Celebrate in the company of Lulu, Rod Stewart and Susan Boyle.

Although I was entertained by Lulu one tipsy Hogmanay at Stirling Castle since, the truth is that she was a little old hat when she appeared in George Square at the start of Glasgow's original annus mirabilis, European City of Culture 1990, as part of a hilariously flawed event that the city should be hoping this Wednesday's party does not resemble too much.

Those were very different days however. Back then, The Herald's diarist Tom Shields observed that the popularity of Glasgow's Mayfest left-leaning cultural jamboree was largely due to the granting of late licences to premises who took the trouble to book any sort of token entertainment, and there was much truth in that.

In 2014, a late drink is no longer quite so hard to find and the culture-consuming public is much more demanding, even if some of them will still cheer the appearance of Subo, Lulu and Rod.

The cultural programme that has been funded by Creative Scotland and the City of Glasgow that is running alongside the Games is bringing us much more than that, though. I am far from sure that the 2014 organising team have made it as easy as they could have for the people of Glasgow to know about it - its own print brochure and website are less than comprehensively informative, and 2104's aggressive embargophilia has made it difficult for recipients of the extra cash to mount their own marketing campaigns as early as they all know to be wise - but it is well worth the effort of anyone with an interest in the arts to find out.

The Herald's daily arts pages, this section, and Sunday Herald Life magazine have, of course, been a good place to start, and I'd also recommend an unnecessary birl on the city's cute underground to give the posters in the stations a good once over.

There has already been plenty to enjoy in the whole culture 2014 programme, with the East End Social events mounted by the Chemikal Underground record label a particular success worth mentioning, taking music of the highest quality to original locations. It astutely quietens down when everything else gears up, but it has set the template for audiences to follow.

Get out and about this weekend and next (as well as the days in between) and you will be able to find distraction on all sides, from the Rottenrow Gardens to Glasgow Green and Queens Park, at the Arches, the Tron Theatre and in the Briggait. Creative people have made a huge effort to bring vibrant contemporary art and performance to public stages old and new for the Games.

I can guarantee that your effort will be rewarded with the discovery of something startling and new, thought-provoking and possibly rather beautiful. It really is an opportunity not to be missed and you will kick yourself later if you do.

Because many of the artists and companies that are pushing the boat out for the next two weeks or so face a very uncertain future as Creative Scotland continues the process of reshaping its funding structures and - I confidently predict - the city makes budget cuts to pick up the tab for the profile, and the fun, it has had this year.

The problem with 1990, as many observed at the time, was 1991, and its legacy (sorry, that word again) was at least quite tangible in terms of built infrastructure for the arts. This time all of that capital investment has, naturally, been spent on sports facilities, which is perhaps why so much of what it happening over the next two weekends takes place al fresco, in parks and other public spaces.

That also means there is much less excuse for not making the effort to catch some of it. Like Mayfest, you'll miss it when it has gone, so enjoy what is on offer before the hangover hits.

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