Ingenious insult

GLASGOW was named the cultural and creative centre of the UK by the European Commission this week. To which most Glaswegians will no doubt say: “We thought the Diary was meant to supply us with snippets of fresh news. But we’ve known that Glasgow’s the cultural epicentre of Britain for yonks. A yonk-and-a-half, at least.” Meanwhile, readers from Edinburgh/Aberdeen/Dundee/etc. will merely respond by raising a lugubrious eyebrow and pointing to their own considerable creative achievements. But ignore them. This is Glasgow’s moment in the limelight, in honour of which we’ve decided to look back at some of the city’s immense cultural achievements. For instance, there is the linguistic prowess of the Glasgow tribe, who came up with the insult: “A face like a torn melodeon with the tune hingin’ oot.”

Soviet Minsk-up

LET’S also doff the cultural cap to the native Glaswegian’s innate understanding of geography. We recall a story from the Soviet era, when a chap at a highly charged trade union meeting shouted at a comrade: “If you made a remark like that in Russia, they would throw you in the Clyde.”

Going for bust

NOTHING is quite so spiritually and intellectually nourishing as a primetime telly quiz show. There was once such a programme called Now You See It, broadcast from STV’s Glasgow studios. Contestants were pupils up to third year in secondary school. In order to put the young 'uns at ease and give the audience an insight into their lives, quiz-master Fred MacAulay would ask the contestants about their hopes and aspirations. One young fellow informed Uncle Fred his ambition was to be breast-fed by Pamela Anderson.

Sharpen up

GLASWEGIANS are also known for their passion for photography, though they sometimes fall short of David Bailey’s knowledge of the art. A policewoman was once clearing out her desk to move to a new station when she discovered an undeveloped roll of film. She took the roll to a photo shop (remember them?) to get developed. Two days later she returned. The person manning the desk apologised but said he couldn’t develop the film. “Why ever not?” said the cop, wondering what on earth could be on this film. And maybe even rehearsing an alibi along the lines of it isn’t really my film, I only found it at the back of a drawer in a desk at work. “The main reason we can’t develop your roll of film is because it’s a pencil sharpener,” explained the photo shop person.

Egg-cellent present

THERE may be immense cultural riches in Glasgow, but sadly there’s also very real financial poverty. A reader once told us a story of his youth, though we were slightly suspicious that he might have been exaggerating. “I got a hard-boiled egg to decorate at Easter,” he recalled. “When I went to the park to roll the egg, my mother gave me a matchbox with instructions to collect all the bits of egg shell and put them in it. Then at Christmas time I got the matchbox back as a jigsaw.”

Shots on target

SOME culture of the footballing sort. Legend has it that a bunch of Celtic fans renamed their supporters' club the John F Kennedy, in memory of the assassinated president. The legend further states that their Rangers counterparts changed their names to the Lee Harvey Oswald Loyal.

Bum deal

LET’S end with a final Glesga insult, just because we love them so: “Tell me, is that your face, or is your bum up for a breather.”