My Favourite Place, with Paul MacAlindin, conductor

Where is it?

Govan. A district of Glasgow that’s diverse and welcoming, with bags of potential and the very best people.

Why do you go there?

It’s home. I’ve been living here since 2016 and it’s where I work. It’s a place I have a very close connection to and want to see regenerate and thrive.

How often do you go?

Daily. I spend a huge amount of my time working and connecting with Govan’s musicians, venues, incredible community organisations and residents. Its passion, warmth, grit and creativity never fail to amaze me.

How did you discover it?

In my previous life, I was directing the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq. That came crashing down in 2014 with the invasion of ISIS. I'd invested so much in keeping that orchestra afloat. The trauma that hit me and the players meant I quickly spiralled downwards, along with the project.

Living in Germany at the time, I just knew I'd had enough and wanted to go home. So, after a bit of housesitting in the Highlands, I found a flat in Govan, a quick roof over my head in the city with the most music.

Luath Street back then had a tenancy turnover of about three weeks and was locally nicknamed “Sarajevo”. But I gave it a go.

Walking round, the Victorian infrastructure was imposing, largely intact, acoustically good and doing nothing. This is a red flag to a bull for conductors, so I had to put on some concerts. My love affair with this special corner of Glasgow started there.

The Herald: Paul MacAlindinPaul MacAlindin (Image: free)

What’s your favourite memory?

I had a first-floor flat with bow windows and decided to try and recapture its Victorian charm by self-installing a chandelier.

Three days, a step ladder, a cardboard box and one electrocution later, I did it. The locals watched in fascination from the street and gave me a round of applause when I finally switched it on.

I worked with Govan Housing Association for the first Luath Street Party, which was amazing. Folk came out onto the street to meet for the first time and the atmosphere was so warm and friendly.

Who do you take?

I tried inviting folk round to dinner, with varying degrees of success. It was something about the street. I don't know. I mean, I was cooking out of The River Cafe Cook Book, so I really had no idea what the problem was.

What do you take?

Eyes and ears and an open mind.

What do you leave behind?

An orchestra, a string quartet, several ongoing school music projects, a festival or two, a senior citizens singalong group, an asylum seeker music ensemble and lots of wonderful collaborations with other residents and charities.

Sum it up in a few words.

Massive untapped human potential.

What other travel spot is on your wish list?

Dubrovnik. I worked at the Zagreb Biennale in 2001 and always wanted to take time out to discover that historic city.

Paul MacAlindin is the founder and artistic director of Govan Music Festival in Glasgow which runs from March 13 to 15. For tickets and the full programme, visit