Eurovision city 2023: Glasgow or Liverpool?

But in other areas it falls short, without art galleries, dance companies or opera houses – at least not those of great significance outside the Northwest. The city’s largest receiving house, the Liverpool Empire, is often thwarted by the fact that it can comfortably accommodate 2,350 people, a daunting prospect for any tour group trying to sell tickets to one of the more high-profile art forms.

Glasgow is a very different matter. It’s also in another country, and I think that’s important when judging the “dear green place”. Scots have a stronger sense of their cultural heritage than the English. I will never forget a poll taken about 25 years ago that asked people on the street to name the greatest Scotsman of all time. Not Alex Ferguson or Kenny Dalglish or even Tony Blair (just kidding), but Hugh MacDiarmid, the Scottish poet I doubt most Englishmen have ever heard of. Imagine a similar investigation in England. Heathcote Williams at number one? Unlikely.

The fact is that Glasgow is a city where you are constantly aware of the arts. It has two world-class galleries and museums – the Hunterian and the Kelvingrove – as well as the coolest art school in the UK, the Glasgow School of Art (although the beautiful Charles Rennie Mackintosh shell is pinned down by scaffolding and irreversibly damaged by the devastating fire in 2014). In fact, Mackintosh is a constant presence in the town: the lighthouse, the Willow Tearooms and the beautiful Queen’s Cross Church were all designed by him.

But it’s not just about inheritance. This is a city that never sits still, and an evolving attitude to the cultural agenda can be seen in work performed at Citizens Theatre, Scottish Ballet and Scottish Opera. Of course, most people see the Scottish capital as the country’s artistic hub, and while Edinburgh has a lot to offer, Glasgow has an edge. If you took away the Fringe Festival, the second city (actually bigger one) would win hands down.

And as for the music… well, some of my favorite bands – Primal Scream, Teenage Fanclub, Belle and Sebastian – were formed in the city, while the biggest cultural moment of the Queen’s funeral (a musical setting of the New Testament letter to the Romans) came from James MacMillan, not quite from Glasgow, but someone who grew up about 20 miles from the city.

Glasgow’s musical talent shows that it is a city that thrives on eclecticism. There is no homogeneous sound that defines it, which fits very nicely with the “something for everyone” idea that definitely caught my eye when I visited last year.

So, who is the real winner here? Both are great cities which, when I think of them, make me realize how much I regularly miss being stuck in the M25. But I think Glasgow has an edge; a city with culture on every corner.

I have no doubt that a Slovenian nu-metaller or Portuguese balladeer will be seduced by his charms in May. Whether the good Scottish citizens want to be subjected to this is, of course, another matter.

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