FORGET north or east – when it comes to Glasgow’s best neighbourhoods, it’s always opposite sides of the Clyde going west from the city centre which gets people talking.
Shawlands and Partick went head-to-head at the Scottish Design awards last week for the title of best Scottish neighbourhood, prompting many a conversation in the Extra office about the merits of both southside and westend.
Incidently, neither won (the title went to Govan) but the spotlight has been on the cultural scenes of both recently (those who haven’t skipped to the end of the paper will know that the Southside Festival took place last week, and that the West End one begins this week).
So, just which is better — southside, or westend?
Here, let me confess a slight bias. While I’m loathe to call myself a westender (and all that the title implies) I do live and socialise there.
But if you’re still reading (and haven’t thrown your paper away in disgust) then let me add that I’ve grown to like the southside just as much.
Recent experiences confirm what working here has long suggested — that a night out in Shawlands is just the ticket sometimes, and that Queen’s Park’s highest spot is ideal for people watching (and doesn’t have the same drunken student population that Kelvingrove park does on a sunny day).
And, since I’ve been neglecting East Renfrewshire until now, let’s bring it in as well — I’m always keen to venture to Eastwood Park to catch the latest show, and (here’s where I do sound like a typical westender) Whole Foods is worth the trip alone.
So if you’re still with me, I have one point to put to you — both neighbourhoods really aren’t that different.
This edition’s front page focuses on the young professional element of Shawlands and Pollokshields — a fact echoed in the westend, albeit with a more transient student element, and people more likely to rent than buy (the prices alone merit this decision).
Both can attract thousands of people for a day of dressing up and parading the streets — we’ll leave aside what this says about all of us, and choose to think of it as a shared sense of fun and community spirit.
East Renfrewshire is largely suburban, attracting families thanks to good schools, quiet neighbourhoods and green spaces.
But the inner city southside retains the same romanticised tenements, and the same graces and failings as its northern neighbour.
So as a resident of one and a diligent reporter for the other, I say we embrace the small differences, and happily invade each other’s events on a regular basis.
For those of you who didn’t spot me at the Southside Festival, I’ll catch you on the other side.
And if you’re still not sold, I reiterate — at least the southside had a parade this year.