Commonwealth Games 2014: The Glasgow kiss is redefined by a city that has embraced the Games with gusto

Sun shines on an international gathering that caps a transformation from its dark days in the Eighties

It has been a week all about overturning perceptions of Glasgow. A city whose uncompromising audiences were long regarded as a comedian’s graveyard has forged a reputation for warm, open armed welcome.

Talk of intolerance – sexual and religious – has been publicly challenged in a stage managed gay kiss beamed to a billion-strong TV audience at the opening ceremony, a camp prelude to the sound of God Save the Queen resonating around Celtic Park. 

No one dare mention the independence referendum out loud whilst Scotland’s athletes have struck Gold right on cue. And then, of course, there has been the extraordinary weather.

Basking in the sun at Glasgow Green, which has become a live fan zone with a rolling programme of sport, music and entertainment for the 11 day duration of the Games, groups of young people, families and couples were soaking up the atmosphere yesterday.

Lucy Pritchard, 29, an HR manager from Frimley, Surrey, said she and her friends were only dimly aware that Glasgow had once had something of a reputation.

“I think I have heard my parents mention it but a lot of people said to me that Glasgow has had a lot of regeneration and improvement and walking through the shopping area is brilliant. Everyone is really friendly,” she said.

 

De-industrialisation hit the second city of empire hard. Since the nadir in the early 1980s the tide has turned, helped by similarly bold top-down events to the Commonwealth Games, notably the 1988 Garden Festival and the 1990 European City of Culture.

Recent years have seen more than £6 billion of public and private investment in the city although deep pockets of deprivation and ill health remain. Organisers, backed by a tub thumping national media, can barely conceal their glee at how things are working out.

Gordon Matheson leader of Glasgow City Council is riding high. "We were planning to put on the best Commonwealth Games there has ever been and it has got off to a start that has exceeded our expectations," he said.

A further 350,000 tickets have been sold for this weekend and 95 per cent of seats are sold out. The city is buzzing.

"The opening ceremony was wonderfully well received but we made some serious points. John Barrowman redefined the Glasgow kiss and the England team were welcomed with the Hampden roar. No one needed to tell the audience to stand for the Queen," he added.

England's bronze medalist Daniel Rivers during the final of the 10m Air Rifle Men England's bronze medalist Daniel Rivers during the final of the 10m Air Rifle Men (PA)
The long term legacy will be felt in the deprived east of the city where most of the new venues have been in use for some time. "We are building venues for the people of Glasgow and we are lending them to the world's elite athletes," he said.

Strolling into the beer garden at Glasgow Green John Griffiths, 72, from Swansea is a veteran of international athletic meetings since Edmonton 2001.

“So far it’s very good. The people are very friendly and very knowledgeable about their city and about the events. I think they have gone a bit over the top with the security and the hotels have too with their prices.

"I paid £135 for a season ticket at the Moscow World Championships and it is £600 here but I think a lot of people will want to come back after being here,” he said.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Digital & Print Designer

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast-growing company speci...

Recruitment Genius: IT Analyst

£17000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Administrator - East Riding of Yorkshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Support Administrator - East Ridi...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

£35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continuous expansion and growth o...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable