To be honest, I’m not sure I can pick one, they’re pretty much all gorgeous. I’ll go with the last couple I visited – when we were allowed to go anywhere. I visited Portsoy and Pennan. I loved the harbour at Portsoy, and I insisted we go to Pennan because of Local Hero, so I could take pictures for my mum. It was beautiful, even without the proper phone box!
The new V&A in Dundee is amazing, inside and out – their recent gaming exhibition was great. I love a visit to the Transport Museum in Glasgow (now Riverside Museum) – it’s a striking building and I love the old cobbled street inside. Culzean Castle’s great too – I went as a Wicker Man fan first, but I’ve been back a few times. The way it sits on the rocks, perched on a cliff edge is spectacular, and it has a second-hand bookshop in the gardens, which is bliss for me.
I should probably choose a record shop, but in all honesty I have to say Forbidden Planet in Glasgow. I’ve been going there for 30-odd years – I think I was 16 when I first visited the old Buchanan Street shop – and I’ve always been a bit of a comics geek. The new shop in Sauchiehall Street is amazing, and it’s great to see it thrive now that comics are everywhere – although obviously I haven’t visited in a wee while, sadly.
I don’t think I have a favourite street, but I’ve always loved the alleyways of Glasgow. When my son was younger, I took him for walks around them and tried to explain why I loved them, but I’m not sure he ever understood. It’s the darkness, their danger, the way they can be sinister or sexy – alleys are like the veins of a city, full of blood and secrets. Maybe that sounds a bit dark, but also exciting and seductive to me.
BEST CHILDHOOD MEMORY
I was more of a tween, but my family had a timeshare holiday apartment, back when they were all the rage. It was Forest Hills Resort in Kinlochard, up in the Trossachs – we lived in Falkirk, and I always thought it was funny that our holiday still had an FK postcode! But I loved it, the lodge was at the foot of a mountain and across from Loch Ard there was a leisure centre with a laserdisc library where you could rent films – I’ll never forget the joy of Grease 2. Sometimes I go back for a few days and it’s changed a lot – the helipad’s gone! – but it’s still gorgeous round there.
BEST WALK OR CYCLE
I’m afraid to say I don’t do much of either – I have lifelong ankle trouble and I can’t ride a bike, I never learned. I am occasionally dragged along on family walks, though – we have family in the Borders, near Romanno Bridge, and they can sometimes convince me to venture through local woodland. I’m happier on flat concrete – a walk along the Clyde on a nice day’s enough for me.
Maybe the lockdowns have sparked a bit of nostalgia, but I’ve always loved the view of Glasgow from the Kingston Bridge shortly before dawn, in a taxi on the way home after a night out – looking back, of course. And the best view of the city’s on the new M74 road when you come in that way – it’s a shame it’s not the main road in for tourists, it’s the only road with a full view of the city centre in all its glory. Scotland has an abundance of natural beauty, of course, but I get just as excited by the city lights at night.
BEST PLACE FOR ALONE TIME
This might sound odd, but I’d say Glasgow Airport. I travel a lot – or at least I used to – and I find the best place for solitude to be airports and train stations. I really enjoy travelling alone, and it’s something I obviously miss a lot right now, but there’s something I love about being alone in among all those other people, sitting around waiting for our gates to come up. I always plan with an hour to spare, so I usually have more time to myself. I could quite happily wander around the airport all day even without a flight to catch, but I don’t think that’s allowed!
BEST SCOTTISH DELICACY
I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth, but I love those new bitesize Caramel Logs that Tunnock’s do. Impossible to have just one of those. And I haven’t been in a long time, but The Wee Hurrie on Troon harbour used to do a monkfish supper that was amazing. And, at the risk of being ejected and banished from Glasgow, I really like salt and sauce on my chips. In my defence, I’m from Falkirk, and Lemetti’s in Camelon did sauce. That was my local chippy, and I used to go there for lunch when I was at Falkirk High.
BEST PLACE FOR A CUPPA
I don’t really drink tea or coffee that often, so can I choose a pub instead? You can have a tea, and I’ll have a pint. At this point, I’ll happily go anywhere that’s open!
As Days Get Dark, the new album by Arab Strap, is now available on Rock Action Records