It's true - the people make Glasgow

NATHAN BURDON IN GLASGOW
Last updated 05:00 25/07/2014
Nathan Burdon
Southland Times sports editor Nathan Burdon.

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OPINION: Southland Times sports editor Nathan Burdon is in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games

On a wide Glasgow street, a tracksuited man stumbles drunkenly past the darkened windows of High St chain stores.

At the top of his lungs, he's bellowing out a song that may have once had a tune.

He passes by a pair of men in fluoro vests who barely acknowledge his presence - random acts of drunkenness are no rare sight in this Scottish city.

Glasgow is a hard place. Burnt stone and brick dominate the cityscape. Long after the docks have been removed, it retains its industrial character, and despite the massive amounts of money that have been pumped into regeneration, there is no shortage of the crumbling, cracked and crooked.

And then there's the Commonwealth Games.

There's no doubt Glasgow will put on a great event. There have been none of the hysterics over terrorism or corruption or poor organisation that generally precede big sporting festivals like the Commonwealth or Olympic Games.

The facilities are very good. The organisation is relatively seamless.

There's a saying here that the people make Glasgow, and it's true. Even when you can only understand every third word a local says, they are generally trying to be helpful.

Fairfax's intrepid band of reporters and photographers have settled into their digs across the road from the pub destroyed when a helicopter flamed out and crashed into it in December.

Next door is Glasgow's oldest pub, which has no shortage of "personality", or personalities.

At the ceremony to announce the New Zealand flag bearer, I sat behind Invercargill cyclist Piet Bulling.

He told me afterwards that he was still coming to terms with the fact he was here.

I know how he feels.

I'm looking forward to the sport and the spectacle, and to trying a deep fried Mars bar.

The XX Commonwealth Games are under way, aye they are.

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- The Southland Times

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