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Alex Watson: Don’t dismiss cities that fought to rebuild from nothing

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During spring 2020, I dreamed of cities.

Locked down in flats without gardens, I’m sure many people at that time longed desperately for wide open spaces: forests, beaches, mountains.

When I needed calm, I closed my eyes and imagined walking through Manhattan streets in the quiet and pale early morning. I wrote about sun-drenched summer days in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park and wanted to climb into the page. I pictured myself sipping black coffee and curiously watching life go by from a Parisian pavement cafe.

In her novel, Heartburn, Nora Ephron was talking about New York when she wrote: “I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.” But that’s exactly how I find myself feeling about every single city I’m lucky enough to visit.

It’s not just the shiny, bustling metropolises, immortalised a thousand times in films, it’s all of them. I have a soft spot for Dundee, for Aberdeen, for Sheffield, to name a few favourites. I’ve yet to find a city I don’t like.

I know plenty of people don’t agree because they tell me, whether with words or eye-rolls or little derisive scoffs.

But I’m a big fan of those smaller, hardy cities, once titans of old-school industry, that were left to rot and simply refused. Instead, they evolved into unique, cultural hubs with so much to offer.

Empty warehouses........

© The Press & Journal

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