Piero Pier­ac­cini reck­ons we can outdo Ed­in­burgh Fes­ti­val

Paisley Daily Express - - Front Page -

To­mor­row is the big day. The day when Pais­ley will dis­cover if it has been se­lected as UK City of Cul­ture 2021.

Vic­tory over the other four en­trants – Coven­try, Stoke, Sun­der­land and Swansea – could un­lock a £175mil­lion eco­nomic jack­pot and cre­ate al­most 5,000 jobs over the next decade.

Suc­cess would also bring the prospect of Pais­ley host­ing the likes of the Turner Prize and Ra­dio 1’s Big Week­end. The Ex­press has asked key peo­ple in­volved in the bid process, or with a vested in­ter­est in the town’s fu­ture, what suc­cess would mean to them.

On Satur­day, we kicked things off with the views of Alan McNiven, chief ex­ec­u­tive of En­gage Ren­frew­shire, an or­gan­i­sa­tion that of­fers ad­vice on vol­un­teer­ing.

On Mon­day, Sharon McAu­lay, project man­ager of The STAR Project, in Pais­ley, shared her story.

And yes­ter­day Tommy McGrory, from Pais­ley mu­sic char­ity Loud n Proud, had his say on the bid.

To­day, well-known and re­spected busi­ness­man Piero Pier­ac­cini, who runs Hamishes’ Hoose pub in Pais­ley High Street, airs his views.

What a jour­ney it’s been for me see­ing all the peo­ple of Pais­ley real­is­ing there is a pos­si­bil­ity of us be­com­ing UK City of Cul­ture 2021.

I am amazed at what we have dis­cov­ered about our­selves, and our town, in the past year or so.

I’ve been proud to chat to reg­u­lars and var­i­ous vis­i­tors to the town about what we can achieve if granted the sta­tus of Pais­ley2021.

I can see events hap­pen­ing ev­ery day in ev­ery venue, from small halls and pubs to largescale out­door per­for­mances and light shows ... and even a drive-in movie fes­ti­val. How no?! And not just mu­sic and drama, but events from right across the cul­tural spec­trum.

I reckon that we will outdo Ed­in­burgh’s fes­ti­val.

I can see vis­i­tors com­ing to take in a per­for­mance and be part of the ex­cit­ing events, mar­vel at our fab­u­lous build­ings and meet­ing gen­uine Pais­ley folk.

The shops, bars and restau­rants will be busier to ac­com­mo­date the ex­tra vis­i­tors which, in turn, will at­tract new re­tail­ers to the town.

This is the best op­por­tu­nity we have had to re­gen­er­ate the town in the past 30-odd years.

Even the fact that we sub­mit­ted a bid has shown we can achieve a huge de­gree of imag­i­na­tion and a pow­er­ful will to do big­ger and bet­ter.

I thought that the events lead­ing up to the send­ing off of our bid were fan­tas­tic.

Who can for­get the live mass sax­o­phone trib­ute to Gerry Raf­ferty’s Baker Street, with live band and at the ceno­taph?

Also, lo­cal band Le­mon­haze at St Mir­ren’s Pais­ley 2021 sta­dium be­fore a foot­ball match play­ing the Skids track The Saints Are Com­ing ... and the Skids them­selves along with Big Coun­try play­ing a dou­ble bill in the town hall.

And What about the send-off of the bid, with Carol Laula singing Wild Moun­tain Thyme with a 150-strong choir in front of a huge crowd?

As mov­ing and in­clu­sive as you can get ... I still get a lump in my throat think­ing of it.

In one of my nu­mer­ous chats with Tommy McGrory, he said some­one asked him dur­ing the Baker Street per­for­mance “What will it be like dur­ing a City of Cul­ture year?” Tommy’s re­sponse was: “Ev­ery day will have some­thing like this, and big­ger, on to en­ter­tain the folk and vis­i­tors who will flock to Pais­ley.” What a guy. Of course, I get ex­cited about the prospect of Pais­ley be­ing the fo­cus of na­tional and in­ter­na­tional in­ter­est that will en­cour­age more folk to come and dis­cover our riches.

For me, the best thing about the Pais­ley 2021 bid jour­ney is that folk from out­side the town are be­gin­ning to re­alise we are not just an­other Scot­tish town with a sprin­kling of celebri­ties but a town that has a wealth of ideas, a wealth of tal­ent, a wealth of cul­ture and a wealth of warmth.

I am amazed about what we have dis­cov­ered about our­selves and our town

We’re back­ing the bid From left, Tony Lawler, Piero Pier­ac­cini, Marie Con­nelly, Les Fernie and Carla Cor­neli

Star bar man Piero at Hamishes’ Hoose

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