Dundee? It’s SEXY!

Stars turn out to sing the city’s praises as new V&A mu­seum opens on the banks of the Tay

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Femail - By Holly Ban­croft

HOL­LY­WOOD star Brian Cox and day­time TV queen Lor­raine Kelly were among the first through the doors yes­ter­day as the new V&A Dundee opened to the pub­lic.

Cox – him­self a Dun­do­nian – said the ar­rival of the £80 mil­lion de­sign mu­seum, de­signed by Ja­panese ar­chi­tect Kengo Kuma, had fi­nally made the city ‘sexy’ to out­siders.

Long-term res­i­dent Miss Kelly said the strik­ing build­ing would en­cour­age Dun­do­nians to be more ap­pre­cia­tive of their home, say­ing: ‘One thing I would say about the peo­ple of Dundee, I love them, but some­times they don’t shout as much as they should about the amaz­ing city that we live in. With the new V&A, a sense of pride has been re­stored. It’s very en­dear­ing that they don’t shout about it – but some­times they should.’

The pre­sen­ter, who called the build­ing ‘the liv­ing room’ of Dun- dee, said: ‘I bagged my tick­ets ages ago. I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to it. What’s re­ally im­por­tant is that this mu­seum is not just for the elite. It’s great to see there are loads of kids here and that it is be­ing en­joyed by the peo­ple of Dundee.’

Miss Kelly, who was vis­it­ing with her hus­band and some friends, said she was most ex­cited to see the mu­seum’s re­stored Mack­in­tosh room – although she ad­mit­ted she might sneak off to watch the foot­ball. Her beloved Dundee United were host­ing Greenock Mor­ton yes­ter­day af­ter­noon.

Cox, who has ap­peared in the Bourne and X-Men fran­chises, had flown in from a film shoot in Spain to at­tend the V&A open­ing. He said: ‘I never thought I would live to see this in my home town, ever. For some­body like me, a Dun­do­nian, who’s seen this city go through so many dif­fi­cul­ties and be once so de­spised, it’s amaz­ing.

‘I do feel this crosses bor­ders to the peo­ple who might have been dis­en­fran­chised by it. Once you’re in here, if you’ve got any soul or any heart, then you can’t help but feel it.’

The new mu­seum has even at­tracted in­ter­na­tional sup­port with Cox jok­ing: ‘Some­one came up to me in the States and said, “Oh, I see you’re from this town Dundee. I see it’s one of the most pop­u­lar spots to visit in the world. It sounds very sexy”.

‘I said, “Dundee sexy?”. There was no way in the world that I had thought of Dundee be­ing sexy but you know what, I ad­mit it, Dundee is sexy.’

Ar­chi­tect Kuma, whose de­sign for Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Sta­dium is un­der con­struc­tion, was in at­ten­dance yes­ter­day, meet­ing vis­i­tors to the mu­seum. He said: ‘I am very happy to see peo­ple’s faces show­ing that they love the build­ing and get­ting such a pos­i­tive re­sponse.

‘I have never got such a pos­i­tive re­sponse from a com­mu­nity about a piece of my work. Dundee has al­most be­come my sec­ond home.’

The new mu­seum has not been with­out con­tro­versy, with some Dun­do­nians stag­ing a se­ries of protests in the lead-up to the open­ing and brand­ing the coun­cil’s £1 bil­lion re­ju­ve­na­tion of the city’s wa­ter­front ‘ob­scene’.

But V&A di­rec­tor Philip Long, recog­nis­ing the city’s sit­u­a­tion, said: ‘There is a long jour­ney to go through for this city. There are a lot of chal­leng­ing cir­cum­stances for the city to ad­dress and it’s do­ing that very ac­tively.

‘There is no doubt this is a city that val­ues cul­ture and our mis­sion is to help peo­ple un­der­stand why de­sign is so im­por­tant in all of our lives.’

‘It’s great to see it be­ing en­joyed by the peo­ple’

PROUD AS PUNCH: TV pre­sen­ter Lor­raine Kelly and Hol­ly­wood ac­tor Brian Cox, top left, en­joyed the open­ing of the V&A mu­seum in Dundee yes­ter­day

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