Where dreams were dreamed
One of the most interesting looking buildings to be found in my adopted home city of Glasgow is the Clyde Auditorium, known to us locals as “The Armadillo”. Sitting on the site of the now infilled Queen’s Dock on the River Clyde, it is adjacent to the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC).
It was completed in 1997 and earned its affectionate nickname due to the similarity of its shape to that of the animal of the same name. It is often been compared with the Sydney Opera House although this wasn’t the architects’ inspiration for the design, which was in fact an interlocking series of ship hulls in reference to the Clyde’s shipbuilding heritage.
The building has quickly become one of the most recognisable on Clydeside and one of the images most associated with modern Glasgow. Its success has led to planning for a third venue on the complex – the Scottish Hydro Arena, due for completion in 2013, and already with a nickname of its own – “the Oyster”.
Those of you who watch the Simpson will also remember that the facade was a venue that featured in a promotional video which parodied the famous Susan Boyle audition for Britain’s Got Talent in January 2009.
I count myself as very lucky to have been in the audience that day when Susan stepped out onto the stage and blew us away with her amazing voice. I was one of those people who sniggered behind my hand and sank down in my seat as this rather strange looking woman in a shiny gold dress with black tights and a grey, frizzy perm strolled onto the stage and told us she wanted to be talked about in the same breath as Elaine Paige.
None of us there that night will ever forget how, in just a split second, Susan taught us an extremely valuable lesson … don’t judge a book by its cover and give everyone a chance to show what they are capable of doing.
Another lasting image of that night is the one of Simon Cowell, head cupped in his hands and a broad grin on his face. If I were to insert a thought bubble onto this picture it would simply say “£££££££”.
Whatever your opinion of this type of reality show, the Armadillo has a place in history and will be forever known as the place where Susan Boyle was discovered and where dreams CAN come true.