A little more on Homecoming…
I have noticed that amongst the famous Scots I mentioned at the start of my post, by sheer coincidence many of them are from Paisley, or consider it to be their hometown. Paolo Nutini attended the same high school I did, David Tennant attended our rival, Paisley Grammar, and Gerry Butler, although born in Glasgow, considers Paisley his hometown as that is where his mother was from (and in other interesting trivia, Gerry Butler studied law at Glasgow University, before abandoning it for a far more interesting career–I haven’t got as far as the “more interesting career” part…)
Perhaps Paisley does, despite external appearances, in some way nourish and encourage the arts. Singers, actors, writers. In addition to those mentioned above, John Byrne, the artist and playwright, Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan (of Stealer’s Wheel fame), actor Tom Conti, writer Stephen Moffat and even hairdresser Trevor Sorbie(!) are all from Paisley. We even produced a poet who, if not internationally recognised, has at least national prominence – Robert Tannahill, a contemporary of Robert Burns.
Paisley as a rule seems proud to have these people once they become famours, but the town still holds a certain hostility towards those attempting to become an artist. I remember how difficult my older brother found it trying to become a professional cartoonist, and it was really only leaving for Glasgow that allowed him success. For me, had I stayed in Paisley, I would have become another one of the high street solicitors, heading down to the Sheriff Court every other day to defend someone accused of breach of the peace and the like, and becoming increasingly frustrated with Land Registry transactions. I would never have believed I could become a writer had I stayed. Maybe you have to leave home in order to find out what you want in life.