There’s a chip shop in my local town called ‘The Fountain Cafe.’ Over the years it’s had different owners and each new incumbent has changed the name but they needn’t have bothered, all the locals stick to calling it The Fountain Cafe, or actually The Fountain Caf – that last ‘e’ is just too much bother all together. It didn’t matter if it changed its name to reflect it was now selling kebabs, or Indian food, us locals remained un-moved by their desire for reform. Eventually, they gave up and went back to calling it The Fountain Cafe and thus it has remained ever since.
The same thing happened to the Glasgow Clyde Auditorium and Conference Centre. Now there’s a name thought up by a committee if ever I heard one. You can just tell a bunch of marketing types sat around chewing the ends of their pencils in deep branding contemplation before coming up with that yawn- inducing name. Glaswegians took one look at it and declared it ‘The Armadillo’ on account of its shape. The marketing types were not at all keen on this turn of events and valiantly stuck to the original name for some time. This is a pointless stance to take with Glaswegians; you can just imagine the pains taken by the marketing types to ensure all staff answered the phone with the full ‘Glasgow Clyde Auditorium nd Conference Centre,’ only to be met with a ‘Aw naw hen, I wis lookin fir the Armadillo.’ Eventually the marketing types had to concede defeat and started using the name themselves.
More recently I’ve been in the newly built and snappily titled Commonwealth Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. Even worse, we’re now supposed to call it The Emirates Arena until 2014 when the Commonwealth Games are on in Glasgow, where we have then to revert to the first name that I’m frankly too bored to type out again. Emirates Airline have obviously paid huge sums of money for this nonsense. The building itself is amazing though, even a non-sporting type like myself can see that. It has an athletic track that moves to an angle; a badminton area that can be dismantled to press a button where a sandpit emerges from the bowels of the building; huge areas of seating can be moved in and out to created different kinds of spaces. As I was being shown around it suddenly found myself thinking of those maddening toys my nephew used to play with where you could turn a robot into a sabre tooth tiger or something. ‘This is like a giant transformer!’ I blurted out, which got a laugh from those present. This also got me thinking that this is a building ripe for the Glaswegian view on life and I’m very much hoping they come up with an entertaining alternative to the dreary names currently on offer. To kick-start the debate I’m suggesting ‘The Transformer’ which over time will become too much effort so we’ll slip into saying ‘The Tranny’ for short. I’d love to see the marketing types wrestling with that branding dilemma. Any other suggestions people?