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Saturday, 26 March 2011

Great night, shame about the cabaret

On Friday night it was the Exclusive Preview and Fundraising Dinner for the new Scottish Riverside Museum in Glasgow.

This is an amazing building on the banks of the Clyde (where it meets the Kelvin) and inside slowly being unwrapped is the replacement for the old Transport Museum. Although many exhibits are still in their protective material the new street scene is laid out and most exhibits are in their allotted positions. Over 1000 new items will also be displayed. It will open in June and will undoubtedly be well worth a visit.

As for the evening itself, a huge fundraising dinner with auctions and raffles to raise funds as the Museum prepares itself for opening. Carol Smillie hosted the proceedings.

The first auction item was one of the very last Mini Cooper S models ever built went for £15,000 and although I was at the other end of the hall it looked for all the world to me that Ann Gloag won it. Eventually after 17 lots in the live auction and 36 more in the silent one and with the clock approaching midnight the final speech was from TV motoring correspondent Quentin Willson.

Well, I have to tell you it was a long and ill-informed diatribe against public transport and in favour of the motor car. He broadly indicated that outside London public transport was dead or dying and was not a suitable way for people to travel. There were some rude remarks about the policies of the previous Government with respect to public transport not surprisingly symbolised by the rise and fall of the M4 bus lane.

The mooted £25 'gas guzzler' special London Congestion Charge was proposed as the reason why Ken Livingstone was voted out in 2008.

Well not surprisingly this fell rather flat on an audience many of whom were guests of the sponsors, including First, BAe Systems and SPT. As a result there were lots of murmurings and not much co-operation in acknowledging the odd funny line. With the event already running late quite a few people chose not to stay to listen to the end of this and considering the content it was not surprising.

Whilst we are used to the outspoken views of the presenters of car-based TV Shows like Top Gear mostly they are regarded as simply clever television. Last night Willson injected a dose of those views into the heart of an audience which are not anti-car, simply pro good public transport.

It didn't go down well and I'll not be inviting him to any event of mine!


1 comment:

  1. Bear in mind Willson was part of the presentation team that was replaced by Clarkson and his cohorts on Top Gear.