Paisley has always been the area near the airport, the name I would see on a road sign at 5am through a rainy taxi window. A marker that I was closer to my next adventure than an actual place where people lived.
I have just moved back to Glasgow from Madrid. A quarantine venue change. The only friends I have here are an Italian couple living in Paisley. They’re more like family than friends. When I asked them what living there is like they said “everyone told us it wasn’t a nice area to stay but we really like it”. A familiar sentence. They continued to tell me about the architecture, green spaces, history, how convenient it is and how lovely the people are. Though, they agreed the latter was a Scottish trait which was not specific to Paisley.
I arrived at Paisley Gilmour St Station and walked out into an unexpected atmosphere. I had been prepared for a dull, run down and industrial feeling. In reality it was beautiful, calm and welcoming.
It was December and the Christmas lights tinted the streets with charm. The man at the check out desk in Marks and Spencer’s made me laugh. Even the boys on their BMX outside my friends close were kind.
On a walk around the town I rarely put my camera down. There is character to be found on every corner. A beautiful contrast of history and present. People’s faces coloured with personality.
I was happily surprised and left Paisley with a feeling that I’ve had before. A feeling I’ve experienced, which surpasses culture and the imaginary lines of countries. One that is born in corners of the world where the locals love their secret gem but don’t spread the word. These are areas with a reputation of being nothing special. In reality, you are faced with somewhere that vibrates an energy of growth and opportunity. It’s got a life running through it that sprouts art, creativity, excitement and newness. There are no boundaries or limits. There is only possibility where the future looks radical.
Paisley is no longer just a name on a sign. It is a town with its own appeal. Somewhere I would highly recommend a tourist to visit, somewhere I’d tell a Glaswegian to see before they believe what they hear.
To check out Didi’s photos you can follow her on IG: @dianaelainemiller
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