I have touched upon this before in other posts (numerous and verbose) but it’s something I’ve not pinned down and struggled against when writing, and it has been one that I’ve considered tackling before. I am unsure of it being simply an Aberdeen based affliction, because I am certain Londoners, Glaswegians and others probably do the exact same (hell, even we, the British, do it about our own country). I am talking about disdain about where you live.
I like where I live. Aberdeen’s a pretty great place, all being said. It’s got good transport links, fabulous old architecture; good selection of shops, a small bubbling cultural scene, friendly people, good food and drink, and above all it has a sense of character. It did take me a long time to realise it due to reluctance, but once I did and showed it to others the city’s charms became harder and harder to ignore.
Of course, there are a few problems with the city, and it’d be ludicrous to say that all the complaints that are levied towards it are shunned. Most of the complaints, however, revolved around what Aberdeen isn’t, not what it is – unfair comparisons to larger, more powerful cities are like straw man arguments. Without basis, or valid comparison, they hold no water.
A recent conversation overheard in my office stated that “who the hell would want to stay in a Hotel in Aberdeen at the weekend?” to which the rest of the gentleman’s audience nodded and agreed. I disagree entirely. My fiancée’s mother visited here and she loved it. My mum and dad have made a few trips and enjoy the city. There is a veritable mass of hotels – if no one stayed in them, how else could they survive? The statement was obvious exaggeration for effect, but it was something I found quite annoying. How dare he suggest that Aberdeen’s not worthy of a visit?
I am not the only one who feels this way – recently, Lonely Planet published their guide to the top 10 hidden gems in the world, and the Granite City featured in the top 5 – of course, the piece was fluff, a piece churnalism spread across all of the tabloid press... but the intent was there – Aberdeen’s not as bad a place as you might guess, and it’s nowhere near as bad as you might expect based on some people’s opinions, normally the ones that are voiced loudest.
The same old advice comes back – if you don’t like it, leave. Why are you here? For work? Then just shut up and get on with it. If you really hated somewhere you’d never live there. And, at the end of the day, Aberdeen’s the third city of Scotland, and one that we can be fairly proud of.
The next time I hear someone maligning the city I might just taken them up on an argument.