100 days – Day 97: the Glasgow Empire
at the Commonwealth Games, the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt, has allegedly criticised the Games as being “sh*t”
Bolt was waiting in the rain for his car to arrive in the athletes’ village when he was asked if he was having fun in Scotland. “Not really, the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games are a bit shit”, he allegedly responded.
It remains to be seen what kind of reception he receives from the Hampden Park crowd when he competes in the 4x100m relay heats
Will it be “A Glasgow Empire” ‘welcome’?
The “Empire” was a famous (infamous for some performers) theatre in Glasgow, hosting a vast array of variety acts, singers, comedians, musicians and the like. It closed in the early 1960s
If an act was unpopular with the (usually) tanked-up Glaswegian audience – the performer would “die the death” on stage, as the punters made their feelings known, in no uncertain terms. It was the “graveyard” for English comedians especially.
There is a famous story about singer Des O’Connor who was so overcome by fear that he ended up fainting onstage and had to be carried off.
He always denied it, claiming that the only way to get off stage in one piece was to pretend to collapse.
He was then taken off to hospital and lived to tell the tale. But before he exited the stage the orchestra leader asked him “Is this part of your act?”
Mike and Bernie Winters died a death on their first ever visit to the Empire in a tale that has been gleefully recounted by Billy Connolly on television.
The act started brightly with Mike onstage playing a lively tune on the clarinet. After a couple of minutes Bernie’s face peeked through the curtains wearing a silly leering grin. This drew a shout from the audience; “Christ!, there’s two of them!’
If Usain does get “The Glasgow Empire Welcome”, he can always make a BOLT to safety out of the stadium!
PS: Ken Dodd once debunked attempts to psycho-analyse humour, by saying that “the trouble with Sigmund Freud is that he never played second house at the Glasgow Empire after both halves of the Old Firm had just lost!”
PPS: The conversation between Jamaican track star Usain Bolt and a reporter from the Times has been revealed for the first time.
And it suggests the sprinter may have been describing the weather – not the Games – when he said it was “s***”.
In the transcript, reporter Katie Gibbons asks Bolt: “Are you enjoying the Games? Are you having fun?”
Bolt replies “No” and then explains: “I’m just not.. it’s a bit s***” but in its print edition today, the paper adds the description (shrugs, looks up to grey sky).