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astragal

No political journalists attended the breakfast launch of the autobiography of Pat Lally, the former Lord Provost of Glasgow. Conspiracy theorists may have found it suspicious that Tony Blair chose to call a major press conference at the same time. The title, Lazarus Only Done It Once: The Story of My Lives, refers to Lally's successful battle against a hate campaign from within the Labour party; the seeming affront to grammar is a piece of Glasgow patois. Not surprisingly, most of the book is occupied with Lally's political history and struggles, but there are intriguing insights into the battle for and development of the 1999 Year of Architecture and Design. Lally describes the outrage in competitor city Edinburgh when Glasgow took its campaign bus there during the Festival, and the triumph when the winner was named at the AJ-sponsored Royal Academy announcement party. He describes the selection process that made Deyan Sudjic director, at the time 'an act of faith'. Lally is full of praise for the local candidate (and runner-up) who was none other than Neil Baxter - who has written the book with Lally. But this collaboration does not protect Baxter totally. Lally admired the enthusiasm of Baxter's pet project to recreate Tait's Tower but, as a man who is old enough to have attended the Empire Exhibition of 1938 where the original was built, 'I had to point out that the original tower was built from corrugated steel and close-up it looked pretty nasty.'

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