The man behind Glasgow's successful bid to become European City of Culture in 1990 has urged Aberdeen to avoid parochialism and think outside the box as the Granite City chases a similar accolade in 2017.
Michael Kelly, who created the famous slogan 'Glasgow's Miles Better' and was the Lord Provost in Scotland's largest metropolis from 1980 to 1984, used to live in Cults and lectured at King's College, so he knows that Aberdeen has advantages over his home city.
But he told STV on Thursday that any bid for the UK City of Culture prize will only succeed if Aberdeen's officials bring innovation and inventiveness to the table.
"I would say that becoming the European City of Culture is a major honour, and it's an excellent opportunity to build things and help transform Aberdeen, but I don't think people should expect too much, too quickly," said Kelly, who suggested that Aberdeen should actively pursue some elite projects, rather than looking for box-office hits.
"Yes, it can be used a showcase in highlighting the positive aspects of your city, but one of the main things to remember is that this is a European venture and you don't want to be too inward-looking in how you approach it.
"One of the biggest successes of Glasgow's year was staging [Peter Brook's nine-hour drama] The Mahabharata, and the fact we brought that to Glasgow [at the Tramway] persuaded people from London, Paris and further afield to come to Scotland to watch it.
"That attracted a very elite audience, and it obviously wasn't aimed at everybody, but these people were opinion formers, movers and shakers, and they discovered a Glasgow which they had never really known anything about.
"For me, that was one of the most rewarding aspects of 1990: that many folk travelled to Glasgow with a fixed idea of what to expect and went away with a totally different, upbeat view of the city."
As somebody who has worked in the public and private sector, and been involved in arts, politics, local and national government, academia and sport - he sat on the Celtic board of directors until 1994 and was Rector of Glasgow University from 1984 to 1987 - Kelly has no doubts over Aberdeen's ability to challenge for the City of Culture award, but warned that the bid would only prosper if the council mapped out an all-inclusive action plan.
"You can't afford to aim simply at a parochial audience and you can't make it work with everybody pulling in different directions. Instead, you have to decide what your vision is and how you can make it a reality," said Kelly.
"It is also important to think in the long term and my advice would be for Aberdeen to get everybody sitting around the same table from business, the trade unions, the arts and the hotel and travel industries. That way, everybody knows their role and the best way to proceed. And, if you can achieve that, it avoids sending mixed signals.
"I hope Aberdeen's councillors are bold and go into this project whole-heartedly. I used to live there and I know that it is a very clean, very safe city with a vibrant industry in oil and some wonderful tourism advantages. I always look back on Glasgow being the European City of Culture with pride and I wish Aberdeen all the best."
- Aberdeen in the running to become UK City of Culture in 2017
- Aberdeen’s City of Culture bid to cost more than £500,000
- Councillor says City Garden Project is key to 2017 bid