Stramash duo can’t wait for a real debate

Hannah McGill
Hannah McGill

The talking has started early for former footballer Pat Nevin and arts journalist Hannah McGill ahead of The Stramash in Bellshill this week.

The inaugural event takes place in Bellshill Cultural Centre on Friday and Saturday bringing together names from the arts and sport to debate issues which are important to Scotland.

On Friday at 7pm Pat and Hannah will sit down under the watchful eye of BBC/Talksport presenter Colin Murray to debate the health benefits of art versus sport.

Both revealed they’re looking forward to kicking off the festival and how much they enjoy face to face debates against online arguments.

Pat said: “I’m coming to the Stramash because it sounds interesting and challenging.

“I spend my work days debating and, like a typical Glaswegian, always want to speak to and, maybe more importantly listen to, people who care about the things that are affecting them.

“My only slight disillusionment is with narrow minded, one dimensional extremism, which seems to be promoted on some social media platforms, hence my lack of involvement there.

“Wider debate, face to face - now that sounds much more intelligent and worthwhile.”

Hannah added: “I am accustomed to having very sombre, dry conversations about the high arts with intellectuals who pause in their eloquent musings only in order to sip some mineral water and give their beards a quick stroke.

“This is going to be raucous, inclusive good fun, as befits the passionate, engaged and enthusiastic community from which it springs.

“Anything that encourages fun, good-natured and constructive public debate, as opposed to anonymous online, is more than OK with me.

“So while I am usually vehemently opposed to talking in libraries, I’m very much looking forward to breaking my rule on this occasion.”

Events on Saturday see comedian Mark Thomas take to the stage at 1pm, a ‘pub quiz’ at 3.30pm and Shereen Nanjiani hosts a Scottish-themed panel discussion featuring presenter Tam Cowan, journalist Alex Massie and musicians Ricky Ross and Stuart Braithwaite at 7.30pm.

Shereen said: “I don’t think I’ve ever hosted a debate with such an exciting mix of panellists, and not a politician in sight.

“It’s a brilliant idea to take so many Scottish passions- politics, the arts, football- put them together, and see what happens.

“The fact that the audience gets to play an equal part in the conversation should make for a passionate debate, and the odd stramash.”

Activities for all the family run alongside the featured events.

For free entry into any of the Stramash events call 01698 346770, e-mail or pop into Bellshill, Motherwell or Airdie library.