Buzz 2016

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SUMMER 2016 Edinburgh’s queens Mesmerising melodrama




Returning heroines

The biscuit factory Creative melting pot

Dear Readers,

When you think of Edinburgh, you probably conjure up images of its famous landmarks, world-renowned festivals and exquisite scenery. As we sat down to discuss issue seven of Buzz, we decided early on that we wanted to uncover something far more special about the city. It wasn’t just the venues, shops and businesses that intrigued us – it was the creative and innovative minds responsible for our favourite places and projects. For this reason, we’ve spent the past few months meeting with and talking to some of the individuals that we at Buzz feel are making a real difference to culture in the city. For our cover story (p.36), we talked to Honeyblood, a talented duo that are gaining notoriety in Scotland and beyond. Though the band is based in Glasgow, frontwoman Stina is originally from Edinburgh and drummer Cat studied Popular Music at Edinburgh Napier University. Buzz spoke to John Bryden of Eyes of Others and WHITE’s Leo Condie (p.44) who shared the same bill at a phenomenal gig at Electric Circus. At the same venue, we had a backstage pass to Such a Drag (p.28) where we hung out with some of the city’s leading drag queens. With so much going on at Summerhall, we had a chat with curator of exhibitions, Holly Knox Yeoman (p.26) and TechCuber Allan Lloyds (p.18) to learn about Edinburgh’s start-up scene. Delving into the finest food and drink on offer, Buzz popped into Lovecrumbs (p.4) to meet with co-owner Hollie Reid and also spoke to some local brewers and distillers (p.8) to hear what plans they have for Edinburgh’s alcohol industry. Elsewhere in the city, we interviewed the creative director of the Biscuit Factory, Alan Forgie (p.52) and sat down with Colin McIlroy (p.20), project curator of the upcoming Muriel Spark Exhibition. From belly dancing to comic books, there’s much more left for you to explore in this issue of Buzz. As we introduce you to the people continually making the city awesome, we hope that you feel as inspired and proud as we are to call Edinburgh home.

Buzz is produced by MSc Magazine Publishing and MSc Publishing students from the School of Arts and Creative Industries, Edinburgh Napier University. The views and opinions in this publication are not neccessarily those of the School of Arts and Creative Industries, Edinburgh Napier University.

eat and drink 4

Lovecrumbs: “Just cake, and lots of it”


Hops and drams

14 56

12 Brewing with Barney 14 Eat your heart out


18 TechCube: start your own adventure


20 Unlocking the mystery of Muriel Spark 23 A cup of kindness


26 The artists’ haven

49 4

28 Mama doesn’t get drunk, she just has fun 32 Picturing the end of the world


44 52

Editor Arusa Qureshi

P roject Administrators Julia Crawford Alice Spasaro

Deputy Editors Caterina De Lucia Caoilfhionn Maguire

F eatures Editors Sam Bradley Sophie Pinkowski

D igital Editor Rachel Aitken

S ub Editors Amina Antoniazzi Alessia Gambarotto


36 Against the grain: a conversation with Honeyblood 40 Lionoil: international dancing systems 44 A night at the circus


Editorial Jason O’Neill Rachel Sharp Art Editor Margot Reverdiau

P roduction Manager Julia Crawford

Design Rachel Aitken Caoilfhionn Maguire Jason O’Neill Arusa Qureshi Alice Spasaro Head of Advertising

49 The power of belly dance 52 A canvas for creativity 56 Small but mighty: Edinburgh’s independent retailers 60 The vinyl countdown 62 Fitness with a difference

and Sales

Heather Shearer Advertising and Sales Julia Brown Adam Harris Stevie Taylor Head of Marketing Stevie Taylor Marketing and Distribution Julia Brown Adam Harris Heather Shearer

C over image Bert Savels

Special Thanks To David McMurray, Derek Allan and Bell & Bain Photographers Anneleen Lindsay, Tim J. Gray, Paul Hollingworth, Adam Winship, Alex Renfrew


“Just cake, and lots of it.” Words: Caterina De Lucia

Images: Lovecrumbs

Hollie Reid and Rachel Morgan are taking the Edinburgh cake shop scene by storm with their fantastic variety of artisan cakes. Buzz meets one half of the dynamic duo for a coffee and a chat.


t’s a sunny morning in Edinburgh as we approach the Lovecrumbs doorway. Shutters are still closed and a relaxed and quiet atmosphere surrounds as we sit in front of Hollie, the lucky owner of the cake shop on West Port. Almost five years ago she, along with her best friend and business partner, Rachel, began this adventure, managing to open two very different (though equally stylish and successful) businesses: Lovecrumbs and Twelve Triangles. Provided with a cappuccino, we begin our chat. Despite being ‘partners in crime’, you decided to split your activity into Lovecrumbs and Twelve Triangles. Why did you decide to do this? We have three places now, the kitchen was then set up in an industrial unit. Rachel is a baker and I can’t bake; she didn’t want to work in a shop and I did, as my background is in food retail. So she bakes and I do all the admin stuff, care for the website, chat to people and manage the shop. It was just the case of splitting. Rachel stopped baking as she had a baby, so our head baker became Emily, who’s really interested in bread. The drive for Twelve Triangles really came

4 | Eat & Drink

from her, product wise (she is in charge of the recipes). Since we built an identity here, which is cake and cake only, we didn’t want to bring in bread, croissant and pastries as it would have changed the brand. So that’s the reason for Twelve Triangles. Why did you decide to mainly focus on Edinburgh? Purely practical reasons. The kitchen is based in Edinburgh and everything’s fresh so it kind of has to be eaten on the day. We thought about Glasgow, but the logistics of getting the cakes there every day are tricky and expensive. We chose to remain local. Both your personalities seem to work well together but how did you organise the different responsibilities? At the beginning we were the only two ingredients for this project, it happened quite naturally; then we added all these amazing people (among our coworkers we have chefs and experienced bakers). When we first opened, the idea was that we would both bake and do the admin, but there wasn’t enough time to teach me. Rachel was baking eighteen hours a day and I was working as well, so I just learned a couple of things.

You’re both very young. Did you find yourselves prepared to run such a growing business? Not really (she laughs). At the beginning, there was a sort of naivety but also, Rachel had experience baking in a commercial kitchen and I’d some experience managing and setting up small businesses. I’ve worked with some great businesses in Edinburgh and they’ve taken me to New York and Sydney, so I had a lot of different influences from different places. I felt pretty confident with the shop, as Rachel did with the baking. It’s really funny to be out and about. We didn’t have big expectations, we just went into it and worked really hard to stay open. When did Rachel’s passion for baking begin? Rachel has always been a really good cook, so she’s always had that interest. She studied Costume Design here in Edinburgh and worked in theatres in London and that was kind of the path she was on. She enjoyed the job but didn’t want to live in London. Back in Edinburgh, using a six month cooking course and her natural talent and passion, she soon started working for a bakery.

Did the costume designing background intermingle with the baking process? I think so. The creative thinking process is very specific to art school, and influenced many aspects of her work: problem solving, working with strict budgets and making the most of such restrictions.

“we didn’t have big expectations, we just went into it and worked really hard to stay open”

Have you got other passions outside the business? We both really like cooking and that is definitely a huge part of our lives. I like to have lots of dinner parties with my group of friends. Also, I like to spend a month of the year in Melbourne: I’ve got my other best friend living there and the coffee scene is huge, so they have to combine it with very good, fresh products, especially doughnuts and croissants. Would you rather give up chocolate or coffee? That’s the cruelest thing I have ever heard in my life. I had both coffee and chocolate today already. I think I’d give up…chocolate! The three best ingredients for your dream cake? My last birthday cake was made of chocolate, peanut butter and bacon which I might change to pumpkin. So pumpkin sponge, peanut butter icing and chocolate ganache on top. Dream cake!

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Hops and drams

The booze trade has been an integral part of Edinburgh culture since the 1800s. Buzz had the chance to meet with some of today’s alcohol innovators to chat about their exciting new take on an historic industry.

© Pilot Beer Limited

Words: Adam Harris and Heather Shearer

Pilot Beer When Buzz stops by the Pilot Brewery for a visit, the boys are hard at work. These guys are no strangers to experimentation, and this time, they’re working on a cookies and cream flavoured beer for local bar OX184, an undertaking that requires 300 biscuits, a lot of creativity, and even more skill – and that’s not even the wackiest beer they’ve brewed. Matt Johnson and Patrick Jones met 8 | Eat & Drink

on the Brewing and Distilling course at Heriot-Watt University in 2012, and Pilot is their brainchild. Distinguished by their cloudy appearance, the beers at Pilot are unfined, giving them a lot more flavour than your average pint, and the added benefit of being vegan friendly. “We didn’t just want to be another US-style craft brewery,” says Pat. “We saw us pitching somewhere between real ale and

to go by, it shouldn’t be predictable. One of their most famous concoctions is a Germanstyle H efeweizen called UltraVilot, which contains over 12kg of hand-unwrapped Parma Violet sweets.

© Whisky Business

craft ale. We don’t really know how to put it into words. But we felt similarly about what beer should be.” We’re still not too sure what that is exactly, but if the Pilot ethos is anything

Felipe Schrieberg – Whisky Business There’s no people like show people, and Felipe Schrieberg is, in every way, the showman we expected the Blueswater frontman to be. When we pop to his house for a visit, he delves into his stash of “damn good” whiskies and pours us a dram of Bowmore Tempest. The Colombian-American is a multilingual musician and dabbling journalist, but somehow we find him running an innovative whisky events business in the capital of Scotland. The mystery is quickly solved though when we discover that Felipe’s favourite place on Earth is Islay, and that he learnt enough about whisky during his time at University in St Andrews to write a book

on the subject. This, paired with his natural showmanship, led him to the creation of Whisky Business, an enterprise he hoped would bring a fresh and dynamic perspective to a “lovely little drink”. As a part of the business, Felipe runs a series of popular events entitled Whisky in the Dark. “Let’s say you go to a tasting. You’ll go to sleep, you’ll wake up in the morning and forget the whiskies…but you’re going to remember going to a whisky tasting in the pitch black with crazy blues guitars playing.” He’s got a point, and more than that, Felipe presents a digestible, educational, all-round sensory experience for the Scotch novices and bourbon acolytes of Edinburgh. | 9

Margaux Huismann perfect recipe: “Bladderwrack seaweed is really sweet. It’s minerally and briny but, if you add too much, it can be quite fishy. We found that out the hard way.” Eventually though, 27 distillations later, the Spirited team were able to find the right balance and ended up with something uniquely Scottish. Margaux’s experience working with gin led to her invitation to the 2016 Young Scientists Symposium in California, and now she’s working on her Ph.D. with the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling and BrewDog, in which she’s looking at the chemistry of dry-hopping beers – a hot topic among beer enthusiasts.

© David Kemp

© Margaux Huissmann

Like the chaps at Pilot Beer, Margaux Huismann is a graduate of the Heriot-Watt Brewing and Distilling course. She’s cast her net far since arriving in Scotland and, in the last two years alone, she’s worked with Edinburgh Gin, Stewart Brewing and BrewDog. She tells us about her experience collaborating on a team gin project with David Wilkinson of Edinburgh Gin, with whom she co-created the limited edition Edinburgh Seaside Gin. The team, aptly named The Spirited Botanists, foraged the Dunbar coastline for unique botanicals, eventually settling on scurvy grass, ground ivy and bladderwrack seaweed to create the

David Kemp – The Edinburgh Beer Factory In case the neon sign wasn’t indication enough, David Kemp is spearheading one of the most exciting new craft beer projects, and it’s called the Edinburgh Beer Factory. David, a man of all trades, describes his decision to enter into the world of craft beer as a “no brainer”. Having spent years as an artist, he embraces the Factory’s distinct aesthetic and sees the brewery as his studio. His love of beer stems back to his days working at the Guildford Arms, where he first tasted BrewDog’s 5am Saint, whereupon he had an epiphany: that craft 10 | Eat & Drink

beer had the potential to be both creative and delicious. Now when he revisits the bar, David can enjoy a pint of the Factory’s Paolozzi and the sweet taste of success. “You set yourself little points of accomplishment, or points of victory”, he tells us, “and that for me was quite a big one – to go and drink a pint that I had made from scratch in a bar.” After channeling artist and sculptor Paolozzi for their own beer, it’s now time for David and the Edinburgh Beer Factory to write their own story.

Akva Sponsored content

Words: Adam Harris

Edinburgh’s newest Swedish inspired café/restaurant/bar is reaching its first birthday this year.


ountainbridge is an area that is undergoing rapid change. Old tenements have given way to modern housing developments, schools and businesses. Celebrating its first birthday this June, Akva has become a welcome addition to this growing community. The first thing you’ll notice about Akva is its relaxed atmosphere. With its comfortable sofas and ping-pong tables, it’s the kind of place you could spend all day in. Based at the foot of the Union Canal, it also has a very spacious beer garden ideal for drinking in the sun in the summer time. This makes it the perfect venue for celebrating Midsummer, a huge event in the Swedish calendar involving a lot of maypole dancing. The kitchen at Akva is open till 10pm every night and its daily lunch deli, which changes every day, has quickly become a favourite of the nearby

office workers. The menu offers Swedish classics such as the essential meatballs and the delicious trout and dill salad, as well as a wide selection of desserts. Coming in at the start of the week also means you can take advantage of the Burger & Beer deal for £10 that Akva runs in conjunction with Pilot Beer. Night-time at Akva holds host to a bunch of cool events including the weekly pub quiz, open mic night and the all-important ping-pong tournament every Sunday. Akva has a 300 capacity upstairs for people to host private events. It is also no stranger to live music, with Gypsy Jazz playing once a month and regular live DJs Thursday to Saturday. It’s the perfect environment to grab a pint or enjoy any number of Swedish-themed cocktails such as the ever-popular Greta Garbo and Hot Björn Borg.

y e n r a B h t i w g n i w e Br Andrew Barnett runs Barney’s Beer out of his microbrewery at Summerhall. Buzz caught up with him for a chat over a pint. Words: Amina Antoniazzi and Alessia Gambarotto

12 | Eat & Drink

© Jannica Honey


uring our research into the city of Edinburgh, its fascinating places and interesting people, we stumbled upon Barney’s Beer, a microbrewery hidden in the backyard of the vibrant Summerhall. Taking a sneak peek inside the brewery, we met with owner and head brewer Andrew ‘Barney’ Barnett, who spoke to us about his experiences of moving to Scotland and founding his own brewery. On a typical Scottish rainy day, Andrew welcomes us outside the building, where he’s busy unloading some kegs from a van. We are fascinated by this micro-world which has a familiar vibe that makes you feel at ease, even if you’ve never set foot in a brewery before. Barney’s passion for beers and spirits began at a very young age. He was just 16 when he started working in a local brewery, commenting “I was lucky enough to get the job and I thought, ‘this is fun!’” He then decided to move to Edinburgh to study Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt University, eventually turning a passion

“because more people are interested in locally-produced beers, there are more and more shops and bars that stock microbrewed beers”

In the meantime, plans for the summer include the long-awaited return of FestivALE – the beer and spirits festival based, of course, in Summerhall (beginning 21 May) and a to be confirmed collaboration with the Indoor Festival, which will also be in May. Then, in August, the insanely busy Fringe period, which will see hordes of thirsty festival enthusiasts crowding into the artistic hub. As Barney notes, “During summer, we barely have enough time to make sure there are enough beers

© Peter Dibdin

for everyone that comes here!” As for those eager to taste Barney’s creations, there are five beers that are always available, such as the popular Good Ordinary Pale Ale and the Volcano IPA. Despite being immersed in a number of events and activities, Barney manages not to lose his focus by concentrating on what really matters: creating a good product. For Barney, “it’s having something interesting” that makes a good beer. As he explains: “There should be enough flavours in it that catch your attention, but not to the point where it’s really difficult to enjoy more than a small amount. Also, the whole thing has to work together in terms of the malt, the hops, and the fermentation (which is where most of the flavour is coming from) so that you can distinguish what the flavours are.” It turns out that, like many things in life, producing a great microbrewed beer is “all about getting the balance right.”

© Peter Dibdin

into his dream job through his small, but successful business. But why choose Summerhall as a base? Well, it was all thanks to word of mouth that Andrew had the chance to apply to have a brewery at the hub. And here we are, talking about a business that in just a few years has received many positive reviews and boasts many collaborations. One such collaboration was with Scottish band Idlewild, a project that resulted in the production of a limited edition beer entitled Scottish Fiction IPA. Still, life in a micro-brewery is not just a bed of roses, with the number of competitors in the sector rising considerably, especially in Scotland. Nonetheless, Barney manages to see the bright side: “Because more people are interested in locally produced beers, there are more and more shops and bars that stock micro-brewed beers.” | 13

Eat your heart out Isn’t eating just wonderful? A favourite pastime of many, no doubt, but eating in Edinburgh is a different kettle of fish (excuse the terrible pun) altogether. We’ve put together a list of the Buzz team’s favourite lip-smackingly good eateries in the city, brought to us by the creative individuals who relish in the art of feeding others. Words: Caoilfhionn Maguire

Checkpoint – 3 Bristo Place

© Sinik

Effortlessly chic, minimalist and undeniably hipster, Checkpoint, which has confirmed its residency on Bristo Place following a fruitful pop-up during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, is an all-day feasting spectacular for the senses. Housed in a former church building, Checkpoint was designed

14 | Eat & Drink

by Simon Donne and Nik Whybrew, with the interior forming the perfect marriage with the mouth-watering, internationally influenced menu, crafted by head chef Phil Lynch, which is equally distinctive and ambitious. He’s inspired by the traditional British menu with a little Asian flare, and put his own spin on

© Sinik

the standard morning roll; ‘Philfy Rolls’ are a must at Checkpoint. Promoting the philosophy of sociable dining, the menu features a selection of scrumptious small bites, as well as single and sharing size dishes. Checkpoint offers a relaxed and affable dining experience, and has some of the friendliest staff in the capital. The Checkpoint crew shares with us an appreciation for the little things in life, like chilled Prosecco glasses and dimmed lighting. The unusual presence of a shipping container amid the grandeur of the high ceilings will leave you dazed and confused after a few of Checkpoint’s masterly fashioned cocktails.

Harajuku Kitchen – 10 Gillespie Place Kaori Simpson, owner of the quirky Harajuku Kitchen, brings a touch of style from Tokyo’s hip Harajuku district to Gillespie Place. Simpson spent many years working in her family’s restaurants in Tokyo, mastering her ancestors’ recipes while crafting her own. After working as the personal chef to the Japanese Embassy in Edinburgh, Simpson embarked on a mission to deliver the authentic flavour of Japan, founded on an appetite for originality and imagination, to the people of Edinburgh. At the super kawaii restaurant, the vibes are intimate, stylish and idiosyncratic, embodying true Harajuku sensations. The fundamentals of Japanese culinary include respecting the ingredients and their

natural flavours, a philosophy that permeates every dish on the restaurant’s menu. We urge that you treat your taste buds to a delectable selection of the daintily sliced sushi and Pork Gyoza dumplings followed by the Tonkatsu Curry: a superb dish of Panko breaded pork with rice and Japanese curry sauce. Kaori and her partner are great advocates of supporting the local food scene and the slow food movement in Edinburgh, and they are about to embark on a new venture, distributing their delicious Gyoza to delis and food stores across the city. Don’t forget to check them out at Edinburgh’s various food markets! | 15

© Paul Zanre

Söderberg – 33 Simpson Loan inventive salads. If you don’t have time to sit and enjoy the airy, open space in one of the Scandi-quarters eateries, you can grab a slice of freshly baked sourdough pizza on the run. The dinner menu at Söderberg Pavilion is only available on Friday and Saturday, so be sure to book ahead. We’d recommend visiting this Scandinavian sanctuary for a weekend brunch feast; cosy up in their outdoor seating area, under their sheepskin blankets while munching on the Söderberg brunch basket.

Looking for more exciting eateries to discover in the Capital? Follow @edibleedinburgh on Instagram to get your stomach rumbling!

© David Frenkiel

Söderberg is an artisan Swedish bakery, established by a quiet Swede, Peter Ljungquist, whose approach to food is authentic, well-crafted and inspired by his Scandinavian heritage. Scandinavian culture is drastically different to that of the United Kingdom, but Söderberg Bakery, the Söderberg Pavilion and its partner café Peter’s Yard, tucked away in the Quartermile neighborhood, offers us a glimpse into their liberating lifestyle. They also emphasise that there’s so much more to Nordic cuisine than meatballs and pickled herring – take note, IKEA. It’s a no-frills affair, with counter tops teaming with piquant, freshly prepared Scandinavian treats for you to indulge in, as well as ever-changing sandwiches and

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TechCube start your own adventure

Words: Amina Antoniazzi Image: Alice Spasaro

“Incredibly frustrating but rewarding.” TechCuber Allan Lloyds tells us about the pleasures and sorrows of working in a business start-up.


ehind the numerous shortterm exhibitions, the various visual arts events and, last but definitely not least, the chaotic Fringe Festival, Summerhall ‘hides’ the unique story of TechCube – a four-storey, self-managed space for tech start-ups that likes to define itself as “the heart of Edinburgh’s rapidly developing start-up scene”. Populated by an ever-changing team of young enthusiasts, the space hosts a community striving

18 | Learn

for freedom and creativity, while proudly standing out for its multiculturalism. TechCuber Allan Lloyds argues that a start-up is as much about external feedback and networking, as about the inner labour of selfreflection. The main risk is to get stuck on the same path, instead of constantly questioning yourself. “Go back and think: am I being honest with myself ? Am I doing this for the right reasons?”

That’s Allan’s mantra – which yourself into a start-up adventure, seems to work pretty well, given there is good news for you: he’s already embarking upon his Edinburgh was home to over 60 second start-up experience with start-ups in 2014 and the number Product Forge. The secret? Seeing is growing, with 17 incubation the world in your own way, because, centres in town that can help as he says, “If you couldn’t see the you hit the ground running (check world differently, the problem you out Edinburgh Napier Univerare working sity’s programme, on would have Bright Red Triangle “the secret? already been – tweet them solved. In fact, @BrightRTriangle). seeing the world in the idea that Fresh blood from your own way” there is a perfect, universities, research complete set of programmes, wellentrepreneurial mind-sets simply developed finance and marketing doesn’t hold.” sectors; Edinburgh’s got the perfect If there is, like Allan, “something recipe to create the ideal ecosystem wrong with you”, as he notes of for your start-up. All that is missing himself, and you are ready to launch is you and your idea.

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Unlocking the mystery of Words: Rachel Sharp

Image: Margot Reverdiau

It’s all go at the National Library as they finalise their Muriel Spark archive. Buzz meets up with Colin McIlroy who talks us through what we can expect from the exhibition in 2018.


just absolutely loved what she was doing, and the sort of mystery of her writing, which I guess now is the other side of it – the mystery of who she was.” Colin McIlroy is project curator of the Muriel Spark Exhibition at the National Library of Scotland with an infectious enthusiasm for all things Spark. He’s the kind of guy who sounds personable even via email, and when we rock up to the Library for an interview at 10am on a Monday, he’s already waiting in the foyer to greet us and give us a tour of the archive.

“Spark’s life was laced with rumour and speculation.” This archive, which has taken a good few years and £250,000 to secure, is the biggest single literary collection of a recent Scottish writer that the Library owns, and after a lengthy cataloguing process, the exhibition will be fully accessible to the public on the centenary of Spark’s birth in 2018. It’s Colin’s job to sort through the vast collection of diaries, cheque books, shopping lists, receipts, letters, handwritten manuscripts, and catalogue them appropriately. The earliest papers in the 20 | Learn

Muriel Spark collection date from the 1940s after Spark made the decision to document her life, in her own words, “as a means of personal defence against inaccuracies”. So, from whom did Spark wish to defend herself ? Spark’s life was laced with rumour and speculation. One estranged husband, a disowned son, an ambiguous relationship with long-time friend and literary executor Penelope Jardine, and public disputes with editors, agents, and peers are all chapters in Spark’s life story. Had she decided to document her life today, she could have had her own reality show. “What I love about her,” Colin continues, “is that when she decides that she doesn’t like someone, and when she insults them, she does it in such a fantastic way.” Many felt the burn of Spark’s fiery wit in her lifetime, and her autobiography Curriculum Vitae records some of her finest repartees. When writing about Marie Stopes, who cofounded the first birth control clinic in Britain, Spark noted: “I used to

think it a pity that her mother rather than she had not thought of birth control.” Zing! Given that her comments were as brutal as they were hilarious, you might think that Spark was a cold lady, but Colin is adamant that’s not the case. Her correspondences with friends and fans reveal that Spark was actually a warm person, generous with her time and money to those she felt were worth it. Both generous and crude, fiercely loyal and yet estranged, intensely private and unapologetically outspoken, the character Spark created for herself is incredibly complex. She was an enigma, and she’s left the pieces behind for us to put together. It would be naive to think we can unlock the mystery of Muriel Spark, but then again, it would be rude not to accept her invitation to try.

Find further information about the Muriel Spark Archive at The exhibition will be open to the public on 1 February 2018. | 21

© Union of Genuis

A cup of kindness Words: Rachel Sharp Images: Anneleen Lindsay

As the suspended coffee initiative becomes more popular, Buzz catches up with the folk at some of our favourite local cafés to discuss how they’re opening their doors to those in need.


he Edinburgh City Council website boasts that the number of people presenting to the Council as rough sleepers is “the lowest of any Scottish city”. Spiffing news, right? Homelessness is down, positive press coverage is up, and we can all sleep easy knowing we live in one of the most philanthropic cities in the world. But cast your mind back to 2013, when a petition called for a new bylaw prohibiting begging within the city centre. The petition wasn’t a good look for the people of Edinburgh. At best, it was insensitively worded, and at worst, it was an example of the immense disparity between those who would keep society’s most vulnerable down where no one can see, and those who would extend a hand to help them off the ground. Josh Littlejohn and Alice Thompson, cofounders of Social Bite, belong to the | 23

latter group. As a social enterprise, Social Bite donates 100% of its profits to charity, and among the staff are several former homeless people. The ‘social business’ model has attracted a lot of buzz over the last couple of years and the Social Bite was swarmed by media last November when George Clooney swung by to enjoy a wrap and leave a small donation of £1000.

“a cup of coffee might mean more than a little indulgence

to someone who’s struggling.”

And for the rest of us who don’t have a spare grand in the bank, Josh and Alice have designed Social Bite so that we can make little contributions with a big impact. The suspended food and drink initiative allows you to do just that. You can spread a little kindness by paying in advance for a coffee or hot meal, so that someone who might not be able to afford one can come in and claim it without feeling patronised. If you don’t regularly pass a Social Bite, there’s still plenty of opportunities to get

involved in the initiative. Union of Genius on Forrest Road runs a suspended coffee and soup initiative, and Carl at Area C Coffeehouse on Leith Walk says that they have been operating a similar initiative for about a year. Carl and the team keep a tray on their till for donations from customers who, he explains, “often buy two coffees, one for themselves and ‘one for someone who can’t afford one’”. Meanwhile, on the other side of Edinburgh, Danny at The Treehouse in Tollcross says the café regularly donates food to local homeless people. He also tells me about an initiative the café is involved in with Barclay Viewforth Church, whereby those in need can collect a voucher from the church free of charge, and present it to the Treehouse team in exchange for hot drinks, breakfast rolls and soup. The suspended coffee initiative exists in many guises across Edinburgh and it’s a fantastic way of inviting those down on their luck back into society. A cup of coffee might mean more than a little indulgence to someone who’s struggling. It could mean a stranger’s hand reaching out to you and, if nothing else, it’s a bit of warmth in a city than can get pretty cold. | 25

The artists’ haven

Words: Alessia Gambarotto Images: Margot Reverdiau

Buzz explores Summerhall and talks to Holly Knox Yeoman about her experience at the creative hub and the intense programme she’s planning for the next few months.


ummerhall is a place where different forms of creativity merge to create the perfect hangout for people who love art, music and drinks. It’s here that we meet with Holly Knox Yeoman, the curator of exhibitions at the Edinburgh arts venue. Holly decided to commit herself to art when she was just a little girl as she grew up in a creative environment. Her mum used to work in the Fruitmarket Gallery and was an artist herself “so it seemed quite unnatural to take another path,” she notes. Summerhall is a key venue for Edinburgh when it comes to the organisation of creative events. What Holly strongly emphasises is that “it’s really important 26 | See

that Summerhall exists because there is no other space like this in the city”. People of all ages and backgrounds are attracted by this unique place, which keeps alive the interest for art in all its shapes and forms. Summerhall is promoting new and original expositions, collaborating with established artists as well as beginners and charity community projects to ensure that the space remains one of creativity and innovation. One of Holly’s main tasks is to discover the most intriguing artists and identify key aspects of their art. The next step is generating a proposal, creating a theme, and then building up an entire programme around the idea. The role requires a great

“it’s really important that Summerhall exists because there is no space like this” deal of imagination and originality, which appear to come naturally to Holly, whose enthusiasm and energy is apparent even from our brief meeting. As usual, there’s a lot going on in Summerhall this summer. In May it will host two exhibitions under the theme of Inner States – Gestural Intentions . Among the talented artists whose work will be on display are Isabel Rocamora, Hamish Chapman, Jordan Munro and Jordan Pilling. They will be exploring the inner nature of people, pointing out similarities and hidden features. Art reflects life, and each of the artists on display will be interacting with contemporary issues in their own way, making the upcoming exhibitions more relevant than ever. “Then we’ll be going into August which will be crazy!” Holly says. As one of the main locations during the Fringe Festival, Summerhall is going to be populated by hundreds of people ready to enjoy what Edinburgh has to offer.

For further information about upcoming exhibitions, visit | 27

Mama doesn’t get drunk, she just has fun Words: Sophie Pinkoski

The growing Edinburgh drag community offers a variety of eccentric performances, open to anyone willing to enjoy a night of pure fun and art. Buzz gets a backstage pass.


ip-hop beats pulse against checkered floors, 30 minutes to show time and it hardly feels like drag is the name of the game in the funky found corner of the Electric Circus club. Yet drag it is, once a month like clockwork. The air is misty and luminescent, thick with the tart taste of apple sours, knocked down the throat. I’ve been told by the pioneer of Such a Drag’s group of talented queens, Groundskeeper Fanny, that they will get a similar amount of ‘talent juice’ into their systems before sitting down for an exclusive interview after their dynamic show.

“drag is the purest form of performance art, it’s just standing and bleeding on the stage for people”

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Six queens take the stage one by one, all showing off unique personality and charisma. Roché Rabbit, swathed in her characteristically dark Cher curls, brings an electric buzz of lunacy to her performance, which juxtaposes her quiet backstage disposition. With only a year of drag behind her, her poised insanity feels like a polished performance she’s spent years perfecting. Violet Grace brings elegance to her understated performance. Of finding her drag name, she says, “I fell over and I was like ‘Grace! That’s me!’ And now I’m more graceful than I was.” Violet’s grace shines through in her hectic, yet lithe act. She revs up and keeps going straight through her grungy routine. Backstage, she’s brash and loud and quick to throw back a sassy insult. Meanwhile, Lawrence Chaney makes an entrance with mesmerising melodrama. Post show, the queens vouch for her sense

Š Adam Winship Photography

© Adam Winship Photography

of humour, bursting into Iggy Azalea’s ‘Fancy’ in the style of Margaret Thatcher; a recurring character within her satirical act. Alice Rabbit and Frans Gender strike a salient balance between not taking themselves too seriously and staying attuned to queer social issues. Clownish and delightfully vulgar, Frans takes her inspiration from divas of the past, citing their bravery as the reason she’s able to do what she does: “Through adversity, they managed to keep a smile on their faces. Lord knows back then how difficult it was for them. I know it’s easy for me because of these people.” Alice makes an impassioned case to support this notion: “It’s really important that we keep those ideas that Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and Harvey Milk had…this idea of involving your queer culture anywhere you go.” Empowerment for these girls runs deep, far 30 | See

beyond stage presence, hailing as far back as the Stonewall riots and beyond. Constant self-awareness blends with whimsical frivolity and there’s so much more to their on stage caricatures for it.

“this is me, this is what i’m doing right now. if you can’t take it, then that’s your problem” The queens can all agree on one thing: to be involved in drag is to embrace selfconfidence. People can “definitely take away a more confident approach to life,” Frans suggests. “Drag queens are really good at just going, ‘you know what? This is me, this is what I’m doing right now. If you can’t take it, then that’s your problem.’” Drag isn’t

has paved the way, building up the city’s drag community, starting with a failed show at Paradise Palms two years previously, and eventually gaining steam at the Fringe. With their newfound Fringe fan base, they were finally able to forge a cult following through Such a Drag, and the Rabbit Hole, run every last Tuesday of the month at CC Blooms. And slowly but surely, Edinburgh’s drag scene is entering the twenty-first century.

If you like to see people at their most raw and true to themselves, come to Such a Drag, every last Sunday of the month at Electric Circus. Facebook: suchadragofficial

© Elise Giraud

so much a separate persona to their everyday lives, but a more confident extension of who they already are. As boys, Violet gets nervous, Lawrence gets insecure, Frans gets shy. And while drag brings out the best, heightened version of each performer, it also brings brutal honesty. “Drag is the purest form of performance art,” Fanny explains. “It’s just standing and bleeding on the stage for people.” The queens of Such a Drag are loud, messy and quick to laugh at themselves and each other. But they’ve also come a long way in such a short time, having raised Edinburgh’s profile within Scottish drag culture. “Edinburgh in particular is very stuck in the ‘90s,” Alice explains. “Edinburgh right now, as a whole sexual culture, is slowly regaining its queerness.” The troupe | 31


the end of

the world

Words: Adam Harris

Having transformed his award-winning film Boat into a comic book series, David Lumsden sat down with Buzz to talk about his collaboration with artist Mark Weallans.


avid Lumsden is an award-winning filmmaker born and raised in Edinburgh, whose latest project Boat depicts a post-apocalyptic Edinburgh which has been ravaged by flooding. The short film follows a father and his young son as they navigate this watery landscape and try to find a place to call home. Inspired by the random notion of representing a flooded Edinburgh, David began the ambitious project in 2003. Speaking about his inspiration, David said “The idea of 32 | See

the Forth Bridge and the whole city being submerged; I just thought it would look cool and then I sort of built the story around that.” The huge undertaking of the visual effect work meant that he had a fair amount of time to work on other projects. As he was working on the film, David, a lifelong comic book fan, decided it might be fun to turn Boat into a comic book as well. He enlisted the services of the film’s storyboard artist Mark Weallans to help him bring

© David Lumsden

his story to the printed page. “Usually all my storyboards are rough sketches with stickmen because I can’t draw at all (I’m terrible), but Mark came back and drew these highly detailed images for the directors of photography to check out. I asked him randomly what he thought about putting this together as a comic and he said ‘yeah sure, why not?’” The comic book is as dark as the film and Mark’s moody atmospheric art helps convey the same bleak tone. However,

“unlike the film, you can go wild with the comic” despite some similarities, the comic is not a straight adaptation of the film, with David describing it as more of a ‘director’s cut’ of its cinematic sibling. “We added a lot into the comic that wasn’t in the film. Unlike the film, you can go wild with the comic, you can just do anything you want without having to worry about money.” | 33

© Mark Weallans © Mark Weallans

© Marc Olivent

Despite growing up on comics and being a professional storyteller, this was David’s first foray into (producing) comics. “I’ve always wanted to do one but I didn’t even know where to start” he says, before mentioning that he’s already begun work on Volume 2. “We’re working with a new artist now, Marc Olivent. I’ve seen a lot of his work and I’ve always wanted to work with him.”

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Boat Volume 1 can be purchased in Edinburgh from Forbidden Planet, Deadhead Comics and Blackwell’s. It’s also available online

For more information visit | 35

Listen against the grain : a conversation with

HONEYBLOOD Stina Tweeddale and Cat Myers have been working hard over the past year to deliver the Honeyblood sound to fans far and wide. The duo speak to Buzz about recent successes, industry woes and their much-anticipated new album.

Words: Arusa Qureshi

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© Laura Coulson

he music industry isn’t always the most welcoming of places for women. From the systemic sexism experienced regularly by female musicians to the gap between the earnings of men and women in the industry, there is a definite gender-based hierarchy that often diminishes the value of female creativity. Björk, in a recent interview with Pitchfork , epitomised this in her statement that “Everything that a guy says once, you have to say five times.” This is a sentiment that is echoed by Glasgow two-piece Honeyblood, whose eclectic blend of gutsy garage pop and West Coast Americana pays homage to the 90’s grunge and Riot Grrrl bands that they grew up listening to. “Sometimes women in music that are actually good are treated like unicorns,”

Stina explains. “They’re seen as this mystical thing and they’re often trivialised, with their gender becoming like a gimmick. The sad fact is that a lot of women in this business have to fight a lot harder to be taken seriously than men.” “I do find it really annoying,” Cat adds, “why does it have to be ‘female drummer?’ I’m just a drummer, I’m no different to any other drummer and we play music just like everyone else.” Though sexism remains prominent in the industry, musicians like Stina and Cat are consistently proving naysayers wrong using their most effective weapons: hard work, dedication and success. In the past year, the duo has had their debut album shortlisted for the Scottish Album of the Year Award, supported the likes of Foo Fighters and Belle and Sebastian and played Edinburgh’s Hogmanay with Biffy Clyro and Idlewild. When asked about recent high-profile gigs, their enthusiasm and appreciation of such opportunities is apparent. “It’s a weird one because for a band of our stature, playing a gig like the Foo Fighters show was probably as crazy and exciting as it was for everyone there!” Stina says. “But we had so much fun and we really didn’t expect such a warm welcome.” The gig will undoubtedly remain a highlight for Cat, who lists Foo Fighters as one of her all-time favourite bands. “I’m always surprised when we do these support gigs because I expect no one to care or pay attention to us. With that gig, I felt like ‘why would anyone want to watch us when Foo Fighters are about to play?’ But we’ve been lucky because crowds have always been really receptive, which is lovely.” Since Cat joined the band in 2014, the Honeyblood sound has developed | 37

© David Thomas

“sometimes women in music are treated like unicorns” in interesting ways, becoming faster, harder and more energetic overall. Of her bandmate’s arrival into the mix, Stina is overwhelmingly positive. “She’s an incredible performer and musician and it pushes me to be better, which can only be a good thing. We’ve definitely started having more crowd surfing and circle pits at shows so that in itself shows where we’re going! But now that we’ve recorded the second album, that has solidified the fact that the sound has changed.” The follow up to their eponymous debut is imminent, with a UK and European tour also in the works. So with Cat on board, what can we expect to hear in the new album? “Because I’m now involved in the process, I think it’s been written quite differently,” Cat notes, “so it’s exciting for me to be able to put my own spin on things. It was fun touring the last album but it’s always different when you’ve contributed.”

“When we wrote the first album, I didn’t think anyone would listen to it!” Stina continues. “Any artist that’s writing their second album will try to write it for themselves but also for the people who are waiting to hear it, so it will be a little different. But listening back to the mixes for the album, it has the same sort of heart and essence that always runs through the veins of Honeyblood.” While Stina and Cat may be considered “unicorns” by some, the duo is pushing past negative stereotypes and asserting themselves within an industry that can often be cruel to women. Honeyblood, like the Riot Grrrl bands before them, celebrate and empower women, all while emphasising their rightful place alongside their male counterparts. Their new album will only serve to cement their professionalism and determination. Facebook: honeybloodeatitup

Live photography: Tim Gray @ Tartan Zone Photo


Words: Arusa Qureshi Images: Alex Renfrew


dinburgh is a city that can often be described as having a split personality. On the one hand, its venues, spaces and even inhabitants are bursting at the seams, with creativity, due to an abundance of arts, culture and character. But on the other, complaints about the limitations imposed on artists, musicians and other creative individuals are rife and resounding. Nevertheless, in amongst the Jekyll and Hyde-like duality of the city, there are those that actively attempt to promote a sense of harmony in order to reconcile the good and the bad and allow the positive to overtake the negative. Such is the case with Lionoil Industries, a new Edinburgh based record label founded by the self-proclaimed “outernational mystics,” DJ Yves and Percy Main. “Lionoil is an intergalactic venture born out of the desire to transmit musical frequencies from the spiritual land of Caledonia,” explains DJ Yves. “This is a fertile city and we want to transmit the message as far and wide as possible. The label was created out of positive energy and friction exploding, which is how I like to think any positive and exciting venture starts.” With an air of mystery and intrigue behind their endeavour, DJ Yves and Percy Main have introduced a host of like-minded shipmates to man the Lionoil vessel as it proceeds with its mission to release good music and put on even better

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Doused in positive energy, lionoil is a new record label that is determined to make you dance. b uzz chats with co-captain dj yves about music, life and the city.

parties. The organisation of these parties is the duty of omnipotent events overlord Chris G., whilst designer and art director Alex’s responsibilities lie in the successful configuration of all Lionoil branding and imagery. So what brought the collective together? For DJ Yves, the city and on a wider level, Scotland have played as big a role in the label’s inception as the music itself.

“Edinburgh’s an amazing city, and within Edinburgh, I’d say the common element that binds us all together is Sneaky Pete’s. People often compare Glasgow and Edinburgh, but I think that comparison is imaginary. They’re both awesome places with an incredible sense of identity that work together in beautiful ways. There’s a famous saying that if Edinburgh was to draw the blueprints for something, | 41

Glasgow would build and create. Lionoil could be put in any quadrant in the world but the reason it chose to stay in Caledonia is because of how engaged, aware, interesting, sophisticated and varied it is. All of those adjectives perfectly encapsulate Scotland. It’s just the coolest place in the world.” That mantra has captured the interests of many within Scotland and beyond, resulting in both the label’s releases and parties gradually bringing notoriety to the Lionoil pride. The first of their two releases is depicted as “the first connection to the Lionoil universe,” an apt description because of the record’s introduction to the different components of the label and their statement of intent.

“Lionoil is an intergalactic venture born out of the desire to transmit musical frequencies from the spiritual land of


“I guess it was kind of the mood board or the pitch,” Yves continues, “it represented the two elements of Lionoil, the ambient, spiritual, mystic weird side and also that definite element of the drum which is fundamental in everything we do.” Their second release, which came out in January, features Percy Main along with collaborators, Telfort, Hi & Saberhägen and Philip Budny in a four-track compilation of ethereal and effervescent arrangements. The record builds on the label’s aspirations to

portray an aura of enthusiasm, an important factor in all Lionoil releases past, present and future. “First of all, there has to be a deeply personal and emotional connection. In this day and age, we’re all constantly connected to the internet and connected in these unimaginable ways but it can be quite inhibiting. When we’re looking for releases, we look for friends, co-pilots and basically people who are on the same journey and want to share that journey.” Though their releases are vastly significant to the operation of the label, the parties are just as essential to the Lionoil crew because of the opportunity they provide to reach an audience on a wider and more profound level. “The reason why we choose to have parties is that it allows us to be constantly connected to people,” says Yves, “and that is something that’s important to us, to remain connected to the universe. So having a physical presence is awesome because it means we’re interacting all the time, making new friends and expanding and growing the Lionoil circle.” It may be that Lionoil are headed on a positive trajectory towards potential global expansion, but in the meantime, they have plans to keep providing the city of Edinburgh with their glorious brand of celestial soul. Theirs is a venture undoubtedly created through a mutual love for the city, a shared excitement for the future and a collective ambition to connect people. As DJ Yves concludes, “It’s all about spiritual value.”

Facebook: Lionoil Industries | 43

Š Martin D. Barker

A N I G H T AT T H E C I R C U S As Scottish acts WHITE and Eyes of Others gain praise and momentum on their way up the charts, B uzz talks critics and crowds with their respective frontmen. Words: Sam Bradley


he five members of WHITE are getting ready for a big night in Edinburgh. It’s a cold night in February, and we’re here at the Electric Circus to catch the band as they’re enjoying their ascendancy. A disco rock act from Glasgow, WHITE have been tipped as the next big thing in the Scottish music scene, and the venue is packed with punters who’ve come out to see what all the fuss is about. The day before the show, B uzz caught up with Leo Condie, the band’s vocalist, for a quick chat. He says that their combination of glam rock and post-punk is gaining traction with audiences: “The crowds are really starting to move, which is great! I always wanted us to get people dancing and we’ve toyed with the set list until it’s reached optimal dance levels. The Paradiso in Amsterdam was pretty special – we went on at 2am, the room was shaking, just perfect,” Leo says of a recent show in the Netherlands. Given the way that WHITE straddle genres, we’re keen to find out what themes Leo thinks unify the band’s output so far. He says, “I want people to feel like slipping on some silver shoes, a sequin jacket and dunking their head in a bucket of glitter. Which is also how I prepare for gigs.” He

says that the band’s unique sound is a result of their pooled talents: “We all brought ideas and agreed on a rough sound that gradually turned into a mission statement: to get the huge sound of dance/electro club music with the big songs and colour of glam rock. ‘Living Fiction’ [their recent single] was the first one where it all clicked into place.” Leo says that the Edinburgh scene may still lag behind Glasgow, things are improving: “I never particularly felt part of any Edinburgh scene growing up – I’d play gigs at Henry’s Cellar Bar, and a couple other places, but I was always desperate to get to Glasgow where it all seemed to be happening. Edinburgh is a lot better in terms of having a scene now, with the likes of [independent record label] Song, By Toad. But it needs more venues. And not to be so precious about noise levels.” Meanwhile, WHITE’s support this evening, Edinburgh act Eyes of Others, is only just setting up. John Bryden – whose musical alter ego Eyes of Others was picked out by Vic Galloway, the doyen of Scottish music journalism – as an act to keep an eye on in 2016, is plugging cables and instruments together on the stage. “It’s one of those things that at an early stage is kind of good to have, having people like him behind you and people taking an | 45

Listen interest. I’ve been getting a few more gigs off the back of it,” says John of the support from Galloway. Speaking on the phone a couple of weeks before the Electric Circus show, John says that he’s got big plans for the coming year. “I’ve got a couple of songs that have been sent to mix that I plan on releasing as singles over the next few months and then hopefully start building towards an album.” John says that the particular calibre of electronic pop that he creates as Eyes of Others, artsy night-music streaked with references to the pioneers of the genre, is ‘post-pub, couldn’tget-into-the-club’ music. That said, he’s considering a move towards making music that’s a little easier to dance to.

“i always wanted us to get people dancing and we’ve

toyed with the set list until it’s reached optimal dance levels.”

He says, “I feel that with a lot of pop music you kind of know where it’s going; you know when the chorus is going to come in and when it’s going to break down a bit. And with a lot of club music it’s a lot freer. That’s quite liberating. There are less rules and that’s appealing to me.” Like many underground acts experimenting with electronic music, Eyes of Others started out as a DIY project. We spoke to John about whether fans in the mainstream are still as prejudiced against bedroom-produced pop as they once were: “I think it’s taken some time for those things to kind of seep into the mainstream consciousness, though I think it has now. “At the end of the day, the music’s the end result and how you get there is not so important. You can use a laptop or live drums, but all that matters is that you’re expressing something and as for the song, you should just be judged on that rather than on what equipment you’re using.”

© Martin D. Barker

Facebook: calledWHITE & myeyesofothers

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The power of belly dance uzz chats with Lindsey Marie Silver, one of Scotland’s full-time B professional belly dancers, about how the ancient dance can be a great alternative to traditional exercise. Words : Arusa Qureshi


rom the lack of motivation stemming from the demands of everyday life to the consistent apathy towards the very idea of doing anything mildly strenuous, having a positive attitude towards exercise is not always easy. But what if it could be genuinely fun? Though belly dancing may not be the first thing that springs to mind as far as exercise goes, the benefits of the Middle Eastern dance are undeniable. Lindsey Marie Silver has been promoting the value of the art form for over a decade now, helping to erase negative connotations and

Images: Lindsey Marie Silver changing lives in the process. For Lindsey, staying healthy is less about treadmills, exercise bikes and kettle bells and more about the excitement of hip drops, camels and shimmies. “One of the really lovely things about belly dance is that you can adapt it to fit your own body’s needs, your own physiology and your own aims,” Lindsey explains. “If your aim is to improve certain aspects of your fitness, it can allow you to do that.” What started off as a hobby and a way to spend some quality time with her mum quickly progressed into performing, | 49

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With no extensive research on the subject entertaining and teaching in Edinburgh matter at the time, the success of the project and beyond. resulted in the story being picked up by the “I discovered belly dance during my Evening News . Today, the community in lunch break back when I used to work in Edinburgh is strong and further bolstered an office. It was a hobby to begin with but it was also something that I instantly knew by Lindsey’s latest venture, Little Egypt which is the UK’s first studio dedicated that I would love. It had so many layers to it and the more I tried it, the more I wanted solely to belly dance. “In setting up Little Egypt, I wanted to explore it further. Instinctively, it felt to give the belly dance community really healthy to me.” somewhere that really honoured the art She gained initial experience performing form,” Lindsey says. “Quite a lot of in Moroccan restaurants, where the people are surprised by the belly dance nickname she was given, ‘little doll,’ scene in Edinburgh. soon developed into For the size of the her current moniker, “it had so city, we have a massive ‘Bellydancing Barbie.’ many layers to it and community. Within After travelling to the the more i tried it, Little Egypt, we other side of the world the more i wanted to have an unbelievable and back, Lindsey chose explore it further ” sisterhood and are to study for a course constantly attracting in Health, Fitness and new people to our little tribe.” Exercise at Edinburgh College, embarking Describing herself as a dance, fitness and on a research project where she set out to wellness entrepreneur, Lindsey’s future, as verify her belief in the benefits of belly well as Little Egypt’s, looks bright as an dance. By putting twelve participants increasing number of people latch on to the through eight weeks of classes, Lindsey advantages of belly dance, both physical was able to monitor the overall change in and mental. Some believe that it only suits their fitness levels including speed, agility, a certain body type or a certain age, but for power and coordination. Lindsey, this is a common misconception. “The results were quite dramatic across “It is for absolutely everybody and the board. Some people managed to take as I really believe that everyone takes much as five seconds off their speed test! something very unique from it. But I Alongside the physical test, I also did a also think that for a lot of women, it psychological test and everyone said that reminds them of childhood innocence and the classes had boosted their confidence, the exploration of their own creativity, self-esteem and energy and they generally which is something we’re not really felt more empowered in their lives. For me, encouraged to do as adults. For me, belly it was amazing to be able to actually back dancing is as exciting now as it was all up what I felt at that first class I went to. those years ago. And something like that You know when something is good for you has to be magical.” but to have the data to prove it is a bit of a dream come true!” | 51

a c a n va s f o r c r e at i v i t y Words: Caoilfhionn Maguire Images: Paul Hollingworth

Buzz meets with Alan Forgie, the creative director of the Biscuit Factory, to discuss how the warehouse turned arts and fashion hub is a welcomed arrival in the heart of Leith.


n Edinburgh, there is a collective appreciation that Leith is a distinct area of concentrated cultural endeavour. Cultural pioneers have recognised that it has always been a feisty, diverse community with a strong sense of identity, recently becoming a hub of artistic life for a whole cohort of artists with spaces devoted to encouraging creative innovation. On 1 April 2015, the Biscuit Factory joined the ranks as one of Edinburgh’s leading creative hubs for artistic ventures and innovation. Having lain empty for the past eight years, the only love the building received was from the yearning eyes of Alan Forgie, the Factory’s creative director. Recognising the empty warehouse’s potential as an art space, Alan longed to venture inside to unleash his creative spirit. With past experience in developing art spaces, Alan remarks that the Biscuit Factory crew are “passionate about creating a sense of identity for a building and sense of community within the space” and together, they revitalised the tired, timeworn warehouse into a multi-purpose art hub.

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Recognising the vast quantity of displaced artists regionally and nationally, but particularly in the city itself, Alan wanted the Biscuit Factory to become a space in which such artists could find home, solace and inspiration. His partner in crime, Beatrice Eyales, knows all too well how projects like this can potentially revive an area, as she’s witnessed in Brooklyn and Harlem. Indeed, the Biscuit Factory is a key player in the rebirth of Leith, working collaboratively with the community to deliver prospects for people in the creative industry and a multiplicity of artistic events for everyone to relish. Planning to house over twenty studios across two floors and a 7,500 square foot venue/gallery space, the Biscuit Factory will follow Birmingham’s famous Custard Factory closely as a desired project model. The venue is comprised of a mix of art studios, hireable event space, galleries, a bar, and is now the new home of the Edinburgh Gin Distillery. When the doors first opened, the crew welcomed anyone. Keen to keep a community aspect within the project, they “encouraged people

to come in, explore, and take photographs sessions. Excitingly, they have just been of this new space,” Alan explains. Now confirmed as a Fringe venue, and have that they’ve become an established hub, the also been scouted as a filming location Biscuit Factory has a waiting list a year for the sequel to Trainspotting . and a half long. This demand for space has When we asked Alan what he wanted granted the team the people to immediately opportunity to curate associate with the “i think if i were to sum it their tenants. “We Biscuit Factory, he up, i would say that the decide who’s coming in answered, “A centre biscuit factory is a melting based on what we lack. of innovation in the We want it to be a real arts. We’re a real pot for new ideas” mix of people under community here, our roof and we need we all support each to think about the local community when other’s business, ideas and creativity and we offer space to tenants,” their vivacious we have our own internal economy. This creative director explains. drives innovation at the Biscuit Factory, Various events will be hosted throughout meaning that it is perpetually a melting the year at the Biscuit Factory, from highpot for new ideas and creativity. I think end corporate parties to 3am raves; if I were to sum it up, I would say that student-run fashion shows to international the Biscuit Factory is a melting pot for festivals; artistic showcases to yoga new ideas.”

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Small but mighty: Edinburgh’s independent retailers Words: Caoilfhionn Maguire

Edinburgh’s streets are lined with world-renowned retailers and designers, swarmed daily by tourists and locals alike, but where are the independent retailers and designers who don’t have the street lamps of Princes Street shining upon their doorsteps?

© Coco Choclatier

At Buzz, we believe in community spirit and discovering the slices of Edinburgh that could easily and tragically be overlooked; and so, we’ve taken an excursion to expose and celebrate some of our favourite independent retailers and designers in the city.

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Coco Chocolatier 174 Bruntsfield Place, 71 Broughton Street, 20 Raeburn Place Established in 2004 as one of Scotland’s first chocolatiers, the company has developed from its small, specialist Chocolate Kitchen in Summerhall to having a collection of chic stores dotted across the city in Bruntsfield, Broughton and Stockbridge. Coco is an Artisan Chocolatier specialising in making ethically traded, organic and most importantly delicious chocolate. Using only the finest of ingredients and a single-origin chocolate from Dominican Republic, Coco aims to invent well-balanced and surprising flavours, boasting lovely textures and luxurious cocoa richness. Wanting everyone to relish in the Coco experience, these marvellous chocolatiers offer a range of vegan and gluten-free chocolates, as well as chocolate making classes.

Q: What do you love about your business? A: I really love the creativity of the Coco Team. The excitement of change and evolving as a brand gives me wings. Q: Is there anything distinctly ‘Edinburgh’ about your business? A: Our heart is here. Every single Coco product is made and hand-wrapped here. That’s why we are proud to put ‘Edinburgh’ on all our bar labels.

Visit the site to buy your treats, book your class or tickle your taste buds:

Red Door Gallery 42 Victoria Street Poised prominently on the beautiful winding, cobbled Victoria Street in Edinburgh’s Old Town, Red Door Gallery is not just a store, it’s been credited as “one of Edinburgh’s most varied and interesting art spaces,” celebrating its twelfth year as an art gallery. Stocking a large selection of art prints from over 100 illustrators, adorning the walls of the cosy store alongside designer products, fashion accessories, knitwear, unique home wares, crafty jewellery and kitsch greetings cards, Red Door honours the most exciting talent emerging from Scotland and the UK.

Q: Do you feel supported by the Edinburgh community? A: Yes, we collaborate regularly with local businesses including Under The Stairs and The National Museum of Scotland. All the businesses on Victoria Street and the Greater Grassmarket area look out for each other. It’s a charming community to be a part of. Broaden your collection of comely prints and quirky accessories while keeping up to date with their Art blog | 57

The Edinburgh Bow Tie Co. Q: What inspired you to make your product in terms of character and inspiration? A: It was the lovely bar staff of Edinburgh that were the inspiration. After working in hospitality for many years, I was trying to do something creative in my spare time. My partner, who works in a bar, asked me to make him a bow tie, and then more and more of our bartender friends wanted one too. It grew from there.


Search on site for where to purchase your newest fashion fetish

Š Matthew Cox

The Edinburgh Bow Tie Co., founded in 2012, designs a collection of playful bow ties for the modern-day gentleman (or woman) who appreciates the oldfashioned aesthetic. With a studio based in Stockbridge, the creative team behind these debonair bow ties is committed to styling the male and female populace of the capital. From tartan to silk, vintage styling to lighthearted cartoon prints, cufflinks to pocket squares, and even the chance to create your own bespoke design, The Edinburgh Bow Tie Co. believes everyone should have a bow tie around their neck and a selection in their wardrobe.

Read more about our favourite Edinburgh retailers at

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Edinburgh Palette aims to breathe life into communities by reviving dormant buildings and turning them into vibrant creative hubs. As a registered charity, we provide an open, inclusive environment for artists, makers, community groups and entrepreneurs to come together and create innovative partnerships. Based at Edinburgh’s St. Margaret’s House, we incubate talent and provide a national platform for creative projects to grow.



St_MargaretsH StMargaretsHouseEdinburgh | 59

The Vinyl Countdown 60 | Go

Is vinyl’s comeback just a fad or does its renewed presence represent a real revival? Buzz chats with Avalanche Records’ Kevin Buckle to assess which is closer to the truth. Words: Jason O’Neill


inyl is currently experiencing a bit of a moment. As music formats go, it’s craft beer, whilst downloads and streaming are closer to a pint of Tennent’s: the sleeve art, the booklet and most importantly, the sound quality. You get so much more than with its alternatives. Edinburgh boasts an impressive collection of vinyl stockists, from large music retailers to Independent crusaders such as Vinyl Villains, CODA music, Elvis Shakespeare, Underground Solu’shn and VoxBox Music. There are numerous options available for aficionados and burgeoning collectors alike. Even Tesco has begun re-stocking them. A quick Google search reveals that sales of the medium have grown by well over 50% in the past two years. So can vinyl maintain momentum and continue its meteoric rise? “Probably not” according to Kevin Buckle, owner of Avalanche Records and a mainstay of the Edinburgh music scene for the past 30 years. Kevin could talk all day about music. He is someone who thinks far more about the big picture and beyond the recent resurgence when it comes to vinyl. He isn’t as dogmatic about the format as I had expected and in his own words “vinyl has got nothing to do with

Image: Alice Spasaro it, it’s about the music”. His interest lies more in the promotion of new music, something he believes this revival doesn’t necessarily do. “The whole vinyl revival thing is very much to do with nostalgia; (in the past) people bought music, they didn’t buy vinyl. People just bought vinyl because that’s what the music came on.” He continues by citing the rerelease of a vinyl chart last year in which the top ten contained four albums from the previous two years and then older artists such as The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. “That’s what’s selling, it’s a nostalgia thing. It’s old people buying, it’s young people who seem to think that you buy old music on old vinyl and it’s no benefit at all to new music which is what we’re interested in. I’ve just no interest in selling people Led Zeppelin albums.” He does qualify this by identifying himself as a huge fan of vinyl because of the tangible benefits and “what it adds to the music,” but he adds, “for most bands, it’s not viable” because, put simply, “they just won’t sell enough” and I get the sense that this is what Kevin feels is the big drawback. When we discuss challenges facing record shops, he cites age-old

“in the past, people bought music, they didn’t buy vinyl. people just bought vinyl because that’s what the music came on.” independent versus large retailer issues. Specifically, the buying power available to larger retailers. An interesting quirk of this is that often these large retailers (one in particular) allocate disproportionately higher amounts of floor space than their vinyl sales justify as a form of advertising. As Kevin puts it, “look at us: we’re cool, we sell vinyl”. It’s an approach he describes as “galling” mostly because it further limits the amount of pressings available. Despite these challenges, shops in Edinburgh are managing to sell both new and second-hand music (mainly in CD and vinyl respectively) and while they may not be thriving, hopefully they will continue to survive. So what of the future?

“Eventually they will run out of things to re-issue,” he states. “Sales will drop quite substantially to a level higher than their alltime low.” Before adding on a slightly darker note, “record companies can’t believe their luck that Bowie died because now they’ve got all that to do.” And as for the future of other formats? That isn’t as easy to predict. CDs will probably endure as they have “an awful long way to fall,” but “given that nobody saw streaming coming,” who knows? Kevin can be found manning his outpost in the Tron Kirk on High Street seven days a week from 10-6. You can follow his musings about the state of music in Edinburgh and beyond on his blog, which also doubles as an online shop. | 61

Fitness with a difference Even for the laziest couch-potatoes, Edinburgh has much to offer in the form of alternative fitness. The Buzz team provide their own suggestions for interesting, yet healthy activities to try out.

Pole Fitness at Fitness Chicks

Gung-Ho Marathon Words: Jason O’Neill

Words: Caoilfhionn Maguire The stereotype of what pole dancing means to the majority of people is part of the allure to some Pole Fitness fanatics who attend weekly classes at Fitness Chicks. Pole dancing is no longer just a seductive performance that takes place at gentlemen’s clubs, but quite the contrary; it’s the most strenuous workout you’ll ever put your body through. Although it’ll take a lot of time, effort and practicing to become a pole ballerina, the exercise builds leg, arm and core strength, as well as confidence; something that Fitness Chicks promote fiercely. Pole Fitness continuously challenges ideas about body image and gender roles, so pop along to Fitness Chicks to be part of the innovation. (Don’t expect to begin emulating Bad Gal Riri’s ‘Pour It Up’ video until at least week 9).

An event less about timing and more about having a good time. The “seriously fun” Gung-Ho marathon is a 5k with an inflatable obstacle course that takes place in The Meadows on 11 June. It guarantees that nobody will be covered in paint and a portion of the proceeds will go to local charity SAMH. Registration will set you back £40 and participants are limited to 5,000, so it is advised to reserve your place early. Those taking part will receive a free headband and t-shirt and party at the finish line to help you celebrate your monumental achievement!

© Gung-Ho!

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Colour Runs

© Julia Crawford

Words: Jason O’Neill

Deep House Yoga Words: Julia Crawford Every Thursday, yoga comes to Cabaret Voltaire in the form of Deep House Yoga, an inclusive, fun vinyasa flow class run by Amanda from Yoga Mix, with a deep house music accompaniment. The combo isn’t as incongruous as it sounds. The vibrations of the bass through the body via whichever parts are touching the ground add a new dimension to the practice. And what a remarkable experience to be on your hands and knees on the floor of Cabaret Voltaire!

For the more laid back runner, the colour run is an excellent option: a stressfree 5k with no timings that turns its competitors into walking canvases as they are bombarded with a kaleidoscope of colours while completing the event. There are two separate colour runs happening in the city this summer: Color me Rad (28 May, Royal Highland Centre, £20) and The Color Vibe (17 July, Dalkieth Country Park, £29). Both give a portion of all proceeds to a local charity and come with free t-shirts for all who enter. Remember to wear as much white as possible!

Wineathlon Words: Lisa MacKenzie

© Lance Cpl. Kimberlyn Adams

Running doesn’t appeal to everybody. You get stitches if you’re not used to it and the promise of dodgy knees later in life if you are. So what does it take for non-runners to dig out their trainers? This autumn, the bar is being raised quite literally for a UK-wide 10k – with wine. Every two miles, rest stops will offer wine samples from around the world. Samples will be limited to one per participant per stand, so any falling over should remain the fault of loose laces, rather than the runners just becoming pickled. Do you think it offers more incentive than a free banana to attempt your first 10k? | 63

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Steven & David McConnachie: Double Take Projections

Based at Edinburgh Napier University, Bright Red Triangle (BRT) offers a one-stop shop for extracurricular innovation and enterprise activities

Bright Red Triangle supports innovation and enterprise by providing pathways to connect our students, staff and alumni to the community through start-up activities, business support services and social innovation projects.

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