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Issue 59 December 2009

Leither

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Electric Man: A movie Plus Kitschmas Rogues Gallery Location Scotland

Opinion | Books | Food | Fitness | Reviews | Film | Crossword | What’s On


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! From all the staff X

Exhibition Dec

- Carol Lievre 1st-31st Dec

Festive Films- every Mon &Tues- all your favourite classics in Edinburgh’s smallest cinema

Beauty Night with Suzanne & Anna 8

Tues 8thDec 7-10pm Phone us to book your free 15min slots for a Manicure and Swedish or Hot Stone Massage

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Lucia Night Sun 13th Dec 8pm 13

Swedish Tradition when we celebrate the light in the darkness and when the Festive season really begins for the Swedes! Enjoy a glass of mulled wine and listen to Swedish Lucia songs

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Christmas Eve Party Thurs 24th Dec Celebrate in Sofi’s with Mulled Wine and Buffet. Piano available for Carol Singing!

New Years Eve Party Thurs 31st Dec Hollywood Glamour Theme Party- Dress to impress at Sofi’s-Tickets £12/10 (Glass of Cava & Canapés)

For any details of the above come and see us at 65 Henderson Street Or call us on:0131 555 7019. Check us out on www.bodabar.com & Facebook 2 | Issue 59 | leithermagazine.com

nt geme a n a ude m n r e und We’ll never forget what’s ‘is name!

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If you need a gritty inner city location for the publicity shots of your production of Trainspotting: The Musical

 Donations to: mcgrathfoun dation.com or locations from: locationscot land.com photo by: Simon Upton

EditoratLarge

Contents

Australia: The Team That Lost The Ashes

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’ve always wanted to write that headline, and it’s not entirely bogus, as a local company have lately been working with the ‘Ashes losers’ on a charity calendar. Location Scotland work out of offices on Mitchell Street where, on my last visit, your editor managed to set off the fire alarm. Despite the presence of two large ‘push’ signs, I was tugging at the exit door with my fingernails when a voice called out, “Press the button beneath the large red arrow.” I turned, saw a small red box, and pressed its contents (I can only plead colour association). Within seconds there was an excruciating racket, pandemonium and panic – the latter from your editor. I’d like to say I made my excuses and left, head held high like a gentleman. But a scalded cat with no alibi would be much nearer the mark. When I came out of the Port o’ Leith a little later there were about a hundred disgruntled people milling about outside the building…I hastily put a copy of The Leither over my face, perhaps not the most foolproof of disguises. I’d gone to see the entirely blameless Location Scotland girls about a calendar they were putting together consisting of various Australian cricketers in a state of undress. Bit of a recurring theme here, for I am reminded that the first time I met the girls, they asked our ace photographer of No.22 buses and Errol Flynn look-a-like, Ryan, to pose naked for them, with particular reference to his arse. He blushed and dimpled prettily; I took the cigar stub from my mouth and asked if there would be ‘a

The editor talks bluegrass with Blueflint or, more accurately, he doesn’t

Carine Seitz puts the Kitsch into your Kitschmas Three is the magic number, according to our fitness guru Tracy Griffen Protempore, in his other guise as a Rottweiler, gets his teeth into Ryanair We talk to David Barras about his film project, a potential Gregory’s Girl for the 21st Century? Sex, lies and a DVD… It can only be a Leither in London

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Leither consideration’ involved, as I have dibs on 10% of the young prodigy. We did not hear back. So yes, if you want a stormy grouse moor for your latest production of Wuthering Heights starring that big Russian boxer and Victoria Beckham, or you need a gritty inner city location for the publicity shots for your ‘soon to tour’ Trainspotting: The Musical, then the girls at Location Scotland are your, er, boys. Meantime, in the spirit of the season, we present some entirely gratuitous pictures of Australian sportsmen, from the Men Of Cricket 2010 calendar in aid of the McGrath Foundation – I presume it is named after that vile scourge of plucky English batsmen, Glenn McGrath – in support of breast cancer. Produced by Location Scotland in conjunction with the Production Factory. ■

Published by: Leither Publishing Editor: William Gould ( 07891560338  billy@leithermagazine.com Artwork: Bagelfish Design, ( 0131 553 3773  hello@bagelfishdesign.co.uk Photography: Ryan McGoverne  info@ryanmcgoverne.co.uk Advertising: Jennifer Lawrie ( 07908550118  theleither@orange.net The Leither: 121 Giles Street, Leith EH6 6BZ Contacts: ( 0131 554 2728  theleither@orange.net 8 leithermagazine.com Cartoonist: Gordon Riach Illustrator: Bernie Reid © 2009 LEITHER PUBLICATIONS LTD. Reproduction in whole or part is forbidden without the written permission of the Publishers. The Leither does not accept responsibility for unsolicited material. If you have an interesting story we should know about, contact William Gould on tel: 07891560338. If you would like information on advertising or sponsorship opportunities with the Leither email: theleither@orange.net

Front cover: By Callum Alden leithermagazine.com | Issue 59 | 3


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4 | Issue 59 | leithermagazine.com


Protempore Politics, what politics? M

y good friend, Mr Runciman Shave Esquire, is an inveterate imbiber of copious amounts of alcohol; an unashamed ladies man; and a letter writer of renown. Every now and then Runciman lets his demons get the better of him and puts pen to paper, letting rip on topical subjects with such anger and unbridled bad language that he has to retire to the country – well, his mother’s house near Leith Links – to recuperate. Under normal circumstances I would treat any correspondence that I receive from him with the utmost confidence, but his latest offering (although heartfelt and no doubt well intentioned) made me wet myself. The letter does not dwell on politics; rather it concerns itself with the phenomenon that is Strictly Come Dancing. It is reproduced here for your enjoyment. Dear boy, I trust that you are well and still revelling in the company of that loquacious brigade of beauties in the Carrier’s Quarters. Please do pass on my fondest regards to them all in any way that you see fit. I hesitate to inform you of my reason for lifting the mighty pen, as I fear that it may deter you from reading the rest of this letter but I need to expunge the poison that has festered in my breast since last weekend. As you know, it is a rare occurrence indeed for me to be stuck in Chez Shave on a Saturday night, but last week, due to a bout of what I believe is commonly known as the trots, I was forced to spend an entire evening in front of Logie Baird’s devil box. After being made to suffer some be-permed nancy

boy reading out football results and giggling like a tipsy schoolgirl, I settled down to watch what I thought would be a pleasant trip down memory lane, a show entitled Strictly Come Dancing. To my utter astonishment and disbelief, instead of a heady revisiting of the original ballroom extravaganza, dreamt up by our old friend and Miss World botherer, Eric Morley, I was subjected to a tortuous evening in the company of that wizened half-wit, Bruce Bloody Forsyth and a troupe of dancers who wouldn’t know a decent Paso Doble if it wiggled up to them and kicked their arses! Needless to say, half way through this pile of bilious tripe, I was forced to open a rather cheeky little Rioja, which did absolutely nothing to relieve the lava-like rumblings in my trouser department but went some way towards anaesthetising the pain that Forsyth was inflicting. Who in God’s name told the man that he was in the least amusing? All he does is ramble inanely about sharing tap dancing shoes with Sammy Davis Junior and wiggle his gargantuan chin whilst uttering insensible rubbish like, “Nice to see you to see you nice.” Or, in homage to a previous piece of totty that he was shacked up with, “bv, bv, bv, bv, bv, bv, give us a twirl!” The man’s an absolute embarrassment, not only to himself but to his poor wife, who I believe is of Central American extraction and thus would have expected so much more when she took up with this cretin. Forsyth presides over what is loosely regarded as a dancing competition, whereby so called professional dancers become awkwardly entwined with broken down cricketers and actresses of a ‘certain age’ in an attempt to perform a series of ballroom dances in order to

All he does is ramble inanely about sharing tap dancing shoes with Sammy Davis Jnr whilst wiggling his gargantuan chin and uttering insensible rubbish

impress a panel of, ahem, judges. The judges are a rum bunch and no mistake. They are made up of what I suppose some spotty-faced producer deemed to be the bespoke unit; there is an exwinner of the competition who appears to know nothing about ballroom dancing (she’s in good company); a deranged Italian who is, I suspect, a bit light on the loafers and waves his arms around like a demented in-patient at an institution for the criminally untalented; a resident baddie who seems to delight in sneering a lot and incurring the genteel wrath of the audience and who is, I’m sure, a very good friend of the deranged Italian; and an old, bewildered Cockney, who seems to earn his keep by wearing a dust-covered velvet suit and screaming ‘SEVEN’ incessantly. It is no exaggeration to say that this is quite possibly the most blatant fleecing of licence payer’s pockets since the BBC took the moronic decision to broadcast a show in which the participants wrap their cholesterol packed bodies in a silver condom and attempt to squeeze through a hole in a wall. Trots or not, the Rioja will be taking a swift hammering this weekend – something which should also be meted out to Forsyth and his gang of jitterbugging non-entities. Yours in despair and, as ever, awash in drink, Runciman. ■ Leave your comments on this column at leithermagazine.com leithermagazine.com | Issue 59 | 5


How The Grinch Stole Christmas… And grew to love it

Mind map: Phil Chambers

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f you had asked me five years ago if I was looking forward to Christmas, I’d have told you very unceremoniously and in no uncertain terms to Go Away. I HATED Christmas. I shared the sentiment of Scrooge who so eloquently said: “every idiot who goes about with Merry Christmas on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.” It was in part because of the lunatic commercialism - over zealous chain stores getting the tinsel out in September and TV ads promoting great deals on Christmas booze before Halloween - but mainly just because. At the risk of sounding like Orphan Annie, my parents divorced when I was very young and from an early age Christmas meant having to choose who to spend it with. Being bombarded with images of great big knitted jumper wearing happy smiling families only perpetuated the feeling that Christmas was for other people, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that everyone else was having a better time than me. Probably because they were. My birthday is in December and any attempt at a celebratory dinner with friends was always (and still is, incidentally) overwhelmed by the inevitable office night out at the next table, and the sound of Noddy Holder screeching “its Chriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiistmaaaaaaaas!” every two minutes. I still have Christmas cards inscribed with hilarious puns about the irony of the birth of Christ being so close to that of the anti-Christ (boom boom!), and others that awkwardly wish me a ‘Happy December’, and other such un-festive inanities. 6 | Issue 59 | leithermagazine.com

One year I spent the day alone in bed, watching the least Christmassy thing I could find (Kylie in concert) and eating the least Christmassy thing I could think of (Chinese food). I hated it and that was that. And don’t even get me started on New Year. The happiest day on my calendar was January the 2nd – when the whole depressing affair was finally over. And then, a few years ago things started to change. I wish I could tell you an amazing ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ type story of my happy Christmas epiphany, but it was more gradual than that. There is no real reason. I just caught the bug. I dare say living with self-confessed lover of Christmas, Carrie, had a lot to do with it. She gave me my first proper hit of Christmas spirit and before I knew it I was hooked. And my addiction gets worse every year. Humming carols in November I love it! I wait with anticipation for the Red Cups to arrive at Starbucks (commercialism? bring it on!) so I can make myself sick drinking Peppermint Mochas. The first day that it is so cold you can see your breath, I practically whoop with excitement. This year I am entertaining the idea of throwing good taste to the wind and getting my Christmas tree up before November’s out – it’ll make my birthday so much more fun! Of course it’ll be a real tree, carried home on my shoulder and decorated with hot toddy in hand, singing along loudly and badly to my Rat Pack Christmas CD. And I’m obsessing about my decor theme - origami hearts, ribbon, birds, holly, ivy – oooh, and a wreath for my front door! There will be more than one mulled wine and mince

My birthday is in December and any attempt to celebrate in public is overwhelmed by the inevitable office party, and Noddy Holder screeching

pies evening chez moi and my gas bill will be through the roof as the living flame in the sitting room goes into overdrive. I’m already buying every magazine in sight containing anything to do with Christmassy food (yule log anyone?), I was humming carols yesterday (it’s still November) and I caught myself looking lovingly at Martha Stewarts’ Holiday Gingerbread House on her website today. Christmas movies – an absolute NO NO back in the day – are my staple viewing du jour. White Christmas, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Home Alone – I’ll get through this little lot before they’ve switched the Christmas lights on. Two years ago I spent twelve giddy hours in the kitchen on Christmas Eve making EVERYTHING from scratch, except of course for the Twiglets and Bendicts Bittermints which MUST be eaten straight from the packet, after dinner, on a full stomach, in front of the TV. Last year I was determined to dress like an elf on the big day but sadly poor time management and difficulty in finding a good pair of curly-toed shoes stopped me. This year? My friends and I have Waifs and Strays Christmases, which are open to everyone and as such we’ve created a traditional family Christmas of our own. And they’re so much better than those which are forced upon you, no screaming arguments, no years old rifts surfacing over the turkey, and no obnoxious drunken uncles to deal with. Just good, old friends, who choose to spend the day together. We’re even luckier because we get to choose our family. And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One! ■


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Blueflint & Bluegrass The Editor avoids all mention of Dueling Banjos

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he Leither has been trying to catch up with the girls from Blueflint for quite some time now, but they are very busy, and so are we here at Leither Towers. To put it another way, they are in the middle of a marathon tour to promote their new album High Bright Morning, stopping of at a slew of radio stations along the way, whilst we have been indulging in the usual jiggery pokery. Their slog also took in a fine performance of their signature tune Skippin’ Skattin’, on a dreadful programme STV’s The Hour - which they took to a better place for a merciful three minutes. At this exact median point, The Leither listened in, over pints of wallop and mini pakoras in the Alan Breck lounge bar. So you can see that the chances of our paths crossing was about as likely as the 8 | Issue 59 | leithermagazine.com

X Factor becoming the Ex Factor. Contrite then, when one bedraggled morning, a beautiful package arrived bearing a waxed seal with a baroque ‘b’ stamped on it. It came with an equally lovely letter, which availed your errant journo of a few salient points. Blueflint are a bluegrass duo who, unusually, combine two distinct banjo playing styles, three finger picking and clawhammer. They write original songs of love, loss and revenge. You will find them filed under Alt Country/Americana in your local record store, if you can find your local record store. The beautiful package contained the equally beautifully packaged High Bright Morning CD, of which more, now. Your correspondent’s early morning demeanour is such that it was the quieter songs that grabbed his attention. The plaintive Takes More Than a Little Time, soothes a fragile temper. The keening, wistful title song sounds like something centuries old. Hints of the Carter family in the musical intertwinings and the Roche’s in

You will find them filed under Alt Country/Americana in your local record store, if you can find your local record store

 High Bright Morning is available online, in record shops or direct from: blueflint.org.uk

the harmony vocals. The joy creeps up unseen, both Funny Little Girl and Skippin’ Skattin’ – the latter surely the first song to reference dolcelatte cheese – would not be out of place at a Louisiana hoedown. Black Horse is a drinking song, which is to say a song to be sung while drunk, the suitably queasy trombone adding a touch of Tom Waits circa In The Neighbourhood. Happy endings then? Oh, I think so… The girls and I – sorry, that would be Deborah Arnott and Clare-Louise Neilson – never did quite catch up but, through this fine album, I feel I know them a little better. ■


5 Recommended Gift Books What On Earth Evolved - Christopher Lloyd (recommended by Martin). 2009 has been the year evolution really took hold of the popular imagination, with even primary school children enquiring as to ‘The Origin of Species’. Lloyd’s book is a lavishly presented, detailed account of the evolution of key species. Griffin and Sabine - Nick Bantock (recommended by Sam). Like The Jolly Postman for grown-ups, this beautiful book makes a great gift for art and/or book lovers. The Usborne Fairy Tale Treasury - Rosie Dickins and Alan Marks (recommended by Anna) An utterly gorgeous book from cover to cover. With beautiful illustrations and a great collection of stories from Hans Christian Anderson, the Brothers Grimm and more, this deserves a place on any child’s bookshelf. Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats - T.S. Eliot and Axel Scheffler (recommended by Anna) This new edition combines Eliot’s classic poetry with Scheffler’s beautiful (and funny) illustrations to create a book that will be treasured by children and cat lover’s alike.  Thanks to: Martin MacInnes from Waterstones

leithermagazine.com “where everyone can hear you scream”

A Fraction of the Whole - Steve Toltz (recommended by Martin). One of the funniest novels of modern times, part farce, part family drama, part enquiry into heredity and individuality, this is an hilarious and inspiring look at people who refuse to live as anyone has ever lived before. ■

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leithermagazine.com | Issue 59 | 9


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You’ve got the power Embarrassing incidents and common sense uncovered by David Barnes

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he folks at Leith FM are pretty hard to get hold of, for two weeks my emails, phone calls and texts went unanswered. At first I didn’t take it personally, I was aware that this is a voluntary organisation and my request for an interview would not be a priority. But after a while the silence became deafening, I couldn’t help feeling that it maybe had something to do with a rather embarrassing incident back in August, when an email was forwarded from the address of the chair of Leith FM to everyone on the organisation’s mailing list. Entitled ‘I’d rather have Charles Manson, Jack the Ripper and Hitler as friends before you’, the email was initially sent by a disgruntled former member of the organisation, and was a personal attack on actingchair of Leith FM, J.P. McGroarty. It also made several serious accusations about abuses of power by the Board and gross mismanagement of the station in general. A few days later a second email arrived from the Leith FM Board, apologising for the previous message and suggesting that legal action would be pursued once the culprit had been identified. My intention is not to revisit this unsavoury episode – but I do want to know if Leith FM has moved on. Their reluctance to engage with me suggests that this may not be the case. Eventually I get lucky when someone answers the phone in the Leith FM office and provides me with the mobile number of station manager Mohamed Bouchkal. I get through first time and when I explain what I am after he immediately agrees to meet for a chat. It seems the mistake I made was trying to speak to somebody at Board level. Certainly, the guys on the ground are happy to tell anyone who will listen that Leith FM is a

good thing for the community. All the other stuff is inconsequential as far as they are concerned. They have nothing to hide and have no reason to be suspicious of outside interest. Rogue messages When I arrive at Leith FM’s base I find a tidy, but clearly well used, office. Apart from a radio in the corner the building is silent. The only sign of acrimony or antagonism is a long-winded and rather snotty poster on a wall, warning of dire consequences for anyone who gets on the wrong side of the Board. Bouchkal is quick to dispel any lingering suspicions I might have about Leith FM being plagued with petty infighting. “There are always misunderstandings and personality clashes. Every organisation has problems like that. It is part of life. The important thing is to manage these situations and be understanding. I‘ve been dealing with that kind of stuff quite a lot since becoming manager three months ago, it is not a worry for me because I am confident I can speak to people and resolve these issues before they become a major problem. We have made it clear that if you have issues with someone then we want to discuss it rather than have falling outs.” Asked about the Board, he says: “They have their job to do, I leave them alone and concentrate on my job.” Born in Morocco, Bouchkal arrived in Edinburgh about ten years ago and has been involved with the station from its earliest days, when it operated for two weeks every

My intention is not to revisit this unsavoury episode – but I would like to know if Leith FM has moved on

 Tune in to: 98.8fm Visit: leithfm.co.uk

year covering Leith Festival. “At first I was doing backroom stuff, answering the phone and so on. Then, over time, I sat with presenters during their shows and took it from there. Along with others at the station I’ve managed to get an HNC in radio broadcasting from Telford College.” Leith FM persuaded Ofcom to grant them a 5-year license almost 3 years ago and they have been on air 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, ever since. “We have live broadcasts from 7am to midnight, and recorded ones from midnight to 7am, it is a lot of work, especially as we are run exclusively by volunteers. We have professional DJs but they don’t get paid for their input here, and we also have people who don’t know anything about broadcasting but want to learn. We train them in how to use the studio, how to use editing software, how to deal with the office work, and how to prepare shows.” Mohamed pauses, “We have about 150 volunteers and we try to get people from different sections of the community involved. We have Polish, Spanish, French and North African programmes, as well as programmes that deal with local community stuff. We’re working to improve the quality of broadcasting through training and better organisation, so hopefully at the end of this 5-year license we can prove to Ofcom that we are able to continue.” Bouchkal stresses that Leith FM is open to anyone who wants to get involved. Don’t be put off if they are slow to reply – they are probably genuinely busy. ■ leithermagazine.com | Issue 59 | 11


Home thoughts from abroad

The Munsters of Rock H

ello Chicago! Will you please welcome from England...U...F...O! Ah, that classic rock introduction from the 70s. The ‘Live’ album was the pinnacle for the 70s rock band, from Thin Lizzy’s ‘Live and Dangerous’ to Deep Purple’s ‘Live in Japan’. So I allow myself a small indulgent smile when the master of ceremonies shouts, “Hello Crewe! Are you ready to rock?” For here I am in the apparent rock capital of the UK, about to see the best that Motorhead, Status Quo, Led Zeppelin and ZZ Top can offer, well almost, for this is ‘The Munsters of Rock festival’, an entire rock festival of tribute bands. Crewe is a bleak, soulless place that straddles endless amounts of railway track and consists almost entirely of Victorian red brick terraces. It is however home to The Limelight, the self-proclaimed capital of tribute bands, and the two of us have contrived to get lost looking for it… It’s 12pm, we are both nursing hangovers and a drink is required. We see our salvation in a pub sign, it’s not overly promising though, another grim Victorian building with blacked out doors and two boarded up broken windows. “Now then lads, not from round ‘ere are you?” says the toothless, tattooed barman, scratching a blizzard of dandruff from his hair. Motorheadache At last we find ourselves at our destination, it’s a 1pm kick-off but there are only a handful of punters here, the interior is like a time machine – album covers from my youth pepper the walls – it has the feel of a working men’s club and £1.50 for a pint of Guinness reinforces that. Someone shouts, “First band are on in ten minutes,” and we wander downstairs into the remnants of an old church, which is where the main bands are due to play. The venue is fantastic, the crowd threadbare. Just Supposin’ – a Status Quo tribute band – take the stage first, apparently tribute 12 | Issue 59 | leithermagazine.com

Now then lads, not from round ‘ere are you?” Says the toothless, tattooed barman, scratching a blizzard of dandruff from his hair

bands feel they have to look the part. We have a peroxided Rick Parfitt lookalike standing next to a ponytailed, waist coated, Francis Rossi lookalike who mimics, perfectly, Rossi’s facial grimacing when he plays a solo. I can’t help thinking why though? The music is actually pretty good, it seems to me they would be better off in surf shorts with tattoos and a mohican, then the music and the image would take on some of the original energy, as it is, it’s all rather disturbing...or am I missing the point? Next up ZZ Top, the two front men wear the trademark boiler suits, with hats that have unfeasibly long false beards attached to them. They sound great you know it’s got to be downhill from here! We meet two Stoke City fans in their twenties who become increasingly drunk as the day goes on, the youngest hits on a lady who is in her late fifties, “I love you!” he shouts as we drag him back to the bar. Elsewhere, groupies are hitting on the bands. “Do you do this full time?” Asks one, of the pretty boy singer from the Journey tribute. He nods, “Cool I’ve always wanted to be in a band,” she drapes herself around him and nuzzles his neck. Six hours in it all starts to get increasingly bizarre, on stage a group of sixty-year-old men with long thinning hair and denim jackets are fronted by a guy who must weigh twenty stone and is vertically challenged. It can only be a Black Sabbath tribute. It gets worse, Led Zeppelin are the next

to get the treatment, a Jimmy Page lookalike, all wrinkles and sweat, brings out a violin bow and starts sawing his guitar…another beer is required. Fake Lemmy takes the stage fronting Motorheadache (good name), he looks the part, ugly, bullet belt, cowboy boots, the band however are dreadful, I love Motorhead, but it just shows you need to be talented to pull off the kind of racket they make. We depart in search of a curry. Him from the Young Ones “That’s Dave Edmunds sitting behind you,” my mate says, eating a popadom. I eavesdrop on his conversation, “Nah it’s not, Dave Edmonds is Welsh.” He frowns, “No, not Dave Edmunds, Ade Edmondson – from the Young Ones.” I turn around; sure enough the guy who has just walked through the door wearing a pork pie hat is indeed Ade Edmondson. I return to my curry as a lady crosses to his table and asks for his autograph. “Watch the fucking hat!” He shouts, as the lady unwittingly sits on it. Edmondson is ruefully re-shaping his hat when we approach, it transpires that he was playing with his band in the venue next door and no one turned up. We gave him a conciliatory “sorry Ade, didn’t know you were playing,” and left. Funny thing, all that way to see a bunch of people pretending to be someone else, and we bump into someone real who, at least for tonight, would rather be someone else. ■


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TheSeitzgeist Carine Seitz

Puts the kitsch into kitschmas D

The only bit you make from scratch is the meringue. For the rest, you can come over all Delia and cheat

ecember is when we all go into food overdrive - shopping for it, cooking it, baking it, roasting it, eating it eating it eating it. But while I do scour magazines and food blogs to find people soaking fruit and cooking and freezing, I’m not. I’m not having any mammoth cookouts, desperately trying to locate allspice berries and wondering how soon I can start shopping for sprouts. 

 Two years ago everyone came for Christmas and I made, from scratch:

 seared scallops on pea puree with lemon oil and caviar, roasted turkey with chestnut stuffing
, a glazed ham, 
potatoes roasted in goose fat, 
artichoke gratin, 
brussel sprouts with chestnuts and pancetta, 
roasted beetroots and 
carrots, 
cranberry sauce, 
bread sauce, 
gravy made with the turkey giblets, pears poached in mulled wine, calvados-soaked raisin ice cream. We also had the obligatory flamed plum pudding with brandy butter, the biggest wedge of Gorgonzola ever seen and pate de quince, figs and frozen grapes. 

 In short, the shopping, preparation 
and cooking required something akin to military precision and indeed a great deal was done on Christmas Eve (I cooked solidly for twelve hours). This is not a complaint - on the contrary - I loved every minute of it. It was an opportunity to cook mountains of extravagant, delicious food and to spend hours on end doing it. I relished it. 

 By complete contrast, last year we did Christmas in that good old fashioned British way. We got it all from M&S. While this method required less graft on Christmas Eve (not discounting elbowing our way around M&S using the trolley as a weapon, fully prepared to rugby tackle old women to the ground if neces-

14 | Issue 59 | leithermagazine.com

sary), it would have been helpful if there had been four double ovens to accommodate all the various foil trays. And the day had an air of Sunday lunch about it as opposed to CHRISTMAS! Replete with enough left over turkey to feed a small nation. So anyway, back to this year. No lengthy shifts in the kitchen. Instead, we are taking a Communist approach: we’re each making a dish. I have been informed that I will be providing the ham; such was it’s success last time. I am reluctant to admit to having absolutely no recollection of how I made the glaze, I’ll wing it and hope no-one notices. Oven baked ice cream Before the ham order I was having ideas about elaborate desserts; plum puddings stirred by each of us making a wish; cakes fed with brandy; various other things involving booze and prunes. Then I leapt out of the Victorian era and landed with a thud in the 70s as I remembered Baked Alaska. Hello kitsch! This dessert looks like a marvellous snow covered mountain, seems to defy all logic (a baked dessert, containing ice cream?), and is sweet and gooey. I’m afraid I draw the line at flaming it, purely because I don’t trust myself not to set the house and quite possibly myself ablaze. And frankly, it’s a marvel in it’s own right; there’s no need to get giddy with a box of matches. Despite appearances, it’s dead easy to make and, best of all, the only bit you make from scratch is the meringue. For the rest, you can come over all Delia and cheat. I made mini ones because that’s what I felt like but you can easily adapt this to a make a big one – this recipe makes loads of meringue. For a really festive slant, take the tops off mince pies and use these instead of the cake base.

Mini Baked Alaska Madeira cake Marsala Jam of your choice Good quality vanilla ice cream 6 egg whites 300g caster sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Preheat the oven to 200°. Slice the Madeira cake about 1.5cm thick, and cut into small rounds (use the rim of a glass). If you’re using mince pies, carefully cut out the tops and heat for a few minutes in the oven until the filling bubbles, then set aside to cool a little. Top generously with ice cream then go straight to the meringue stage – work quickly or the ice cream will melt. Sprinkle the cake with Marsala, and spread liberally with jam. Put a generous scoop of ice cream on top, aiming for height. Make as many of these as you need, and place on a freezer and oven-proof dish. Put in the freezer to harden. Meantime, make the meringue: take a scrupulously clean bowl, whisk your egg whites until frothy and gradually add all the sugar until you’ve got stiff, glossy peaks. Fold in the vanilla extract. Take your wee ice cream-topped cakes out of the freezer (or mince pies topped with ice cream) and cover completely with a thick layer of meringue, making sure there are no gaps or the ice cream will melt. Bake for about five minutes, or until browned. ■


Pen Portraits from the Port Local author Daniel Gray salutes the forgotten heroes of Leith’s past: Clarice Shaw 1883-1946

pop in for a cuppa and a chocolate bikkie soon! Bagelfish Giles Street Studios 121 Giles Street Leith EH6 6BZ 0131 553 3773

H

ardy, nae nonsense women like Clarice Shaw are as much a part of Leith as muscular tea in the Sea Breeze Café or teeming rain on gala day. For nigh on half a century, Shaw was an instrumental figure in the Scottish labour movement. Brazen and brilliant, she catapulted herself into the starchy world of the maledominated trade union hall. Thousands of Leithers benefited from her work as a music teacher and a socialist councillor. It’s pleasing to imagine that she combined the two, perhaps by introducing Marx’s theory of alienation into recorder lessons. Shaw was born a McNab, in now defunct Morton Street – her house stood on the site that is now occupied by Leith Dockers Club. Ironically, in death, Shaw finally lost her long-waged battle for working class temperance. Electrified by the words of Keir Hardie, Shaw viewed education as the vehicle for bringing about socialism. She became the National Secretary of Socialist Sunday Schools, where eggs and bacon were served with a healthy dose of Engels’ The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State. In 1903, Shaw began work as a music teacher at an elementary school in Leith and campaigned fervently for improved child health and welfare. Seven years later, she founded the Leith branch of the Women’s Labour League, and in 1913 was elected a Labour member of Leith Town Council. Barely out of her twenties, Shaw had become Scotland’s first female Labour Councillor. In 1918, Clarice met and fell in love with the Labour politi-

we’ve moved...

Sick of being a free taxi? cian Ben Shaw, who sadly had nothing at all to do with lemonade. Their marriage that same year saw them find strength in unity, and the new Mrs Shaw became increasingly strident and outspoken in her views. She advocated pacifism in a time of jingoistic war howls and vigorously championed women’s rights. The Shaws became something of a celebrity Labour couple, but it would be harsh to blame them for Tony and Cherie. Eventually though, Shaw tore herself away from Leith and became a Councillor in Troon. Her rise through the Labour Party continued in spite of a stubborn Leith-built streak; against party consensus she remained steadfast in her pacifism despite the lurking presence of fascism across Europe. Shaw, though, eventually became convinced of the need to wage war against Hitler. In July 1945 she was elected by a thumping majority to become MP for Kilmarnock. Agonisingly, the onset of serious illness prevented her from taking up the seat, and in the autumn of 1946 Clarice Shaw passed away. This wee weaver’s lassie fae Leith had made giant leaps for womankind. ■

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 Next time: Robert Jameson, naturalist leithermagazine.com | Issue 59 | 15


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WinterFitness Tracy Griffen

3 is the magic number S

o, you want to exercise. But how much do you need to do, and how often? One of the common themes I encounter as a personal trainer is folk not knowing exactly what they need to do to keep fit. Exercise can be roughly divided into three categories: cardiovascular, strength and flexibility. It’s the balance of these three that is important, and a correct balance will ensure that you have the most effective exercise programme possible, even if you’re rushed, you should still be able to fit these in.

So it’s the rule of three - cardio, strength and flexibility, at least three times a week

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Cardio Cardiovascular exercise elevates your heart rate. There are a number of benefits to be found in cardio. Firstly, it burns calories, secondly it boosts your metabolic rate (after exercising is a good time to eat, as you burn up calories faster) and thirdly, it makes you feel good. In other words it’s ideal for weight loss. Hidden benefits are deeper than cosmetic in that it strengthens your heart, that big muscle that pumps blood around your body. Cardiac muscle can be strengthened by exercise, and elevating your heart rate will help you to avoid heart disease. It’s also a natural way to lower your blood pressure, but check with your doctor first if you’re unsure about starting on an exercise programme to lower blood pressure. Cardio exercise should be done at least three times per week, aiming for a minimum of 30 minutes continuously in the training zone per session. More is good, and you can work up to doing it nearly every day when you get into it. For some people starting out, fast walking is sufficient. If you’ve been exercising for a while, you may need to jog. Other options are aerobics classes, cycling, swimming, climbing, basically anything that makes you puffed for at least 30 minutes. You need to keep your heart rate up to a level where you feel breathless - the easiest way to work out your heart rate is to invest in a heart rate monitor and you can get a good Polar entry level one for about £30.

Strength Strength exercises work your muscles against resistance. Like cardio, it boosts your metabolism (muscle requires calories to exist because it’s metabolically active tissue, whereas fat is not). Cardio burns calories, whereas strength ‘turns fat to muscle’. Another advantage of doing regular strength exercises is that it will help with running technique, injury prevention and, basically, make you look toned. Strength is not just weightlifting. In fact, personally, I haven’t been to a gym for over five years. Strength exercises can be anything from body weight exercises like press ups, squats and lunges, to lifting weights, to using rubber resistance bands (like they do in Pilates), or tubes. Anything that requires a bit of effort in moving the body is probably strength. You may already have a strength programme at the gym, or do body weight exercises as part of sports training. It is a crucial aspect to any exercise programme, and if you’re not doing it already, investigate how you can incorporate some strength exercises. You need to do strength work about three times per week, usually taking days off in between as muscles require a day of rest from resistance exercises to help them rebuild. Flexibility Or how bendy your body is. Whilst stretching alone does not burn extra calories (unless you’re doing

pulse-raising Ashtanga yoga), it is useful in myriad ways. Being flexible is an important element in injury prevention, as is maintaining a good range of motion. You may notice that some folk become hunched as they get older, so remember to do lots of stretching and keep ‘great posture’. You can stretch the major muscle groups in your body adequately in about ten minutes if you know which stretches to choose. Ideally stretch at least three times per week, and certainly always after exercise when the body is warm. Try a yoga class to learn new stretches, or pick up exercises from the (very brief) stretches at the end of an aerobics class. You will also probably find charts of stretches on your gym wall, but you may like to ask a qualified trainer for stretches specific to your needs. So it’s the rule of three – cardio at least three times a week (at least half an hour), strength three times a week (usually takes about 30 to 60 minutes) and flexibility exercises at least three times per week (anything from 10 minutes to an hour for a yoga class). I utilise all three aspects of fitness in an hourlong session. Try 30 minutes cardio to warm up, followed by some strength exercises, then stretching to cool down and finish. See you next month for expert advice on how to boost your metabolism – even in party season. Because you'll need it! ■  Leave your comments on this column at leithermagazine.com leithermagazine.com | Issue 59 | 17


The Winter’s Tale Fancy a winter mini-break in an old house in the middle of nowhere? Mrs Jones has a couple of recommendations

N

ow you’re probably thinking that us newlyweds have only one thing on our minds on honeymoon. You’d be right, but without going into too much detail, let’s just say that relaxing and sleeping off the stresses of the big day feature heavily. The Scottish Highlands may not be the obvious choice of honeymoon destination, but having been brave enough for a winter wedding on Skye, the misty hills, choppy waters and biting winds weren’t going to spoil a few days of relaxation. Particularly as I had been sure to book dinner, bed and breakfast in the plushest, fanciest most decadent accommodation I could find. I’m a sucker for a luxury hotel at the best of times, much to the chagrin of my partner and the delight of my credit card company. But if you can’t blow the hotel budget on your honeymoon, when can you? I first experienced traditional Scottish country house hospitality a couple of years ago, after climbing Ben Nevis. We arrived aching and windswept through wrought iron gates on to a long gravel drive where the Victorian Glengarry Castle Hotel, on the shores of Loch Oich, was waiting. The interior was a haven of glorious tartan-clad chintz like I had never seen before and have never seen since. During our four course set dinner, a middle aged woman and her very senior mother surreptitiously smuggled leftovers into a plastic bag for the following day’s lunch while pipe music crackled over wall-mounted speakers. It was like stepping back in time to a world of aperitifs in the library and coffee and petits fours by an open log fire. The fact that there was nothing else to do and nowhere else to go was bliss - I was hooked. Glengarry might not be to everyone’s tastes, however. The carpets and wall hangings were so heavily patterned as to send you cross-eyed, especially after a couple of post-dinner malts; and the food 18 | Issue 59 | leithermagazine.com

Photography: lynnmacdonaldphotography.com

The point at which I mention credit crunches and that horrible bastardisation of the English language that is the ‘staycation’

 Info: Glengarry Castle Hotel open March to November – Duisdale House Hotel open all year

menu was retro almost to the point of a time warp. For my honeymoon, I managed to find something more in line with the expectations of us city folk – a boutique country house just a stone’s throw from our wedding venue. Duisdale House is a modern, minimalist yet sumptuous country house hotel on the southern coast of Skye. Easily reached from the road bridge from Kyle of Lochalsh, via a brand new European funded road, this little piece of luxury is only a few hours drive from Leith. And the fact that I’m writing about it in advertising copy speak must mean I really, really liked it. I really, really did. Crisp linen sheets and a flat screen telly in the bedroom; his and hers bathrobes and fancy aromatic shower gel in the bathroom; and in the lounge, boldly printed walls, dark wood and inviting, oversized leather sofas. Every evening, large gin and tonics are served by exceptionally friendly waiters on shiny red coasters while you peruse the dinner menu. And what a menu. Here in Leith we may have a few Michelin stars on our doorstep, but there are more to be found outside of the city. Duisdale’s Head Chef, Graham Campbell, earned his first Michelin star at the Ballachulish Hotel last year and will be hoping to do the same again on Skye. Locals had assured us that Duisdale’s scallop dishes were some-

thing special and we were not disappointed - hand dived from Loch Sconser and served with a beautifully light and sweet crab consommé. Seared loin of local venison or baked fillet of cod for main course; rich and delicate chocolate torte or cheese and roasted figs for afters. And the luxury food isn’t just on the menu at dinnertime. If you’re looking for a Michelin-starred fry up then this is the place to come. With a perfectly round poached egg, perched atop homemade potato scone and a hand-topped disc of black pudding; a greasy spoon breakfast this is not. Duisdale House has successfully taken luxurious and decadent Scottish country house holidaying and made it trendy. There is still that wonderful sense of having nowhere to go and nothing to do, but in a sleek, contemporary setting. This should probably be the point at which I mention recessions and credit crunches and that horrible bastardisation of the English language that is the ‘staycation’. However, none of these are reasons to go – not only is Duisdale reassuringly expensive, as befits my luxury hotel addiction; it is also not a substitute for a holiday further afield. I may have ended up on a country house honeymoon because I crawled there from the excesses of my wedding, but I wouldn’t think twice about crossing a few borders to go back. ■


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Dominico’s

A Farewell to Teeth: An Extract Colin Montgomery tells us the, mostly true, story of a favourite band he is too young to remember

I

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Restaurant

Now serving Sunday Brunch throughout December Opening Hours

Mon to Fri 12pm - 2.30pm & 5.30pm - 10pm Sat 5.30pm - 10pm Sun 11am - 2.30pm & 5.30pm - 10pm 30 Sandport St, Leith, EH6 6EP 0131 467 7266 www.osteriadidomenico.com 20 | Issue 59 | leithermagazine.com

first met Freeky Teeth inside. Not ‘behind bars’ you understand, but in a bar near Braemar in 1997. ‘The Teeth’ – as the band rapidly became known for the sake of brevity and indeed phonetic decency were fond of a libation or three, as was evidenced during the now infamous Secretary Tour of 1972 when bassist Keith Beaks attempted to write and perform the world’s first song entirely about cocktails. Packets of cheesy wotsits were distributed at the doors of venues, not unlike the great sport of darts, the better to appreciate the song’s louche sophistication. Personally I had my doubts. But then again, what do I know? I was but a squawking bairn back then – helpless and incapable – defecating into some cotton towelling was a journey to the outer reaches of my ambitions in life at that stage. Indeed, the thought of exploring the outer reaches of sound in the ungodly sonic space bus that was Freeky Teeth’s challenging live album, Labyrinth Tramp, would have been an act of supreme folly. That album, recorded at a gig held in a maze (crowd surfers became easily lost) went on to be regarded as a landmark in rock. Quite literally, in the case of a later concert on the Isle of Man, where a crazed member of The Teeth’s entourage – extreme groupies known as ‘Molars’ – attempted to create an homage hewn from the sea-bullied stone of the Calf of Man, a famous (or now infamous) Manx landmark. Tragically he lost his grip and fell, consumed by the brine, after only managing to carve the leg of the Labyrinth Tramp from the eponymous triple album’s cover. Sadly despite their three-legged Celtic symbol and their motto, ‘wherever you throw me I will stand’, the homely Manx frown upon the peripatetic life and alas this insane leggy monument to vagrancy and my favourite band is no more. It was torn down to the sound of wet applause ringing across the sealinfested straits.

So what now remains of Freeky Teeth? What of vocalist Bonjela Jones, bassist Keith Beaks, and enigmatic halfblood organist Merde? Not forgetting their, rather unexpected, manager Doctor David Alun? What of that night when they played an unplugged session in the old Leith Custom House using only found nauticalia for instruments? What happened to their back catalogue, which makes that of Argos look like a scrawled map on a scrap of foolscap? What legacy have these titans of the inner anvil left to us? Nothing. I wish I could say it wasn’t so, but despite my best efforts to prise open their rock gobs and get to the bottom of their demise, on that maroon night in ’97 - when by chance I met The Teeth in that bar outside Braemar – there were no gaps in their collective front row. No caries in their stories. Just the limp yellowing grins of four once talented guys who gave the world their best shot. Unfortunately the world reciprocated in spades. In that insane duel there could only be one winner. Goodbye Freeky Teeth. And thanks for nothing, you raggedy tosspots. ■  A, slightly soiled, Freeky Teeth T-shirt is available for lease or sale - contact The Leither. Illustration: B. Craig.


Coffee, yir other national drink Gordon Munro is full of beans

C

appuccino culture is an epithet that is deployed in a derogatory way to describe the new Leith. Yet Leith’s love affair with coffee goes back to a time long before the changes heralded by the sobriquet ‘Leith sur mer’. When my Mum had a wee bit spare money left over after the shopping she would take us to Lanny’s café on Henderson Street. Here she would order a cappuccino and we would get milkshakes (if she was really flush we would get a filled roll with our drink). Mum always had a bacon roll chaser to go with her coffee. Lanny’s is long gone, we first went in the 1960s, but the slat seating is still there. It is now Mitchell’s café and, in my opinion, it still does the best milkshake in town. None of your syrupy gloop here, this is milk with real ice cream. Make mine strawberry. Lanny’s was one of several ‘Tally cafés’ in Leith and everyone had their favourite. But coffee was here even before the Italians moved in. Lyon’s Coffee Houses were dotted all over the old port. Next time you’re daundering down Trafalgar Street take a look up and you’ll see markings on a wall; which show where one of the largest in the city stood. These were popular – especially with the prohibitionists – as an alternative meeting place to public houses, which were male dominated and rowdy. Some of these public houses still exist even in the new Leith. The Italians prospered and moved on. Their progeny now charge an arm and a leg in salubrious establishments located in such down at heel locations as George Street and Multrees Walk. If you’re in this neighbourhood I would recommend you go to Café Camino where the food and the coffee are better and cheaper. The purveyors of our daily hit of coffee now come from further east, of which Leith has two fine examples. Peter may have moved on from Café Qupi on Leith Walk but his touch is still there, the food and the decor is still

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influenced by his Greek heritage and it’s a popular choice for locals who love their coffee – last time I was in it was also a place for the Greek diaspora in the city to relax and swap stories – but the best coffee in Leith is to be found in Café Truva on the Shore. It may be hard to believe but Eddie has been in business here for over 10 years now. Truva is Turkish for Troy, as in Helen of, and Eddie and his cohorts are fanatical (are there any other sort?) Turkish football fans. Here you can get all the trendy versions of milky coffee and you can still taste the coffee. However the drink for hardcore coffee drinkers is the Turkish coffee. This is served in a wee bowl and is as thick as soup. Most folk have it with sugar, which only accelerates the effect. The stuff is so strong that if the civil servants across the road at Victoria Quay test it they’ll end up recommending it be taxed due to its strength. This coffee deserves a Government Health warning. Have some baklava with it and you’ll end up so wired that folks will think you have ADHT. So Leith’s love of coffee is historical. I wonder where the next wave of purveyors of our other favourite drink, sorry Leith Agency, will come from? ■

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FoodReview The Editor

Remembrance of things past, or Proustian moments Budapest Restaurant & Café 9/10 Commercial Street Edinburgh ( 0131 555 5604

F

or Proust it was the smell of freshly baked madeleines – plump little scallop shaped cakes – that triggered involuntary memories, through perceived sensory experience. For me it is parsley, dried parsley to be precise, redolent as it is of the freshly mown grass I used to dive into whilst keeping goal in inter-school football matches decades ago. Thus it was that my girlfriend had to stir me from my own reverie to lost youth in Budapest Restaurant when, in the act of devouring an exceptionally light and flavoursome liver dumpling soup, I was confronted by hundreds of little green grains of dried parsley floating on the surface of the beef consommé. The heat from the consommé intensified the farmyard pungency of the dried parsley – an ingredient I haven’t seen in a restaurant since the 1970s. The perfume was bosky and evocative, and in my daydream 22 | Issue 59 | leithermagazine.com

I was about to save a penalty on school sports day when she kicked me on the shin and hissed, “Talk to me!” Suitably stirred, I came crashing back to the present, and looked at the décor of the restaurant. “Why are purple walls always described as ‘aubergine’ when aubergines are black?” I asked, by way of a pacifier. She kicked me again, for no discernable reason, and the waitress took away our, licked clean, soup bowls. We had started with Hortobagyi palacsinta 2 db. The key here was that 2 db, it was un-translated on the menu but we soon discovered it was Hungarian shorthand for ‘more than enough for two’. We were each presented with a large pancake of ground chicken in a bland, cow pat coloured sauce, topped with a (welcome) sharp, soured cream. This was followed, with alarming rapidity, by a bulbous cauldron (that would easily have fed three) of the aforementioned soup. Somewhere in the region of two and a half starters each was not what we had in mind when we placed our order. Belt buckles were cautiously

I took a jog to the toilet, not out of desperation you understand, more in a vain attempt to run off some of the 10,000 calories I had already consumed

loosened, and we were not even a third of the way through. The other side of the table sucked noisily on her homemade lemonade, which had a whole lemon floating in it, and blushed when the sound echoed back off the walls. “They could do with some background music in here,” she whispered, and indeed they could. The silence was deafening. I took a jog to the toilet, not out of desperation you understand, more in a vain attempt to run off some of the 10,000 calories I had already consumed. On my return the Satjos bundaban sult Haddock sat on my place mat like a valediction. It positively dared me to sit down and pick up my knife and fork. I took my belt off altogether and put it in my jacket pocket. I would not be needing it this evening. Facing me were two large chunks of haddock in what was allegedly a ‘cheese coat’, the cheese had done a runner to be replaced by a pleasingly light tempura batter. The fish was accompanied by what the menu called ‘spicy roast potatoes’, from which the spicy and roast had also done a runner, leaving some


flaccid cubes of deep fried spud in their wake. The saving grace of this dish was a mountain of green beans tossed with half a pig’s worth of smoked bacon, squeaky to the tooth, in the way that green beans should be, they were stunning, and constituted a signature dish in their own right. By the way, I forgot to mention earlier, the matriarch of this whole operation, a redoubtable pocket battleship of Magyar blondness, welcomed us with a question of marvellous forthrightness. “Do you prefer when it is hot or cold, would you like a radiator?” (Whilst my psychoanalyst is dealing with that hot or cold question, I’ve asked my plumber to pop round and take advantage of the free radiator offer). Meanwhile, in the all too shaky present, my girlfriend’s order of Birkagulyas tarhonya had morphed into Marhaporkolt, an act of verbal dexterity that is worth a review in its own right. Suffice to say, she ordered a lamb goulash with what the menu described as a ‘sort of’ noodle couscous and what she received was a beef stew with homemade

noodles. The most defining characteristics of the rogue beef dish were tenderness and flavour, it did however lack gravy and cohesiveness, which rendered the attendant quivering tower of bland noodles, or Halusky, redundant. The violent grinding of the pepper mill on the distaff side of the table was ample evidence of the Hungarian tendency to use the sweet version of paprika at the expense of the hot one. A Polish friend of mine told me that when Budapest Restaurant first opened he got pissed on free Palinka and sang along with a self-playing organ that churned out Polkas, it all sounded delightfully quirky. Unfortunately the organ was nowhere to be seen on the night we were there and they now have a licence. The utilitarian furniture and uniformity of its placing – not to mention the sheer size of the place – means you would not come here for an intimate, romantic evening. Which is not to say there is no warmth here, it is present in the service, which is entirely charming (and swift). I was pondering whether to describe the cooking as

Score :

11/20 Bill for two : £34.15 including two cans of Tennents lager, one undrunk, and a glass of homemade lemonade

cuisine a la grande mere, when she of the noisy lemonade piped up with, “It’s like the food my granny used to make in her pressure cooker, she never seasoned things either” (No bad thing for your reviewer’s marginally high blood pressure). The waitress slipped a dessert menu on to the table, pancakes with ‘two pieces of marmalade’ – I’m not even going to try typing the Hungarian, I only have eight fingers – and Tortaszelet (fancy cake), caught the eye. So too did the button on my trousers popping off and skittering loudly across the floor like a tap dancing cockroach. The waitress looked at me with infinite understanding and whisked the dessert menu away, before I did myself an injury. My second can of Tennents lager – yes, cans of Tennents lager in a restaurant are a good thing – remained untouched. There was one final slurp from the noisesome lemonade drinker across the way and we were off, yours truly reflecting again on the fact that I hadn’t eaten like this since the 1970s – Van Dyked tomatoes anyone? ■ leithermagazine.com | Issue 59 | 23


Pierino’s keeping it in the family

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0131 477 7727 11 Bernard Street, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6PW

J.S.B PLUMBING & SONS 24 HOUR SERVICE CENTRAL HEATING & PLUMBING SERVICES JOINERY, TILING & ELECTRICAL SERVICES REGISTER

flowers by ray Merry Christmas and a happy new year

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7 brighton place edinburgh eh15 ila 24 | Issue 59 | leithermagazine.com

CENTRAL HEATING INSTALLATIONS

BATHROOM SUITE DESIGN & INSTALLATION

ALL ASPECTS OF JOINERY WORK

LANDLORD CERTIFICATES & SAFETY INSPECTIONS

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Ryanair – a bus with wings Protempore does a reasonable impersonation of a Rottweiler

H

ave you ever travelled with Ryanair? It’s a fair bet that you probably have, or at least tried to, at some point. Ryanair is a market leader in cheap – this word will come up once or twice in this article – air travel, providing what they claim are low cost flights to various destinations in Europe. Now it all depends what you mean by ‘low cost’. If you’re talking about the amount of cash you have to shell out to enjoy – this word won’t appear very often – one of their flights, then the actual cost appears fairly minimal. If you’re talking about the cost to your health, your enjoyment of a well-earned holiday, or your faith in modern day air travel, forget it. Ryanair is a toilet, the company’s owner, Michael O’Leary, is proud of the fact he manages to cram so many willing punters onto his planes, which hang heavy with the odour of tear-sodden hen parties and the flaccid, sweaty remnants of hung-over stags. Put bluntly, Michael O’Leary couldn’t give a toss what people think of his airline as long as it’s bringing cash through the tills and herding bedraggled travellers to airports in Europe which no-one has heard of and which necessitate a lengthy (and often expensive) train journey to your actual destination. O’Leary has been quoted as saying, “An aeroplane is nothing more than a bus with wings on. Are we trying to blow up the notion that flying is some kind of orgasmic experience rather than a glorified bus service? Yes, we are.” He has managed to build up a company that doesn’t give a shit about its staff or its customers yet still manages to rake in profits year on year. It’s a phenomenon which almost beggars belief until you realise some people are more than willing to be exploited, as long as

they think they’re getting something out of it. So, what’s the deal with Ryanair? Some basic rules to remember if you find yourself about to hit the send button while booking a flight with the ‘flying toilet’. If your flight is delayed, and some have been delayed for up to two days, Ryanair will not put you up in a hotel or give you vouchers to buy a cup of tea. (When you eventually get on board you can always buy a cuppa for £2.50). Wait a minute, I hear you cry, we can’t afford to pay for a hotel. Tough. Curl up on the airport floor and dry your eyes because they don’t give a toss. Are you taking your baby to visit family and friends abroad? Right, you’ll have to pay extra for a baby cot on board. Oh, and if you require a wheelchair to get on board that’ll be extra as well. You’re also only allowed to put 15 kilos of luggage in the hold. On a recent flight my daughter’s suitcase weighed 15.1 kilos, Ryanair check-in made her transfer a couple of pairs of socks to her hand luggage! Now I’m no physicist but what difference did that sock transfer make to the plane’s ability to get off the ground? That £1 flight that you just booked is beginning to look a little too cheap to be true isn’t it? And when you book your flight you’ll have to perform your own check-in administration and print out your check-in details as the company plans to close all its check-in desks by the end of this year. Ryanair say this will allow them to pass on savings to passengers – hang on, aren’t the passengers using their own computers and printers to avoid paying a £40 charge at the airport? At every turn, when you think that you’re getting a great deal, you’re actually more or less employed by the company – you think that you’re making a huge saving but what

Whether you like it or not you’re being exploited by a very clever machine, which is only interested in cold, hard cash

you’re actually doing is allowing the company to employ less staff and boost its profits. You’re being exploited by a very clever machine, which is only interested in cold, hard cash. So what, you say? And that’s the point. When people are willing to be treated like shit because they think they’re getting a cheap deal, or when gormless and untalented people are being paraded on television in the guise of entertainment because they think that the exposure may make them famous, the reality is that pitiless sharks like O’Leary and Simon Cowell are laughing all the way to the bank. Cynical? You bet I am. Do yourself a favour. Next time you fancy a flight to Europe, save up for however long it takes, and book yourself a seat on an airline that values your custom and it’s own staff. Dress up for the flight and while you’re sipping your well-earned drink, spare a thought for the deluded bargain hunters as they head to a barn in the middle of nowhere on a bus with wings, that smells of piss. ■ leithermagazine.com | Issue 59 | 25


Laird’sLarder

Chicken, cheese & broccoli bake H

Food served 11am - 4pm Pints from £1.90. Mega deals on house doubles. Funerals respectfully catered for.

A1 PETS

ullo ma wee muckers! Well here’s a hertie winter dish fir yis. Noo ah tried tae get free range fir this, but when ah went tae the free range chicken section oh the supermarket there wis a wee sign saying, “Ah’ll be back in one hour.” Cheeky wee burd! Wit yi’ll need is: 4 spring onions 1 crushed garlic clove 4 chicken thighs diced 5 tbsps crème fraiche 75 grms grated cheese 200grms farfalle pasta 325grms broccoli florets freshly chopped parsley 1 tsp veggie stock Wit yi dae is: Heat oil in a pan, add yir chicken, onions and garlic and fry till golden and chicken is almost cooked through. Season well then stir in hauf cheese and crème fraiche. Mean-

Your one and only local pet shop in Great Junction Street. Not to be confused with the pet supplies window display next door!!! Freshwater tropical fish and goldfish, plants, fish foods, tanks, bowls, etc. Plus our usual extensive selection of pet foods, accessories and cat litter. Live & frozen fish & reptile foods now in stock. Free home delivery. Open 7 days.

165 Great Junction Street,EH6 5LG. Tel: 0131 467 2928 26 | Issue 59 | leithermagazine.com

time boil a large pot o’ water, add veg stock and pasta and cook fir yin minute less than advised oan pasta packet. Add broccoli florets twa minutes before end. Drain pasta (keeping yin ladle oh cookin’ water) and add creamy chicken mix. If it needs thinning, add water noo. Tip intae ovenproof dish and sprinkle ower remaining cheese. Cook in medium oven fir 15 mins. Serves 4 wi’ green salad. Bing, Bang, Bosh, it’s a lovely nosh! Mah wee pal Luke Deekin heard The Antiques Road Show wis comin’ tae toon. So he went straight intae his loft in search oh a family heirloom. Finally he found something and dragged it alang tae the show. “Whit is it?” He asked, rubbin’ his haunds. Arthur Negus looked at it and said like this, “It’s a water tank” ■ Ching Ching The Laird


NearPavillion 7

To have and to have not C

hristmas is a difficult time of year for many regular ‘Leither’ readers – average wage packets combined with the stress and strain of visiting family and friends, the bourgeoning bill at the local sauna, Christmas dinner with all the trimmings… it all adds up to a tough time for Joe Soap… poor old Joe Soap. But my Christmas message to you this year is simple – we are all Jock Tamson’s bairns and in no way is this better validated than my last Caribbean holiday. I don’t know about you (though I have my suspicions) but I prefer to head off to warmer climes for the festive season – Barbados to be exact. Home to close friend and confidant, Sir Cliff Richard. Sir Cliff is a true pal, whether we’re surfing at Bashiba bay, slapping down ‘the doms’ in downtown Bridgetown or toasting it up in an old fashioned stylee at the Mount Gay brewery he’s always good fun. So it’s with a devoted sense of duty to my ever growing readership

 Regular

readers will be delighted to know that a ringfold binder is available exclusively for the adventures of Leopold Simpson. Month by month it builds up into something you will want to place in the attic. Then, upon rediscovering it after several years, place directly into the nearest bin without comment or emotion.

Sir Cliff...close friend

and their simplistic hardships that I feel I have to share the events of last Christmas so that we can, through the medium of the written word, broaden our horizons and in some small way share the human burden. Sir Cliff is a devout Christian and therefore Christmas, the dinner, the holidays, the presents, the guests, the wines, the poppers, and

the snake charmers, all add up to a serious proposition. No more serious than my bowel problems as it turned out. I’d had a dicky stomach all week but I thought I was over the worst of it – not so – settling down to write this I had initially thought of an easy way to describe the events of that fateful day, but it’s The Leither and there is no easy way, so lets get down to it. At the very start of the meal – just after the Lord’s Prayer I lost control of my bowels. That’s right I bluffed in my breeches, soiled my sandal bag. But knowing how strict Sir Cliff can be during Christmas dinner, I had to stay silent – word wise that is. Soiled pants say so much more than words ever will. Thank god for Cliff’s black labrador (Inky). It seems like a shame, but Inky took all the blame for my sphincter malfunction. Well, not all the blame, as a wildly flatulent Chris Biggins took some of the heat off. Still, after the prawn cocktails and several delightful melon balls, I took the chance to slip off to the toilets. As far as soiling goes this was top drawer (weighty) the only option I had was to get rid of the offending articles and blocking the toilets with underpants on Christmas day was simply not an option – would we get a plumber! I think not! So I thought flinging the chappies out of the window and into the dense undergrowth next door would be the best option. It turned out this wasn’t the best option. A poorly judged throw, combined with slippage of foot, left said garments short of the undergrowth and slap (and I do mean slap) bang on top of the conservatory in which we were eating. Returning to the Christmas table was perhaps close to being one the most embarrassing moments during my friendship with Cliff. It took me a full ten minutes to gather the strength to go back and face the table – Bowie, Weller, Biggins, Cowell, Le Bon, Taylor (Phil), Tyler (Bonnie) and Karpets (Vladimir). Louie Walsh

Simon Cowell shares a joke with Leo Simpson (just out of shot)

had been there but he and Simon had fallen out over the choice of dessert wine. Luckily Cliff had already seen the funny side and by the time I had slunk down the three flights of stairs he had gathered Simon Cowell, David Bowie and Biggins together for an impromptu rendition of ‘Congratulations.’ Cowell was particularly enthusiastic using a pair of giant foam hands to point at my special, collectors edition, General Pinochet Calvin Kleins resting directly overhead. I have to say it was a struggle not to just up and leave there and then. Luckily Paul Weller chose this moment to give a full rendition of ‘That’s Entertainment’. Later that evening over cocktails Cliff told me that in years to come I could look back and laugh at the whole situation and, you know, I think he was right. Goodwill, yours Leo. ■

Phil Taylor, great in bed

leithermagazine.com | Issue 59 | 27


Electric Man: The Movie S

o here, as they say in the film world, is the pitch – a £100,000 comic (Electric Man No1) doesn’t appear without attracting trouble. Unfortunately for Jazz and Wolf trouble comes in more than one package. There’s Jimmy, a Glaswegian heavy who’s already killed once to get his hands on it. Edison Bolt, an unhinged American comic collector, who hasn’t a clue what he’ll do next. Add the alluringly seductive, and not entirely truthful, Lauren MacAll…trouble, you see, comes in threes. And that’s before Electric Man himself turns up. Dugbus Ltd in tandem with Strange Boat Films are in pre-production on the film – best described as the Maltese Falcon meets Clerks – in which two 28 | Issue 59 | leithermagazine.com

perennial underachievers find one of the world’s rarest comics. To save their livelihoods and love lives, Jazz and Wolf must outwit, outsmart and outrun them all. That’s when they discover that superheroes don’t always wear Lycra... We asked director David Barras to elucidate. Gotham City has Batman. Metropolis has Superman. Edinburgh...not so much. How are you going to colour in that ‘not so much’? Superhero movies are massive just now. We’re obviously not even going to try and compete on that level. Our film is all about the people who love superheroes – who love the source material for those movies – and the world they inhabit. Our two main characters, Jazz and Wolf, will

be the audience’s entry into this world. Jazz is the comics’ expert, the nerdier of the two, whilst Wolf is just someone coasting through life, one situation at a time. He’s the chaos to Jazz’s stability. How long has the Electric Man project been in development and when would you hope to see its release? Believe it or not it was originally written in the mid 90s and sent to the BBC. We had a meeting with them and they asked us to contribute to various sketch shows from that period. Later on, Fresh Films optioned it, but nothing came of that, so we returned to the original idea last August. Updating it, re-writing it, and making it a whole lot better. The script is set to go but we will polish prior to casting and workshop it when the cast are in place. As to a release date, we hope to premiere towards the latter half of 2010. We’ll be looking to attend film festivals, build word of mouth and hope to be picked up for distribution. A DVD will appear whatever the outcome. You begin filming in Edinburgh early in 2010, which can’t be cheap, and you mentioned a micro budget, I presume that means the minimum it would take to get the film made? Well, we all live in Edinburgh, which helps! The absolute minimum, with everyone being paid at least something, would be around £20,000£25,000 for the shoot. Roughly the same amount would be required for post-production and readying the film for distribution. Do you have an ideal cast in mind? Since four of our main six characters are in their twenties, and given our budget restrictions, we’re looking for the next James McAvoys and Kelly McDonalds. Your chosen method of financing the film… normally one sees an article in the Evening News about some dodgy historical epic starring Brian Blessed, with the strap line, ‘pay £500 and see yourself on the silver screen’. Then you never hear of it again. How will you avoid that fate? In the current climate it’s very difficult to get a film made. Funding schemes are bureaucratic and time consuming. Conditions are often attached and the whole thing can become a torturous process. Robert Carlyle, Irvine Welsh and Mark

We are aiming to be a Gregory’s Girl for the 21st century not an underachieving, half-baked Braveheart

 Check out: eletricmanmov ie.com If you are interested in getting involved with Electric Man.  Like an Electric Man T-shirt? Email info@leithermagazine.com and tell us why we should, er, give you one.


Cousins have struggled for years to get their film ‘Meat Trade’ off the ground. But yeah, I know the films you’re talking about; historical epics on a budget are hard. Comedy and horror are the only genres that work on a low budget. We hope to be a Gregory’s Girl for the 21st century – a comedy/ drama, let’s say dramedy – not an underachieving, half-baked Braveheart. You mention that you are targeting the 16 to 34 year olds, I’m in my forties, am I excluded? (Laughs) no of course not! That’s a reference to the main cinema going audience; the people who help make big movies big. It’s a message to investors to say, we want people to see this and we’re aiming it at the biggest cinema going demographic. You also mention the film will appeal to a female niche audience. How exactly? Not quite, we say it will appeal to a male and female audience and then add, niche it isn’t. That’s because we have two separate love stories going on within the plot, centred around two very strong female characters, Lauren MacAll and Victoria, the yin to Jazz and Wolf’s yan, if you like. Tell us a bit more about the production team? I’ve been in media production since 1993. Strange Boat was

set up in 2004 and we deal mainly in films. Scott and I were role-playing writers and had a company together in the early 90’s called Delphi Concepts. I’ve written five feature film screenplays. A TV series. We have been close to going into production a couple of times, only to fall at the final hurdle. Very frustrating. I’ve known Scott for 20 years. He was best man at my wedding and he came up with the first draft of the original script. He also came up with the Electric Man character. Initially when we wrote the script it was Superman (Action Comics No.1) but we needed permissions etc, so Electric Man was born. I met Ellen, our producer, at the last place I worked; she was a volunteer for a while then went on to join the BBC. Rich is one of the best steadicam operators in the UK. He’s worked on a number of productions from corporate to music videos to BBC shows like Sea of Souls. Stuart worked with a friend of mine and he’s just a great artist. We love what he’s done so far in creating the cover and feel of Electric Man. Everyone’s on board because they like the script and because it’s the kind of film we don’t see enough of in Scotland. And, it’s do-able. There’s nothing tricky about it. We can achieve this if we take this opportunity. ■

Christmas in Leith Come along and enjoy the carol singing by children from our local Primary schools. Wednesday 9th Dec: 1.45pm St Mary’s, Leith. Thursday 10th Dec: 1.30pm Craigentinny. Monday 14th Dec: 2pm Leith Primary. Tuesday 15th Dec: 11am Hermitage Park Primary. Tuesday 15th Dec: 2pm Fort Primary. Wednesday 16th Dec: 11am Victoria Primary. Leith Festival Association would like to thank the Board of the Kirkgate Community Centre for their support.

Merry Xmas! From all at The Leither

leithermagazine.com | Issue 59 | 29


The Port O’ Leith - a true legend of the Edinburgh pub trade To all our customers have a great Christmas and a very merry New Year. From all the staff at the Port O’ Leith

VineBar THE

Dean & Jenna would like to wish all their customers A very Happy Christmas & New Year.

Festive opening hours Christmas day: 12pm to 5pm Boxing Day: 12pm to 8pm Sunday: 12.30 to 11pm Hogmanay: 8pm till late (tickets only after 10pm, tickets £3) New Years Day: 12pm to 5pm Sunday: 12pm to 8pm 43 North Junction St, Leith EH6 6HS. 0131 555 5834 30 | Issue 59 | leithermagazine.com


Louise’sColumn

Movember: Rogues Gallery By a Mo Sista M

agnum P.I. might have been the only man to truly make the moustache sexy but throughout the month of November there have been more than a few contenders in the Leith neighbourhood trying to give good old Tom Selleck a run for his money.

Movember moustaches - changing the face of men’s health

 web info: movember.com prostate-cancer. org.uk Photography: Kamila Kowalczyk

Swarthy looking types For the uninitiated, ‘Movember’ is an annual, month long moustachegrowing fest open to all men willing and able, to cultivate a growth of hair above their upper lip. The whole shebang serves to highlight men’s health issues and helps raise money, especially for prostate cancer. Relatively new to the UK, it all began in Melbourne, Australia in 2003, as an attempt to bring back the moustache. Not sure if the ‘making the moustache popular again’ idea was a particularly successful one but the following year the campaign evolved into a fundraising event for prostate cancer and has since expanded across the world, so far raising over £30 million as well as helping to spread the word. Not the type of lads to shy away from a challenge, especially for such a good cause, a number of courageous males from around Leith have embraced Movember with enthusiasm, style, and true Leither panache. You may in fact have spotted a few more swarthy looking types than normal walking the streets of Leith. If you have, there is a very good chance that these fine men will be members of the Edinburgh Blue Barbers team, a motley crew of local lads (supported by their

‘mo sistas’) who collectively took the Movember pledge at the start of November to grow, groom, and develop the finest collection of moustaches Leith has ever seen. So, who are these local worthies who have been posting varying stages of growth on Facebook every other day and who have, at the time of the writing of this article, raised more than £1,000 for the cause, with the month not yet out? Well, please allow me to introduce you to. Presenting the Edinburgh Blue Barbers… 1 DJ Normski 2 Crazy Chris 3 Cool Colin 4 Craig: The Edge! 5 Roy: Undercover 6 Keith: Menacing 7 Bongo: ‘Don’t mess with me’ 8 David: ‘Look! Nae nasal hair!’ 9 Keith: Jammy Devil 10 Sonny: Poker face So, if you fancy getting involved next year, watch this space. The Leither will give you plenty of advance warning. It would be great to get more people in the community involved – that includes you Mo Sistas who can pencil in a ‘tache for a day – and do our bit for raising awareness and funds for men’s health. Well done Blue Barber boys, as well as the staff at Roseleaf and The Village who have also been sporting moustaches, including the ‘Mo Sistas’ as mentioned above, along with everyone else who has supported the cause during the month formerly known as November. ■  Leave your comments on this column at leithermagazine.com leithermagazine.com | Issue 59 | 31


What’sOn

Highlight of the month

entertainment Carrier’s Quarters 42 Bernard Street  0131 554 4122 Sun: 6.30pm Jammie Devils Espy 62/64 Bath Street, Portobello  0131 669 0082 Mon: Poker Night. Tue: Stitch & Bitch (local knitting circle). Wed: Open Mic Night. Sun: Quiz Night Guilty Lily 284 Bonnington Road  0131 554 5824 Sun: The Afternoon Session & Nikki’s Quiz. Mon: Mad Mexican Mondays. Tex Mex Food, Music and Films. Tues/Wed: Movie Double/ Triple Bills. Wed: Poker League. Fri: Live Music 8.30pm. 4 Dec: Naughty and Nice Burlesque. 11 Dec: Ben Kearsley Classical Flamenco Guitar 8.30pm. 19 Dec: Singstar Karaoke & Guitar Hero 9pm. 31 Dec: The Guilty Party 10pm-3am £5. Saphire Music Club @ Guilty Lily. Last Thurs of the month, 7.45pm, £5 entry. Sofi’s Bar 65 Henderson Street  0131 555 7019 Mon: Film Night 8pm. Last Mon of the month: Scottish - Swedish Society. Thurs: Acoustic Open Mic Night with Sylvian. Sat: Come watch the X Factor. Last Tues of the month: Knitting Nights. Knit blankets for Lothian Cat Rescue. 8 Dec: Beauty Night, 7pm. 13 Dec: Lucia Night (Swedish tradition to celebrate the light in the darkness.) 8pm. Victoria Bar 265 Leith Walk  0131 554 5706 6 Dec: Christmas Card Writing, 2 til 11pm. 13 Dec: Lucia Night from 8pm. Joseph Pearce’s Bar 23 Elm Row  0131 556 4140 Tues: Jogging Club 7pm-8pm. 1st Mon of the month: The Paintbrush and the Sewing Needle. A general art & craft circle at 7pm. New events: Cinnamon Wed and Sun D.J. nights. 13 Dec: Lucia Night from 8pm. 14 Dec: Book Club, 7pm. Boda Bar 229 Leith Walk  0131 553 5900 Last Wed of the month: Craft Guerilla Nights 13 Dec: Lucia Night from 8pm. The Bowler’s Rest Mitchell Street  0131 554 4524 1st Thurs of the month: Open song & music session at 9.30pm. Dalriada 77 Promenade, Portobello  0131 454 4500 Wed: Midweek Blues Revue 8pm. Thurs: Quiz Night 8.30pm. Fri & Sat: Live Music 9pm. Sat & Sun: Live Music 3pm-6pm. 19 Dec: Christmas Party Theme Night with the Dalriada Hoose Band. Elbow 133-135 East Claremont Street  0131 556 5662 Hogmany Party: Open til 3am. Three course Champagne Dinner Package available. 32 | Issue 59 | leithermagazine.com

The Red Bus  07599912687  info@theredbus.co.uk Christmas trips on the Red Bus from Leith 17,18 and 19 Dec. The Father Christmas Special, for children aged seven and under. Evening trip to Winter Wonderland (return), with live fiddle outward route, for all ages. Evening trip to the Castle, with live fiddle and hot punch. All Tickets Advance Sale Only. 60 seats max available on each trip so choose your trip and date and please email or telephone with your request asap. Roseleaf 23/24 Sandport Street  0131 476 5268 20 Dec: 80 years of Fish ‘n’ Chips. Celebrate the Nation’s favourite dish. 21 Dec: The Shortest Day – Bring on Summer. 23 Dec: Japanese Day – Kushtae Sushi anyone? 24 Dec: Time to get your cookies & milk ready. 25 Dec: Open for tasty beverages all day! 26 Dec: Open from 10am for all you bargain hunters. 31 Dec: The Auld Bang Sine Shindig. 1 Jan: Come & First Foot us from noon til late. The Shore Bar The Shore  0131 553 5080 Tues: Infinite Trio 9.30pm. Wed: Folk Session 9.30pm. Thur: Playing alternate weeks, The GT’s and Kevin Gore from 9pm. Sun: Afternoon Jazz Session, Kenny Ellis & Brian Kellock, 2pm-5pm. Evening Folk Session, Nuala Kennedy, 7pm-10pm. The Yard 2 Bonnington Road Lane  0131 554 1314 Every 2nd Sun from 6th Sept: The Coolest of Crooners - Marty Waugh & his trio.1-4pm. Every Wed: Acoustic live music sessions. The Vine Bar 43 North Junction Streeet  0131 555 5834 Fri: Disco & Karaoke from 8pm. Sat: Karaoke from 8pm. Kitsch Coffee Bar Bistro 36 Bernard Street  0131 553 7046 Every Thurs live acoustic music from 7pm. Iso Bar 7 Bernard Street  0131 467 8904 Thurs: The Leith Tape Club 8pm.

Oceana Bar 145 Ferry Road  0131 553 3009 Fri: Karaoke 7.30pm. Sat: Open Mic 7.30pm. Sun: Open Mic 5pm. The Village South Fort Street  0131 478 7810 Leith Folk Club  leithfolkclub.org 6 Dec: The Village Booty. 8 Dec: Richard Dobson (£8). 18 Dec: Mulled wine night. 31 Dec: Hogmanay Party, 10pm. Live music plus three DJ’s. 12 Jan: Gren Bartley (£6). Wardie Church New Hall Netherby Road. 4 Dec: Kate Campbell, 8.30pm, £12. Cabaret Voltaire 36-38 Blair Street 9 Dec: Broken Records & Withered Hand, 7.30pm. The Caves 8-12 Niddry Street 19 Dec: Dirty Love Club featuring The Gothenburg Address & Saint Judes Infirmary, 7pm.

the arts Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop 25 Hawthornvale, Newhaven  0131 551 4490 Coburg House Studios 15 Coburg Street. 5 & 6 Dec: Open Weekend, 11am-6pm. Come along and enjoy.


Leith School of Art 25 North Junction Street  0131 554 5761 Print Noir: New work in print by Gregor McAlpine til 12 Dec. Mon-Sat, 9am to 4.30pm. Out of the Blue Drill Hall 36 Dalmeny Street  0131 555 7101 Weekly classes include drama, dance, yoga, martial arts, belly dancing, life drawing, aerial classes and children’s art workshop. See website for more info. 5, 12, 13 Dec: Christmas Arts Market, 11am-7pm. Entry 80p. 6 Dec: Ride Planet Earth. The regular “Spokes” Sun ride. Starts 10am at the Usher Hall. To book your place go to spokes@ spokes.org.uk 12 Dec: Special Bruncheon from 12 noon. Live music & Christmas Arts Market. 19-20 Dec: Weekend Aerial Workshop with Lucy Loop. Trapeze, silks and rope work. For more info cylu22@hotmail.com The Scottish Storytelling Centre 43-45 High Street, EH1 1SR Angels & Archangels: Exhibition of illustrations by Emily Learmont, til 23 Jan. 5 Dec: Meet the artist. 12 Dec: Storylab: Angelic Angels

community Mark Lazarowicz  0131 557 0577 MP for Edinburgh North & Leith holds regular advice surgeries for local residents every Friday. Malcolm Chisholm  0131 558 8358 MSP for Edinburgh North & Leith. Advice Surgeries every Saturday morning. Rob Munn Leith Ward SNP. Advice surgeries: 1st & 3rd Mon of each month at Thomas Morton Hall, 6pm. 2nd Wednesday of month at Hermitage Park Primary, 6pm. Gordon Munro Leith Ward Labour. Advice surgeries:1st & 3rd Monday of each month at Leith Community Education Centre, 6.30pm-7.15pm. 2nd Mon of each month at Fort Primary School, 6.30-7.15pm. Last Saturday of each month at Lochend Y.W.C.A., 12noon-1pm. Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP Advice Surgeries: Every Monday at the Scottish Parliament, 10am-12pm. Margorie Thomas  0131 529 4988 City Chambers. Leith Ward. Advice surgeries: 1st & 3rd Wed. of each month at Fort Community Wing, 5.30-6pm and Leith Academy, 6.30-7.30pm.

Leith Library 28-30 Ferry Road  0131 529 5517 Computer Club: Under 13’s, Tues 4-5pm Fri Craft Time: For ages 4 to 11, Fri 2.30pm For info on other clubs & events contact Leith Library. Perc U Up Café Mon to Fri. 10am-2pm. Fairtrade goods for sale. Volunteers required. Ramsay Cornish 15/17 Jane Street  0131 553 7000 Traditional Lane Sale - Thurs. 11am General Household Auction - Sat. 11am

Lisa’s Little Angels Dog grooming for all pampered pooches, friendly & caring environment, professionally clipped & groomed from head to toe.

Fort Food Co-op Fort Primary School  0131 467 7326 Every Tues 9am-12 noon. The Village Store Out of the Blue Drill Hall. Food Co-op closed for winter – see you in the spring. Edinburgh Backgammon Meetup  0131 665 1170 Out of the Blue Drill Hall. A friendly group that meets up regularly. Whether you want to play competitively or just for fun. Complete beginners welcome.

Christmas gift bags now available for your dog or cat. T: 0131 538 1259 M: 07834 439 397 173 Constitution Street, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 7AA

Royal Artizana 115 Leith Walk  0131 555 3999 Furniture, jewellery & crafts created by local artists. Serving coffee & tea. 20% of net profit goes back to local charities. A community shop. Friarwood Fine Wines  0131 554 4159 Free Wine Tasting. Fri 4.30pm & Sat all day. The Ethical Christmas Fayre 12-20 Dec: Princes Street/ Castle Street. St Columba’s Hopice Tree Lighting Ceremony  lightalight.co.uk 7 Dec: Charlotte Square Gardens. Gates open 5.30pm. A chance to dedicate one of the 5,000 lights on their 40ft tree to the memory of your loved one. The Light a Light Appeal is to raise money to support the valuable work of the Hospice. The Leither says  07908550118 Do you have an event you would like to publicize in our what’s on pages? Contact:  info@theleithermagazine.com

Christmas Weekend 5 & 6 Dec

Leith Community Centre Kinsfolk Carers drop-in support group. Thurs 10am-noon. Crèche & Café available.  07990795635. South Leith Church Halls 6 Henderson Street  0131 554 2578 Computer classes: Mon afternoons & Tues eve. Corn Exchange Gallery Constitution Street  0131 561 7300

Registered charity: SC028070

Enjoy complimentary mulled wine & shortbread at our Christmas Weekend Tel: 0131 555 5566 for more information

leithermagazine.com | Issue 59 | 33


CrosswordNo.34 Sponsored by

across 1 5 10 11 12 13 15 18 20 23 25 26 27 28

Small jars enclose member for tea perhaps (8) Firm member the Spanish drive forcibly (6) Ach mouse leaping strangely not in this event (9,6) Drug movement agitation (7) Alien queen to point to gangster for life (7) Nestled points to posh horse that was first (8) Claw heavyweight that grabs a novice (5) Pulse back to front it’s the same (5) Roundabout not out. Straight. (8) Infanticipating in this! (3,4) Money in London or Paris perhaps (7) Do summit on circle round but not here (6,9) Split half school theory (6) Ripped dress set accent, Ed! (8)

down 1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9 14 16 17 19 21 22 24 25

Firm deck smashed with pointed gun (6) Awkwardly ran nude, do this to be so (9) Won at the post hot soft inside (7) Point confused, prick! (5) Gorge finished brewed tea (7) Silver down the pan how ungodly! (5) Ego all in perhaps at full length (3,5) Went up like first cloud over (8) Ran back defender almost comatose (4,4) Chin stile? Perhaps K! (9) Guards sport etc maybe (8) Stroll erstwhile on promenade containing surf (7) Transport hybrid pure rat (7) Sounds of tartan activity (6) Record zero church era (5) Jet to arrive with model (5)

crossword prize

Overnight stay for two in a suite including breakfast.

winner

V. McKee, Bathgate, West Lothain, Edinburgh.

Supplied by: www.leithlinks.co.uk

answers: crossword 33 across 1 5 10 11 12 13 15 18 20 23 24 26 27 29

Georgian Creche Angel of the North Land tax Collier Winnings Sousa Tudor Tutoress Ascetic Diverse Guest appearance Thresh Assessed

down 1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9 14 16 17 19 21 22 24 25

Grable Organbird Gelatin Affix Rankles Corgi Ethereal Thickset Netscape Unstrings Straight Rotates Reverie Depend Cheer Dress

Send or email your answers to: Bagelfish Design 121 Giles street, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6BZ info@theleithermagazine.com 34 | Issue 59 | leithermagazine.com


Leither in London Carrie Mitchell

Sex, lies and a dvd I

I was all ready to move smoothly onto the next step with John, but there was one more unexpected hurdle coming up

t took approximately ten minutes after giving Rob my number for the guilt to kick in. What was I thinking? I might have only known John for a couple of weeks but things were going great so why was I set on sabotaging it all? It was time to backtrack so when the inevitable text arrived from Rob asking me out for a drink, I (perhaps belatedly) told him the truth. Thankfully, he took it in his stride, laughing it off with a quip: “I can’t believe I’ve missed out by a fortnight!” and moving onto the important matter of setting his friend Mark up with my mate Rowan – it was time for us to play cupid – a role I was much more comfortable in than (faux) femme fatale. Absolved of my guilt, I was all ready to move smoothly onto the next step with John, but there was one more unexpected hurdle coming up… ‘You’re going to hate’ me was the subject line of the email awaiting me on Monday morning. Huh? Was I about to be dumped just when I’d decided to be a one-man woman? With considerable trepidation and a sinking heart, I hit <read> only to find myself snorting in amusement just a few seconds later. While this was certainly a confessional, it was not one designed to send me on my way. In fact, it was John finally owning up to a little white lie, presumably because it now looked like I could be around for a while. He’d lied about his age - when he told me he was 25, he’d been a little generous – he was 24…almost. There was a month till his 24th birthday making him very nearly 6 years younger than me. An insurmountable age gap? Clearly not (well not considering there were 17 and 18 year olds in my back catalogue anyway!) but John was seriously, and very endearingly concerned. I toyed with the idea of feigning fury, but his email was just so

sincere that I couldn’t bring myself to do it, letting him off the hook with barely a second thought instead. Hasty maybe? I didn’t think so. I was too excited about our third date to worry about it much… and why? Because this time there was no reason for the date to end with a goodnight kiss. This time, a sleepover was on the cards. Finally. A seed of doubt Come Saturday night, I was in a frenzy – what to wear, where to meet? What if I’d changed my mind about him, what if he’d changed his mind about me? Fortunately there was just enough time for a quick glass of wine and a calming cigarette before date o’clock. While giving myself a little pre-date pep talk in my head, I was interrupted by my phone – a timely text from Rob asking for Rowan’s number to pass on to Mark and enquiring if there was any chance I’d seen sense and given up on John yet. And, don’t ask me why, (the wine? the nerves?) but for some strange reason, I found myself telling Rob about John’s little lie. His response: “I’m imposing a new rule in my dating game. If they’re a different category on X Factor, they’re out. That excludes under 25s. Seriously though, lying already? That’s how it all starts, you know.” Realising how stupid I’d been to share that particular nugget,

I shook off the seed of doubt Rob had planted and ran out the door. Time to get this show on the road. And prove Rob very, very, wrong. However, sitting outside the pub with John twenty minutes later, I wasn’t at all sure about things. He seemed younger somehow, he even looked younger to me, and the enthusiasm I’d found so irresistible before now came off as puppy dog keen. Maybe this wasn’t going to work after all. But then he kissed me, and all my doubts evaporated. The rest of the evening was pretty perfect truth be told. John had miraculously managed to book us a table at one of my favourite restaurants. He made me laugh and he was the perfect gent - holding doors, pulling out my chair, insisting on paying the bill…walking me home. And when I woke up in his arms the next morning, any trace of doubt had disappeared. This was good - six stupid years were not going to change that and neither was Rob. It was with great reluctance that I kissed John goodbye that afternoon. And when he surprised me by showing up on my doorstep the following morning with coffee and a copy of my favourite soppy film on DVD, I fell in that little bit deeper. Who was the lap dog now? ■

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