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Issue 62 March 2010

Leither

Leith Records launch Plus

I Love you Phillip Morris Paris au Printemps Legend of a Suicide Opinion | Books | Food | Cinema | Reviews | Travel | Crossword | What’s On


Osterio Di Domenicos

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Domenico’s a local Italian restaurant on the Shore Sample Menu King prawns and king scallops in a sweet chilli sauce – £6.50 Bruschetta – truffle pesto, mushrooms and parmesan – £4.50 Salad – mozzarella, avocado and red peppers – £4.50 Pasta Spicy sausage, chick pea, cream and tomato – £6.50 Tuna, spinach, red onion, cream and tomato – £6.50 Red pepper, olives, goats cheese and cherry tomatoes – £6.50 (Large portions all £8.50)

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30 Sandport St, Leith, EH6 6EP 2 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 62

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EditorNotes

Contents

7

From the bottom of my bath

I

’m in the bath, drowning in words, the magazine has gone to the printers and the Johnson’s Baby Bath is doing its work. The floating duck radio – with integral mood lighting – bobbles under a dripping hot tap and I wonder afresh why it doesn’t electrocute me, especially as it was bought for me by my girlfriend’s mum. Someone on the radio is talking about child beating pageants… what? Surely not? Ah, child beauty pageants, that’s better. No, wait a minute that’s not good either is it? “If I don’t smile tonight, I’ll never smile,” says Arsene Wenger, and even on radio I can tell he is not smiling. The duck drifts towards me, throbbing from baby blue to fluorescent pink like a devil duck, (and this thing is meant to soothe?). The presenter is asking for votes on the best intro of all time. That’s easy, Another

Girl, Another Planet by The Only Ones. Now they’re on to best outro. Oooh that is harder. Lazy Line Painter Jane by Belle & Sebastian, Barney (…And Me) by The Boo Radleys or Make My Mind by Screaming Trees? I start singing “the poppies are in the field…” at the top of my voice. “Is that The Alarm?” Asks my other half – brilliantly invoking my favourite bad review, ‘The Alarm are shite and their lead singer is a silly’ (NME) – I think about shouting down the hall, “actually no, it’s Teardop Explodes circa Kirby Workers Dream Fades.” But think better of it; I’d probably get twatted with the frying pan. ■

Adam Smart professes his undying love for Ewan McGregor and Jim Carrey

10

The Editor gets blootered at the expense of the Leith Agency, which is always a good thing

11

Mr Montgomery drowns his sorrows in a North Berwick awash with laddish tomfoolery

ÊÊExclusive next month: A new crime serial by Tony Black, featuring hard-bitten P.I. Gus Durie

20

John Holmes waxes lyrical about an Italian restaurant, no really

23

Carine falls in love with artichaut vinaigrette and out of love with Paris

Leither

Published by: Leither Publishing Editor: William Gould ( 07891560338  billy@leithermagazine.com Sub Editor: Shelley Smith Artwork: Gavin Munro  gavin@leithermagazine.com Photography: Ryan McGoverne  info@ryanmcgoverne.co.uk Advertising: Jennifer Lawrie ( 07908550118  theleither@orange.net Contacts: ( 0131 554 2728  theleither@orange.net 8 leithermagazine.com Cartoonist: Gordon Riach Illustrator: Bernie Reid

The duck drifts towards me like a fluorescent pink devil duck

© 2010 LEITHER PUBLISHING. 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: Image from Leith Agency offshoot Leith Records Issue 62 | leithermagazine.com | 3


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malcolm.chisholm.msp@scottish.parliament.uk 4 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 62


Protempore The 90th anniversary of you know what H

ow goes it? A comparatively innocuous question posed by James Marshall, in the final chapter of his great book – The Life and Times of Leith It is an apt one to ask in 2010, which sees the 90th anniversary of the Boundaries Act that incorporated Leith into the city of Edinburgh. The first sentence of that chapter starts with the contention that ‘The new relationship with Edinburgh which was forced on Leith in 1920 did not have the dire consequences that had been feared’. It is contentious because it is still contested. There is still a feeling in Leith that Edinburgh continues to diddle Leith. So, how goes it? Marshall found ‘signs and portents’ that (in 1986) indicated to him that Leith would remain ‘different and special’. One of these was the formation in 1972 of Port of Leith Housing Association. From humble beginnings in modernising some of the old tenements, it is now a bigger landlord in Leith than the council but more importantly it shows that self-help can strengthen community spirit. Looking brighter POLHA was started by a group of local worthies, with one employee, and has grown into a nationally respected housing association with bespoke headquarters on Constitution Street, enabling families to continue to live in Leith. It is a major employer and looks beyond building, to the wider role in addressing some of the problems which still bedevil the area. There is an apprenticeship scheme, TOIL, which has seen local lads and lasses gain skills that benefit them and the community. The painting of the lampposts on the Shore is

a great example of the work of TOIL and how community spirit can be strengthened. Marshall thought that the investment by the Scottish Development Agency marked a change in Leith’s fortunes, he even went as far as to predict that it was an event of great importance. To a certain extent he was right, as some old buildings were cleaned up, beginning in Bernard Street. With Leigh starting to look brighter and thus more attractive to inward investors. The Water of Leith became a focal point for walkers and cyclists, though today it does need a refresh, as not much has been done since that initial investment. This is one of the reasons, along with the neglect of Leith Links and Leith Theatre that resentment towards Edinburgh still lingers. It would not take much to put this right but it will take money and passion to make it happen. Marshall observed that ‘many of Leith’s needs could only be met through the action of local and central government, but at the same time self-help might strengthen the old community spirit’. This is exemplified by the Leith Townscape Heritage Initiative that aims to link the old and new Leith, so that the dichotomy that is undoubtedly there does not become a schism or even a chasm. It has refreshed and revamped the Gurdwara (formerly St. Thomas’ Church), Dr. Bells, Citadel, Leith Victoria boxing club and shored up the boundary wall of South Leith Parish Church. More, as ever, is still to be done. There has been investment of over £7.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Council and Scottish Government, amongst others but it also

ÊÊGordon Munro is stepping into Protempore’s shoes for one month

Saw, for example, the Gurdwara and the boxing club invest money, time, labour, and even a little love, in the internal fabric of the buildings

saw for example the Gurdwara and the boxing club invest money, time, labour, and even a little love, in the internal fabric of the buildings. This has strengthened community spirit. Political power is beginning, and I stress beginning, to return to Leith in the form of Leith Neighbourhood Partnership. I was proud to be the first chair of this body and deliberately chose the former Leith Town council chamber in Leith police station for the first meeting as a symbol of the return of a degree of autonomy to Leith. This body is made up of councillors, police, NHS Lothian, the fire brigade, POLHA and VOLT. This body administers the Fairer Scotland for Leith fund of £450,000, a built environment fund of £100,000, and a small grants fund of £60,000 (all approximates), bringing power and responsibility to Leith. No animosity So, ‘how goes it’? Not bad, but there’s work to be done, and it needs all of us citizens, politicians, civil servants, council workers and the huge Leith diaspora to make sure it goes well. Why? I’ll give James Marshall the last words as he puts it very well. Because ‘Leith is different. We know it, and we know it today without any animosity. There is no escaping our heritage, our history, which powerfully influences our attitudes and priorities today. Even for the resident of only a few years the sense of community is strong, so that walking the streets of Leith is walking among friends. Some are personally known and recognised; many more are strangers, but if all that is known of a stranger is that he is a Leither, that is enough to forge a link, for at once we realise many interests and feelings and ideals in common’. ■ Issue 62 | leithermagazine.com | 5


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Lets Just Let is an independent and innovative letting agent, looking to offer the highest levels of service backed up with tailored marketing to maximise the potential rental of every property. 6 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 62


ElectricShadows

Adam Smart on the last performance of Edward Woodward … A Congregation of Ghosts



Director: Mark Collicott Starring: Edward Woodward, Nicholas Gleaves, Susannah Doyle Released: TBC

W

henever an actor of notable accomplishment passes away, it is sad to think that one who has spent their life entertaining the masses will no longer be performing that role. Perhaps he did not possess grandiose star quality, but Edward Woodward was a gifted thespian who played his parts with creative zeal. What a shame that the film which boasts his final performance is unworthy of such talent. Written and directed by former Saatchi & Saatchi art

director Mark Collicott, A Congregation of Ghosts plays out like a diluted version of Stephen King’s The Shining. Would be author Ellis (Gleaves) and his wife Barbara (Doyle) move in to an old, dilapidated rectory in the Cornish village of Warleggan in 1967. While trying to write a novel, Ellis becomes obsessed and haunted by the previous occupant of the residence, the eccentric Reverend Densham (Woodward). What develops is a production void of any innovation or interest. The main problem with A Congregation of Ghosts is that Collicott doesn’t know if he is making a drama or a horror. The director’s feature debut ultimately fails as he attempts to create a serious narrative work containing characters and a plot that lack any attraction or creative bravado.

Edward Woodward as The Equalizer, the role that brought him fame

It is a boring and deplorable attempt at storytelling. Furthermore, Collicott endeavours to craft a ghostly tale which is no more terrifying than a spooky yarn a child might tell around a camp fire. What does bode well is Woodward’s final performance. Very ill during filming, the seventy-nine year old actor

still manages to portray the pious Densham with gusto and vigour, especially in flashback scenes where he annoys and outrages the congregation of his church. Lacking direction, with no idea what it wants to be and no desire to cover new cinematic territory, A Congregation of Ghosts is a gathering of flaws. ■

… And why he’s head over heels in love with Phillip Morris I Love You Phillip Morris



Directors: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa Starring: Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor Released: 17th March

I

am prancing out of the entertainment whore closet and professing I am gay for I Love You Phillip Morris. Directed and written by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa – the twisted minds behind Bad Santa – this unconventional love story is a wickedly wonderful black comedy. Steven Russell (Carrey) is a hard-working family man who has a big secret: he is really a gay con artist. Imprisoned for fraud he meets and falls in love with

Jim and Ewan get up close and personal

timid inmate Phillip Morris (McGregor). Upon his release from incarceration, Steven secretly returns to his criminal ways to ensure that he and his sweetheart can afford a luxurious lifestyle. Unfortunately, not everything goes according to plan. This vehicle proves that Carrey is more than just a rubber faced comedian who had a spot of dramatic luck in The Truman

Show. He further demonstrates what an underrated actor he is with an Oscar worthy performance. His more subtle comedic traits, such as creepy stares and farcical voices, are integral to the comedy but, as Steven, Carrey plays a career defining role. His ability to depict sentiment and garner sympathy in some of the production’s more poignant scenes is paramount to his hon-

est portrayal of a man who will do anything for the one he loves. The script is dark and intelligent with many hysterical ‘oh my God I can’t believe he just said that’ moments, contrasted against moving and serious scenarios. A brilliant scene where Carrey attempts to play golf will offer some extraordinary additions to any lexicon of profanity, whereas another which sees him sitting by a dying former lover’s bedside will rouse a tear. Maybe not the most traditional romantic comedy, it is certainly one of the most powerful and emotional of recent years. Clever, sharp, outrageously funny and genuinely touching, I Love you Phillip Morris is amongst 2010’s finest cinematic treats. ■ Issue 62 | leithermagazine.com | 7


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Legend of a Suicide Martin MacInnes: If no one speaks of remarkable things

A R C C o l o ur p ri n t I n th e s p r i n g , I h a v e c o u n t e d 1 3 6 d i f f e re n t k i n d s o f w e a th e r in s id e o f 2 4 h o u r s. - M a r k Tw a i n

I

n 1980, when he was thirteen years old, David Vann heard the news that his father had killed himself. Vann grew up a writer, fixated on the story of his father. Various mentors encouraged him to develop the story, and he worked on it until, in 2007, he published his first novel, Legend of a Suicide. As the title suggests, it’s not a book about what happened. It’s filed in the fiction section, but as you open it and read the dedication to his father – James Edward Vann, 1940-1980 – and as you begin the opening part, an essay-like piece about the young David hearing the news that his father has killed

What we are reading is no longer ‘true’, but a cinematic journey into the physical realities of dying himself, this seems a clear transcription of a family tragedy. The names are the same. Everything is open. The book is split into six parts that jump forwards and backwards in time. At the centre is ‘Sukkwan Island’, a 165-page account of the father and son hunting and living in splendid isolation on a small, deserted, Alaskan island. David’s father has taken him out of school for a survivalist adventure he sees lasting many months. This centre-piece has something of the simple, unsentimental beauty of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, with the father and son walking through a bleak wilderness, except here the characters are named, particular, recorded people. The nightmare scenario of The Road is compressed into

a real contemporary setting; a terror, equivalent to the end of the world, is visited daily upon its inhabitants. The tension is hard to bear. You know what’s coming, or you think you do. Something doesn’t fit. You turn back the pages and check again the details of the time and the telling of the suicide until you’re back in the wilderness, where the son and the father build snowshoes and a smoke-house for the fish they catch, and make a hole in the earth to store surplus food for winter. Then something incredible, almost magical happens, and the whole book turns in on itself. What we are reading is no longer ‘true’, but a brilliant cinematic journey into the physical realities of dying. With a sense of vertigo you read on, astonished, as all the implications of the act of James Edward Vann are played out in a gruesome story formed by the dream logic of a bereaved son. The sensitivity to natural landscape, the economy of language, and the subtle rendering of complex and painful discoveries mark Vann as a possible successor to Hemingway. This is an extraordinary and unclassifiable work, a perfect blending of fiction and non-fiction, and one of the most gripping and unusual books in years. ■ ÊÊAvailable in all good bookshops and, of course, online

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Issue 62 | leithermagazine.com | 9


Epic Soundtracks The Editor takes to the high seas for the launch of Leith Records, well sort of …

W

elcome to our cover story, which in the grand old tradition of the popular press may not even be a story at all, which is to say, welcome to Leith Records. It’s not exactly a record label, and it doesn’t make records, it is – it says here – a distribution channel for new Scottish music, curated by the Leith Agency, and it depends on input from bands, musicians, and you, dear listener. Let us cherry pick their manifesto. What is in it for the bands? Through a precise scientific algorithm of creative choosing, yet to be fully confirmed, they (Leith Agency) will be donating there expertise to album and poster design along with video storyboarding and album launch events. What is in it for the listeners? They will do there utmost to seek out the choicest tunes from the freshest, most vibrant, new musical talent in Scotland and deliver it straight to you (via your computer). They will also put on the odd live showcase featuring bands that contribute to the site. How does one submit a band or track? Leith Records relies on contributions from bands, promoters and listeners, so feel free to send an MP3 via Soundcloud with a little screed about the act in question (and yourself) and they’ll try to do it justice. You can also submit a band suggestion to the site and they will track down the music. That then is the theory, let us go then you and I, on a bitterly cold night in late February, to check out the practice. The Mary of Guise barge, cradled in the Water of Leith basin, is throbbing in its berth as I clamber aboard for the official launch of Leith Records. Down the stairs, past the Doug Jones photos of burst footballs, is where the action is. A room full of earnest young men who, to paraphrase Lou Reed, look like they are studying rules of verse, while the ladies just roll their eyes (and 10 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 62

get on with the earnest business of enjoying themselves). DJ Monterey Jack – shite cheese, good DJ – has the floor as I enter. Beers are popped and smiles come of their own accord. After an entirely charming welcome from Jim Wolffman and his cohorts – sorry folks don’t remember any of your names, but hey, what do you expect? Get yourself a name like Wolffman, now there is a name – the first band took to the, erm, lower deck. “Could you turn the sound of the laptop up on stage?” Says the keyboard player with the porn moustache. “Not the sort of request you’d have had to make in your band days,” says one of our party to yours truly, eliciting a round of mirth that I felt was disproportionate to the merit of the joke. Curiously, the band in question, Over The Wall, reminded me no little of an ex-band of mine. In that sonically they were a bit of a mess (did I mention the stylophone?) but you couldn’t fault their vaulting ambition, and you just know they’d sound better on record, or in the studio. For the purposes of pure information I would ask you to imagine Arab Strap and a Prog Rock band (thankfully names elude me) playing a bossa nova song about a snooker player’s wife. And when you’ve done that, you are only at the beginning of your imaginings. Over The Wall then, escaping from who knows what, but worth your swerving attention. Epic 26 take to the stage in a flurry of

Over The Wall, Ladies rolling their eyes and The Wolffman

The Thompson Twins, a gaggle of 80s funsters who looked like a bunch of squatters that had recently electrocuted themselves

youthful exuberance, heads bent over keyboards, arms working like pistons, singer on springs, and quite bracing it is too. The young girl next to me is making entirely favourable comparisons (post ironic?) to the Thompson Twins, a gaggle of 80s funsters who looked like a bunch of squatters that had recently electrocuted themselves. Then she changes her mind, “no, no, what was the name of that band who had a girl singer with a granddad’s name.” Which I took to mean Yazoo, and she was half right – Epic 26 having, rightly, dumped the music box melodies for some, ahem, block rocking beats. As a result they are more vibrant and contemporaneous, the vocals alone anchor the enterprise in the 80s, but it would be curmudgeonly to say their short set here was anything other than fine and dandy, a cover of a Friendly Fires song was extraordinary. An extension to their set though, would have required Class A drugs – or in my case, Tennent’s lager and Red Bull shandies – judging by the wild wig-outs taking place on the dance floor. Leith Records then, an entirely laudable exercise, if you have the slightest musical leanings bombard them with your stuff… meantime they have a free bundle available at tentracks and lots more streaming stuff at their website. ■ ÊÊCheck out www.leithrecords.com and www.tentracks.co.uk


A knockout day in North Berwick Colin Montgomery on demons from the past and fictitious truths

T

hey say you should never meet your heroes. Nonsense. I used to idolise novelty 80s pop flotsam Captain Beaky and his hissing sidekick Sid, and I met them one Christmas. They were lovely, if a little gamey – a few buttered parsnips and a Madeira sauce would have made the ‘meet’ even more memorable. Heroes are easy meat; it’s your demons you have to worry about. They can’t be poached or lightly broiled. They need more robust treatment, as I discovered to my cost on a late autumn day in 1996. At that time, I’d taken to jumping on a train to North Berwick and marinating my self-pity in lager at the Auld Hoose – a lovable armchair of a hostelry with a hearth that roasted you into submission, curls of pipe smoke, and the smell of damp mufflers. All was perfect. Then, on that fateful September day, from Caracas via Cowdenbeath, an ill wind: Columbus Zee. Zee claimed to be a boxer. But he was more of a fighter. Or had been. A rangy, zippy, straw-weight. Although after retiring from the ring he was more of a dead weight, lumbering and deaf, from the repeated rabbit punches inflicted to his jug ears by arch-rival Roberto Mono-Casa – a ferocious Panamanian with a fondness for gaily decorated canal boats. Yet punchy as he was, Zee still haunted my dreams. As a scrawny youth I’d watched Zee’s sweaty scraps in the Congo, on a grainy black and white telly. I was terrified. To me he was a beast, but his cult status would soon find him up there with Ken Buchanan and Kendo Nagasaki…74 fights, 63 knockouts, including one fight that was controversially abandoned due to a problem with the glare from Zee’s billowing, silky, golden shorts. It was said he cut a Chaplinesque figure, but there was little comedy back in the Auld Hoose. Zee barrelled into the bar, fists windmilling, shouting for whisky. I

At that time, I’d taken to jumping on a train to North Berwick and marinating my self-pity in lager at the Auld Hoose

recognised him instantly, I also recognised the smell of my own fear. Something had to be done to save the good burghers of North Berwick from Zee’s unhinged assault, so after swallowing a bottle of barley wine for courage, I approached him and introduced myself. Zee warmed to me instantly and – though my pigeonCreole was rusty – accepted my offer of a tour of the town’s finer establishments. The events that followed make me shudder to this day. Zee’s boorishness was such that he could have drained a bottle of malt with a straw. In fact, if memory serves, he did just that in the Quarterdeck whilst throwing Scampi Fries and insults at the jukebox. He then challenged the North Berwick Law to a fight, losing on points. In a rage, Zee laid waste to the beach claiming it was in cahoots with The Law. It took the promise of more whisky to coax him out of the briny, an act of folly I soon regretted. The horror continued unabated. In the Marine Hotel, Zee insisted on reenacting his famous ‘Set-To in Baku’ including the, now infamous, chair throwing incident. Unfortunately, he chose a chair that was occupied by an ageing dowager who was ‘taking the airs’. We placated her with liberal quaffs of Poire William after which a scuffle ensued with the effete French

maitre’d and we were escorted from the premises Half an hour later I was shivering in the stagnant, salt dry basin of the old North Berwick lido. Today children marvel at the guano encrusted antics of the gannets over Bass Rock. Back then, the night as cold and unforgiving as a divorce, I marvelled at a different display. Columbus Zee, the former straw-weight champion of Oceania, who had once had the world at his fists, was barking obscenities from the high diving board while standing on his head eating a kebab – with extra chilli sauce and a side order of iceberg lettuce. It was time to act. Reeking of whisky, he was muttering darkly about climbing the castle ramparts and announcing his comeback to the world, when we stumbled upon the captain of The Lime Scuffle, whistling like a chesty walrus, on the gangplank of the trawler. In a matter of seconds Columbus Zee had crawled into a lobster creel and commenced snoring, a scant few seconds later he had been hoisted abaft the boat. The captain, transferring the contents of my wallet to his, agreed to drop him on the first uninhabited island en route to Greenland. The good denizens of North Berwick breathed a collective sigh of relief upon his departure and, while there is breath in my body, I shall do likewise. ■ Issue 62 | leithermagazine.com | 11


Pen Portraits from the Port

John Gladstone: 1764-1851 Author Daniel Gray salutes the forgotten heroes (ahem) of Leith’s past

A

merchant and politician, John Gladstone was actually born Gladstones, but dropped the ‘s’ in a pointless marketing exercise. Any rebranding of the Gladstone name would have to go further than the mere cosmetic; this Leither is infamous for his fierce support of slavery. The eldest of 16 children, Gladstone left school in his early teens to work in the Edinburgh Roperie and Sailcloth Company, but his oversized hands made the intricate work involved difficult. I didn’t even make that bit up. As if on a mission to work his way through as many beautiful sounding nineteenth century trades as possible, Gladstone then joined his father’s corn-chandling firm. His chief role was to trade in grain and vitriol, which agonisingly – because I love the Richard Littlejohn ethos of exchanging hate for money – is actually a sulphate. Stationed in the Baltics, Gladstone greatly impressed the merchant Edgar Corrie who signed him up for a job in Liverpool where he possibly met William Emmerdale and James Eastenders. From 1786, Gladstone began taking ownership of sugar plantations in the West Indies, and then diversified into Virginian tobacco. He was, obviously, very much a health freak, but where there are bad teeth and dodgy lungs there is brass; between 1799 and 1828, the Gladstone fortune rose from £40,000 to £500,000. Gladstone had a bitter breakup with Corrie as the eighteenth century turned into the nineteenth, and formed a partnership with his five brothers. In what would today be irritatingly called ‘diversifying the portfolio’, they moved into the glamorous world of real estate and shipping insurance, employing a young Michael Winner to extol the virtues of same. In 1809, Gladstone fathered the 12 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 62

The Demerara slave rebellion

future Prime Minister William Ewart, as you do, and became chairman of the Liverpool West Indian Association. In that position, he opposed the abolition of slavery and supported the rights of plantation owners. His own use of slave labour had begun several years earlier with the purchase of the Belmont estate, Demerara, and peaked with the 1826 acquisition of Vreedenhoop. There, some 430 slaves worked the land for Gladstone’s profit. Resisting the tidal wave of public opinion, he remained steadfast in his support for slavery and deeply reluctant to invest in expensive British manufacturing. Gladstone had, though, received a fiery warning that the march of change could not be halted forever. Bailing out the future P.M. The Demerara Rebellion of 1823 was named not after someone’s refusal to put brown sugar on their Frosties, but a slave revolt. More than 10,000 people participated in an insurrection that shook the British Empire to its core in the former crown colony of Demerara-Essequibo. The leader of the uprising was one Jack Gladstone, so-called due to the practice of the enslaved adopting their masters’ surnames. The rebel Gladstone, a cooper on the plantation and winningly charismatic, became aware of the growing clamour in Britain for the full abolition of slavery in its colonies. With his father Quamina, Jack led

The spirit of their revolt could not be quashed and a rusty nail had been hammered into slavery’s coffin

ÊÊNext time: Eduardo Paolozzi, sculptor and artist

thousands of slaves in a widespread strike. A volley of frustration was let forth, but rarely over-spilled into violence. Unwilling to relinquish their grip, the troops of the Empire eventually overpowered the rebels. Ringleaders, including Quamina, were executed in their hundreds; Jack was sold and swiftly exiled to Saint Lucia. The spirit of their revolt, though, could not be quashed and a rusty nail had been hammered into slavery’s coffin. Unknowingly, Jack had taken the baton of Leither rebellion that John never looked like picking up. In 1830, John Gladstone used a pamphlet entitled Statement on the Present State of Slavery to oppose abolition whilst finally acknowledging slave owners’ moral responsibilities. However, if the message of ‘his’ Jack had got through to the stubborn old man, he was employing selective hearing; when in 1833 slavery was abolished in the British Empire, John Gladstone set about winning gigantic compensation fees for slave owners, pocketing for himself a healthy £94,000. Presumably he used his star status to launch a campaign of daytime advertisements offering ‘no win no fee’ lawyers for Britain’s emaciated slave drivers. There was, though, never any risk of the owners having to work themselves. In a name-changing exercise worthy of the former Member for Lancaster, Woodstock and then Berwick, Gladstone hit upon the idea of using ‘Indentured Servants’. Indentures were contracted to their masters for a fixed period, and received free clothing as part of the bargain, which is fine because a pair of trousers more than makes up for back-breaking pain and servitude. When the British government outlandishly abolished slavery in the West Indies, Gladstone sold up and began investing in Bengalsugar. Through the 1840s, his wealth diminished as he bailed out his son the future Prime Minster, though he did leave behind the not inconsiderable sum of £745,000 upon his death in 1851. Oi! You at the back! Stop whispering ‘dirty money’… ■


Joseph Pearce’s Welcome To our new Spring menu! We like to eat as we live. Locally, organically, and with a lot of passion. Come and try our wild rabbit terrine, smörgåsbord, Or spring lamb with hasselbacks potatoes. Then you can run off all that lovely food by Joining our jogging club… every Tuesday at 7pm.

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5 Croall Place, Leith Walk, Edinburgh, EH7 4LT

Friday Surgeries 4pm: Stockbridge Library 5pm: Ainslie Park Leisure Centre 6pm: Constituency Office

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Issue 62 | leithermagazine.com | 13


Home thoughts from abroad

Our foolhardy Englishman in Leith watches his team in a pub H

ibs have overcome the mighty Montrose in their annual tilt at the Scottish Cup, or as their manager calls it the ‘Holy Grail’, and we are in search of a celebratory pint in the Cask and Barrel, forgetting that it is the opening weekend of the Six Nations and the pub is full of egg chaser fans. It’s England v Wales and a glance at the TV shows that Wales are on the attack, a surge of anticipation runs through the bar, the shouts get louder as the try line gets nearer, “Go on Wales,” is the cry as the excitement mounts, drinks slop from side to side and with one final surge the Welsh break the English resistance and score a try, the pub erupts with cheers and clapping, my pal turns to me and with an ironic smile says “I didn’t know there were that many Welsh living in Edinburgh!” There was in fact only one Welsh shirt to be seen amongst the packed, smiling faces. The most prevalent replica tops were Scottish, and the wearers were indulging in the timehonoured pastime of supporting two teams, Scotland and anyone who is playing against England. Wales were now reaping the full benefit of this anti-England jollity. In the summer – during the World Cup – it will be the USA, Algeria and Slovenia. It can be expensive for the most ardent adherent to this most Scottish of traits, just think of all those replica shirts at £40 a throw you require! Indeed ‘Anyone But England’ World Cup T-shirts are already on sale. Back to the pub and England are on the attack, a quick breakout from defence, “Come on England,” shouts the guy behind me. “Call yourself a Scotsman…” says the lady opposite, “what are you doing cheering England?” “I live in Wigan” he replies, in a broad Scots accent, “I’ve lots of pals there.” “You’re a traitor to your country,” she bites back. “I think he sounds like a nice guy’,” I offer, it’s not well received; she gives me a withering look and scowls darkly. 14 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 62

Rugby fans in the Cask & Barrel, your reporter is 119th from the left

It can be expensive to follow this most Scottish of traits, just think of all those ‘Anyone But England’ World Cup T-shirts at £40 a throw

My quiet support for the men in white diminishes, maybe I should shout or something? The couple in front, sporting Scotland shirts, hop dementedly from foot to foot when Wales have the ball, I can’t help thinking that anyone who gets so excited about another team losing rather than supporting their own team is a sandwich short of a picnic. England attack, Tait slips a reverse pass to Haskell and they score, I give a throaty YES, and raise my glass to the slumped shoulders of the deflated twosome. It’s the final whistle, England have won and the pub feigns disinterest, where once had been raucous cheering, is now silence. Not even the few English shirts dotted around raise a cheer, maybe like me they are happy with that inner feeling of satisfaction that their team won and, more importantly, the pub is quiet. Andy Murray is probably the most famous subscriber to the ‘Anyone but England Syndrome’. That was his exact reply to a query at Wimbledon about who he would be supporting at the European Football Championships – Interestingly Murray, prior to the Australian Open final, sported a Union flag over his shoulders promoting his ‘Britishness’. A new found maturity? Possibly, or is he working on his image spurred by the fact that

antagonising the English reduces his marketability and his earnings potential? For 25 years living here has brought a healthy resignation, I can’t change things, I am happy for friends and family when Scotland win, and found myself cheering on Scotland a week later against Wales, feeling the deflation of a mighty effort go ultimately unrewarded by injury-time defeat. However I savour the moments of silence that an England victory brings to a pub, that silence speaks volumes; it’s the defeat of small mindedness. Murray’s comments came as something of a shock South of the Border, the English in the main have supported Scotland in sporting events and most have a positive view of Scotland and its people. The fact that many north of the border don’t reciprocate has suddenly come to their attention and they are in a spin as to how to react. Some bite back in anger at what they perceive as betrayal and rejection and are starting to adopt a similar posture, most are bemused, but the damage has to some extent been done particularly in the sporting arena and I think we are all the losers for it. Sporting rivalry is fine, I fear too often though it hides darker beliefs that cannot be written off as merely ‘banter’. ■


FoodReview: Extra

Our reviewer proves himself a true trencherman The Water of Leith Cafe Bistro 52 Coburg Street Edinburgh ( 0131 555 2613 8 waterofleithcafebistro.co.uk

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he Water of Leith Café Bistro is much improved on previous incarnations occupying this space, and is now a welcome sight on otherwise bleak Coburg Street. First impressions, always important, are of a friendly, homely atmosphere. You might recognise Ana as the hitherto hostess at Skippers: her partner Mickael is the chef. The cullen skink was hearty and tasty, and at £3.95, great value. The leek and potato ‘soup-of-the-day was done a la mode, i.e., blended with a little cream, and, at an even more

wallet-friendly £2.95, was also warming and flavoursome. Mains of lasagne with side salad – green dressed leaves and a fab coleslaw – at £6.95, and lamb shank from the specials blackboard at £10.95 were respectively good and excellent. The lamb was done in honey, rosemary and lemon gravy and came with mashed potatoes and chopped courgettes. It was a big portion that fell off the bone, and was spot on as winter night-drawing-in fare. A very good sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream from the specials board and an excellent chocolate and chestnut cake which was very dense and all-the-better for it, was so filling I couldn’t finish it, but so good, I took the remnants home in a napkin. Both were £2.50 from a cake list starting at £1.65. Sex and the

ÊÊThey also operate a small gallery in tandem with www. artspace2let.org

City fans may care to note that their cup cakes are as good as those from the famous Magnolia Bakery itself. I know because I queued for half-anhour to buy one there when I was last in New York! A bottle of Tempranillo (the Rioja grape) from a small wine list was more than acceptable at £13.95. Open for breakfast/snacks with a morning menu – till noon: then an afternoon menu - from noon. It’s also very child-friendly with a play area and an excellent value kids menu with choices ranging from £2.50 £3.95. So there you have it, another new neighbourhood bistro that is well worth your support. ■

John Holmes

Full body: £15 Half body: £10 e: ferr@aol.com

Issue 62 | leithermagazine.com | 15


NearPavillion 10

Leo Simpson still likes Greg Norman despite that party M

y first introduction to ‘The Great White’ was at the Bob Hope Classic. It was 1982, Bob was as popular and un-amusing as ever and I was having to do the tiresome rounds on the Pro-Am circuit, trying to raise funds for my second and possibly most profound script, It’s not what goes in – but what dribbles out. I’d been paired with seasoned pro and bunker wizard Lanny ‘The Wad’ Wadkins. We were up against Greg and the insistently foppish Hugh Grant. I didn’t on that occasion manage to raise funds for said script but I did secure an annual clothing contract for Leith Franklin Beige Cricket Club with Greg – not for jerseys you understand – but for the wearing of his range of ‘Great White’ stetson-style golfing hats at after match drinking sessions. It was at one of these ‘functions’ that Greg first spotted the palatial splendour that is the clubhouse on Leith Links, patroned by such greats of the game as Ewan ‘Moxy’ Grey.

Bob Hope: lively and entertaining

For those that haven’t indulged in dance and potation within its gilded walls the Leith Cricket Club pavillion is something to behold

For those that haven’t indulged in dance and potation within its gilded walls, the Leith cricket club pavillion is something to behold: “My eyes both glazed and rolled in an ecstatic bliss of pink, pastels, and the very highest end toiletry paper, while meanwhile at the gent’s facility my nostrils reared at the easily recognisable scent of the enthusiastic Guinness and asparagus user.” Was Martin Amis’s stark description of the toilets at a Julian Barnes function there, in 1998. (It’s a good job we didn’t let him view the showers.)

16 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 62

The Great White: Cheeky

Still, every dog has its day. That’s exactly what Greg Norman told us when he decided to hold his sixtieth birthday there. Fair enough we thought, after Danny Devito’s fiftieth, Erica Jong’s poetry night, and Jack Nicholson’s ‘homage to coprophilia weekend’, we assumed we’d seen, heard and indeed smelled it all. We had as it happened: Greg’s ‘ghosts and ghouls’ Halloween extravaganza just never got off the ground despite its extravagant guest list – Payne Stewart, ‘Slammin’ Sam Snead, Gene Sarazen, James Braidthe list was endless, but why go to the trouble of having all these dead golfers exhumed, dressed in their respective national dress and placed in glass coffins for one night? Michael Winner, Lindsay Lohan and Jack Newton were the only living invitees to the bash, but after that horrific propeller incident in 1972 maybe a Halloween party wasn’t the best place for Jack to really ‘get going’ conversation wise. Mr. Winner’s bloated shark outfit was a nice touch though. Suffice to say the party ended a bit prematurely at 10 o’ clock the next morning due to health and safety. It wasn’t so much about the health – the dead aren’t too difficult to look after. No, it was more about the safety aspect – our safety – how were we going to get all fifty-five of Mr. Norman’s expired ‘schoolboy heroes’ back to Edinburgh International Airport without attracting the attention of the law? The Leith Police usually do dismiss

us – but probably not on this occasion, if they spotted what cargo we were carrying. It was a bright crisp morning and the problem was made all the worse having been up all night on a drinking and poppers binge… Luckily we have a big fan in the shape of arts supremo Peter Irvine MBE. The Hogmanay maestro had all the roads between Leith and the airport cordoned off, with huge barriers every kilometer, and ordered an impromptu two-hour curfew for all the capital’s citizens. It was during this time that we made use of three of the council’s dustcarts and the fire brigade’s ‘Simon Snorkel’. We popped ‘The Lads’ into the back of the vehicles and after a swift journey, interrupted only briefly for a coffee and wrap in Embo, a few pints in the Brunswick Lounge bar then some German beers in the tedious Tourmalet Tavern on Iona St (The Strathmore was too busy), we finally made it safe and sound to the airport. Luckily there was a transporter plane, which was stopping briefly on its way back from Guantanamo Bay. Mr. Irvine we owe you. Phheww! But Cheeky Greg! Last thing he said to me was “What about the deposit for my 70th? I thought fifty quid was a bit much, here’s twenty on account. I think I left my sweater in the disco area, could you have it cleaned and forwarded onto me along with the engraved pewter beer tankard I got for winning the 1984 World Matchplay? Say goodbye to Middsie for me.” ■ Yours, by the power of Greyskull, Leo Simpson

Leith Clubhouse tasteful and tempting


Something as simple as a one pound coin from each of us could save the day, says David Barnes

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he Leith Festival is staring into the abyss of a £12,000 black hole, and this has been compounded by news that work will begin on digging up the Foot of the Walk as part of the city’s tram installation programme in the middle of the ten day long celebration. But organisers are determined that this summer’s event can be the most successful yet – so long as they cut their cloth accordingly and get the message out that plans will have to be scaled back significantly unless more people see fit to donate time and money towards the cause. “In the past we have maybe been guilty of not letting enough people know how much we need community support and money, but now we are saying: Actually, we do need a big hand. Can anyone help?” Says Heather Cameron, assistant manager of the festival. “This year has been particularly hard because everyone is holding on to whatever money they have. Hopefully as we get closer to the deadline dates, some people might step forward – but at the moment everyone is being very cagey. With that in mind, we are looking to focus on quality over quantity. We are not necessarily going to have less events – that will depend on what we can afford and who we can persuade to get involved – but we do plan to fine tune it to what the audience want.” “For example, the music strand will remain one of our strongest themes, but the comedy strand is being cut back because we know from experience that people are not desperately keen to go and see a comedy show on a week night.” In many ways, the Leith Festival is a victim of its own success. The last three years has seen an increase in the number of events from 50 to a 100 over 10 days, with audience fig-

Photo by Ryan McGoverne

Leith Festival – get involved ures now well over 20,000. 50 venues hosted festival events last year and a further 50 businesses contributed financially or with services in kind. This is an impressive growth curve – but like so many enterprises which boomed during the good times, the real test of whether this is a house built on solid foundations or sand will be conducted in the challenging economic climate we are all bracing ourselves for in the coming year. “To continue the growth and success of the festival it has to become more sustainable. At the moment it is run on a year-to-year basis, with little thought put into what lies beyond the first two weeks of June,” says Heather. Get me out of here An early step towards mapping out a viable future for the Festival was taken last month when around 60 people attended an open meeting and tried to ‘think tank’ their way through some of the major challenges which lie ahead – with a particular focus on how the Festival can get closer to being self-financing. Amongst the weird and wonderful suggestions put forward were a few gems that the Leith Festival Committee are already looking at implementing. Look out for a reality TV style competition along the lines of ‘I’m a Leither – Get Me Out Of Here’ being staged some time soon. Another plan, which has been mooted, as part of this campaign to raise the Festival’s profile, involves turning the Water of Leith red through the use of high-powered lighting. Among the interested parties who attended were a handful of representatives from local government agencies, and it is understood that a substantial donation from the council has been pledged. Bigger than Glasgow A membership scheme has also been created which provides supporters of the Festival with a chance to put their money where their mouth is. Patrons will receive a range of rewards

ÊÊFor more on Leith Festival visit: www. leithfestival.com

The last three years has seen an increase in events from 50 to a 100 with audience figures now well over 20,000

including the free home delivery of the Leith Festival programme, an acknowledgement in that programme, and an invite to the official Festival Launch on 10th June, and ticket discounts on selected shows. It will take more than red lights and ‘I’m a Leither – Get Me Out Of Here’ to achieve the opposite effect on the Festival’s finances. But as chair of the Festival Board, Gordon Munro, points out: if everybody who has taken some enjoyment from the festival over the years was to donate just £1 to the cause they would be out of the red and into the black in no time. “Leith Festival could be as big as the West End Festival in Glasgow or the Shoreditch Festival in London – it just needs to create a level of sustainability by getting the income it needs from supporters,” says Heather, before warning, “If we don’t get the finance we need, the Festival will go ahead anyway, but we will have to scale everything back. If the worst comes to the worst the one thing that will definitely happen is Gala day. Thereafter, we’ll have to fine tune whatever else happens – and that could be the start of a slippery slope.” ■ Issue 62 | leithermagazine.com | 17


Laird’sLarder

Lancashire Hotpot H

ullo rerr ma wee muckers! Ah jist bumped intae mah wee mucker Luke Deekin, he’d jist been stopped in the street by yin oh they damned researchers. “What vegetable makes you cry?” She asked him. “That’s easy,” says Luke, quick as yi like, “turnip.” She looked surprised, “turnip, surely you mean an onion?” Luke laughed, “yi’ve obviously never been hit in the bollocks wi’ a turnip!” Now wir aff tae Lancashire.

TEUCHTERS LANDING Mug Menu 12-10pm Soup of the day Small 2.95 Large 3.95

Cullen skink Small 3.95 Large 5.95 Haggis stovies (veggie available) Small 3.95 Large 5.95 Fish curry 5.95

Now wit yi’ll need is… 800g diced lamb neck fillets (or mutton) 1 onion diced 2 carrots and 2 leeks sliced 800g of unpeeled potatoes 1 big spoon of Worcester sauce 2 tablespoons of flour, olive oil, seasoning Now wit yi dae is…

Heat the oil in an ovenproof dish, add the lamb and brown, transfer lamb to a plate and add the diced/sliced veg to the

casserole dish and sauté for ten minutes then add the meat and stir in the flour, add enough water to just cover the ingredients and bring to a rolling boil. Pre-heat an oven to 180 degrees or gas mark 4, finally add seasoning and Worcester sauce to the lamb and remove from heat. Scrub the tatties and slice thinly, layer carefully over the meat, covering completely. Place in oven and cook for two hours, till the tatties are golden and crispy and the gravy is bubbling at the side. Mmmm. Serves six (or four if yir greedy!). Till next time, keep eatin’ yir veg and ching, ching! ■ The Laird

Mull of Kintyre cheddar macaroni Small 3.95 Large 5.95 Borders lamb stew 6.95 Mug o’ handcut chips Small £1.95 Large £2.95 All the above served with Arran Oatcakes Our mug menu is quality, simple, wholesome, comfort food, to be enjoyed whilst socialising Our restaurant, A Room in Leith, serves a full modern menu 1c Dock Place, Leith. 0131 554 7427. open 11am till 1am 18 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 62

The queen of hotpots, hur fae Corrie


A dear green space

CAN YOU DIG IT?

It’s thrifty It’s healthy

PLANT TO-DAY!

Vikki Jones worries about her wasteland, no, not her waistline

rather than a lifestyle. Now industrial farming and imported foods have granted us the luxury of choice – we select our fruit and vegetables on the basis of taste, health and locality. Despite these modern means of food production, the yield from your own allotment certainly can’t be beaten for freshness. Many gardeners swear nothing tastes better than fruit and vegetables grown by their own fair hand, but they would say that. Maybe we’ve just gotten used to the flavour of mass produced food, which is often picked early to make sure it lasts through its long journey to the shelves. But so many easily perishable soft fruits, like strawberries and raspberries, are relatively easy to grow. Shortening the journey to your plate can only improve the taste; and what journey could be shorter than from your own plant to your mouth?

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e’ve had local food, seasonal food, and organic food, now more of us want to go one better and grow our own. But if you’re looking for allotment space in the city centre you’ll be in for a long wait. A list released by Edinburgh City Council put the wait for an allotment on Leith Links at approximately six years. With spring so near, I often look out on to the communal wasteland, sorry, garden, behind my flat and make the same promise I did last year; ignore the waiting list and get out there and dig. My pristine white gardening gloves remain resolutely unused. Is the fuss about nothing? Are we all just jumping on the latest environmentally friendly, foodie bandwagon, or are we in the grip of a Good Life style revolution? There is certainly something wholesome about the idea of an allotment. Something, perhaps, to do with the fact that the movement was started by benevolent, liberal, middle class Victorians, who believed they could cure the diseased working classes by encouraging them to eat better. And despite sounding patronisingly bourgeois, this healthy living approach is still relevant. With government health campaigns targeting our increasingly sedentary lifestyles and gradually expanding waistlines, an allotment could be a way to keep the pounds off through exercise and healthy eating. Allotment gardening was at its peak during World War Two, when over 1.5 million of us were ‘digging for victory’. Today we can choose which fresh foods to buy and when to buy them. Back then it was a necessity

Allotment gardening was at its peak during World War Two, when over 1.5 million of us were ‘digging for victory’

Sizzling snarlers & chilled lager But is allotment-produced food really healthier? There’s no need to use excessive chemicals when you are growing for your own use, so allotment fruit and vegetables are practically organic. However, a review of research into the nutritional content of our food released last year concluded that there were only slightly improved levels of nutrients, vitamins and minerals in organic produce. This could put you off spending the extra on organic ranges in the supermarket, but if you’re growing your own, then this news is even better. Locality can be as much about your community as the provenance of your dinner. Visit an allotment on a summer’s evening and you’d be as likely to witness freshly barbecued sausages and cold beers as you would

a new crop of potatoes – so much for the health kick. Community gardening projects have sprung up across the city, encouraging people to get outdoors and meet their neighbours, and to promote the use of our green space. It puts my overgrown, nettleriddled patch of land to shame. One of the biggest recent concerns when it comes to our food is that of cost. As sick to death as we all are of hearing about crunching credit and economic woes, we still try to save a bit of cash on our weekly shop. Opinion is divided as to whether or not growing your own is any cheaper than the supermarket. Your allotment crops are not guaranteed – if slugs or blight take hold, all that digging will have been for nothing. And, taking into account the costs of the plot, the seeds, the equipment and the work involved, it may not work out cheaper, even if it is tastier. But, like me, plenty of Edinburgh residents are flirting with the idea of home grown produce, and waiting lists for allotments are growing. Last month Edinburgh City Council released its new Allotment Strategy, Cultivating Communities: A Growing Concern. In it, the Council identified 29 sites, which could potentially become allotments. These would be funded by a gradual increase in annual rental costs from the current price of £60 to £100 in four years time. To supplement allotment provision further, the Council could also approach private developers to release land for use as temporary plots to meet demand. But this spring, the wasteland beneath my window remains my only option if I’m to embark on a Tom and Barbara inspired drive for self-sufficiency. Watch this space. ■ Issue 62 | leithermagazine.com | 19


FoodReview John Holmes

On a hedgehog’s back … Wearing cast-iron underpants! Vin Caffe Multrees Walk Edinburgh ( 0131 557 0088 8 reservations@vincaffe.co.uk

A

pparently I upset some readers a while back when describing most of Edinburgh’s Italian restaurants as crap. Well sorry, but they are. I didn’t say all of them, just most (some people clearly don’t read the determiners). So, by way of a half-hearted placatory gesture, I decided to visit what in my experience has consistently been one of Edinburgh’s best restaurants, in order that I may write some warm words about Italian food. But first… I holidayed in Sardinia last year, and have visited various parts of Italy over the past decade or so. In all that time I could count on one hand the number of good eating experiences I’ve had in that gastronomically over-rated country. Now, I know this will be heretical to many of you (indeed I can hear screams of some very good friends even as I type), but that’s the way it is, for me. You really do need lashings of good luck 20 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 62

to be on the receiving end of a good Italian meal, especially in Italy. And coffee? Don’t even get me started on the coffee. Some of the worst coffee I’ve ever tasted was dished-up in Italy. I don’t know where they get the notion that they’re so good at it. Perhaps it’s the national character, or maybe they’re just so full of self-belief and consider that what they cook and deliver to our tables is always good, de facto. And there’s no excuse for it, because Italian food should offer so much. Parma ham, Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly made pasta, Tuscan tomatoes, Calabrian olive oil, fresh gnocchi, risotto and proper pizza are just a few that set the mouth watering at the very thought. It’s just the actuality that so often lets one down. Italian restaurateurs habitually confront us with the swagger and promise of the extraordinary – the Lionel Messi of the culinary world – but end up delivering so little, ultimately serving-up journeyman-like Aiden McGeady fare instead – all show and no substance. Now linguists may tell you that the first part of this review’s heading is an Italian expression of good luck

– In groppa al riccio – often used by students before entering the exam room, and that the response – Con le mutande di ghisa – expresses readiness for the task. In fact, I believe it’s a secret code we should all recite before entering an Italian restaurant. But I’ve not forgotten the warm words, because Vin Caffe is very good. The history of Messrs Valvona and Crolla, whose descendents own this bright Italian star amongst so many dullards, has been well documented so I don’t need to repeat it. What’s important is the food; and the wine.

Did you know that in 2007 only 4% of olive oil leaving Italy was pure Italian oil?

£32 bottle of wine a ‘bargain’ The menu changes regularly, but there are many recurring favourites, or variations of them, such as vitello tonato - which was a pork version on this occasion. We were in festive mood, (you don’t expect these pieces to be written just days before publication, do you?), so we began with a couple of glasses of Prosecco Rose, which was very pleasant. Our start-


ers were Tagliere Manzo (thin slices of Aberdeen Angus fillet in oil which were melt-in-the-mouth tender and excellent) @ £9.95 and Pancetta Maiale (which was not the exquisite slices of pork you may have tried from the Elm Row deli, but a gratifyingly flavoursome thick square of pork belly) @ £6.95. It came with a spot-on apple and pear preserve. We had a rocket and parmesan salad to accompany both, @ £2.95, which was rather light on the cheese but was quickly and ungrumblingly toppedup when we mentioned this. For mains, we had Linguine Granchio (crab) @ £12.95 and Fegato alla Veneziana @ £13.95. Vegetarians should look away now. Fegato is a classic calf’s liver dish and Vin Caffe’s version came pan fried close to perfection with garlic, chilli, red onion and balsamic vinegar: it was served with olive oil mash. I thought the linguine a little light on the crab and a little heavy on the garlic, but Sweetness enjoyed it. And I’m not suggest-

ing the fact that I could smell it for a full two days afterwards means I’m right and she’s wrong. As if … Whilst the food is very good, where Vin Caffe really excels is in its wine, all supplied from the superlative Elm Row cellars. They have this brilliant, but really expensive wine storage system – a Cruvinet: the only one in Scotland, I believe – which prevents deterioration. This allows them to offer some of their best wines by the glass, which allows us to sample something we might not be able to afford by the bottle. But on this occasion, we opted for a bottle of Sondraia 2005, a “super-Tuscan” which was on offer @ £32. Now that might sound a lot to the Editor, but it was dead cheap for the quality. It was a full-bodied, concentrated, yet refined modern blockbuster. We shared a Torta de Ciocolata, which came with crème freche. If it had come with a scoop of Italian ice cream, it would have been perfect. And the coffee. Did I mention the

Score :

16/20 Damage: £100.60 (for 2, including wine and those wonderful Italian coffees)

coffee? We had two double-shot lattes with just the right amount and proper consistency of frothy milk. Superb, as you’d expect from a good Italian restaurant. Someone once described Italy as a “corrupt, cynical, ungovernable, untrusting, excruciatingly bureaucratic, beautiful, happy country”. It is like no other place on earth. All that history, all those medieval buildings, all that art, the countryside – all rolling hills atop which sit perfectly restored farm buildings surrounded by perfectly coiffured cypress trees – the fantastic wine, some of the most beautiful towns in the world… It is unquestionably a beautiful country: of course it is, who said otherwise? I can’t wait to go back. I’ll also return soon to Vin Caffe, because it’s probably (I said probably) the best Italian restaurant in Edinburgh. So there’s no need for cries of good luck before entering here, or for a pair of sturdy undergarments. ■ Issue 62 | leithermagazine.com | 21


Burning trees on the Forth Photo by Ove Topfler

Fiona Craig on a proposed biomass plant near you

model, photograph or even an exact artist’s impression because they themselves do not know what it will look like. The display did include photographic examples of comparable plants throughout Europe and an artist’s impression (guesswork?) of how unobtrusive the edifice would be on the skyline of Edinburgh – the viewpoint being from Edinburgh Castle – I kid you not. Admittedly, the B-listed grain silo making way (being flattened) for the plant is not pretty, unless you are into Stalinist architecture or the Battersea Power Station - but I’ve grown accustomed to its face.

I

am an incomer and bornagain Leither of barely two months, my change of denomination coming at the end of a five-year residency in Craigmillar. Converting my loyalties from one maligned area to another boasting it’s own edgy cachet has prompted both jokes from my family and a personal urge to familiarise myself with all that is Leith. When a friend of mine mentioned proposals were afoot to build a biomass power plant locally I was curious and – I admit – alarmed, especially when I realised that my bedroom window boasted a front-row view of its intended location. My Leither chum, who has the community mindset of a meercat, duly informed me that Forth Energy, the company behind the proposal, were to display their (in his eyes) dubious plans at Ocean Terminal the following week. At the first opportunity, I trotted off to investigate further. Not one but two very professional, informative, and seemingly frank representatives intercepted me at the low-key (blink and you’ll miss it) presentation. They answered all my questions and requested that I fill in a response sheet to their proposals before I left. So far, so satisfactory, but like a takeaway meal, an hour after consumption, I experienced major rumbles and pangs for more information and clarification – rather than an extra portion of chow mein. Cue some enlightening and conflicting Internet wanderings. Forth Energy is a partnership venture between port operator and landowner Forth Ports and utilities company Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), formed in 2008. The initial drive was reported as joint research and development of renewable energy. Just two years on, they are on the point of putting theory into practice on a site previously earmarked for residential development or green space. Forth Ports worked with the City of Edinburgh Council for a number of years towards the approval of master plans for the redevelopment of Leith Docks. The original impetus did include room 22 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 62

Should the waterfront include a biomass fuel plant?

Not one but two representatives intercepted me at the low-key ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ presentation

ÊÊFor regular updates check: www. greenerleith.org

for business and industry but their own press releases of the time made much of future housing requirements. Stalinist architecture Two years on and much has happened in the world economy, none of it very good, in Leith too the pinch is also being felt. The representatives at Ocean Terminal were quick to expound on the benefits of Forth Energy’s presence in Leith, the production of ‘clean’ energy, creation of local jobs in both construction and subsequently, the running of the proposed plant. They claim the project will keep the redevelopment of Leith going whilst the recession has, in effect, dried up sales in residential property. They were also candid about their status as a commercial venture. It is widely known that there are impressive financial subsidies available to renewable energy generators. However, their zeal may not cheer those who have already invested in homes and lives a couple of hundred metres from the intended site, methinks. The physical reality is still unknown. They could not provide a

Power plant asbos Anomalies abound in reports regarding biomass energy and it’s sustainability – some say it is cheap and renewable, others the complete reverse. This proposed plant would burn around 1.3 million tonnes of bio-fuel per annum, the majority of which would be shipped from North America as a timber by-product. The plan is to ship most of the materials by sea, which in itself has a significant effect on global warming and is behind other forms of transport in tightening its carbon belt. Britain is currently incapable of producing enough timber for existing and planned biomass plants on her shores. Globally, less than 12% of our forests are part of any certificated scheme deeming them sustainably managed. Most of this timber supply is already committed to various ‘green’ wood users and companies. Forth Energy has not committed to certificated schemes and is planning another three biomass plants in Scotland on property owned by Forth Ports. Where, therefore is the proof of sustainability? Is this a case of profit before people, dressed up as progress? Perhaps our prospective new neighbours will be benign and industrious, if a little unsightly? Alternatively, like a family of lottery winning neds, they could move in, flash their cash, and take over and disrupt the neighbourhood, until the collective ire of the community serves up a power plant sized ASBO... Forth Energy will put it’s proposals to the council sometime in June... watch this space. ■


The Water of Leith Cafe Bistro

Some of our goodies Morning menu - till Noon Bagel, cream cheese & smoked salmon 4.95 Full breakfast roll 3.50 Croque Monsieur 4.95

Afternoon Menu – after noon!

The Water of Leith Cafe Bistro is the perfect place for homebaked cakes, a long, lingering, lunch or a quick bite on the run. We are available for private hire by parties of ten or more, and also for more formal events such as weddings. We are licensed and are (very!) child friendly. Please contact either Ana or Mickael to discuss your plans.

Cullen skink small 3.95 large 5.95 Chicken liver & cognac parfait 4.10 Smoked haddock & salmon fishcakes 3.95/5.95 Spinach, sweet potato and chick pea curry 6.20 Also look out for our Daily Specials

Three course set lunch for Mother’s Day £16

Kids stuff from 2.95 to 3.95 Some of our cakes (from 1.65) Sticky toffee pudding Pear & almond tart Vanilla cheesecake

52 Coburg Street Edinburgh T: 0131 555 2613 E: enquiries@waterofleithcafebistro.co.uk www.waterofleithcafebistro.co.uk 24 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 62


SpringFitness Tracy Griffen

Good quality fitness fuel

I discovered with satisfaction that Chris Hoy enjoys his two double espressos a day so much that he took his own coffee machine to the Beijing Olympics

Sir Chris Hoy watercolour by Jeremy Houghton

I

recently finished reading Chris Hoy’s excellent biography Heroes, Villains and Velodromes by Richard Moore. I had won the book for submitting feedback on the 2009 Chris Hoy Half Marathon. It’s not a bike race, but an annual run from Meadowbank Stadium to Musselburgh Racecourse. I would like to say I got the book for running very fast, but it was for the mundane task of filling in a feedback form (a process which I find perversely satisfying). I told them they needed more loos at the starting point! Before digressing any further, allow me to wrench the topic back to the book, and more specifically Chris Hoy; the first British athlete in a century to win three gold medals at an Olympic Games. What a legend! The dedication and attention to detail Chris put into his training became obvious as the book charted success after success. As I neared the end of the story, I discovered with satisfaction that Chris enjoys his two double espressos a day so much that he took his own coffee machine to the Beijing Olympics. Now that’s attention to detail. Good quality fuel is something that’s close to the hearts of many athletes and healthy bods. Cycling and coffee seem to go hand in hand, and personally bombing up Broughton Street after a caffeine hit is much easier and more satisfying than after a peppermint tea. Whilst I don’t recommend that folk go overboard on stimulants, it’s OK to drink one or two caffeinated beverages a day. Any more and you might find yourself in a vicious circle of energy ups and downs or awake into the wee hours. So make the coffee you do have a quality one! Preparation is key and if you’re into your coffee, it’s worth investing in the right kit. There’s something rather nice about the smell of freshly ground coffee. I usually keep a kilo bag of coffee beans in the freezer, to top up the hopper of my grinder as the first step of the brew process. A stovetop espresso machine (mine’s the classic moka) makes top-notch ‘rocket fuel’ to get you moving. If

you’re a true athlete, you’re likely to have your coffee black and unsweetened (the addition of milk and sugar can make the consequent dip more pronounced). Remember also to rehydrate. A good lesson for life anyhow. I carry a number of café loyalty cards in my pannier bag, my favourites in Edinburgh are: 1. Vittoria, Leith Walk: They use Bei & Nannini beans, which are my favourite (as do Le Favorita). 2. Spark, Dundas Street: Strong coffee, wee snacks to go and a friendly owner, James, always ready for a blether. 3. Wellington Café, corner Hanover/ George Street: They have won awards for their barista skills, and also serve bonza scones. Bike parking/railings right outside, perfect when in transit through town. 4. Café Luciano, George IV Bridge: A big mug of mocha. Proper Italian-like. 5. Artisan Roast, Broughton Stree: They roast their own beans. Very nice. Further up Broughton Street, Real Foods have a wonderful selection of coffee beans for making a true blue brew at home. I favour the rich flavour of Mountain coffee beans (supplied to Real Foods by Edinburgh Tea and Coffee), 1kg for just over a tenner. If you calculate how many cups of coffee you get it works out at fifteen pence a cup. Brilliant value. The quality of food and drink can be an obsessive topic for any individual who looks after their health. The quality of fuel (food) you put

into your body will directly correlate to how much energy you have. Eat crap, feel crap. Are you a packet scanner, checking out nutritional content, or do you chuck anything that takes your fancy into your shopping basket? If you’re baffled by the plethora of seemingly contradictory nutritional information out there and want some no-nonsense ideas, come along to the inaugural Healthy Eating Evening at Real Foods on Broughton Street on Wednesday March 31st from 7pm – 9pm. The evening is going to be a groovy exploration of all that is healthy AND tasty. Don’t know what the heck quinoa is? Or even how to pronounce it? Come and learn how easy it is to choose fuel for health. There will be recipe ideas, tastings, a tour and a goody bag, all for the princely sum of £5. If you purchase £30 or more of shopping on the evening, you can get your £5 ticket price back. Bargain. Did I mention that there’s also an organic wine tasting? You can also stock up on coffee… ■ ÊÊTickets are available either from Real Foods or Griffen Fitness. Call me on 07743 741 088 and I will hand deliver your tickets in Leith/central Edinburgh, or for pre-arranged collection from Griffen Fitness at 3 Balfour Street.

ÊÊChris Hoy Half Marathon, Sunday 18th April, Meadowbank Stadium, www.edinburgh-half.co.uk Issue 62 | leithermagazine.com | 25


Try some of our exciting dishes ›› Ugly as sin pork pie, mushy pea puree and fresh mint sauce ›› Pan-fried wood-pigeon breast on a salad of rocket, beetroot, walnuts and pears, finished with a rich port reduction ›› Greek bruschetta of tomato, olive, cucumber, feta and oregano ›› Pan seared Stonebass, baked chive mash, sautéed red cabbage, beetroot sauce ›› Braised Ox cheek in Guinness, sweet potato chips, chunky carrots with a rich jus ›› Slow roasted pork belly, black pudding and apple mash with sautéed broad beans and pancetta Don’t forget ›› 2 course lunch for £9.95 ›› And of course Thursday steak night where steaks are cheaper but just as good!

46 Queen Charlotte St leith. T: 0131 555 3103 E: info@esibrasserie.com opening hours: tuesday to Saturday 12pm - 3pm / 6pm - 10pm. sunday 5pm - 10pm. monday closed

25 £ m fro s ard C ess n i s business Bu

stationery digital printing plan copying colour posters t-shirt printing design + artwork menu printing wedding stationery

19 Bernard Street, Leith Leither Ad - March.indd 1

26 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 62

info@leithprint.com

0131 467 7826 09/03/2010 11:53


Louise’sColumn

Ms. Storie on burpees, a full body exercise used in aerobics I

He’d been the personal trainer for the Dundee football team so a forty-one year old woman should have been a breeze

have become that Philadelphia cream cheese girl, packaging up different toppings in Tupperware boxes (formerly Chinese take-away leftovers – before the health kick of course!). Cherry tomatoes, cucumber strips, chicken pulled from the Sunday carcass…all designed to transform my cardboard rectangles of Ryvita into something edible. Like many of you out there, I’ve been trying to turn over a healthy new leaf since New Year. For me, it began in November, the month I joined the gym – for the third time in ten years! With the low joining fee and equally low monthly fees, and the fact I had to walk past this new gym every day to go to work, with posters plastered everywhere and even someone handing out leaflets, I eventually saw it as a sign, my last great hope to transform my couch potato lifestyle. The most exercise I was getting with my desk job and bus pass, was the fifteen minutes of activity involved in preparing dinner each night – a bit of chopping and peeling – as I created a huge carb feast, which was demolished quicker than it was prepared. I’d then collapse on the sofa and watch TV before going to bed. The following day, it would start all over again. I really had no choice but to join a gym, or at least give it another bash – see if I could make it work this time. But just four months in, around the time that John Lewis was dismantling its window display of exercise equipment, my enthusiasm was starting to wane. So far, I’d scarcely managed to go three times in any given week which. Instead, I was going to the gym on average once or twice a week. It didn’t help that I’d gained 3lbs since joining, and that included some lean lunches of Philadelphia cream cheese (light!) and crackers. When I moaned about this to one of my colleagues at work

Louise at the gym, she assures us she is behind one of those contraptions

they suggested I’d gained muscle weight. Nice try, but who were we kidding? I’d have to be going more often than that to be in danger of building up muscle tone. Jazzed up lunch Maybe the answer was going every other day at lunchtime – thirty minutes endurance training before letting rip on my crackers. It would get me away from my desk and barely interrupt my day. Surely that would and should make a difference? I nearly initiated this regime a few days ago, having been absent from the gym for a few days, but I couldn’t find my trainers and if I wasn’t careful I was going to miss the bus to work, so it didn’t happen. Funny how easily little things get in the way of the best-laid plans, you’ve had a crap day at work, you haven’t had enough fluids… I even used the excuse that it was simply too cold to get undressed, not even glancing up at the gym as I scuttled past. I took up the offer of a free personal training session thinking it might inspire me. I’m not sure if it did. We didn’t go near the gym equipment, except for a warm up on the treadmill. The rest of the time we spent on

the mats, doing a series of burpees, lunges and stomach crunches to name but a few of the exercises I was instructed to do – 20 reps of each, four circuits. I thought my heart was going to jump out of my tightly bound chest (shock absorber sports bra!). “You can do it!” “Don’t give up now.” “Just one more burpee.” He was a really nice guy, clearly knew what he was talking about, and he’d been the personal trainer for the Dundee football team so a forty-one year old woman should have been a breeze. Or so he thought, as I tried to catch my breath, gulping water from my plastic bottle as if it was my last, whilst moaning about the burpees. God, they hurt! Don’t get me wrong I’m not looking for a way out. I’m just waiting for the day I suddenly start to enjoy it, and need it! When are those endorphins that everyone talks about going to kick in? At the moment going to the gym is like brushing my teeth – it’s a nuisance but something that’s got be done. In the meantime I’ll keep foraging in the fridge for healthy titbits to jazz up my lunch of cheese and crackers, and maybe this week I’ll find it in me to go to the gym every other day. Wish me luck! ■ Issue 62 | leithermagazine.com | 27


What’sOn entertainment

Autobahn 17 Iona Street Edinburgh’s kraut rocking, synth popping, new waving and generally electronically weird social returns to the Strathie’s bunker bar on the last Friday of every month. 8pm-1am.

Highlight of the month

Boda Bar 229 Leith Walk  0131 553 5900 Last Wed. of the month: Craft Guerilla Nights (If you would like an exhibition in Boda contact anna@bodabar.com) Carrier’s Quarters 42 Bernard Street  0131 554 4122 Sun: 6.30pm Jammie Devils Dalriada 77 Promenade, Portobello  0131 454 4500 Thurs: Quiz Night 8.30pm Fri & Sat: Live Music 9pm Sat & Sun: Live Music 3pm6pm 21 March: The Southern Tennant Folk Union Espy 62/64 Bath Street, Portobello  0131 669 0082 Mon: Mad Mexican Mondays Tue: Stitch & Bitch (local knitting circle) Wed: Open Mic Night Sun: The Sunday Night Quest. Guilty Lily 284 Bonnington Road  0131 554 5824 Thur: Open Mic Night from 9pm Fri: Live Music or entertainment from 9pm Sun: Sunday Session Roast all day & Quiz at night (8.30 start) Starting in Feb. new weeknight classes for ladies. Mon:

Stretch and Tone with Agathe 6-6.45pm

Tue: Hafla Belly Dancing 7-8pm Wed: Zumba with Fiona 6-7pm Saphire Music Club @ Guilty Lily Last Thursday of the

month from 7.45pm, £5 entry

Iso Bar 7 Bernard Street  0131 467 8904 Wed: Quiz Night, 8pm. Thur: The Leith Tape Club, 8pm. Joseph Pearce’s Bar 23 Elm Row  0131 556 4140 Tuesdays: Jogging Club 7pm-8pm. 1st Monday of the month: The Paintbrush and the Sewing Needle. A general art & craft circle at 7pm. New events: Cinnamon Wednesdays and Sunday D.J. nights. Kitsch Coffee Bar Bistro 36 Bernard Street  0131 553 7046 Every Thurs: live acoustic music from 7pm. Check out website for the artists & drink promos. 28 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 62

Kenneth Le Rich

Roxy Art House 3 Roxburgh Place  0131 629 0039 Roxy Room

more. 26 March: An Evening with Wise Blood Industries. Roxy Hall

13 March: Lipsync for a Lullaby 17 March: Crab Tree Electric 19 March: Randan Discotheque 20 March: Grind Sight Open Eye 25 March: Scree Magazine presents- Hel-

17 March: Cannongate Books and the Roxy

hesten, tomthenoisemonger, iliop and much

Every Sun: Roxymoron, open mic night.

Sofi’s Bar 65 Henderson Street  0131 555 7019 Monday Film Night 8pm: The Oscar Winners Season. Scottish - Swedish Society: last Monday of the month. Tues: Knitting Group 7.30pm Thurs: Acoustic Open Mic Night with Sylvian Also...March is Chocolate month at Sofi’s: Fondue Fridays (7pm) and Chocolate Champagne Sundays. 28 March: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Party (fancy dress encouraged).

Victoria Bar 265 Leith Walk  0131 554 5706 16 April: Fundraising night for Cancer Research, organised by the Joseph Pearce’s Jogging Club.

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, Kenny Ellis & Brian Kellock, 2pm-5pm. Evening Folk, Nuala Kennedy,7pm-10pm The Village South Fort Street  0131 478 7810 18 March: Ben Bedford 19 March: Barett Wise Experience 20 March: C.H.A.S. Fundraising event 25 March: William and the Wheel Leith Folk Club at the Village

 leithfolkclub.org 16 March: Catherine Fraser & Duncan Smith 23 March: Sonny Condell 30 March: Annlaug Borsheim

present “irregular #4”. 8.30pm. £5. Roxy Bar

Ditch and Switch at the Voodoo Rooms  0131 476 3276 25 March: Clothes swapping, beauty & style tips from experts and of course champagne and cupcakes!! Tickets £10.

the arts

Concrete Wardrobe 50A Broughton Street  0131 558 7130 March Maker of the Month: SodaKitsch A timeless collection of leather bags and accessories, designed and produced by hand at their Edinburgh based studio. Corn Exchange Gallery Constitution Street. 12 March-13 May: Arthur Steward, Richard James Moat, Elsewhere. Tues-Fri. 11am4.30pm. Coburg House Art Studios Starting soon a series of innovative and creative art courses. Mosaics, weaving, jewellery, ceramics e.t.c. For more info and to book your place visit  coburghousestudios.blogspot.com


Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop 25 Hawthornvale, Newhaven.  0131 551 4490 9 April: Dialogues 2010. Exhibition opens at Patriothall. 24 April: Annual clean up of local cycle path as part of National Spring Clean. Out of the Blue Drill Hall: 36 Dalmeny Street  0131 555 7101  outoftheblue.org.uk Weekly classes include drama, dance, yoga, martial arts, belly dancing, life drawing, aerial classes and children’s art workshop. See website for more info. 8-20 March: “A Sense of Self”. Photography exhibition from W.I.F.I.E. 13 March: Capoeira Angola Roda – Open class. 2.30-4pm. Free entry. 21 March: The Siege of Leith Show. 7pm. 22 March: Clutter Keeps Company. 7.30pm. Birds of Paradise Theatre Company present a bittersweet comedy thriller. The Scottish Storytelling Centre 43-45 High Street, EH1 1SR 16 March: Women of Ireland. 3pm. £6/£4. 17 March: Across the Water – Scotland and Ireland. 7pm. £8/£6. 20 March: Tall Tales Oscar. 7pm. £8/£6.

commuity

Malcolm Chisholm MSP for Edinburgh North & Leith. Advice Surgeries every Saturday morning  0131 558 8358 Mark Lazarowicz MP for Edinburgh North & Leith holds regular advice surgeries for local residents every Friday.  0131 557 0577 Rob Munn Leith Ward SNP. Advice surgeries: 1st & 3rd Monday 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 Com-

munity Education Centre, 6.30-7.15pm. 2nd Monday 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 City Chambers.  0131 529 4988 Leith Ward Lib/Dem. Advice surgeries: 1st & 3rd Wed. of each month at Fort Community Wing, 5.30-6pm and Leith Academy, 6.30-7.30pm. Deidre Brock Leith Ward S.N.P. Advice surgeries: 1st & 3rd Mon. of each month at McDonald Road Library,6pm. 2nd Mon. of each month at Broughton Primary School, 6pm. (During school terms.) Leith Community Centre Kinsfolk Carers drop-in support group. Thursday 10am-noon Crèche & Café available.  07990795635 Leith Library 28-30 Ferry Road  0131 529 5517 Computer Club: Under 13’s, Tues. 4-5pm Friday Craft Time: For ages 4 to 11, Fri 2.30pm. For info on other clubs & events contact Leith Library. The Stroke Association Links House, 15 Links Place.  0131 555 7245 Fundraising “Step out for Stroke” Campaign. They are organising a walk along the Water of Leith walkway on the 16 May. Looking for volunteers and participants.

Be Seated

manufacture & restoration of upholstered furniture 0131 478 7178

103 Constitution Street | Leith | Edinburgh EH6 7AE e: peter@beseated.co.uk | w: beseated.co.uk

Leither www.leithermagazine.com

Ramsay Cornish 15/17 Jane Street.  0131 553 7000 Traditional Lane Sale: Thurs. 11am General Household Auction: Sat. 11am Apologies to some contributors but What’s On was over subscribed this month.

W: NE Deck l a m Roy Roo Tea

Registered charity: SC028070

Ocean Terminal, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk Tel: 0131 555 5566

Issue 62 | leithermagazine.com | 29


CrosswordNo.37

across 1 Mere team at the darts shrine (8) 5 Old market, French sea, pet! (6) 10 Quizzically tote my cycles, och cut the gall bladder (15) 11 Remit teddy boy contained gave out (7) 12 Country docked gangster. Country (7) 13 Artist in fall. Wet! (8) 15 Spring alien returned for many 13s (5) 18 Turns over car (5) 20 Like 18 rogue unwell with Bill (8) 23 Toff with French Island. Goy! (7) 25 About a series of events in waste conversion (7) 26 Sounds like you, Kay (3,7,5) 27 Hooter without fish, it’s the end of the game (2,4) 28 Single lens organ tumbler (8)

down 1 2 3 4 6 7 8

9 14 16 17 19 21 22 24 25

Hair and French ornament (6) Perhaps allot wink to big head (4-2-3) Point to small X make more acceptable (7) Arid notice to nymph (5) Encloses maybe as scene? (7) Sung in here church Rio confused (5) Kids favourite manufacturer smashed ark, my toe!(8) For cash maybe spender first caught (8) Tee carer perhaps born again (8) Brain dead. Account to gangster, copper tells short porkies (9) Not left in mountain, cheer up! (8) Awaken Bond. Not shaken (7) Part black in Ghana, absent (7) Cuppas round London area, ribs! (6) River back in points of necessity (5) Game with swelling impaired by lack of recent practice (5)

crossword prize Two courses for two people at Malmasion Edinburgh

winner

JJ Dromey, EH7

Supplied by: www.leithlinks.co.uk

answers: crossword 36 across 1 5 10 11 12 13 15 18 20 23 24 26 27 29

Shavings Wombat Sticks and stones Elopers Evident Dial tone Rehab Bayou Estimate Non-stop Catcher Our mutual friend Seethe Unedited

down

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

System Animosity Ink well Grass Outlier Binge Test tube Adherent Overplus Hatchment Abandons Untruth Metered Eroded Nurse Colon

Email your answers to: info@theleithermagazine.com 30 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 62


Leither in London Carrie Mitchell

Our Carrie hits the big 3-o and decides to take control I

People talk about friends with benefits, but we were more like boyfriend and girlfriend without benefits

t’s official people – I’m thirty and single. How the hell did that happen? A couple of months ago, it looked like I might meet the milestone with a man at my side (wouldn’t that have been a novelty?) Even when things with John started to go wrong, there was always Rob…wasn’t there? Well, no actually, as it turned out, I was wrong about that too. It seems five months of being my beck and call guy was about as much as Rob could take. And who can blame him? He might have pretended he was fine with the whole ‘friendship’ thing but what we had was never really a friendship. He thought if he hung around long enough and made himself indispensable to me, I’d eventually fall in love with him. And part of me hoped he was right but the other part of me – the selfish part – just loved having someone around I could depend on. Every day he was there on email making my working day oh-so-much less dull. At night he was either at the end of a phone, or he was there at my side - in the pub, in the cinema, in a club, in a taxi, on my couch. The days of him making romantic proclamations or going in for a kiss were mercifully gone, but our relationship probably couldn’t strictly be described as platonic. Was it platonic when I cuddled in beside him on the couch and slept there? Or when I rang him at 4am crying, because some other guy had tried to kiss me? Or when he’d spend hours compiling playlists he knew I’d love and we’d both pretend he hadn’t made them specifically for me? Or when he’d scare off every other man that came near me with a proprietorial stare? Er…maybe not. You officially suck People talk about friends with benefits, but we were more like boyfriend and girlfriend without benefits. “I’m not going anywhere,” he’d assured me on numerous occasions. And I believed him. Of course, when he met

someone else who would hold his hand and didn’t relegate him to the couch, that promise kind of went out the window. It was the daily texts that dwindled first, then the emails, then I realised a month had passed since I’d seen him. I was in no position to complain. He didn’t owe me anything. He’d done nothing wrong. Yet I felt completely abandoned. And when he sent me an email to say he might not make it to my birthday party, I finally lost it. “You officially suck. Drop me a line when you can fit me into your itinerary,” was my very mature and not at all irrational response. Of course from there it descended into an email-nightmare-athon, which reached a crescendo when he called me a brat and said he wouldn’t bother coming at all. I mean WTF? Admittedly he couldn’t make it because he was busy shooting a video with his band and yes, apparently his missus wasn’t even around, she was in India till the Sunday. But the night of my birthday would make it two months since I’d seen him. TWO MONTHS! Couldn’t he see why I was upset? He’d ditched one of his best friends the moment a girl had come along. That was just rude. In the end though, after having a rant to my poor mother about the whole thing, I had to admit that I might not have been entirely reasonable. “Well it sounds like you were being a bit of a brat,” were her wise

words. “You can’t expect his life to revolve around you when you don’t really want him and someone else does. I’m not surprised he reacted the way he did.” So I swallowed my battered pride and sent another email telling him the cause of my brattish behaviour: “I’m sorry. I just miss you.” Unhealthy relationships Of course, he didn’t make it to the party, and much as I hate to admit, after a fabulous night surrounded by the people who love me, I still went home, crawled into bed and called him. We spoke for ages and it was nice – but it was also the last time. That night, I finally realised I had to let him go. Truth be told, I shouldn’t have let him get so close in the first place. It wasn’t the healthiest relationship for either of us. Besides, I managed perfectly well on my own before he came along, and I can manage perfectly well on my own now – particularly now I’s all grown up! And just to prove how strong and independent I am, I’m taking control. In the last few weeks, I’ve asked for a promotion, been commissioned to write a piece for an actual glossy (nonwedding related no less!), and begun the process of getting a mortgage. Who needs a man to get ahead? I have a feeling 30 is going to be a good age for me. Oh yes, and I have a date on Friday with a very handsome man. ■ Issue 62 | leithermagazine.com | 31


two course business lunch ÂŁ10 Cafe fish soup Grilled goats cheese ~ Rocket salad ~ lemon dressing Spiced Mull crab cake ~ peanut sauce Venison, pork and green peppercorn terrine Garlic crostini ~ caramelised onions ~ vine tomatoes ~ Cafe fish & chips ~ crushed peas ~ tartare sauce Steamed Shetland mussels with garlic, wine & cream ~ chips Hot smoked salmon baguette ~ potato & dill salad Stornoway pudding ~ crispy bacon ~ mushrooms ~ poached egg Cafe fish pie with parmesan crust ~ roasted roots ~ Nutty apple crumble ~ custard Pear & frangipane tart ~ Bollinger berries Three courses ÂŁ14 Available Tuesday to Friday 1200-3.00. Not available with any other offer. The above menu is a sample only and menus will change regularly.

60 Henderson Street, Edinburgh 0131 538 6131 www.cafefish.net Issue 62 | leithermagazine.com | 32

Leither - 62  

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