Free Issue 70
Running in Traffic
An Award winning film Plus Cheryl Cole makes false move Dr Jim Swire seeks the truth Politics | Humour | Food | Cinema | Reviews | Music | Crossword | Whatâ€™s On
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Editor at Large
4 Mr Potato Head & 70s Porn Stars
Those of you who normally swoon over the (admittedly gorgeous) picture of the editor that usually occupies this space …
ake a look at the fellow on the left, don’t be alarmed gentle readers, it’s not a still from a porn version of Shirley Valentine nor indeed is it an early hirsute picture of that shaven headed Russian serial killer who murdered 50-odd people and then ate their testicles. Those of you who normally swoon over the (admittedly gorgeous) picture of the editor that usually occupies this space will be astonished to know that he and this ouzo swilling brute are one and the same person! I found this shocker on my desktop, where I keep it for the sake of general hilarity, and I offer it to you now to honour that fine charity Movember. Their guiding principle it is that a fellow must not shave his upper lip during the month of (you guessed it) November and that he must gather monies for Prostate Cancer whilst looking like a dick. Okay that last may be a bit harsh, for a (scientifically proven) website states categorically that a chap with a moustache: appreciates quality; surrounds himself with the finest of everything; leads a valiant life, including solo
6 adventure into unknown territories (that would be the Port o’ Leith) and recognises that one of the ‘best quality’ is better that a dozen mediocrities. Is all of the above not fully realised in that fine, noble, indeed profound, portrait to your left? I rest my case. He stands, our brooding colossus, at the head of a proud tradition that embraces the likes of Dali, Einstein, Nietzsche, Mr. Potato Head and that Ron Jeremy the fat 70s porn star. Moustachioed heroes all. A few more (absolutely true) titbits about the editor’s moustache: a moustache of this magnitude is capable of holding 10% of a pot of ale; its wearer is smarter and more educated; it acts as a Coat of Arms for his face, placing him in the higher echelons of polite society and, most importantly, a survey of 100,000 women conducted in 1988 found that moustachioed men proved to be superior lovers. So there you have it, the unvarnished truth, and over £2,000,000 (so far) raised for charity. ■ ÊÊInfo: You too can get involved at www.movemberfoundation.com. Go on, do it for Ned Flanders.
Gordon Munro on Thom Yorke (sort of) and the Wu Ming band of authors
A director from New Zealand makes a truly independent film in Scotland
A fine production of The Importance of Being Earnest graces the Lyceum stage
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Protempore backs Jim Swire, a true hero for our age
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Front cover: Bryan Larkin and Anna Kerth in the movie Running in Traffic Issue 70 | leithermagazine.com | 3
One good man’s search for justice T
he truth is rarely pure and never simple. So said Oscar Wilde. And since the outcome of the Lockerbie bombing trial, held in the Netherlands, which saw Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi convicted of the murder of 270 people, the search for a pure and simple truth has been led by one man – Dr Jim Swire. Jim Swire lost his 24 year-old daughter Flora when a bomb destroyed Pan Am Flight 103 on Wednesday 21 December 1988 killing all 243 passengers, 16 crew members and 11 people in the town of Lockerbie. Ever since that day he has been trying to uncover exactly what happened, convinced that the only man convicted of murder has been the victim of a gross miscarriage of justice. Amidst the murk and treachery of the Lockerbie bombing, the search for truth looks, from the outside, to be entirely futile. There are numerous players in this dark game of hide and seek; the Scottish criminal justice system; the governments of the United Kingdom, Scotland, the United States, Libya and Iran; secret service agencies including the FBI and MI5; and then there’s Dr Jim Swire.
Missives and diktats
In the unrelenting world of 24-hour news coverage, it’s become far too easy for honourable, decent and honest people to be routinely dismissed as conspiracy theorists. The simple act of questioning the official line on anything these days sees people described as deluded, misguided or nut cases. The machinery of government is run by press officers, whose job is to relay unrelenting press statements, missives and diktats, which are intended to seep into the nation’s consciousness and render any dissenting 4 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 70
voices silent. Watch any episode of The Thick Of It and you’ll get the idea. But Jim Swire is a dissenting voice that refuses to hush up and go away. His concern is that the Scottish criminal justice system returned a verdict which is wrong and which has both deprived a man of his liberty, and the world of the truth about one of the most heinous acts of terrorist violence ever perpetrated on innocent civilians. His concern is justified. Not only because the man lost his daughter and quite rightly wants to know who was responsible for her death, but because he wants the world to know the truth; and even the most amateur trawl through the events which led to al-Megrahi’s conviction and the statements of those involved at his trial, show that Jim Swire is not a man prone to daydreaming about conspiracies. He’s convinced that the evidence against al-Megrahi is, to say the least, flawed, and the conviction which flowed from it completely unsound. It wouldn’t be possible in this short space to go over every shred of evidence in the Lockerbie trial but the Scottish court returned a unanimous verdict of guilty against al-Megrahi. The prosecution’s main witness was a guy called Tony Gauci, a Maltese shopkeeper who, according to evidence led at the trial, sold the clothes which were said to have been wrapped around the improvised explosive device that brought the aircraft down. He was the only witness to link al-Megrahi directly to the device, and was therefore instrumental in convicting him. However, you read the transcript of the trial, Gauci was uncertain about the dates on which he sold the clothes, and more importantly, could not be certain
Pigticians illustration by Bernie Reid
that he sold the clothes to al-Megrahi. When he attended an identity parade to identify the man to whom he sold the clothes, he picked out al-Megrahi. However, he later acknowledged that he had seen al-Megrahi’s photograph in a newspaper days before implicating him in the bomb plot. It’s also now well documented that he was paid $2 million for his evidence by the US authorities.
Not quite the full shilling
Even the most amateur trawl through the events and statements of those involved at the trial, show that Dr Jim Swire is not a man prone to daydreaming about conspiracies
Lord Fraser of Carmylie – who was Lord Advocate at the time and ultimately responsible for the investigation into the Lockerbie bombing, and bringing al-Megrahi to trial – cast doubt upon the reliability of the main prosecution witness, one Tony Gauci, 5 years after the trial. According to the Sunday Times of October 23, 2005, Lord Fraser criticised the Maltese shopkeeper, for amongst other things, being ‘not quite the full shilling’ and ‘an apple short of a picnic’. The former Labour MP Tam Dalyell who played a crucial role in organising the trial at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands, described Lord Fraser’s comments as an ‘extraordinary development’: “I think there is an obligation for the chairman and members of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission to ask Lord Fraser to see them and testify under oath - it’s that serious. Fraser should have said this at the time and, if not then, he was under a moral obligation to do so before the trial. I think there will be all sorts of consequences.” One of those consequences is Dr Jim Swire. A man who has had his heart broken but whose spirit and sense of justice is strong. The very least he deserves is the pure and simple truth. ■ Protempore
Issue 70 | leithermagazine.com | 5
On The Shelf Mandarin for anonymous? Gordon Munro’s your man – it’s Wu Ming
notions get tangled up in the even more fanciful notions of power brokers and power structures within the Eastern Bloc and those confronting the Eastern Bloc. For a book written by a ‘band of authors’ it is surprisingly coherent both in narrative and plot. It fully deserves the praise that Boyd Tonkin and others have heaped on it – importantly, it made me want to read more of their work.
ormally when it comes to books it’s biographies and politics for me, with a bit of poetry on the side. But lately I’ve read a novel that captured my heart. I haven’t been so captivated since devouring the smart and funny series of novels that included Diva – later filmed – by Delacorta. (His interviews with Burroughs are worth a look too.) Wu Ming is Mandarin for anonymous and is the pseudonym for a collective of Italian novelists who style themselves as a ‘band’. A recommendation from a friend brought me to their novel 54. A work I devoured and enjoyed so much I am tempted to seek out Italian band YoYo Mundi’s musical version of the book. (I can heartily recommend the same band’s Sciopero which is a recording of music to be played whilst watching Eisenstein’s strike.)
McGuffin electric TV
How do you describe a novel which exposes the shenanigans that so distorted the post-war development of Italy and the role of the dead hand of America playing what Kissinger called ‘the game of Nations’? Not only that but it features Cary Grant, Tito, American exile Lucky Luciano, the workers and patrons of a left wing bar in Bologna, an animate McGuffin electric TV and more. Much more. It works on many levels and trusts the reader to catch the allusions made throughout to events that have happened and will happen within and outwith the novel. Fact becomes fiction and fiction becomes fact. One good example of this is when Cary Grant expresses his disgust to friend David Niven about the ‘pulp’ novel Casino Royale and its
Cary Grant expresses his disgust to friend David Niven
repulsive lead character James Bond – a role that Niven later played for laughs in real life. The main character, Pierre, has lost his father who deserted the Italian Army on the Jugoslavian Front and joined Tito’s partisans. He never returned and now in the year 1954, hence the 54 of the title, he goes in search of the father, who promised to write but whose letters have stopped just as the purges in Russia and Jugoslavia have started following Stalin’s death. Pierre imagines himself as Telemachus going in search of Ulysses but his fanciful
There are only two other Wu Ming books that have been translated into English. The first Q is written by Luther Blissett – after the footballer but not the footballer – as it was conceived when Wu Ming were working as the Luther Blissett Project. Now some readers who have stayed with me this far into the article may remember the project as an anarchic provocation with a sense of humour. Thom Yorke (he of Radiohead) wants to make Q into a film but don’t let that put you off. It is though the latest release Manituana that I’ll turn to next. This is the first part of an epic trilogy on the American Revolution. The six nations of the Iroquois are led by Chief Joseph Brant who gives us his viewpoint of this momentous moment in history. I think this wins out over Thom Yorke’s recommendation of Q as: “Fuckin’ ace.” But hey, don’t take my word for it take theirs. There is a free download page where you can read their work. This is part of their copyleft initiative to combat the copyright laws. However if too many of us do it then they will have to take up other jobs and that would stop them writing. When that writing is as good as 54, or as Mr. Thom Yorke says it is that would be a real shame. If you cannae afford to buy it, get it from the library but do get it… ■ ÊÊInfo: Find out (loads) more at: www.wumingfoundation.com
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Pen Portrait from the Port Courtesy of the BBC
Buses and belonging Daniel Gray breaks free of his historian’s shackles
t last, I belong here! It all happened on a recent Monday afternoon, as important events tend to (Bob Geldof being unhappy; weekend hangovers starting to kick in; Ben Fogle’s Escape in Time on BBC2). As the number 49 bus lumbered around the corner, I noticed something remarkable about it: it was a double-decker. Never in all my 49-catching days had this occurred. This in itself did not mean I now belonged to Edinburgh; it was the fact I had noticed and cared enough, even, to text Mrs Pen Portraits the words ‘Seen. It. All. Now’. (She presumed I’d caught the bloke that lives opposite drying himself in front of the bedroom window again, but that’s by the by). Once you start to care about LRT, well that’s when this city has got you underneath its confusingly contoured skin. On arrival here seven years ago, I was immediately transfixed by how much locals knew about bus routes. Ask anyone how best to get to, say, Silverknowes and it’d be ‘37 this’, ‘16 that’ and ‘why’? Places didn’t have directions or geographical locations, just bus numbers, so that when I asked where the Mining Museum was the answer came ‘you get a 29’. Or when I enquired as to what Crammond was like people would reply: ‘a nightmare to get to’. After a while, I became convinced that this particularly Edinburgh version of The Knowledge was no fluke: it was, in fact, being taught in schools. All across
Midlothian, children as young as eight were being instructed in how to get best use of a Day Saver and in the nuances of the strange non-queue queue system that seems to somehow work at bus stops here. By the age of eleven, pupils were being dropped blindly somewhere across town and told to make their way back to class using no more than two buses. By sixteen, if any child had not been on all routes – including the lesser-spotted 21 – they would be exiled to Dalkeith.
Ben Fogle: What Mondays are for according to our Dan . Never mind Fogle, isn’t that St Kilda in the background? - Ed
The Bat Phone to mum
In most living rooms they sit there, old, ignored and left behind. I talk not of grandmothers at Christmas, but of the humble landline. The mobile phone has enjoyed an emphatic victory over it among an entire generation. Very few people under thirty even give their home number out any more. Indeed, landlines only ever get used for chats with Mums like a version of the Downing Street to White House emergency hotline only with more talk of Ethel next door’s bunions. In our house, when it rings we glance at one another with the kind of horrified look formerly reserved for midnight chapping of the door by police officers or my weird cousin Kenny. I still remember our childhood numbers, mind: everyone from our borstal does. Seamlessly picking up on the phone theme: lately I’ve been getting exasperated with people moaning about call centre queues, options and outsourcing. I need some kind of system whereby I can give them buttons to select should they wish to proceed. Press 1 if your diatribe is about muzak, press 2 if it’s about the cost
In most living rooms they sit there, old, ignored and left behind. I talk not of grandmothers at Christmas, but of the humble landline
of the call and press 3 if you’re masquerading slightly racist views with a pretend point about commonsense and will soon say, “I mean, I’d be the same with a broad Geordie, honest.”
IKEA flea circuses
Disconcerting scenes round our way: the postman’s only gone and taken a threeweek holiday. I’ve had number sixteen’s mail twice, and Cathy up the road found Paula’s free Gillette Venus sample in with hers. People are livid, taking to the streets in their slippers to shake their heads and furtively leaning to pick-up red rubber bands as if extracting single hairs from a murder scene. The poor stand-in has no chance what with curtains twitching like IKEA flea circuses and dogs sensing new, whistling, red-shirted meat. The whole neighbourhood is in chaos. Tough times indeed but we’ll pull through.
The yo-yoing of time
There’s only one way to avoid the creep of mild Seasonal Affective Disorder, and that’s turning the clocks forward when they’re supposed to go back. No one really understands the whole thing anyway, and twice a year most of us have to use our landlines to ask our Mums which one it is. Just think how early you’ll be for everything. I think. No, is that right? Because if it was dark at seven it’ll now be… oh I don’t know anything anymore. ■ ÊÊInfo: Daniel Gray’s Stramash: Tackling Scotland’s Football Towns is (at last) available in shops and online now from www.stramashthebook.com Issue 70 | leithermagazine.com | 7
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Monetarists & Tony ‘The Matador’ McCaffrey Peter Wright
Still smarting about Chancellor Osborne’s savage cuts? Colin Montgomery invites a riposte from an unsung economic theorist
t’s a bitterly cold October day. The kind that obscures its scrotumshrinking intent behind a celestial blue sky and long Hopperesque shadows. Duplicitous days like this were made for long lunches. Perhaps a spit roast and a pint of ‘Parson’s Leafblower’ – served just shy of tepid – by the hearth of a wainscoted alehouse. I have to settle for a flat lager and a bag of badger scratchings in a clammy workingmen’s club near Leek, Staffordshire where, incidentally, it appears the year 1976 is staging a sit in. But that’s fine. Because I’m about to enjoy an audience with one of Britain’s finest economic minds. The aim? Firstly, triple 18. Single 20. Double top. With his 114 check-out impaling the dimpled dartboard, Tony ‘The Matador’ McCaffrey finally comes to the table. McCaffrey’s playful darting sobriquet (earned due to his fondness for taking on the bull whenever possible) conceals a steely intent. As the world of darts’ foremost economic philosopher/theorist, The Matador is about to call time on what he describes as the “coalition’s bullshit comprehensive spending review (CSR).” And as a graduate of LSE* he’s well qualified to do so. I start by trying to get to grips with the main thrust of McCaffrey’s argument… Tony. In a nutshell, where has Osborne gone wrong with this CSR? “Well, the problems are deep-seated and transcend the politically charged, thinly veiled anti-statist opportunistic hyperbole applied to the UK’s sovereign debt status…” You mean the actualité of our debt to GDP ratio in the context of the G20? “Nay lad. I’m talking about Osborne being a posh prick who wants one of my tungsten tipped rammed right up his backside. Then he might get my point.” Rrrright. And what is your point exactly Tony? “Well, it’s too easy to cast this as a battle between the Keynesians and Monetarists. That’s no different from the simplistic, ideologically motivated portrayal of the 1988 UK Inter County Darts Championship as a straight out fight between me and my archrival Les ‘The Acupuncturist’ Fritton. Yes there were valid
parallels. Les favoured a winner takes all, unregulated approach which some condemned as laissez-faire neo-liberalist darts – particularly those who ended up blinded by his frequent miss-throws. I, of course, favoured throwing more darts at the board in the same way as JM Keynes was inclined towards throwing more capital investment at a recession to increase the flow of money, boost jobs and kick-start consumer spending.” And did it work? “No. But at least that bastard Fritton never made it to the final. I made sure of that…” OK, we’d best leave that one there. Moving on to what’s been dubbed the ‘Bonfire of the Quangos’, where do you stand on overpaid public servants? “Personally, I would stand right on their crotch…after I’d head butted them of course. But the reality is there’s no need for violence – economic or otherwise. Eliminating departmental inefficiency is simply a matter of centralising procurement.” You mean using the state’s purchasing power to get better value for the public purse, as advocated by ‘man of the people’, billionaire retail boss Philip Green? “Nay lad, I mean the government should buy all its pens, Tipp-Ex and bulldog clips from my mate Matty. He does ‘nearly new’ laptops too. Gets them off the Asian lad wi’ the big shop outside Stoke.
Les Fritton favoured a winner takes all unregulated approach, which some condemned as laissez faire neo-liberalist darts
That’s real economic trouble-shooting. Not the faux radicalism of Osborne and that gang of poofs in Downing Street.” Interesting. Winding up now Tony, as I’m conscious you have an exhibition match this afternoon against Dave ‘!’ Swanley, do you foresee a double-dip recession? Or do you think there’s still a chance the coalition’s drive to reduce the structural deficit could still prove to be the right move to get the markets back ‘onside’? “Look lad, when it comes to improving Britain’s economic outlook over the life of this parliament and longer term you have to understand three things: One. It’s folly to cut too deep, too fast. Two. As things stand, the macro global picture does not inspire confidence that the private sector and/or an export drive will easily fill the gaps left by the cuts. Three. Janus-faced Tory lickspittle turncoat Nick Clegg, better not come within three miles of me because I’m liable to throw a maximum at his goolies.” Tony, it’s been a pleasure… “Never mind that lad, mine’s a bitter and a crème menthe chaser. Toot sweet.” ■ *Leek Self-Help Education (correspondence courses from £25 a term) ÊÊInfo: Tony ‘The Matador’ McCaffrey is available for exhibition matches and economic discussion panels. Please call The Poacher’s Kettle, Leek, and ask for Big Helen Issue 70 | leithermagazine.com | 9
Carine’s chicken soup for her (sold) soul: Eastenders & boots G
iven the enthusiastic response to last month’s soup recipe, here’s another. Now that the clocks have gone back and it’s constantly DARK and cold, there’s one thing which makes me feel better: chicken. I love chicken. My fail-safe go-to dishes when I’m hacked off are roast chicken or chicken broth. I normally invent soup as I go along, but this recipe from Leon is a) divine, and b) appropriately named ‘Good Soup for a Bad Day’. It’s aromatic and comforting, substantial, but light enough for occasions when you don’t want anything too heavy.
Good Soup For A Bad Day (adapted from Leon) Serves 4 2 free range chicken legs, 2 thighs 2 large carrots – 1 left whole, 1 finely chopped 2 celery sticks 2 medium onions, finely chopped 6 cloves of garlic, peeled 4 bay leaves handful of parsley with stalks 300g large mushrooms, sliced 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 160g pearl barley 1 heaped tsp butter 1 tbsp tarragon leaves, chopped salt and pepper, plus a few whole peppercorns
Put the chicken into a pot with the whole carrot, celery, ½ the onion, ½ the garlic, two bay leaves, parsley and peppercorns. Cover with 1.5 litres of water, bring to a simmer, skim and turn the heat down
Chicken broth, good for when you’re ‘hacked off’ apparently
until just steaming. Leave like this until the meat is coming away from the bone about an hour. In a different pan, gently fry the remaining onions in the oil with the garlic (chopped), salt and pepper for half an hour until softened. Add the pearl barley, diced carrot and bay leaves, add the stock via a strainer and bring to a simmer. Put the chicken aside to
To whom it may concern
This month the perfect pair of boots eluded me but I did get a ‘pretty fabulous’ pair
etween you and me, I’m not always very good at looking after myself. Sure - I eat properly, I clothe myself, and I try to get enough sleep. But I’m talking more about the way I treat myself, the way I allow myself to be treated by other people and the situations I find myself in. Ingrained behaviors are difficult to change. Quite often even though I know I’m in a bad situation, it can feel impossible to remove myself from it. How crazy is that? Someone recently recommended that I take better
10 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 70
care of myself and suggested that I write a list of all the things I require to live a happy, caring and balanced life. It turns out this was some of the best advice I’ve ever received. We all know the things which make us happy, but it’s only when we write them down on paper that we realise how absent they might be from our lives. I’m talking about spending time with friends, talking a walk on your own, or just giving yourself permission to be still every once in a while. My list is pinned to my wall, where I see it everyday. Try it.
cool. After an hour, get the butter to the edge of brown in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms through until golden and just coming up to crispy, chuck the tarragon in, give it a quick toss and then swirl it all into the soup. Your barley should now be tender. Pick the meat off the chicken bones, and add to the soup. Season to taste and if it’s a bit thick add a little hot water.
This month I’ve been mainly…
eluded by the perfect pair of boots; putting a pretty-fabulous-nevertheless pair of boots on my credit card (c’mon, I deserve a break); forgetting to take my vitamins; wondering if I’ll get it together to exercise ever again; wondering just how many heats there are in Celebrity Masterchef; being kept sane through happy dinners with good friends old and new; looking forward to a bonfire and sparklers; toying with the idea of keeping a log of when Eastenders’ Tracy actually speaks; selling my soul; taking stress-induced naps; lying awake at night. ■
Running in traffic with a boy called George
Director Dale Corlett talks to The Leither about films on release and in development
brilliantly with the central conceit that the two lead characters lives intersect but never collide. The film is, to quote a Norwegian award bestower, “A powerful force of nature.” It is that and so much more…by the time you read this Running in Traffic will have been released on DVD and (labyrinthine) negotiations continue towards a commercial release. It will also be available online from Love Film.
ale Corlett’s eyes twinkle when he says that he got deported from New Zealand for making bad television, as a child actor, I hasten to add. On arrival in London via theatre in New York he had determined to become a writer/director. Then he stole a life, literally, a friend’s visa ran out whilst in Edinburgh so Dale took over her flat and her job, at The Acting School – then operating out of the Pleasance and now, surprise-surprise, closed. He says he had to leave home: “There is no indigenous TV in New Zealand, it is 80% U.S. 15% U.K. and 5% N.Z.” When he left he told his friend Peter Jackson – he of Lord of the Rings fame – “I’ve got to get out of here nothing happens in this town.” A statement Mr, Jackson gleefully reminds him of to this day. Dale is energised by the recent announcement that New Zealand is about to produce its first home-grown soap opera, “It’s great training for actors and technicians, the pressure of a quick turn around.” Biscuits litter the table, is that a chocolate hobnob I see before me? Tea is brewed and stewed. Chat flows. Dale has gone on to make a splash of sorts, in this, his adopted country. He enjoyed his time in the sun last year when his first feature Running in Traffic had an extended run on the Film Festival circuit, picking up a few awards along the way, including a BAFTA. “To have any real hope of producing a truly independent
Peter Mullan’s guerilla film
Dale Corlett onset with the mighty Kenneth Cranham
film, which is to say one you have control over, or receive any kind of funding for, you have to have a ‘name’ attached to the project – in the case of Running in Traffic it was the rather wonderful Kenneth Cranham.” Dale recounts the suitably bibulous story of one of the writers approaching Cranham on a train whilst he was broaching a ‘rather lovely bottle of claret’; by the time it was finished he was committed to the film! “The time span for the film was three years from gestation to premiere,” says Dale. “Bryan Larkin (writer/lead actor) and I met editing the short Man on the Side of the Road. He’d recently lost his father and I guess his start point with Running… was the grieving process and how it impacts on the individual.” Larkin’s is a wonderfully natural and visceral performance, at once affecting but with a still heart at its centre. For his part, Corlett directs with a confidence belying his debut status helped in no small part by the fine cinematographer George Geddes. Anna Kerth (as Kayla) copes
Meanwhile Dale’s Jigsaw Productions currently has a string of films in development, “You have to develop a few ideas, in the hope of getting one made,” he says. “Times have changed, Peter Mullan once grabbed the development money and just made the bloody film…now the process can take up to six years.” Amongst those slated for Jigsaw, two stand out. A Boy called George, in which a young boy called (yes) George finds himself staying with his aunt in Glasgow in the summer of 1982, after his mother abandons him in search of her lost youth. World Cup fever is rife and another boy called George is about to debut on Top of the Tops. A coming of age story then but you can bet there will be sexual ambiguity and a great soundtrack! The other potential goer is dramatic thriller The Ties that Bind. The lead character Jerome – another ‘name’ has already committed to this role, Lennie James of Snatch, The Prisoner and 24 Hours – leaves London for a remote Scottish island following the death of his son. Not remote enough, it transpires, to bury the consequences of what happened there before he ran away. The climax is suitably unforgettable and shocking. There you have it, one to watch and two to look out for, we are triply blessed. ■ Issue 70 | leithermagazine.com | 11
Chuan Lu triumphs with a film five years in the making City of Life and Death
he declaration – ‘The first casualty of war is innocence’ – resonates throughout this brutal Chinese drama. Languishing in censorship limbo for a year has not affected City of Life and Death, the third feature by writer/director Chuan Lu, which is a cinematic masterpiece. The film follows several characters over a six-week period, in which thousands of Chinese soldiers and civilians were tortured, raped, and massacred by the Japanese, during their invasion of Nanjing in 1937. City of Life and Death launches a powerful and shocking assault on the imagined glory of battle portrayed in other films. Lu has created a visceral account of one of the most devastating and horrific episodes in Japan and China’s martial history. It continues a trend of war films from the last decade, such as South Korean production Brotherhood (Je-gyu Kang), or the Polish Katyn (Andrzej Wajda), which depict wars as devoid of glory, opting instead to create as realistic a view of war as one would ever wish to witness. The film endeavours to put the civilian audience directly into the midst of horror, never for a moment allowing them reprieve from the torment and fear that is omnipresent on the front lines. Aesthetically the film is a glorious achievement, not only assaulting the senses with its furious, black and white visual imagery, but emotionally penetrating as well. Cinematographer Yu Cao contradicts the destructive nature of war against the creative beauty of photography, by capturing horrific moments of violence within frames of visual beauty. The film begins with a statement in plain white text: ‘In memory of the 300,000 victims of the Nanjing massacre.’ After seeing this film, it is impossible to imagine how anyone could ever forget them; it is an epic, emotional, and masterfully crafted piece of work.
Iron Man 2
ccording to a BBC arts review programme, the 2008 box-office hit Iron Man was “a critique of the war on terror.” The show then questioned whether the political context of its sequel, Iron Man 2, would bode well for the Marvel Studios franchise. Maybe, instead of taking the narrative setting of Jon Favreau’s action packed comic book sequel too seriously, 12 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 70
City of Life and Death : A masterpiece by a Coppola fan
An impressive supporting cast, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Mickey Rourke, and Scarlett Johansson’s chest …
it should be analysed less intensely. Iron Man 2 is simply an opportunity to have excellent action sequences interspersed with comical moments, as billionaire playboy Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) battles evil in his technologically advanced battle suit. The production does not have to go any deeper than this to be an excellent 125 minutes of cinematic escapism. Downey Jr. is on top form; his confidence shining through every witty remark, empowered by the success of the first movie, and the fact he is a sterling actor. An impressive supporting cast, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Mickey Rourke, and Scarlett Johansson’s chest, are all on hand to spice up the collection of heroes and villains. If there is one fault with the film, it is that Rourke’s shady Russian criminal, Ivan Vanko, should have been given more screen time. The fight scenes are enjoyable and exciting; the impressive and intense visuals owed to the level of CGI wizardry, funded by a $140million budget. A funny and character-driven script backs up the spectacle of the explosions, ensuring that even when Iron Man isn’t fighting the bad guys, there is still much to keep the audience thoroughly entertained. For those seeking an excellent and entertaining evening in front of the TV, Iron Man 2 holds all the cards. Those of you after something darker and deeper, analysing the moral conscience of American politics… pipe down and watch it anyway.
ith Sean Bean brandishing a sword on the cover – emblazoned with the tagline ‘In an age of darkness, one man will face the
ultimate battle against evil’ – it would be fair to assume Black Death is being advertised as a sword and sorcery adventure. If you’re expecting something akin to The 13th Warrior or Beowulf, then it is my misfortune to have to inform you that this production is nothing like those audacious tales of might and magic. With bubonic plague ravaging medieval England, young monk Osmund (Redmayne) must guide fearsome knight Ulric (Bean) and his battle hardened mercenaries to a remote village, where acts of witchcraft have allegedly been conducted. The plot certainly sets the stage for a courageous battle between light and dark forces, but what transpires is a depiction of the futility of religion and the violence it generates. This would be fair enough, if director Christopher Smith made the point with conviction. Bean is perhaps not the greatest actor of his generation, but he is the epitome of the swashbuckling hero – see seventeen years as ITV’s Sharpe. Unfortunately, he is vastly underused in this production, and a talented cast is let down by an uninspired story. TThe plot lacks identity, unable to decide if it is historical drama, fantastical quest, or menacing horror. Thus the momentum ultimately dies, taking any interest with it. The story ends abruptly with a pointless and uninteresting epilogue tacked on the end. A little more work could have produced an entertaining and decent yarn. Instead of a sloppy uninteresting one that plagues the screen. ■
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Issue 70 | leithermagazine.com | 13
Is Earnest Still Important? Tim Morozzo
Victoria Jones dusts herself down and ventures into the theatre again
t first glance, the programme for the most recent season at the Lyceum, entitled ‘Autumn of Love’, reads like my GCSE English syllabus. In fact, it is my GCSE English syllabus. If I close my eyes, one cast performing Romeo and Juliet and The Importance of Being Earnest could almost be my fifteen-year-old classmates and I stumbling over iambic pentameter and witty word play while mumbling the bits we couldn’t pronounce. Oscar Wilde’s classic comedy of love also featured in my A-Level Theatre Studies class, where my drama school aspirations were expressed through what I believed to be a confident Gwendolen, paired with the school beauty queen’s rather saccharine (in my objective teenage opinion) Cecily. So what new meanings I wondered, on my way to the Lyceum, could I take from Mark Thomson’s new production of Earnest that couldn’t be found in the wellthumbed pages of York Notes? Would my contemporary theatre-going self pass the evening mourning my lost literary youth? And if I wrote about it for The Leither, could I start another online debate?
Strip tease butler
I must confess I was not aware that the most frequently performed version of Earnest is not Wilde’s original. In this production, Mark Thomson has altered and included a fourth act, which takes place at Jack Worthing’s country estate in Hertfordshire. In it, Jack’s friend, Algernon Moncrieff, who is in the process of wooing his ward by imitating his imaginary brother/alter ego Earnest, almost meets a sticky end at the hands of a debt collector chasing unpaid bills from some decadent evenings at the Savoy. This section was cut before the play’s premiere at the St James Theatre in London in 1895. However, as far as Thomson’s version goes, what the fourth act lacks in comedy it more than makes up for in characterisation. It brings a sense that Jack and Algernon really do and should take responsibility for their actions in the wider world and that their lives do not exist within some sort of bubble. The inclusion of the fourth act also seems like a clever way of shaking the audience out of their comfort zone in what is by and large a faithfully recreated, period production in terms of cos14 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 70
tume and set. I’m sure I was not the only member of the audience who at several points had to try and prevent themselves from joining in, so to be carried off in an unknown direction for a few minutes actually refreshed the whole story. Visually, Thomson’s production also thinks outside of the box. The unavoidably lengthy scene change between Algie’s London rooms and Jack’s country abode flies by thanks to Steven McNicoll’s strip tease-style transformation from butler Lane to butler Merriman, his countryside equivalent. Never has a change of stripy waistcoat been quite so alluring, and the episode adds just the right levels of wit and silliness. You can imagine Wilde would have approved had such staging been de rigueur in 1895. Philip Pinsky’s tango, to which the cast move purposefully yet effortlessly in time, perfectly represents the tug of war between love and social convention around which Wilde’s words perform their own dance.
A very modern air
And the power of those words is such that any production of Earnest faces a real danger of sounding like nothing more than an extended quotation. The delivery of the iconic “A handbag?” will surely make or break any Lady Bracknell
Alexandra Mathie as Lady Bracknell & Melody Grove as Gwendolen
Would my contemporary theatre going self pass the evening mourning my lost literary youth?
and the quick-fire and fickle exchange between Gwendolen and Cecily, not only rings true with ex-drama students across the land but pokes fun at female relationships in a manner that still strikes a chord with audiences today. Alexandra Mathie’s carefully judged Lady Bracknell is forceful without becoming absurd and her performance injects a very modern air of a business transaction into her matchmaking. All the cast appear to have worked hard to make the text their own, and make their characters speak from the stage, as opposed to the much studied page, in an engaging and ultimately entertaining fashion. Whether you choose to analyse the text and judge performances on classic quotes or simply sit back and enjoy the ride, Thomson’s production is both funny and fun. And what’s wrong with fun? Perhaps, and get this Caledonia fans, us audience members can be a little too quick to take ourselves, and our theatricals too seriously. Wilde called Earnest ‘A Trivial Play for Serious People’ and this production offers a welcome invitation to lighten up. ■ ÊÊInfo: : The Importance of Being Earnest until 20th November, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Box Office: 0131 248 4848 or book online: www.lyceum.org.uk
An end to erotic fiction? W
e’ve not seen that much from Hollywood heart throb Ethan Hawke lately have we? Actually that’s not entirely true - you’ve not - I have. Why? Because I’m currently working with him on one of my scripts from the 90s, I’d almost forgotten about this little gem penned during the 1992 stock car racing championships. Entitled ‘Fife Smoothie’, it’s basically a reworking of Tennessee Williams unpublished 1950s comedy farce ‘Away and suck your wife’s extra big cock’. A good going romp. I’ve transformed the original setting in the smouldering, Deep South of the United States to the vivacious, wilderness of West Fife and the quaint undisrupted former mining town of Ballingry, with its humble folks, excellent topiary, well tended gardens and unbelievably massive benefit fraud. The story takes place during the
Amongst the grovelling admiration and offers of dates there seems to be a smallminded minority that thinks I give the ever-tawdry Tourmalet Tavern a hard time
Mendes...not for hire
annual Scottish cyclocross championships. The original female lead was meant to be Elizabeth Shue or Eva Mendes, however, I’ve signed up the gorgeous pouting (and occasionally petulant) Michelle McManus. Her scenes with Mr. Hawke are, frankly, amazing – as is the clever casting of the legend that is Grant Stott as ‘Igor’ the mutant groundsman – I think the highly sexed three-way relationship that develops amongst the unlikely trio could be one of the hottest on screen romances for the summer of 2013. I’m quietly confident that most
viewers will enjoy the Jacuzzi scene – or what’s left of it if those demanding, conservative censors get their evil twisted hands on it. Shame really, I mean its an 18 certificate and all, so why shouldn’t a lady show her love for a man by placing her head almost entirely…(Censored) – where is the justice – the art – the pathos? Furthermore if they dare leave out the awkward ‘hand’ scene well that, in my mind, signals the death knell of eroticism in the cinema. Whatever next, no enemas? A death to the double, dry… (Censored). Still that’s enough about my artistic/ money making schemes. At this time of year we really need to think of not ourselves but others. We should be concentrating on the needy, the sick and the unfortunate subjects from the lower strata of modern society, by that I mean most Leither readers – that’s why I’ll be donating my entire fee for this wonderful, informative, upbeat article to The Grand Annual Port Of Leith ‘Lets Keep Everyone Inebriated at Christmas Fund’. Originally set up in 1994 by crack lawyer and lifelong bigoted Rangers fan Donald Findlay Q.C this caring sensitive fund means more to me each year. More, in fact, than any wage rise I’ve been given by this publication since joining the inspirational squad two years ago. Seriously though - the wages are appalling – barely enough to keep me in meow meow from month to month. Still, one tries. Along with my ever bulging sack of fan mail, I now notice some of the ‘more developed’ of you are using the information superhighway (the internet) to comment on my earlier columns. Amongst the grovelling admiration and offers of dates there seems to be a very
small-minded minority that think I give the ever-tawdry Tourmalet Tavern a hard time. I think I can justify this: they deserve it. I mean offering complementary glasses of port to those with the largest underwear is so 90s. Haven’t we seen all this before? New Year will soon be upon us along with 20% VAT. At this time, instead of complaining maybe we should take a leaf out of the book of Ploddington Wilsfore, who was briefly more famous than the demanding Hollywood co-stars he used to stand in for, not only in stunt scenes but regularly in dialogue and sex scenes – including Sharon Stone’s infamous ‘look what I had for breakfast two weeks ago’ Basic Instinct scene and Marshall Mather’s soiling scene in Nine Mile High. Offered more cash for such work he merely took the minimum wage explaining that he’d done harder chores with his parents at their old folks home and working with Michael Douglas wasn’t half as hard as he had been informed. On the subject of Michael he wants me to tell all Leither readers that he’s feeling much better after his recent treatment for oesophageal cancer. I’m staying with him and Cath at their home in Bermuda for Christmas so I’ll be able to update you on the situation, as well as finally letting you know for definite whether he can still get it…(Censored) or not and if Cath is ‘getting… (Censored). She certainly will if I’m staying over for the festivities. ■ Relax well fans, your friend, Leopold Francis Simpson ÊÊNext issue: A special treat for all Leo fans as he informs us about the real Anita Dobson
Cath...at Xmas Issue 70 | leithermagazine.com | 15
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Hey there! Geordie Girl cherylcoleishot.blogspot.com
Stephanie Malcolm on the peaks and troughs of being Cheryl Cole
his year Cheryl Cole’s live performance of her latest single on the X Factor stage was anticipated with a touch (just a touch) of antipathy rather than the somewhat tired but loyal excitement reserved for artists debuting a not-as-successfulfollow-up-album-release. Since her solo career began, Cole has gone from strength to strength. Public support alone seemed remedy enough for a full recovery during her malaria scare and during this well timed hiatus from Girls Aloud – which the writers of her latest single clumsily capitalise on by inserting French lyrics into her up tempo new release, a nod in the direction of the former pop outfit’s older hit ‘Can’t Speak French’ – Cole has enjoyed chart success and a hugely increased celebrity profile. But in typical celebrity fashion, what first nurtured her rise to fame has shown its reverse side by generating public doubt in Britain’s sweetheart in residence. The case in question is that regarding Gamu Nhengu’s dismissal from X Factor at the final hurdle before the live shows. Whether Cole was right or wrong, harsh or sensible, the decision was hers and it was final. But there was a surprise twist waiting in the after effects of Cole’s judgement. The public were unanimous in their reaction against Cole’s decision acting as though she handed Nhengu the deportation order personally. Cole then found herself in a tempest of furious objection and it was she who suffered most while the rejected Nhengu basked in the public’s superfluous adulation. But never mind rejection, Nhengu found fame and the anticipated deportation to her native Zimbabwe could wait - for at least fifteen minutes. Cole’s high horse was certainly rocked and this was obvious in her showcasing of ‘Promise This’.
Brian Friedman was sadly unable to comment due to missing the performance; the excessive cringe factor in the first 10 seconds forced his eyelids to swell shut
Compared to last year, Cole appears to be overcompensating for every aspect of the song’s shortcomings as opposed to embracing another generic poptastic feat. The stormy graphics in the background were overwhelmingly moody, and the tack of her high street Quizesque clothing was a momentous error in judgement. In the aftermath of Gamugate is it not sensible to try attributing as much credibility to Cole’s performance as possible? To maybe indicate that she is qualified to be making or breaking careers and that Gamu’s dismissal was an educated decision? Well, Cole’s people vote ‘no’ on this one. Instead she is a
blazoning icon of all things tasteless. The confusing hue of her red mane serves the purpose of only exacerbating the violence of the over choreographed routine. Brian Friedman was sadly unable to comment due to missing the performance – excessive cringe factor (even for Friedman) in the first 10 seconds forced his eyelids to swell shut. For me, it was the moment when not one but both of Cole’s feet left the stage and she partook in a crab-like airborne shuffle that most solidly confirmed the masking of Cole’s poor vocals, live or not, eliminating any chance of her proving why she is actually a judge. As the performance went on it became increasingly obvious that if the judges’ protégés are to manage dance routines and singing, Cole must rocket herself into an entirely superior league of performing finesse, thus proving the display is far too complex for vocals anyway.
The girl herself
Unfortunately for Cole, the fist pumping action put an end to this logic. Such a movement coupled with such an outfit is such a reminder of her fist throwing, toilet attendant hitting days of Tweedy past. But this faux pas in celebrity toilet etiquette reminds us that we are all human, all imperfect souls who are susceptible to the odd mistake once or twice. The shaky performance revealed that no matter what elevated societal platform you may traverse, you are not untouchable. The decision made by Cole, mistake or not, was enough to give her a fright. The darling of British celebrity faced a fall from grace, but maybe this was a reasonable price to pay to avoid entangling herself in political affairs. I mean, if Nhengu faces a Zimbabwean firing squad on arrival back home, surely Cole’s most educated decision yet has been not to involve herself in messy Home Office affairs. Now she’s safely free from political embroilment Cole can continue investing her strength into her good decisions. Proving she can manipulate her acts into becoming favourites of the show and ensuring that any of those who must perform as a result of being in the bottom two are armed with a well rehearsed expression of painful disbelief. After a year of adoration, Cole endured a shocking trough of public opinion but a peak is surely on the horizon. ■ Issue 70 | leithermagazine.com | 17
FoodReview John Holmes
We’re at the University; send reinforcements…
The Cambridge Bar & Grill 20 Young Street ( 0131 226 2120 8 thecambridgebar.co.uk
oogle for Gastro-pubs, Edinburgh and whilst not quite a Googlewhack, you’ll receive very few hits. I tried a popular web-site for no other reason than it had the Canny Man’s listed as No.1 of twelve in Edinburgh, and given that the Cannys, de facto, is one of the finest bars in all the world, I hoped I might trust its other recommendations. But it’s fair to report that the term gastro-pub is much maligned. Reputedly coined in 1991 by the owners of The Eagle in Clerkenwell, the move to introduce better bar food is now considered a poncification of traditional pubs. Regular readers will therefore be unsurprised to hear that I enjoy them immensely. I had decided to do something more random for this review than my usual where do I fancy eating tonight at the expense of Gouldie? It’s all very well for me to be living it up, enjoying myself in some of Edinburgh’s favourite eateries but, on the whole, they’re likely to offer pretty good fare and I’m not going to get much fun slaughtering them in print. So randomness embraced, Sweetness and I set out without a booking on a Saturday night in the direction of Edinburgh’s West End. First, we looked into the bar of the Hudson Hotel – a selfstyled New York Loft bar. Aye, right. If your idea of New York is a room full of tourists, hen-night lovelies bedecked in (what I’m assured are called) fascinators, and crap, loud music, then you’ve frequented the wrong bits of that great city. The Spotted Pig can rest easy. 18 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 70
Upon exiting, I suggested ‘wandering over to west George St to see how it’s looking these days’, and off we trundled. Okay, was the assessment, but not really what we were after. ‘How about wandering along Young St’, I mused aloud, ‘to see how the Cambridge Bar looks these days?’ ‘I’ve got ‘taxi shoes’ on, she said, I’m not wandering any further.’ So, in deference to her feet, we stopped-off for a swift one in the Oxford Bar. From that aforementioned list of 12 gastro-pubs, The Cambridge Bar is listed as No.7. An old pal of mine, a sergeant with Lothian & Borders Plod at the time, told me the story of a coded message he would send to his colleagues down the police wires – we’re at the University; send reinforcements. His colleagues would have no difficulty guessing at which establishment to rendezvous for an illicit, mid-shift pint since the Oxford Bar and Cambridge Bar are no more than 100 yards apart on Young St. All very Ashes to Ashes, but I’m sure it’s not like that now with Edinburgh’s finest.
Eat your heart out
Anyway, refreshed by the Oxford snifters, we managed the hundred yards along to the Cambridge without a taxi, and decided to give it a try. I can categorically assure you that this decision was more feet-related than the fact that the place had 4 large, flat-screen TVs, all of them alight with the magnificence of the Blaugrana – yes, Barcelona were playing Valencia. Who could resist that when accompanied by fine ale and ‘gourmet burgers’? Because that’s the sum and substance of the menu at Cambridge Bar & Grill, to give its full, scrubbed-up title. No starters. No (other) mains. And no
10/20 Damage: Damage: £51.40
Illicit, mid-shift, pints were taken at the Oxford or Cambridge Bars, very Ashes to Ashes, but I’m sure it’s not like that now with Edinburgh’s finest
puddings (except a waffle, a brownie or an ice cream). So, ensconced at a table by the window, a beautifully-poured pint of Stewart’s Pentland IPA in front of me (Deuchar’s eat your heart out), a fruit-based drink for the fairer half, with a fine view of one of the tellies, and Barca already a goal up thanks to the peerless Messi, we contentedly perused the starterless menu. We ordered a 7oz Aberdeen Angus beef burger (£5.95) with melted Camembert and cranberry sauce (an additional £1.55) and a ‘classic chicken’ with trimmings (also £5.95). We shared a side of fries and a side of coleslaw (£1.95 and £1 respectively). You have to go to the bar to order and whilst there I asked about the vintage of the Pinot Noir on their wine list. Not only did the bar staff not know, they didn’t know they even sold Pinot Noir. At the most expensive offering (£22.50), it’s clearly not a best seller. I was also told that we needed to order puddings at the same time, because the kitchen closes at 9pm. After all our wandering, it was probably around 8.40pm (I could probably be more precise, because Barca were 2-0 up by this time, but life’s too short), which struck me as a tad early to be thinking about waffles and chocolate brownies, but we ordered them anyway. Our burgers were good. Indeed Sweetness pronounced the beef burger very good – plump, juicy and clearly made with good quality steak mince. The
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Cream of Roast Parsnip Soup Fried Camembert Wedges, Rocket & Cranberry Sauce Smoked Salmon and Watercress Mousse Parcels Black Pudding, Baked Goats Cheese and Pear Salad Port marinated Woodpigeon with Bacon, Chestnut and Red Cabbage
classic chicken was actually a couple of pieces of char grilled chicken breast in a bun, which is no bad thing, but its taste was slightly overpowered by the relish. Another drawback was that we were told that the puddings were going to have to be delivered at the same time as our mains because the kitchen was about to close. As the well travelled among you will know, this is a common occurrence in restaurants on Greek islands, but I’ve never encountered it in the UK. If we’d been told this when placing our order, we wouldn’t have bothered with the puds.
Festive Pie crammed with Turkey, Ham, Stuffing and Chipolatas Beef Wellington with Red Wine Sauce Slow-Cooked Ham Hock with Puy Lentils Above mains served with roast potatoes, roast parsnip, brussel sprouts, and pigs in blankets Aussie Christmas Special: Grilled Langoustines with Smoked Paprika & Lime mayo Butternut Squash & Sage Butter Gnocchi (V) Christmas Pudding with Brandy cream Bailey’s Cheesecake Chocolate & Pear tart Cheese Board Coffee and Homemade Mince Pies
Barca bit optional
But I must give credit to our waitress; she delivered the information with a warm smile and said she’d hold back as long as she could. So we were all of halfway through our burgers before the waffle and brownie arrived, with accompanying Mackie’s ice cream that immediately began to melt alongside the heat of its pairings. All of which said, they were rather good too (both were £3.95). The waffle came with a sprig of fresh mint, which lifted the taste – a small matter, perhaps, but small things matter in this industry – and the brownie was very chocolaty. If you’re in the market for a simple beer and a burger (the Barca bit would have to be optional) you could do a lot worse, and could spend a lot more of your hard-earned, than in this welcoming New Town bar. ■
44a Constitution Street, Leith 0131 629 7215 www.noblesbarleith.co.uk Issue 70 | leithermagazine.com | 19
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Home thoughts from abroad
Bonfire of the Vanities N
ovember has never been a great month for me. The fact that the sun appears to take flight from these shores for its annual six-month holiday and daylight barely surfaces prior to midday before scuttling off like a scared rabbit by mid-afternoon adds to my feeling of gloom. As a child though the compensation for the dark nights was bonfire night, it was like a mini Christmas, the excitement as we purchased the fireworks, the wonderment of going through the tin box that we religiously kept them in, reading aloud the names and description of the joyous fiesta of sound and light wrapped within each cardboard cylinder. The smell of gunpowder and the crackling blue fuse paper… Maybe it’s the Sassenach in me but that sense of wonder on bonfire night has never left me. Halloween just doesn’t cut it, it’s too American, too gaudy, too packaged by supermarkets looking for a fast buck. Last year I threw a bonfire party in a mate’s garden. I would supply the fireworks! In the shop I was presented with five party boxes to choose from, ranging from the ‘apologetic’ to the top of the range – scare your granny and neighbours – ‘Armageddon Box’. I read the warning labels, none were suitable for gardens of less than 15 metres and the top two required 25 metres of garden, (not many of those in Leith!) undeterred I went for ‘Armageddon’ amid visions of a full scale Battle of the Somme re-enactment. I felt this was apt as my son had just studied All Quiet on the Western Front and we’d lately watched the 1970s remake of the original classic film. Which was a mistake! What was ‘John Boy’ Walton doing in it?
It might not be the worst case of miscasting but it comes close – that particular accolade has to go to Michael Caine’s starring role as Alan Breck, the Jacobite refugee, in the 1971 version of Kidnapped. No amount of tartan could cover up his ‘cor blimey’ accent! Strangely Caine was interviewed recently and one of the key moments that made him want to be an actor was watching Dirk Bogarde play the tough guy in the Blue Lamp. As he said, “there was this Scotsman playing a London criminal and I thought, I could do that better.” I wonder how many Scots were thus inspired by his impersonation of Alan Breck? It may even have proved inspirational to his long time companion Sean Connery. This friendship has obviously made an impression on Caine, leaving him sufficiently knowledgeable of
Scots to proclaim that: “it’s a well known fact that all Scots want independence.” Mind you Mr. Caine’s grasp of politics is shaky at best. He left the UK for a while to avoid tax and yet strongly believes in the NHS. The fact that you need to pay taxes to pay for these services seems to elude him, in much the same way as Sir Sean’s continued opinions on Scotland and what Scotland wants sound hollow emanating from Spain I digress, or perhaps not, you see bonfire night is declining in the face of the rampant consumerism that is Halloween and the nanny state that turned my ‘Armageddon Box’ into a few pathetic bangs that wouldn’t have troubled someone of a nervous disposition let alone a generation brought up on Call of Duty! So bonfire night needs a makeover, I suggest each year we have a Pop Idol style vote on Saturday night TV to choose who this year’s ‘Guy’ could be. For their sheer hypocrisy and in the spirit of cross border co-operation I was going to propose Messrs Caine and Connery as richly deserving of this inaugural triumph. However I’ve just seen the odi-
Fings ain’t wot they used to be …
ous Kelvin Mackenzie making a sterling case for himself being lobbed onto next year’s fire by ranting on about how the French aren’t as intelligent as the British and that’s why they’re on the streets protesting against the austerity measures, whereas the ‘highly intelligent Brits’ recognise that the recent spending cuts are all necessary and its Labour’s fault!
Mind you Mr. Caine’s grasp of politics is shaky at best. He left the UK for a while to avoid tax and yet strongly believes in the NHS
Nick Clegg on bonfire
This neatly disguises the fact that Tory ideology is built upon cutting spending, they don’t like the welfare state and their first instinct regardless of what state the economy is in is to reduce state support. I can’t hate the Tories, they are just being Tory and more fool anyone for believing they would be any different. No my vote would be for Brown or Blair for making such an arse of being in power that they made the Tories electable. Mind you Nick Clegg for his ‘I’ll vote for anything you say Dave so long as I can be Deputy Prime Minister’ deserves to be on that bonfire as well. It’s amazing how many principles can be lost when a chance of power is laid before you. ■ Issue 70 | leithermagazine.com | 21
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AutumnFitness Tracy Griffen
Eat breakfast and put a tiger in your tank A
ir, food and water – the things we need to live. Last month the theme of breathing was inhaled, exhaled and generally circulated. If you missed it, check out the archive of articles at the very fine Leither website (blushes – Callum Alden). The elixir of life, water, will be covered in the festive edition (when many of you will be imbibing more alcohol than aqua). This month: is food ‘fuel’ pure and simple, or is there more to it than that? Consider an average day and how you can eat for energy. The first thing to know is that breakfast is KING. Breakfast is singly the most important meal of the day, and here’s why. You wouldn’t run your car without fuel in the tank, would you? So why do so many people start the day ‘too busy’ to eat something? Eating a good breakfast will get your metabolism ticking over; this is how quickly you burn fuel (or calories). So a fast metabolism is good. Some folk observe, “I don’t want to eat breakfast as I feel hungrier later in the day and need to eat more.” Yes, that’s the point! By getting your metabolism revved up in the morning, you’re burning fuel, and therefore require more healthy nosh to keep the home fires burning. It’s when people decide to lose weight by ‘not eating’ that they start to screw up the metabolic processes in their bodies. Your body operates best with regular and small fuel top-ups. Imagine a fire that you feed branches onto bit by bit. It burns well, yes? If you threw a whole wodge of wood onto the fire, it probably would expire or at least burn less.
By getting your metabolism revved up in the morning, you’re burning fuel, and therefore require more healthy nosh to keep the home fires burning
Tartex pate (eh?)
The word breakfast literally means to break a fast, so you get the idea of why it’s important. If you don’t eat early in the day, your body ‘thinks’ it’s fasting, and so slows down your metabolism accordingly. Therefore, when you can’t bear it any longer and give in to that energy giving chocolate bar or bag of crisps, your body thinks, “Hallelujah! I’m going to hold onto all these calories, as I don’t know when my owner is going to feed me next.” It’s no coincidence that when you’re hungry, crisps, cakes, biscuits and chocolates are irresistible… When your metabolism is all over the place from yo-yo dieting on bingeing/ fasting cycles it doesn’t know what’s going on. Add the salt/fat/sugar combo to the mix and, well, it makes the pleasure
signals in your brain go berserk. For more on why we binge eat, read the excellent book The End of Overeating by David A. Kessler If you have a good slow burning breakfast everyday (ol’ reliable porridge is champion), your body has the energy to fly through your mornings and concentrate on the job at hand. Your brain needs glucose to function properly, so not eating during the day effectively makes you dumber. It’s good to feel peckish mid-morning so use it as an excuse to snack on something healthy, and preferably slow burning (oatcakes are ideal). In fact I believe oats constitute superior foodstuff, which is handy because Scotland is brimming with the bran. If you don’t like oatcakes au naturale (there are many mornings when this is all I bother with) then here’s my…
All Time Top Ten Oatcake Toppings
1. Hommus (own made is tastier and healthier) 2. Crowdie cheese, a Highland classic 3. Tartex vegetarian pate (eh? – Ed) 4. Olive tapenade & feta cheeses 5. Banana, mashed on it's own, or sliced with honey. Like HEALTHY banoffee pie. Mmm 6. Avocado, solo or with harissa 7. Kidney bean pate
8. Pumpkin seed spread (from a health foods shop 9. Sliced pear & blue cheese 10. Cottage cheese & fresh herbs (parsley/ chives/ basil)
Good advice to anyone who reaches for choccie biccies or cakes in the afternoon is to eat more, earlier in the day. It sounds too simple to be true, but I have a swathe of client testimonials that shows that changing your eating habits can be easy and doesn’t have to involve denying yourself treats. If you simply change how you eat early in the day, it can have a massive knock on effect for the rest of the day. Hands up anyone who has gone straight from work to the pub on an empty stomach, downed many drinks, become ravenous and finished a day of good intentions with a kebab or similar? You wake up the next day, going “nooooooooooooooo!” and then start a new day not eating through queasiness or dieting and repeating the whole boom/bust cycle again. So the trick is to eat more food earlier, when you’ll have a chance to burn it off. If you eat that slice of chocolate cake late at night, imagine slapping it on your thighs and sleeping with it. You ain’t going to burn it off, baby. Instead, eat that chocolate cake for breakfast… ■ ÊÊInfo: www.getfitandenjoyit.com Issue 70 | leithermagazine.com | 23
A Beacon in our Town Jo Cargill on a time when community spirit was built in with the bricks
o some the old Leith Hospital on Mill Lane is just another block of expensive apartments. For many it is a symbol of true community spirit. But to all who walked through the iconic doors it will always be remembered as the heart of their town. Retired surgeon Iain MacIntyre, who did his training at Leith Hospital in the 70s, is one of the volunteers behind a new video screening in Leith this month. The video commemorates the Hospital and its vital role in the community of Leith. Iain said, “The legacy of the Hospital is staggering. It served the community for over 100 years, trained countless doctors and nurses and was a first port of call for locals.” MacIntyre, who is currently writing a medical history of Scotland due out next year, says the group wanted to celebrate the legacy of the hospital. “We wanted to capture all the memories before they disappear. The lasting memory will always be one of community. Locals raised the money, built it and felt a sense of ownership. Community spirit was in with the bricks.” In mid 19th century when the hospital was built Leith was the fifth largest town in Scotland with a 30,000 population. In that age of austerity it was a thriving place; a major European port, a bustling town of industry with its own council and police force. It had already been crippled by the cholera epidemic of the 1830s and then the industrial revolution brought more and deadlier disease into Leith. Until the hospital was built in 1948 Leith had relied on monks and a dispensary to cope with the rising cases of infectious disease.
Gretna train disaster
The tight knit community took matters into their own hands and money was raised quickly by locals and a few benefactors. Building started in the 1860s and by 1904 the surgical block was built in celebration of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. After the Great War the children’s wing was erected as a memorial. Iain said, “It was a functional building not just a hunk of stone. The locals wanted to do something more with the building to commemorate those killed in the Gretna train disaster. Many of the 250 killed were from the Leith battalion of Royal Scots. Iain worked at the hospital as a consultant surgeon for seven years and says 24 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 70
Leith will always have a strong legacy. “What I remember most is people. I went round different hospitals and it was only in Leith that you could see how well people looked after the hospital. They guarded it proudly.” Patients were stoic in their pride of their hospital as they were about their home town. For some going to any other hospital was out of the question. “All the hospitals took turns at handling emergency calls from other hospitals one day each week because we didn’t have a full surgical team available 24/7. But some patients just wouldn’t go to the other hospitals!” Iain says one memory sums up his experiences in Leith. “An unsuspecting medical student who visited from England got an earful when she asked an old lady what part of Edinburgh she was from. She replied, young lady I have never been to Edinburgh in my life and I have no desire to go!”
Saddened by closure
Pockets of poverty were not uncommon and locals found sanctuary in their hospital. “It used to be that the banana flats were as good as it got. I remember Parliament Street was like a Dickensian slum! There was a lot of poverty. But you could tell some people were pleased to be in the hospital because the nurses used to make a fuss over them.” Christine Hoy worked as a nurse at the hospital for five years in the 80s soon after she qualified. “It was so friendly because we worked in small teams. I was in the surgical ward and there were just five of us including the consultants. The children’s wing was special. Staff used to come in even when they weren’t on duty and there were stories of children becoming sick just so they could be in hospital. It was great at Christmas, children of the staff used to hand out Christmas presents to the patients from under the tree.” When it was announced the hospital would close there was major opposition locally, Christine said. “Bit by bit hospitals amalgamated. And when you get good staff leaving, it becomes less safe. It wasn’t viable to
keep it going after a while.” Saddened by the closure, Christine started putting together a leaflet of highlights over the years and photos but she got so carried away she dug back into the archives to health care dating back to medieval times. The leaflet quickly turned into a book. Christine said, “Before the hospital Leith had a branch of the London
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Leith Hospital in days gone by
Humane Society for the recovery of those presumed drowned or dead, and there was the Leith Dispensary. I traced medical care right back to the monks in the 1500s.” The story of how Christine decided on a title for the book A Beacon in our Town reflects the pride locals had in their hospital. “One of my favourite domestics used to love going home from work on the bus when it was dark because as she passed the hospital she could see all the nurses hats going passed the window. She declared that it was like a beacon in our town.”
Boy picks up grenade
While the hospital is fondly remembered by locals, Christine said many don’t know that Leith was a pioneering place; home to a few major medical innovations. It was the first hospital to allow female doctors to do clinical teaching. Sophia Jex-Blake – founder of the Edinburgh School of Medicine for Women – who along with six other won their battle to graduate in medicine from Edinburgh University, were not allowed to teach at the Royal Infirmary. But Leith Hospital opened its doors and welcomed them in. The intravenous drip was designed by the Leith GP Dr Thomas Latta during the cholera epidemic of 1831-32. Christine said, “The problem with cholera was clearly about fluid balance in the body. Latta was ahead of his time. He put up a bag of saline and injected it into the patient. It was noted in the Lancet medical journal as an astounding achievement in the healing arts but his contribution is still not that well known in medical history.” In 1941 the Hospital became one of the first in the world to set up a specialist hand clinic after Australian surgeon Ben Murray performed pioneering surgery on a boy who had picked up a grenade from Musselburgh beach. Iain said, “The grenade blew his hand off so we put in metal joints. The hospital is a historic place in many ways.” ■
The banana flats were as good as it got… I remember Parliament Street was like a Dickensian slum
ÊÊInfo: The volunteer film makers from The College of Surgeons, Edinburgh Cinema & Video Club and the Lothian Health Archives are showing the video at South Leith Parish Church Halls on Thursday 18 November @ 2.30pm and Saturday 27 November@ 7.30pm. Iain says, “We would love people to come forward to share their memories and photos.” Contact him on 0131 466 0095 for details.
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There is a light that never goes out Simon Scaddan on a community project for older LGBT people
stop that. It is part of growing up. But there seems to be an increasing tendency for the young, and not so young, to be so totally self-absorbed with their own looks and their inner insecurities that they rarely consider that one day they too will be fifty. The perception is they think of the older LGBT person as ‘worthless and unattractive because he/she has let herself/himself go’ perhaps being a little overweight with wrinkles and greying hair. What they tend to overlook is the wisdom in those heads, their knowledge and their unique life stories. They deserve respect and the recognition that they can continue to be valued as equal members of the community.
his year Cheryl Cole’s live performance of her latest single on the X Factor stage was anticipated with a touch (just a touch) of antipathy rather than the somewhat tired but loyal excitement reserved for artists debuting a not-as-successfulfollow-up-album-release. Since her solo career began, Cole has gone from strength to strength. Public support alone seemed remedy enough for a full recovery during her malaria scare and during this well timed hiatus from Girls Aloud – which the writers of her latest single clumsily capitalise on by inserting French lyrics into her up tempo new release, a nod in the direction of the former pop outfit’s older hit ‘Can’t Speak French’ – Cole has enjoyed chart success and a hugely increased celebrity profile. But in typical celebrity fashion, what first nurtured her rise to fame has shown its reverse side by generating public doubt in Britain’s sweetheart in residence. I have been a resident of Leith since 2003 when I retired here having spent forty odd years working as a diplomat in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. My final appointment was as British High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea. Since then I have led a somewhat hedonistic life, travelling frequently and enjoying all that life has to offer. Until recently, when I felt my life was lacking a certain direction, so at the age of sixtysix I have become a volunteer worker for the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Age project, Scotland’s first service for older LGBT people living in Edinburgh and the Lothians.
Coming out in later life as a gay man When I first came out in the mid 90s at the age of forty-nine, people would often comment on how sad my life would be, leaving behind, as I did, a wife with whom I still have a very strong relationship and two adult children who had the difficult task of coming to an acceptance of the fact that their Dad was gay. It was certainly a major change in my life and I had to be open about my sexuality with my employer. Until the mid 80s being Gay in the Foreign Office generally meant your security clearance would be revoked and in practice your life as a diplomat serving overseas would be over.
How can LGBT Age help?
But it was a time of change and thankfully I was allowed to continue to serve overseas and became, in 2001, the first British High Commissioner – the equivalent of an Ambassador but serving in a Commonwealth country – to be accompanied by his same sex partner, Pablo. He was Indian, gay and considerably younger than myself; what we used to refer to as the triple whammy! Although we are no longer partners we remain good friends and it was because of my relationship with Pablo and other friends of all ages that I have not experienced the isolation and unhappiness some of my critics had predicted.
He was Indian, Older LGBT people gay and experience isolation considerably and loneliness younger But there are many people in the LGBT than myself; community – even in this more open, accepting and enlightened age – who what we still experience prejudice, isolation and used to profound unhappiness because of their sexuality or concerns about their gender refer to as and increasing age. Young LGBT people the triple naturally enjoy their youthfulness and whammy! not for one moment would we want to
With this new project, LGBT Age aims to support LGBT people over 50 who may be isolated, single and fearful of getting older, who do not have the support groups that other heterosexual people take for granted such as spouses or children. There will also be some LGBT people who have never admitted their sexuality because of the social stigma that this would have attracted in the past. This group is particularly isolated especially if they are living on their own possibly outside Edinburgh or living in sheltered accommodation or care homes where they might find it hard to disclose their sexual preferences or gender concerns. The ways the project will support LGBT people are through opportunities to improve their social networks; a volunteer befriending service; an information service on a variety of topics including LGBT and mainstream support services including housing and legal matters and an advocacy service to offer individuals support in accessing services such as health and social care as well as challenging discrimination. I am sure that in the Leith community, as well as elsewhere in Edinburgh and its wider environs, we probably all know someone who might benefit from this new project. I very much hope that if someone reading this article knows someone who needs help, or indeed wishes help themselves, they get in touch with the LGBT Age co-ordinator, Garry McGregor. Volunteers are an integral part of this project and anyone interested in putting themselves forward – provided they are over 18 – should also contact the admirable Mr. McGregor (details below). ■ ÊÊInfo: Contact Garry on 0131 523 1107 or at email@example.com. More information on the project is available on the centre’s website Issue 70 | leithermagazine.com | 27
Bainbridge Music Present... 20 Nov: Your New Favorite Band @ Sneaky Pete’s 7pm Showcasing new music in Edinburgh.
highlight of the month
Boda Bar 229 Leith Walk 0131 553 5900 Rocktail Thursdays, Meze Fridays and Soul Sundays Carrier’s Quarters 42 Bernard Street Sun: 6.30pm Jammie Devils Dalriada 77 Promenade, Portobello 0131 454 4500 Thu: Quiz Night 8.30pm Fri & Sat: Live Music 9pm Sat & Sun: Live Music 3-6pm 27 Nov: The Blues Theme Night Elbow 133 East Claremont Street 0131 556 5662 Mon: Supper Club Tue: Pub Quiz at 8pm Fri: Live Music, 9pm Sun: Open Mic Night, 9pm Espy 62 Bath Street, Portobello 0131 669 0082 Tue: Stitch & Bitch (knitting circle) Fri: Live music 9.30pm Guilty Lily 284 Bonnington Road 0131 554 5824 Sunday Quiz Nite 8.30; Mad Mexican Mondays; Open Mic on last Friday of the month 8.30pm Iso Bar 7 Bernard Street 0131 467 8904 Wed: Quiz Night 8pm Sun: Open mic with Sylvain 5pm onwards Joseph Pearce’s Bar 23 Elm Row 0131 556 4140 Tue: Jogging Club 7pm-8pm 1st Monday of month: The Paintbrush and the Sewing Needle 7pm. Cinnamon Wednesdays and Sunday D.J. Nobles 44a Constitution Street 0131 629 7215 12 Nov Peterman Powderkeg Project - kick ass good time band featuring members of Aberfeldy! 13 Nov Eclectic Mud with Dj’s Fuz n’ Lee 18 Nov Folk night 19 Nov David Rotheray (of the Beautiful South) 20 Nov Buckleys Chance 25 Nov Folk night 26 Nov Brawth, Ballachulish Hellhounds, Ten Gallon Bratz, Roy Hende 27 Nov Peterman Powderkeg Project 28 Nov ‘Woolworths’ singer/songwriter showcase Sofi’s Bar 65 Henderson Street 0131 555 7019 Monday Film Night 8pm Scot/ Swede Soc: last Monday of month Tue: Knitting Group 7.30pm Thu: Acoustic Open Mic Night with Sylvian 28 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 70
18th French Film Festival comes to Edinburgh Filmhouse Edinburgh 11 to 28 November 0131 228 2688 filmhousecinema.com frenchfilmfestival.org.uk The 18th edition of the French Film Festival UK showcases the work of Pierre Etaix, who will be present – in particular the restored copy of The Great Love – and André Téchiné, a key figure in French cinema whose concerns have involved identity, sexuality and roots. The panoply of new films covers titles from The Shore Bar 0131 553 5080 Tue: Infinite Trio 9.30pm Wed: Folk Session 9.30pm Thu: The GT’s or Kevin Gore 9pm Sun: Jazz - Ellis & Kellock 2pm-5pm.
Concrete Wardrobe 50 Broughton Street 0131 558 7130 November Maker of the Month: Fiona McIntosh’s Tessuti and James Donald’s PickOne Corn Exchange Gallery Until 16th Dec Poise by Min Angel, Sculptures and Drawings Coburg House Studios 4-5th Dec Christmas Open Studio Event Edinburgh College of Art Until 8th Dec Sculpture Court, The Secret Confession. An exhibition of work by alumni of E.C.A
major directors such as Bertrand Tavernier, Rachid Bouchareb, Jean-Jacques Beneix (for cult classic Diva) and Costa-Gavras, to the newer generation of Christophe Honoré, Stephane Brizé, Cédric Kahn, and Zabou Breitman. After a controversial debut at the Cannes Film Festival, Outside the Law (above) directed by Rachid Bouchareb will figure among titles likely to be talking points. Amongst the highlights are Skirt Day, starring César Award winner Isabelle Adjani as a teacher who takes her class hostage, and Christopher Honoré’s latest film Making Plans for Lena. ■ The Leith Gallery Until 27th Nov David Farren exhibition. The artist’s view of three cities (New York, Paris and Edinburgh) Out of the Blue Drill Hall 36 Dalmeny Street 0131 555 7100 outoftheblue.o rg.uk Weekly: drama, dance, yoga, martial arts, belly dancing, life drawing and aerial (phew!) Oh and kids art classes! 13 Nov: 11.30am-3pm, Brunch and live music event 18-20 Nov: Baby O – Scottish Opera, 30min. show taking you into a magical garden where you’ll meet our singers and begin your special adventure. £5 Full price/£3 Baby tickets 19-25 Nov: Branching Out: an exhibition of paintings, ceramics & embroidery by Anna Redpath 10-5pm 29 Nov-9 Dec: Glasgow based artist yam-yam comes to the capital to exhibit his photography 10-5pm Ocean Terminal From 1st Dec: Exhibition from The Magic
What’sOn Sponsored by Chop Chop Leith 76 Commercial Street Commercial Quay, Edinburgh, EH6 6LX Tel: 0131 553 1818 Begins. Group show
Malcolm Chisholm 0131 558 8358 MSP for Edinburgh North & Leith. Advice surgeries every Saturday morning Mark Lazarowicz 0131 557 0577 MP for Edinburgh North & Leith, regular advice surgeries for local residents every Friday Rob Munn Leith Ward SNP. Advice surgeries: 1st & 3rd Monday of month at Thomas Morton Hall 6pm. 2nd Wednesday of month at Hermitage Park Primary 6pm Gordon Munro Leith Ward Labour. Advice surgeries: 1st & 3rd Monday of each month at Leith Community Education Centre 6.30-7.15pm. 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 Wednesday of every month at McDonald Road Library 6pm and 2nd Friday (during term time) Leith Walk Primary School 12:30 Louise Lang Leith Walk Ward Lib/Dem 0131 529 4019 Advice surgeries: 1st Monday of month at Broughton Primary School, 6pm and 1st Wedneday of month at Lorne Primary School, 6pm
4/4.45pm: Drum Kit tuition (P6,7) 5/5.45pm: Drum Kit Tuition (S1 to S6) 6/6.45pm: Drum Kit tuition (Adult) 4/5.30pm: Guitar and Bass tuition (P6,7) 5/6.30pm: Guitar and bass tuition (S1 to S6) 6.45/7.30pm: Guitar and Bass tuition (Adult) Fri: 1/2.30pm After school club (P5 to 7) 3/4.30pm: Sports Café (P7,S1,S2) 5/6.30pm: Boxing Training, Leith Victoria Gym (S1 to S6) Leith Library 28-30 Ferry Road 0131 529 5517 Tue: 4-5pm Under 13’s Computer Club Fri: 2.30pm Craft Time: (ages 4 to 11) For info on other clubs contact Leith Library. The WW1 Leith Roll of Honour that was exhibited in Leith Library at 2008-2009 is now available in page-turner format at lhsa.lib.ed.ac.uk/exhibits/Leith_ROH.htm South Leith Church Halls 6 Henderson Street 0131 554 2578 volunteeredinburgh.org.uk 11am Every Thursday, Find out about doing volunteer work in Leith. Perc U Up Café opening times: Mon to Fri 10am2pm Fairtrade goods for sale Ramsay Cornish 15 Jane Street. 0131 553 7000 Thu: 11am Traditional Lane Sale Sat: 11am General Household Auction Active Inquiry @ Pilmeny Youth Centre Buchanan Street 0771 4321 629 activeinquiry.co.uk 27-28 Nov: Theatre of the Oppressed Training Workshop Weekend. The Art of the Joker. 4 Dec: News Group Workshop 10-1pm
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Real Food Events 37 Broughton Street 22 Nov: Real Foods and Napiers present Kitchen Cupboard Remedies at Stockbridge Parish Church, 7-9pm, £5. ■
Community Village Store @ Out of the Blue 36 Dalmeny Sreet Every Saturday 10am-2pm. Local suppliers, producers and farmers. Tinker Tailor, craft people on hand to help mend those broken things. Leith Community Centre Kinsfolk Carers drop-in support group. Thursday 10am-noon. Crèche & Café available 07990795635 Wed: 6.15/8.15pm: Senior Youth Club Thur: 3.30/5.30pm: (P5 to 7) Girl’s Club 4/5pm: Breakdance Class (technical) 5/6pm: Breakdance Class (routines)
Full body: £15 Half body: £10 e: firstname.lastname@example.org Issue 70 | leithermagazine.com | 29
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Puts out idly with no sense (8) Shoemaker curtailed road stone (6) Politicos whip Nina’s slimmer mix (7- 8) Divorcee not pretty, justify (7) Riot lies around street corners, perhaps (7) Foreign articles with pet not favourite (8) Railwaymen with points, tend (5) Foetid alcoholic contained ebb and flows (5) Planet cut at Eastern Front and became wet (8) Part gluten silage and the means to get it out (7) Brown envelope? (7) If slimy nags gang up under here they will be shown up (10, 5) 27 Quit and take up job again (6) 28 Reads the riot act as support (8)
What would you like from the Malmaison for your Christmas party this year? How about Santa Claus abseiling down the building or Rudolph in reception? Only joking of course… though come to think of it, we could probably do it if requested! Which is to say we will do all we can to make your festive event a little bit extra special, whatever your requirements. But only, says Santa, if you’ve all been good boys and girls. Prices are a gift, starting at £15 per person. Call 0131 468 5001 – And we will see what we can do for you!
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Seasoned mathematician (6) Under pine strangely raw (9) Aim it at England, part ape (7) Melon, strange fruit (5) Thought round wing (7 ) Cheese without point, salty (5) I and her in the end, netted (8) Stop here in Amsterdam (3, 5) Shows princess at leisure aboard (8) I get back at squawking irate teen (9) Model right in 1 down with clash? (8) American city con, forever (7) Eastern gender bender went back on (7) Deep alien dog (6) Rims topped rims (5) Minute church rubbish (5)
Supplied by: www.leithlinks.co.uk
answers: crossword 44
A bottle of Malmaison house wine
Tim Reid: Newington
Email your answers to: email@example.com
1 Divisive 5 Simone 10 Chinese chequers 11 Elegies 12 Plenary 13 Mangrove 15 Types
18 20 23 25 26
Alloa Ensnared Timoric Dry cure Montgomeryshire 27 Sweets 28 Bell tent
down 1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9
Docker Voice mail Stewing Views Inquest Omega Essayist Shoppers
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Overcome Prejudice Pastimes Alright Abyssal Revert Manse Dirge
“Malmaison? They do the scrummiest mulled wine” – Elaine Lovell 30 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 70
Leither in London Carrie Mitchell
Ch-ch-changes. Our girl grapples with big decisions I
It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. And I’m not just talking about in the bedroom
’ve never been all that comfortable with change. The comfort of the familiar is much more thrilling to me than being in a state of flux. Which possibly explains why I’ve stayed in a job I don’t really want for the past four years despite always knowing it wasn’t where I was supposed to be. So when the news came that our company was selling the magazine to a new publisher, based outside London, I wasn’t quite so upset as others on the team. This could spell redundancy – and as I’ve been told over and over again by those who’ve been lucky enough to be paid off from similarly mediocre jobs, that could be the best thing that ever happened to me. Keen to make the most of the situation, I immediately started firing off emails to various contacts I’d made on other magazines asking about freelance work. I scoured the job alerts everyday on specialist recruitment sites, and finally found the time to dedicate toward doing the applications. I dragged my portfolio from the dusty abyss under my bed and set about filling it with glossy pages of my best work. Having been at Wedding magazine for over three years, I’d have a few months money to play with when they made me redundant but I wasn’t about to rest on my laurels. This change was the rocket up my ass I’d been desperately in need of. Then finally, I got an interview – the first one I’ve had in four years and bizarrely, it was with the magazine right next to us in the open-plan office. It was going to be a pretty heavy day though. At 11am I had my interview, then at 1pm,
the new buyers were starting individual consultations with each member of the team regarding their future. With any luck, I could be offered redundancy and a new job in the same day. Of course, that’s not how things worked out in the end. Instead, after 8 weeks of leading us to believe that the magazine would be based in Colchester (a 120 mile round trip for me) and that those who couldn’t commute would be offered redundancy, they suddenly changed the goal posts. We were staying in London – at a new office yes, but not at a distance from my house that could be considered an unreasonable commute and thus redundancy was no longer on the table.
So where does that leave me? With two choices – go with it, stay at Wedding, and possibly stagnate there for another four years or walk away with nothing but the hope that better things are just round the corner. Play it safe or take a massive risk? I have no idea which way to go and funnily enough, I’m facing the same quandary in my love life. On the one side, there’s Chris. A difficult, elusive, and totally frustrating man I find completely irresistible, and who is predictably playing the old ‘I’m not ready for a relationship’ card. And on the other, there’s lovely Mark – a blast from the past who’s recently reappeared and started making himself something of a fixture. There might not exactly be fireworks between Mark and I but I could get used to the cosy nights in where he whips up a
feast for me and we cuddle up in front of a DVD. And he doesn’t seem to mind that I’m not exactly tearing his clothes off. It’s just nice spending time with him. And maybe nice is enough? Or maybe it would be if I wasn’t spending every minute I’m with Mark wishing he were someone else. I don’t know what it is about Chris but he’s managed to get right under my skin. I’ve seen him a handful of times and every one has ended the same way – I won’t go into details (I had a telling off from my dad recently after he read this and got a bit of a shock – sorry pops!) but I will say that it’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. And I’m not just talking about in the bedroom – we get on so well that when we’re together, we’re both a little stunned by it. When he’s here, he never wants to leave but as soon as he’s out the door, he starts to freak out about it all getting too heavy and how he’s just not ‘in that place’ right now. I’ve been telling myself that maybe if I just play the game for a while, the barriers will come down but I’m also aware how naïve that sounds. Am I wasting my time? Possibly. I just don’t know what to do - settle for something that’s comfortable and familiar, but not quite right, or pursue something that could lead to nothing but disappointment and heartbreak. It’ s a tough choice and I don’t think I’m ready to make it in either my professional or personal life. So for now, I’m going to do nothing and hope a little time brings some answers. Well I did tell you I’m no good at change. ■ Issue 70 | leithermagazine.com | 31
Why not toddle along to Cafe Fish for …
EARLY BIRD DINNER
£16 2 courses (includes glass of house wine) Tuesday to Friday 5-7pm We haven’t forgotten you at lunchtime either…
Two course lunch £10 Tuesday to Friday
Dinner £19.50 for two courses 60 Henderson Street, Edinburgh 0131 538 6131 www.cafefish.net