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Free Issue 120

Leither

Asimo & The Rise of the Robots

Publicly Owned Energy | A Question of Identity | #MyExperienceToo Poverty Safari: Darren ‘Loki’ McGarvey | Living Offline


To remember a loved one this Christmas, Light Up A Life on our Tree of Remembrance in Charlotte Square Gardens The Lighting Ceremony will take place on Monday 11 December at 6.30 pm

Light Up A Life To dedicate a light on the Tree of Remembrance, call the fundraising team on 0131 551 1381 or visit www.stcolumbashospice.org.uk St Columba’s Hospice Ltd (Registered in Scotland No. 48700) Charity No. SC003634.


Editor at Large

Contents 7

Mark Young gets to thinking about intelligent robots and A.I. after watching Humans and Westworld while testing a BOT on eBay

The Men Behind the Silver Door I

The single, Ta Ta Oo Ha is a thing of floating wonder, gossamer thin and very lovely... almost wistful. For the techno/ electronica purist there are four alternative mixes

was sitting in my office (The Alan Breck Bar) last night writing this when Fiona and Colin came in, as Colin was a young Leither at the time I asked him if he had any memories of Fini Tribe – a band who had made Leith their base in the mid 1980s. “We were fascinated by this old shop along from The Dirty Windaes Bar that had suddenly had its façade and windows painted silver. So we would hang about outside out of curiosity. One day a couple of guys came out and asked if we wanted to see inside…it turned out to be this amazing recording studio and they turned out to be Fini Tribe. They were really patient with us and so well thought of among local kids that we never graffitied the silver façade or smashed the windows.” Colin then texted another Colin - there are loads of Colin’s in this gang. He replied: ‘First time I was aware of their sound was on that iconic Balearic Beat album – the one with all the eyes on the cover –they had a track De Testimony on that which was absolutely massive’. In the ongoing texts storm Fiona’s brother offers: ‘Fuck, that’s a brilliant blast from the past’! Not anymore. Fini Tribe/Finitribe returned to the beat in 2016 with some blistering live shows. And now as Finiflex (keep up) they have released their first new material since the late 90s: Ta Ta Oo Ha (Finiflex Records) is the first single to be released from the forthcoming album Suilven – more on this next time. Ta Ta Oo Ha is a thing of floating wonder, gossamer thin and very lovely…almost wistful. For the techno/ electronica purist 4 alternative mixes are included. One in particular is a dance floor magnet, taking as it does, a darker, heavier approach (all mixes are on YouTube/Finiflex). I asked the boys to write something of what their years in the business has taught them… John Vick: Music Producer and owner of Finiflex Studios Good, Better, Best – there is no room for ‘that’ll do’. Sign off is the full stop in my world…Delivering the best I can is so important to me…It means confidence, it means conclusion, it means yes. In this world of electronics and creativity and in all my tasks as an engineer and producer, I come across so many fantastic technological capabilities…Applied with a little logic, maths and physics, these logged and

11 Jannica Honey

Novelists who come up with plots and character arcs then leave others to write them get Marianne Wheelaghan’s dander up

The torture of Guy Fawkes

John Vick & Davie Millar of Finiflex

stored learnings become music. Working with an awakening mind takes the edge off hard logic...Firing up at 5 (the system). Singing at 6 (with Davie). Scissors at 7 (we ain’t that good!). Magical mistakes make music magical. Not just a good way to start a day. But the best way! DJ Davie Miller For many years I was not involved in music or active in anything creative at all. A huge mistake that left me with a giant hole in my soul. Once you have the ‘bug’ it never leaves you. Finding that space again and working in Leith with John felt like coming home. It is a privilege to do what we do, making a record again and playing live shows is a joy. I have suffered from anxiety all my life, I only realised it was anxiety about 7 years ago, I thought it was normal. At times it is crippling but I’m working on it, take it on, be mindful. I fell less anxious as I get older more comfortable, not caring so much if I fail. Failing is part of life not something you should be ashamed of. The less I worry the more I live. I discovered hill walking ten years back. I cannot stop until I reach the top of a hill or a Munro. I climb with my brother; it’s our time together. It is one of the most exhilarating and peaceful feelings in the world to reach the summit, even if it is shrouded in clouds. Suilven next? ■ ÊÊInfo: More at facebook:finiflex and finiflex.bandcamp.com

12

The BBC’s Gunpowder has been deemed too extreme for sensitive souls. Colin Montgomery wonders if these people ever watch the news

15

Stand by Spain, stand by Catalonia, choose for yourself but, above all, stand by democracy and freedom from state violence says Deidre Brock

Leither Published by: Leither Publishing Editor: William Gould ( 07891 560 338 billy@leithermagazine.com Sub Editor: Dot Mathie Design: design@leithermagazine.com Advertising: Sue Glancy ( 07772 059 516 sue@leithermagazine.com Contacts: info@leithermagazine.com 8 leithermagazine.com Cartoonist: Gordon Riach Illustrator: Bernie Reid Printers: Thoughtwell Ltd, Edinburgh ( 0131 551 3265 ( 07904471959 jon@thoughtwell.co.uk © 2017 LEITHER PUBLISHING. Reproduction in whole or part is forbidden without the wri!en permission of the Publishers. The Leither does not accept responsibility for unsolicited material. If you have an interesting story we should know about, contact William Gould on tel: 07891 560 338. If you would like information on advertising or sponsorship opportunities with the Leither email: sue@leithermagazine.comw Cover: ASIMO, an acronym for advanced step in innovative movement, is a humanoid robot created by Honda

Issue 120 | leithermagazine.com | 3


Kicking against the pricks Sally Fraser says she needs to tell stories without becoming them, that it’s #MyExperienceToo rather than #MeToo

I

hit the wall the other day. I don’t mean figuratively. In a world that over-uses the word literally to a figuratively criminal degree, I literally hit the wall. Punched the wood panelling in my rather nice office in the presbytery. Didn’t do any damage to it, just completely knackered my hand. Which says it all really doesn’t it. Woman tried to smash patriarchy: hurts fist. It surprised me I have to say. I have spent thousands of pounds in therapy being told I need to get in touch with my anger and have never really succeeded much, but there it was. And in one of those rare moments we have where we get to listen to ourselves I heard myself say this is real. But I still don’t know quite where it came from. I have been reading these books by someone called Eckhart Tolle. You should check them out if you haven’t. It’s all about being in the moment. So I have been taking lots of walks and listening to lots of birds and even been shat on occasionally by them, which is a bit *too* much connecting with the moment for my taste. But he also talks about the Pain Body. We all have pain bodies, all the stuff we store inside us that fights to keep us miserable. And we also have collective pain bodies, and well I just really think that is what’s happening at the moment. Our collective Pain Body is going nuts. Women I mean. After all, we’ve had centuries of persecution, rape and violence. And now, well, we’ve got persecution, rape and violence. I think that it why so many of us are angry right now. Everywhere in the news there are things that make us angry, not because they are surprising but because they seem to be surprising other people. What, did you not know the world was like this? Were you not listening? We ask, as we find ourselves running through our own inventories. The times we said no, the times we just didn’t want to. The times we can’t remember, the times we can’t forget. The things we know we could have reported, and the many, many more that we couldn’t because people who 4 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 120

Everywhere in the news there are things that make us angry, not because they are surprising but because they seem to be surprising other people

are really practised at messing with our heads are too clever to actually resort to anything physical or violent, and its never going to be illegal to be a bastard now is it? But anger won’t help and punching walls certainly won’t. I know I need to feel my anger but I need to wrap a bit of space around it too, which I can do if I listen to/get shat on by enough birds. I need to tell stories without becoming them, need to remember that it’s #MyExperienceToo rather than #MeToo. And that the power and the fighting and the arguments and the punching is all part of the same bullshit, the way that the people with the big penis substitute bombs and skyscrapers operate, and it doesn’t have to be like that, we can do things differently. We can be vigilant. After all, there are only two types of people in the world; those who make people do things they don’t want to, and those who don’t. It’s our duty as the latter to call the former out wherever we see them in action. And we demonstrate a different way of being, because every single bit of treating people decently and respectively is a ripple that will create a wave, a flutter that will cause a thunderstorm, and one day it will be enough to change the hearts of even the nastiest bastards, the ones with

the bombs and the skyscrapers. It will have to be. And maybe we can even forgive. We can forgive if we remember that the powerlessness that we are being made to hold is only the trickle-down, it’s only the leftover bits that they can’t bear to hold themselves. That the collective Pain Body of millennia of violence and oppression is perhaps not more painful than the collective Pain Body of millennia of carrying out violence and doing the oppressing. Not deep down. Not where it matters. Because we are not our Pain Bodies, we are the lovely, soft, yielding bits underneath them, the bits that our unhappiness and anger tries to squash. And those bits are all the same. So the panelling in the presbytery walls is safe for now. I take advantage of the good acoustics they create instead, and find myself singing we shall overcome, and one of the other versions of it which says we are not to blame, we are not to blame, we are not to blame today or any day. And I realise, perhaps for the first time, that I really do mean it when I sing…deep in my heart, I do believe, that we shall overcome some day. ■ ÊÊInfo: Living the Liberated Life and Dealing with the Pain-Body by Eckhart Tolle (Sounds True Publishing)


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44 Queen Charlotte St, Edinburgh, Leith EH6 7EX tel: 0131 554 1979 www.thecompassleith.com Issue 120 | leithermagazine.com | 5


I’m dreaming of a white Christmas... and Sing and Sign classes

Give your baby the gift of pre-verbal communication with Sing and Sign. Winter Term starts in January and we are taking bookings now. Places are strictly limited and they fill up fast. Gift vouchers available on request. Contact your local Sing and Sign teacher for more information and to book. We invite you to an unforgettable Christmas experience packed with carols and led by a live band and choir. Mulled wine and mince pies will be served. Destiny Church Leith Friday 8th December, 7.30pm Sunday 10th December, 5pm 12 Casselbank Street, EH6 5HA 0131 555 2707 destinyedinburgh.com Admission free 6 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 120

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Asimo, Deep Blue & Watson’s Jeopardy Mark Young gets to thinking about intelligent robots & A.I after watching Humans and Westworld and a recent experience using a BOT in eBay

I

’m a big kid at heart, skinny, wiry, easily influenced. As I head to the supermarket after a binge session of Channel Four’s excellent, seductive Humans I find myself acting a little bit (just a little bit, mind you) like a smart robot – fixed expression, walking too briskly, not groaning when standing up after tying my shoelaces and doing two days worth of grocery shopping in five minutes. I glide smoothly between the aisles avoiding people and prams, taking zero time selecting, ignoring all marketing, skimming through self-checkout at a sprint that suits my hyper mood and I am street side before the chill of entrance has worn off. While harassed parents remain inside weighing up the merits of roquefort against dolcellate while their kids nick toffees. Yes, it’s fun to be artificial. And, though I’m two years behind the ‘good drama’ curve now that I know longer watch TV regularly I find myself launching straight into what I inevitably come to think of as a companion piece to Humans, the larger scale but no less excellent TV remake of Michael Crichton’s Westworld. The titles masterfully capture 150 years of man’s development of robot creativity, from the primitive marionette and laughing policeman, to the disturbingly natural facial expressions of software bots. I’ve even seen the Honda robot Asimo ‘in-the-flesh’ at the Science Festival and that was freakier than a Goth in Whitby Abbey. Check it out on YouTube and you’ll see why; it’s a little like a small child or Scaramanga’s dwarf manservant Nik-Nak – played by Hervé Villechaize – in The Man with the Golden Gun but a lot more civil. As I write this I’ve just finished using my first software bot, it was an eBay sales tool, and I asked sensible questions. Has my 7 inch single of Baccara’s Yes Sir I can Boogie arrived in Macclesfield for Cheryl’s 40th birthday bash? <Yes Mark> How much do I owe Hermes for postage this month? <Sorry, I don’t understand the question> So early days then but promising if you ask a question that you broadly know

Asimo the robot doing the office coffee delivery

You might be marking up a darts score; perhaps you’re TS Eliot toiling over The Wasteland or on late shi! to"ing up ca"le slaughtered at the aba"oir

the answer to. It’s no less useful than navigating the poorly translated manual to a hard drive recorder ‘on iPlayer BBC app take the control remote and upscroll to menu main’. What could be simpler? It reminds me of Manuel and Basil’s interchange on Fawlty Towers “There is too much butter on those trays…” “No señor…Uno dos tres!” Confusing, but you get there. Take rail tickets. Why are return tickets only a couple of quid less than two singles? Because bureaucrats love, well, bureaucracy complexity and obscure rules, so someone had to build software that crunches vast datasets, bypassing the ‘eccentricity’ and making it cheaper for you to save money by splitting singles journeys. Check out Tickety Split and you’ll see what I mean. Smart systems aren’t a threat they’re an opportunity to eliminate the dullest parts of a working life and if they eliminate a few crappy tasks along the way so much the better. Many years ago I was cast into a job hell called ‘listening to Scottish Gas pre-payment customers crying into a telephone whilst lamenting the fact they couldn’t speak to a person who could get their gas put back on’. I won’t lie. It was a bit depressing. Now there’s no chance of any such contact in a miasma of chat robots and vast Indian call centres, Robbie in Pilrig can now abuse an (obviously) everpatient software robot about why his direct debit hasn’t been processed. Or, after a one-hour wait, tell Sanjeev in New Delhi that he should expect a horse’s

head via Parcelforce International in the next fortnight. Progress, it seems, takes many forms. The uber-sexy real and imagined bots; IBM’s Watson Jeopardy game, chess’s Deep Blue and Honda’s Asimo get all the press. But it’s the ‘crunching of data and software’ bots that you may not even be aware of that you are already interacting with. Well-written software creates paradigms (a word favoured by poets meaning something like we don’t know what you’re going to write, but here’s a pen it might be useful to you.) The genius of general purpose computing is to create limitless opportunity for creative people to work quickly and easily, with an image, a line, an idea or a piece of data, away from what information is processed to the way it needs to be used by that person. Machines can handle all the crap while we party. That won’t happen of course, the fantasy of big business paying us to loiter will remain just that. We can but dream. To use a simpler example: Helix make pencils and have no idea what you will use them for; you might be marking up a darts score, perhaps you’re TS Eliot toiling over The Wasteland, or late shift on offal reclaim totting up cattle slaughtered at the abattoir. So it is with robots – the physical embodiment of an exterior hunt for a greater self. (Think probes on Mars and self-determination on an extra-terrestrial level, but for real.) No little green men need apply because we...are…they. ■ Issue 120 | leithermagazine.com | 7


SandyCampbell On the Loose

Questions of Leith Identity W

Those two words: identity and borders, make up much of our daily news intake these days. And wrapping around them like a shroud, is that other word…

hen asked by the editor of this fine publication to join the ranks of its illustrious columnists, I pondered at length what themes I could explore. In a way, it seemed self-evident: as most people who know me are well aware, I can wax lyrical on the subject of Leith until my audience starts looking shiftily at their watches. Oft cited topics are: our history, our Persevere coat of arms and, of course, our border. Ah, the famous border, which in1920, at the time of Edinburgh colonisation, cut through the tenements at the Easter Road end of Albert Street. Tony Benn’s father - the MP for Leith at the time – argued against amalgamation with these words: “In the Great War I knew of times when men slept with their heads in Africa and their feet in Asia. But I know of no one who would make that a case for amalgamating Africa with Asia”. I love borders. Maps with borders and the shapes they make that become so familiar: the boot of Italy, or France’s L’hexagone. I know intimately where the line went to define Leith from Edinburgh nearly 100 years ago. I am not, however, a real Leither, being born and brought up on the Southside of the Great Satan on the hill. I am a convert, and we all know that converts are the worst. The major despots of the last three centuries of European history - Napoleon, Stalin and Hitler - all grew up in countries other than those whose nationalisms they came to represent: Corsica (part of Genoa at the time of Napoleon’s birth), Georgia and Austria respectively. I love Leith, in the same way as I love Scotland. I also feel pride as I observe the

8 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 120

multiple stunning views in our capital city that cause many a tourist’s jaw to drop; I’m full of admiration for Glasgow with its banter and sheer style, but my affinities extend beyond my native Caledonia. I have a bond with Yorkshire from living there at length in my early adulthood. Leith and Scotland, however, represent something more for me: I embrace everything about them both. And their borders define them both. We know where they begin and end. They decide who is in or out. There is of course, no such thing as Leith nationalism. Being a nationalist implies there being a nation. There is no nation of Leith; more’s the pity. There is clearly a civic identity, which obviously includes the Sikhs, the Poles, the English and even those from Edinburgh – so long as they live here. In fact surely the Proclaimers are Leithers even though they live somewhere near Morningside, for heaven’s sake. And there I’ve done it – using the ‘I’ word – ‘Identity’. Those two words: identity and borders, make up much of our daily news intake these days. And wrapping around them like a shroud, is that other word – Nationalism; increasingly a difficult word to use without a qualification. Even our Nicola confessed during a Book Festival event that she would rather the SNP didn’t have the word ‘national’ in its title – making supporters of the SNP into ‘nationalists’. Tommy Sheppard, our neighbouring SNP MP, said in a recent speech that he is not a nationalist but, if he had to choose a label, it would be, “a republican social democrat.” He went on to claim that the 2014 referendum was

We’ve annexed Leith from a rather unusual art deco style plan of Edinburgh so the author, or you, can fill in your own border

“concerned with empowerment, not identity.” Is identity becoming a dirty word too? Surely not. I grew up with a positive, unequivocal view of the benign nature of nationalism. For example, our own variety wants more immigrants, not fewer. In the 1960s, when I signed up, it was the time of the Collapse of Empire. Nasser, Nkrumah and Nehru were all nationalists. They were the good guys in my romantic youth. So too were the Irish nationalists. Maybe it’s because later in my adult life I started to become interested in trying to understand the Loyalist cause in Northern Ireland (resulting in my feeling that they have at least a view that deserves a voice) that I started to take stock. Or maybe it’s because I witnessed, via the television screen, the horrors of nationalism let loose in the former Yugoslavia, that I began to question whether nationalism can be benign. So for me Identity was, and is, a good fall back. I hear the term Leith Identity all the time and because Leith is not a nation, it can only be a civic identity. That is what Nicola and Tommy claim for the Scottish variety too – and good luck to them, genuinely. But after all this meandering over the ideas of borders, identity and nationalism, I reluctantly come to the conclusion that we should be wary of the term ‘nationalism’. If the neo-Nazis and KKK of Charlottesville can be described in the international media as ‘white nationalists’, then we know we have a problem with the N word. ■


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What’s on at Leith Mills... Wednesday 15th November

Live music event with the Capital Concert Band

Christmas Menu

served from 13th November

Thursday 7th December

Christmas Fashion Show - 2-3pm

Wednesday 13th December

Live music event with the Capital Concert Band & Bun-sgoil Taobh na Prirce School

Breakfast with Santa

Saturday 16th December 9.30am - 11.30am Sunday 17th December 10.00am - 12.00pm Only £8.50 per child, includes Breakfast, Gift from Santa & Children’s Entertainment

Late Night Shopping Every Thursday in December until 8pm

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70/74 Bangor Rd, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 5JU Tel: 0131 2253315 Pick 12 F up yo ur R vou EE gift sto cher r s 1st e from in No vem the ber ! Issue 120 | leithermagazine.com | 9


10 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 120


The snow that falls in the river Marianne Wheelaghan on novelists who come up with plots and character arcs then leave others to write them (hello James Patterson)

I

used to think that ghostwriters only wrote for people who were not writers, such as footballers, reality TV stars, celebrity chefs and the like. But I recently realised this was the understanding of the uninitiated. James Patterson, it seems, no longer writes his own novels. He hands a plot outline and a bunch of character biographies to a team of writers who do the line-by-line stuff. Presumably, this is how he’s able to produce a book a month. Other big names, such as Stephen King and Peter Straub, are apparently at it too. And even Wilbur Smith. Just the other month Mr Smith signed a contract for eight books with Harper Collins. He will contribute the plots for said books but a team of ghostwriters will ‘flesh’ the stories out. I have nothing against collaborative creations; after all many good TV series and films often have more than one writer. What I object to is not being told who the real writers are. It smacks of cheating and, as my sister always says, no one likes a cheater. But when I told a writer friend this she said I was being harsh. After all, the big named writers still produce the golden acorns from which the story tree grows. Without their diamonds in the dust heaps there would be no stories. She has a point. As all writers know, having an original, fresh plot idea is worth its weight in gold. Or at least, it’s worth as much as someone is prepared to pay for it. Because guess what? Some famous writers can’t even be bothered with plot ideas. Ideas take time, so why wait for one when you can buy a bunch instead? It seems the latest development in the book world is for big name writers and their publishers to buy up the rights of already published novels written by notso-famous writers. The not-so-famous writer agrees to withdraw their novel and the famous writer passes on the plot to their writing teams to rewrite. Voila, a novel is born, again and again and again. Now I am doubly disappointed. Putting your name to a novel that you haven’t contributed to creatively in any way seems to directly contradict the very thing we writers are about i.e. the

Busy fellow that JP

It seems the latest development in the book world is for big name writers and their publishers to buy up the rights of already published novels wri"en by not-so-famous writers

revealing of a truth. There is also the issue of betraying a trust. When a reader picks up a novel by a specific writer, he or she is ready and willing to “suspend disbelief in the moment” – as Coleridge famously said. Why? Because the reader trusts their chosen writer to tell a good story in a way only he or she can. Lying about who has written the novel breaks that trust. This demeans both the author and the ghostwriter and treats the reader with contempt. Where does this leave novelists like myself, who have not (yet) ‘made it’ and can’t afford to buy plot lines and pay for writing teams even if we wanted to? Struggling is where, not unlike the small publishers. Only the other day Freight Books, Scottish publisher of the year in 2015, announced it is going into liquidation. In a world where royalties are being slashed because of big publishers discounting bulk sales to book clubs and the supermarkets, while giant book shop chains are forcing reductions on the sale price of a book ever downwards, we lesser-known writers, the ones who actually write our own words, could be heading for extinction. What of the reader? If more and more plot ideas are bought up and recycled by anonymous writing teams on behalf of a handful of big name writers, there will be a real danger that all novels will start

to seem the same – one homogenous airport read. The joy of immersing oneself in the vibrant language of a new writer, the pleasure of living vicariously in the dream world of our favourite author, the delight of discovering fresh stories and the thrill of coming across original ideas could be at risk. Am I being a tad melodramatic? Perhaps. But only last month the author and president of the Society of Authors, Philip Pullman, talked about the dangers of undervaluing the reading experience. He criticised the “pernicious doctrine of market fundamentalism” and said, “it’s easy to think that readers gain a great deal by being able to buy books cheaply but if a price is unrealistically cheap it can damage the author’s reputation (or brand, as we say now) and lead to the impression that books are a cheap commodity and reading is an experience that’s not worth very much.” If what he says is true, and I believe it is, the churning out of books by anonymous ghost writing teams on behalf of a handful of big names is going to devalue the reading experience even further. If we are not careful, the pleasure we get from reading could soon be like the snow that falls in the river in Robert Burns’ Tam o’ Shanter. Lost to us forever. I hope not. ■ Issue 120 | leithermagazine.com | 11


Tortured Logic & Alphabet Soup A historical drama on the BBC has been deemed too extreme by sensitive souls. Colin Montgomery wonders if these people ever watch the evening news

B

y the time this toxic harrumph passes your eyes, all of its contents will be like so much alphabet soup. Indeed so transitory is its content, I was tempted to cut it short, draw a cock and be done with it – just to tempt the editor (but I know him to be a man of substance, or substances…can’t remember which). Anyway, this needlessly vainglorious set-up aside, I shall proceed. But be warned, if you’re of a sensitive disposition you may wish to look away, because this is not likely to end up a nil-nil draw, hopefully not an own goal either. So, here goes. It started with a complaint about a TV programme – namely, Gunpowder on BBC1. As the title suggests, it was a dramatic restaging of the characters, issues and events leading up to the famous/infamous Gunpowder Plot of 1605. That wasn’t a time known for niceties in matters of religious persecution; there was no slap on the wrist, just a chop of the wrist…after a good hanging and gutting. Such was the price paid for daring to come across as a wee bit iffy about the whole Reformation thingy. So no surprise then that the blood flowed on screen. I say no surprise, but for some it came as a great shock. A full frontal assault on their values, their sensibilities and their very existence; how very dare they show capital punishment early 1600s style with such graphic glee? You could hear the tut-tutting in the Home Counties from here. If such wanton effrontery had been justified on the grounds of aesthetic or artistic critique of the presentation of the story, I think I wouldn’t have cared a jot (to be fair, some plaintive voices did make the point that it was the in-yourface quality of the editing that did it for them). But it seemed mostly a matter of ‘good taste’. Hmmm. Good taste… This is where you channel the spirit of Brando from Apocalypse Now. No, not the ‘skulking in his Winnebago eating copious amounts of pizza’ spirit of Brando; the other side of him that big fleshy snooker ball who emerged from the shadows to eat up the screen and 12 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 120

The custody of a criminal does not call for torture. Francisco de Goya

all who got in the way, with just a few slurred lines. I’m thinking specifically of the line regarding the hypocritical mores of profanity. “We train young men to drop fire on people, but their commanders won’t allow them to write fuck on the side of their aircraft, because it’s obscene.” It’s easy to cherry-pick for effect of course – and how much pleasure I take in doing so – after all, failing that this would just be a shopping list or some pish about greenways (and no, there’s nothing wrong with greenways). But all of that doesn’t render the underlying

To be fair if you woke Atlas-like one morning and elected to take the weight of the world on your shoulders you wouldn’t last one minute

point of the quote invalid in this context. Which is to say that those so easily discombobulated by some horrorshow violence entirely in keeping with the nature of the content being shown seem oblivious – or choose to remain oblivious – to the endless reels of vicious slaughter, slander, suicidal murder and so on and so forth on the nightly news. For those who think this is a Peter Finch moment, you’re wrong. I’m not “mad as hell and can’t take it anymore.” I’m pretty sanguine – mildly amused even – and prepared for this to be the situation ongoing, a situation that sees me trying to explain to my daughter why people are randomly mown down by trucks on city streets. And, as if to heap shame upon shame, explain to her why 8 people dying in a terror attack in New York City the other week got more news coverage than the 500 or so killed or maimed in Mogadishu a fortnight earlier. How easily we become inured to it all – and how easily we succumb to partiality in our understanding of it all. To be fair if you woke Atlas-like one morning and elected to take the weight of the world on your shoulders you wouldn’t last one minute. The tonnage is growing weekly. So this is not some holier-than-thou cry from the dark. Nah, it’s just a bit of a reflection on how we mustn’t become so insulated that we would take more umbrage at a bit of theatrical gore than we would at the bloody tides that are lapping at our shores each day, every day. Of course it’s way easier to call Points of View for a good old rant than it is to secure world peace although one time I did nearly broker a ceasefire in Sierra Leone after misdialling a takeaway number. Nobody’s calling for have-a-go heroism. What we can perhaps do is start engaging with the brutal bullshit that is the big picture just a little more and worrying less about minor mishaps on the small screen. No matter how tortured this smelly orb becomes. ■


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DeidreBrock MP for Edinburgh North and Leith

For Whom The Bell Tolls C

Where we have allowed Spain to do this we have allowed it to be done in our name and when we do not condemn these actions we endorse them

atalonia is in crisis. I don’t know what the situation there will have developed into by the time you read this but at the time I’m writing it there is chaos. The Spanish Government is threatening to end the autonomy of Catalonia and the Catalan Government is staring right back across the void at it. There was a referendum held on the 1st of October and the actions of the Spanish Government were horrifying. The paramilitary police – the Guardia Civil – were filmed beating up people who were trying to vote. Pensioners were left bloodied and bruised, women were pulled from buildings by their hair, youngsters trying to get into a polling station were attacked by GC officers in full riot gear using their shields as weapons. One video showed a GC officer jumping downstairs onto someone who was lying on the ground. More than 900 people were injured badly enough to need treatment. Ballot papers were stolen by the GC, both before the referendum and during polling day, Catalan Government Ministers were arrested in the days leading up to it and the Spanish Government said that Catalonia should “stop this radicalism and disobedience”. Disobedience! Just now the Spanish Government is threatening the removal of the Catalan Government and new elections after it (the Spanish Government) takes over Catalan broadcasters. If it had happened in Zimbabwe governments and politicians all across the world would be saying that it showed how unfit Mugabe is and how he runs a repressive regime. If it happened in Sudan people writing columns in newspapers or reporting in excited tones from outside polling stations would be saying that it showed how unstable the country still was. It happened and is happening in Spain, though, and the response has been pathetic. Spain is an EU Member State and should be upholding the human rights of its citizens as part of the burdens that carries. You might expect some of the EU institutions and the people who head them to have an opinion on it. Well, their opinion is that it is an internal matter for Spain to resolve and that no-one should interfere. One EU bigwig suggested that the violence of the Guardia Civil was ‘proportionate’. The very idea of proportionate violence being meted out to citizens

who want to vote is ridiculous. Violence is not proportionate and breaking the heads of peaceful voters is not part of the process in a modern democracy. It’s been suggested that there are negotiations behind the scenes to try to bring Spain back to civilisation but if there are they should not be undermined by the public pronouncements of EU civil servants. No EU Government has condemned it, either. The UK Government looked the other way – a matter for Spain to decide, we don’t interfere in other countries internal politics. Well, we do when there is a clear and unequivocal wrong being committed. We did against Apartheid South Africa and we did in Rwanda (eventually), we even intervened in the last European wars in the Balkans. We’ve offered help and mediation through various agencies to countries in various parts of the world that found themselves in turmoil. We intervene when we feel like it. So praise is due to the Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel, and to his Slovenian counterpart, Miro Cerar, who were the only European leaders who openly condemned the violence, and a bit of praise for some of the UN officials

who called on Spain to let people go peacefully about their business. The UK Government and the other EU Governments should hang their heads in shame, though. Spain’s actions are the actions of all of the Member States of the EU because their continued support for Spain tars us all with that brush. Where we have allowed Spain to do this we have allowed it to be done in our name and when we do not condemn these actions we endorse them. Catalonia has a long way to go and the other autonomous regions within Spain will also be looking at the journey they want to take. The answer can never be state violence against its citizens or repression of a democratic voice. The future of Spain is a matter for the people of Spain, the future of Catalonia is a matter for the people of Catalonia, but violation of the principles of democracy and modern statehood is a matter for us all. Stand by Spain, stand by Catalonia, choose for yourself but, above all, stand by democracy and freedom from state violence. ■ ÊÊTwi#er: @DeidreBrock Issue 120 | leithermagazine.com | 15


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Travel back in time

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ver the years Leith has always attracted adventurous businesses, including more than its share of Michelin star restaurants. Whether it was Mongolian, Asian or Scottish, Leith’s eateries have led the way for innovative ideas and another ambitious attraction has ‘arrived’ in the Port. The Orient Express Experience at The Queen Charlotte Rooms has recently opened its doors and is receiving rave reviews for its authenticity. From the replica carriage to the sound of the train and grand piano you are guaranteed a relaxing afternoon tea in fine surroundings as the train meanders along the track. Marshall Bain, owner of The Queen Charlotte Rooms, saw the potential in the idea as the shape of the room lent itself to the transition to a carriage. It took several months of trial and error to get the ambience correct but the result was “worth the wait” says Marshall. “We took features from three carriages to get the best from

16 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 120

the room and we have pictures of the carriages on the wall for comparison.” Whether it’s a quiet afternoon tea for two, that special occasion with a glass of bubbly, or an event for up to 30 people there is no better way to spend a day. If you are looking for something special through December, a Christmas on the Orient Express afternoon tea menu is available and promises to be a memorable festive occasion that should not be missed. Leith never fails to be at the helm when it comes to providing a vast array of adventurous amenities on its doorstep so hopefully a busy Christmas period is guaranteed for all. Although the original Orient Express was created in 1883 and ran until 2009 the format has changed many times. The latest version and probably the one most people know it by, is the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express a private company owned by Belmont Ltd. The train does not run all year but in a season running from March to

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Contact Monica Nall scottishceremonies.com scottishceremonies@gmail.com

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Understanding the Anger of Britain’s Underclass Gordon Munro, who is never knowingly shy when it comes to something he is passionate about, jumps in head first with the facts

T

here are 22% of children in Edinburgh living in poverty. In Leith ward it is 25% while Leith Walk ward is 26% and Forth ward is 30% (the second highest in the city). Which is to say that between a ¼ and a 1/3 of children in this part of the city live in poverty. Edinburgh has a population of 502,000 of which 79,550 live in poverty. Astonishingly more than half (41,100) are working. In work poverty impacts on 2,600 people in Leith Walk, 3,700 in Leith ward and 4,900 in Forth ward. A total of 11,200 – which is more than the 10,500 people unemployed in Edinburgh according to the Office of National Statistics. More than half of those unemployed are in the 16 to 21-age category. We have pensioner poverty too around 12% in the city. Changeworks produced a map highlighting fuel poverty in Edinburgh and once again Leith and Forth ward feature prominently. Bearing all of this in mind is useful when reading Poverty Safari by Darren McGarvey aka Loki. Although he is writing about Pollok in Glasgow he could be writing about Leith. The book, an attempt to ‘understand the anger of Britain’s underclass’, does this with brutal honesty and a large dose of self-criticism. It is an essential read for those who wish to understand/combat poverty. One of McGarvey’s aims for

the book is that “those who shape the discussion about poverty often lack the necessary insight to accurately represent the issue.” He does so with honesty, insight, humour and some killer lines. His description of his environs will be recognised in Leith and other parts of the UK. Growing up where physical and verbal violence is the norm and where debt is incurred by ‘acting like we had more money than we did’ as ‘the price of looking poor was always far higher’ is an experience that is very rarely ‘represented, reported and discussed’. The author’s direct experience of this life led to him being involved in BBC documentaries but when he tried to bring a class perspective into discussions it was made clear that being descriptive of the symptoms was fine but analysis or even being prescriptive is not what was needed or wanted. The need to tackle the way working class life is represented will not be easy but it needs to be done. It cannot take the form it did before, where decision makers while excluding the community decide what is good for the community. That has failed, as the tower blocks in Pollok named A.B.C by the architects/planners (and ironically dubbed Alcatraz, Barlinnie and Carstairs by the residents and locals) have shown. He is aware that, ‘in the tension between the concerns of locals and the aspirations of the middle class there would only ever be one winner’ because ‘political participation was not about the community making its voice heard, but rather about corralling the herd to a pre-determined destination’. The lands of Pollok Park, which were gifted to Glasgow as open space woodland, have the M77 running through them. Which divided the community and led to the Silverburn

The now demolished Red Road flats, late 1960s

Benign patriarchy did not work in the 20th Century and, in my lifetime, I have seen Fort, Grampian and Cairngorm built and demolished

shopping centre being built there. Benign patriarchy did not work in the 20th Century and, in my lifetime, I have seen Fort, Grampian and Cairngorm built and demolished. A good example of the type of change needed is the involvement of Fort residents in the design of what would replace Fort House. Working with residents led to the ‘colony style’ design by Malcolm Fraser being delivered by a joint partnership between POLHA and City of Edinburgh Council. The density of housing is similar to that it replaces but working with people has led to a development that has seen over 5,000 bids for the 32 council homes here. A small step forward but more council homes need to be built if poverty is to be tackled effectively. It is the largescale return of Council Housing that will break the grip of poverty and exploitation by landlords who now own 29% of all housing in Edinburgh, more than the Council and Housing Associations put together. Using the insights and anger in Poverty Safari and Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s The Spirit Level to motivate and teach us that the bigger gap between rich and poor is bad for all, including the well off, will help us find positive solutions which work for the many not the few. However that means we all have to face up to the fact that taxation is a public good and we need to pay more. We have the power in Scotland to do this what we need is the will to use it. If you can’t afford to buy Poverty Safari ask your library to stock it. The statistics are growing and we need to work together to halt and reverse them. ■ ÊÊ Info: Poverty Safari - Understanding the Anger of Britain’s Underclass by Darren McGarvey (Luath Press £7.99) Issue 120 | leithermagazine.com | 19


TheNoRecipe Man Tom Wheeler

Christmas: A Curmudgeon’s Guide C

While artistically questionable, these films are nonetheless extremely handy if you’re keen to find out what the cast of Beverly Hills 90210 have been up to since the 1990s

hristmas is coming – and there’s precisely naff all you can do about it. As any good consumer knows, Christmas officially begins at 10.01pm on 31 October, when a megaton of Halloween tat is stripped from supermarket shelves and forklifted to a dusty warehouse for another year, while a million unsold pumpkins are ceremonially hurled into the sea. From then on, the process is as familiar as it is inexorable. Overnight, the empty shelves are repopulated with giant Toblerones, aftershave gift packs and box sets of Dad’s Army. A householder in Clermiston prepares to receive a five-figure electricity bill in January, consoled by the knowledge that theirs are the only domestic Christmas lights that are clearly visible from space. Channels with names like PermaXmas 24/7 +1 appear on our TVs, showing such heart warming festive classics as Martha’s Magic Mistletoe, When Santa Slept In and Gavin: The Horse Who Saved Christmas. (While artistically questionable, these films are nonetheless extremely handy if you’re keen to find out what the cast of Beverly Hills 90210 have been up to since the 1990s.) If all this fails to fill you with the prescribed amount of seasonal joy, be assured you’re not alone. However it might at least be worth pausing to consider exactly what it is about the whole Christmas juggernaut that brings out your inner curmudgeon. In my case, it comes down to a sense of helplessness: the feeling that I can’t avoid being aggressively Christmassed even if I want to (which, of course, I do). For instance, I’m pretty sure that shops spend as much of the year flogging Easter eggs as they do Christmas gifts; but this tends to wash blissfully over me, primarily because Paul McCartney never wrote a hideous nursery rhyme about Easter with which to pursue me around the store. “Simply having a wonderful Christmas time” my arse. If you’re not careful, the grim sense of inescapable festive jollity will only intensify on Christmas Day itself, especially if yours is the household on which the entire extended family descends. But here at least you have the opportunity to reassert some control, through the simple but highly effective measure of annexing the kitchen. Become the Christmas dinner chef

20 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 120

Expect a five-figure bill in January!

and you have a permanently available opportunity to absent yourself while little Eddie, out of his box on a morning cocktail of chocolate coins and Irn Bru, flails wildly around the living room with the light sabre his parents so prudently bought him for Christmas, or when Auntie Hilda, shitfaced on sweet sherry, clumsily interrogates you as to why you haven’t got kids yet (the obvious answer here being simply to point at little Eddie). “Awfully sorry,” you say with a smile, “I’ve got to get the parsnips on.” You don’t, of course – but who’s to know that? So it’s the perfect excuse to return to your kitchen sanctuary. Once there, you can make your den exactly as Christmassy – or otherwise – as you like. Magnanimously declining all offers of help, while graciously accepting all offers of drinks, you turn your attention to the playlist, so that your festive fare comes from Slow Club, Jonnie Common and Half Man Half Biscuit rather than Wings, Wizzard and Wham. Or if you prefer, forget all about Christmas tunes and just stick the Songs of Leonard Cohen on repeat. After all, it’s your kitchen. Most importantly, taking on the role of chef gives you the chance to get the dinner you actually want – or at least, something vaguely close to it. If you’re feeling brave, you might even try to ease the obligatory turkey off the menu entirely, in favour of a goose, a rib roast of beef or some other meat that actually

has a taste. But even if that proves too controversial a step, you can still put your own stamp on the meal while avoiding the pitfalls that are as much part of the Christmas dinner tradition as the sixpence in the figgy pudding. If you hate soggy sprouts – and frankly, who doesn’t? – why not try shredding and frying them with a pile of pancetta until crisp and glorious. And rather than become the billionth person to try and fail to cook the turkey right through without drying the breast meat to the point of desiccation, just accept that the leg and breast are essentially two utterly different foods on the same carcass. Cut the legs off and braise them coq au vin-style, along with the backbone, giblets and other tasty morsels – you can do this a day or two before for additional flavour and smugness – so that you can roast the crown in a couple of hours rather than a couple of days and retain at least a modicum of moisture. After receiving the plaudits for a fabulous and remarkably stress-free dinner, you can formally hand over the title deeds to your kitchen, allowing others to tackle the washing up while Auntie Hilda snoozes peacefully and you finally get the chance to acquaint yourself with the single malt. And that, my friends, is the true spirit of Christmas. ■ ÊÊTwi#er: @norecipeman


Issue 120 | leithermagazine.com | 21


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BenMacpherson MSP for Edinburgh North and Leith

“For many years now the Scottish Government has given strong support to our renewable energy sector” F

This new energy company, powered by renewables, has the potential to bring transformational change to communities across Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland

rom reducing fuel poverty to tackling climate change, from developing new technology to strengthening our economy, the provision and production of energy in Scotland is an ever and increasingly important issue. And the affordability of energy is important to us all, especially in the run up to the festive period. That’s why the SNP Scottish Government is taking strong and determined action to make Scotland energy-ready for the future. The recent confirmation that we will soon have a not-for-profit, publicly owned energy company is proof of this commitment. The First Minister’s recent announcement at SNP conference paves the way for us to be a world-leader in clean, green and, crucially, affordable energy generation and provision. This new energy company, powered by renewables, has the potential to bring transformational change to communities across Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland. By being not-for-profit, we can help put an end to rip-off energy prices – to tackle fuel poverty and ensure that more people can afford to heat their homes all year round. The introduction of a new Warm Homes Bill, during this parliamentary year, will also be an important part of that process. Over winter in particular, the cost of energy can have a real impact on family budgets and people’s well-being – that’s why the Scottish Government is leading the way, finding solutions and developing strategies to put the people’s interests first.

The recent Scottish Government decision to ban fracking, a ban that I was proud to vote in favour of, will also support these efforts. The fact that 99% of consultation respondents support a ban on fracking means that the Scottish Government’s position, which is that fracking should not happen in Scotland, is in line with the vast, vast majority of Scots and that of many Leithers. The decision to ban fracking is a welcome boost for those communities most opposed to the idea – as well as a vote of confidence in our renewable energy sector’s capacity to generate the power we need in the years, months and decades ahead. Scotland continues to make worldleading progress when it comes to developing and generating renewable energy. This innovation and success is clear for all to see. For instance, there is the progress being made by tidal energy developers like Leith-based Nova Innovation, and there have been major achievements like the creation of the world’s first floating wind farm in the North Sea, the Hywind project, which began generating power recently. For many years now the Scottish Government has given strong support to our renewable energy sector, despite subsidy arrangements and other aspects of energy policy still being reserved to Westminster. In contrast, unfortunately, the UK Tory government has shown little support for either emerging or established renewable technologies, by nonsensically slashing subsidies for onshore-wind and solar and by

Turbine being towed to the world’s first floating wind farm 15 miles off of Peterhead

refusing to specifically support marine energy technology development. Too often Tory UK energy policy absurdly panders to exaggerated aesthetic concerns about windfarms, instead of focusing on making the most of our potential and tackling climate change – this is holding back, and sometimes damaging, Scotland’s ability to build on our comparative advantage as a leader in renewable development, capacity and innovation. This is already affecting jobs and economic progress, and the UK Government’s damaging hard Brexit proposals look set to deal another blow to our world-leading renewables sector. Nevertheless, while the Tories are mismanaging the economy and divided over Brexit, we in the SNP are focused on making Scotland better and building for the future – and whether it’s by phasing out new petrol and diesel cars by 2032, creating a publicly owned energy company, banning fracking or tackling fuel poverty, we are determined to make sure Scotland is competitive, environmentally responsible and pioneering when it comes to generating, providing and utilising our remarkably substantial energy resources. ■ ÊÊInfo: Home Energy Scotland can provide impartial advice on ways to reduce your energy bills. Telephone 0808 808 2282 ÊÊTwi#er: @BenMacpherson Issue 120 | leithermagazine.com | 23


14 5DA

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f you love beer and you live in Leith then you should already have paid a visit to Stewart’s Dockside Tap on Bernard Street where Stewart Brewing, one of Scotland’s leading craft brewers, opened its doors at the end of last year. Even more reason to visit – the craft beer shop now has an on-trade licence meaning punters can enjoy the beers at the bar on-site, as well as take them home. The shop offers 10 taps of Stewart’s beer fresh from the brewery, allowing consumers to fill 1 and 2 litre growlers plus a huge range of bottles and mini-casks. From pale ales and double IPAs to sours and lagers, there is something to suit every palate. Also on offer is the ‘rent-a-cask’ service for party hire. This is 36 pint and 72 pint containers of cask and kegged beer, ideal for the larger party. Customers will also be able to purchase tickets for Stewart Brewing brewery tours where consumers can partake in tastings and tours around its own custom built premises and the brew-ityourself Craft Beer Kitchen. Stewart Brewing’s Craft Beer Kitchen is Scotland’s first brew-

myoung8952@blueyonder.co.uk

it-yourself facility offering the chance to brew your own beer with expert tuition and using the best ingredients. You can take up to three mates along to create your own unique beer - with a little help from the team at Stewart’s - and return a few weeks later to bottle the finished product (complete with your own bespoke labels). The product is then yours to take home and toast your success! The Craft Beer Kitchen is open Tuesday to Saturday. Packages priced from £185. If you’d prefer to just enjoy the great tasting beers rather than create your own then keep an eye out for details of Stewart’s upcoming events… I went along to ‘Oktobeerfest’, which took place at the brewery on Friday 15 and Saturday 16 September. New Munich-style beers featured alongside old favourites needless to say, drink was taken! ■ ÊÊ Info: You’ll find Stewart’s Dockside Tap nestled next door to the venerable Carriers Quarters at 38 Bernard Street, Leith. They are open: Wednesday and Thursday 12 to 8pm and Friday, Saturday, Sunday 12 to 9pm.

90

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Lisa Parry Funeral Arranger, Duke Street LisaParry@scotmidfunerals.co.uk

152 Duke Street, Leith

0131 555 5550 www.scotmidfunerals.coop 24 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 120

Stewart’s on Bernard St: Enjoy the cra$ beers onsite or takeaway!


12x2

12 Artists x 2 Paintings Lesley Banks, George Birrell, Dominique Cameron, Alan Connell, Matthew Draper, George Gilbert RSW, John Johnstone, Simon Laurie RSW RGI, Neil Macdonald RSW RGI PAI, Alice McMurrough RSW RGI PAI, Ann Oram RSW & Angela Repping

Simon Laurie, Grapes and Jug

Preview Friday 1st December 6-8pm 2nd December to 28th January Open 12-5 Saturdays & Sundays, midweek appointments very welcome

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‘Tis the season to bake free-from!

Whether you’re making gluten-free mince pies or a vegan plum pudding, Real Foods can cater for your every baking need this Christmas. As the largest independent Scottish retailer of organic, plant based and special diet foods, we are your one-stop shop for the festive season when you need free-from options. We’ve been providing excellent quality baking ingredients since 1963, so you can count on us to supply you with everything you need – from gluten-free flours to vegetarian suet and dairy-free cream. We always go the extra mile to help you find the products you need, so whatever diet you may be following, no one needs to miss out on the festive fun. With over 10,000 items in our range, there is plenty of choice, but we’re always happy to source new products to help you create your showstopping bakes! • Fabulous – high-quality ingredients for all your recipe requirements. • F ree-From – allergens. Our products are clearly marked and we have a wide range of alternatives for all dietary needs. • Baking – ingredients for traditional staples along with exciting new products. The proof of the Christmas pudding is in the eating, so make sure you source your free-from ingredients from Real Foods!

Nourishing the nation since 1963

Shop online at www.realfoods.co.uk FREE UK delivery for online orders £29 or over* 37 Broughton Street, Edinburgh EH1 3JU 8 Brougham Street, Tollcross Edinburgh EH3 9JH Organic· vegetarian· Fairtrade· special diet· dairy free· gluten free· wheat free· raw· vegan

Get stocked up with Real Foods. Shop now for quality organic, iStockphoto©Jacob Ammentorp Lund plant based and free-from ingredients.

*Applies to UK mainland orders only and does not include wholesale bulk items

Issue 120 | leithermagazine.com | 25


CASK AND BARREL *10 Real Ales & extensive range of bottled beer *Home cooked lunch served 12-2pm *8 TVâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s showing extensive sports *Opening times 11am to 12.30am

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We have full trade support & public liability insurance

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Dream & Season Coffee shop, cakes, cheesecake toasties & soup New menu available now Gluton free cheesecake, cakes, and food options Dog & Children friendly Free wi-fi Opening hours 7am-6.30pm

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Contact Ben Office Address: 34 Constitution Street, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6RS E-mail: ben.macpherson.msp@parliament.scot Telephone: 0131 600 0134 or 0131 348 5786 Website: www.benmacpherson.scot The cost of this poster has been met from parliamentary resources. The SPCB is not responsible for the content of other internet sites.

26 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 120

We are based in Leith and, as locals, know the area and the market inside out. 0131 610 0510 info@leithlets.com www.leithlets.com


FutureFitness Tracy Griffen

Living Online with an Offline body I

Forest bathing is the Japanese practice of taking a short visit to a forest for health benefits otherwise known as Shinrinyoku or, if in Japan, 森林浴

f you want to feel old, think about the time before the internet. Even further back, remember a time without mobile phones. Think about your first mobile phone. In the grand scheme of things it probably wasn’t that long ago. Mine looked like a brick with an extending antenna. That was twenty years ago. If you’re a youngster you might remember Facebook was ‘a thing’. That was really only a decade ago. So now I’ve made you feel old, consider how much time you’ve spent online or on a computer today. I’m guessing it’s a lot more than it was ten years ago. And you were probably sitting down. There is a reason why this is important. It describes the modern obesity epidemic. Simply, we sit more (and eat more). Sitting may feel very comfortable, quite rightly, slouching on a chair or sofa is not what our bodies are designed for. We’re designed to move. Technology has come full circle. We now have wearable technology to make us move more. Fitbits are the latest trend and the tech is getting fancier. It can also measure our sleep to make sure we’re resting enough (in between being online). Technology has made us sit down and now it is making us stand up – for example standing desks are de rigueur in modern offices. The future of fitness has fascinated me since I started my Personal Training business back in 2005. Back then, there were no smartphones with GPS to track runs, online food diaries were in their infancy and unwieldy and social media was only a Californian dream. We were still all blissfully living in the real world. However, technology is here and it’s here to stay. So we may as well make the best of it. I have seen a difference in exerciser’s attitudes to their runs in the last decade. Now you can track all of your runs/rides and see how fast you are compared to anyone else on that route. Strava leaderboards boast PB’s (personal bests) and set a precedent. A little voice from your phone can even tell you if you need to hurry up to maintain your ‘race pace’. Innovation indeed. An innovation that I do find useful is heart rate training technology. A heart rate monitor is a device that measures your heart rate and encourages you to move at the right pace for you. The oldfashioned chest straps are still the most accurate way to measure your heart rate, however many smart watches come with infrared technology that takes your pulse from your wrist (less accurate than

Rockall occupied by Greenpeace protestors; offline personified

the chest strap). The fitter you get the lower your heart rate is so the faster you need to go to get to your training heart rate range. This is how to get fitter and ultimately faster. I personally use tech to focus on the individual, as that is where you’ll see the best fitness gains. An online food diary nowadays is much more sophisticated than it used to be. You can use an app on your phone to scan barcodes of what you eat and easily get a macronutrient breakdown (carbs, fat, protein), information that was never readily available before. Theoretically it can help you make wiser food decisions and take nutrition into your own hands. Wearable technology will move on to more accurately monitor your vital statistics. Think of the coup for health insurance companies if they had access to your fitbit statistics it’s a bit like a car insurer installing cameras in cars to monitor driver safety. The NHS could also use wearable tech to monitor the health of its outpatients in fact motion sensors attached to the body are already used by maverick physiotherapists to ensure patients are doing their rehabilitation exercises correctly. Personally I see blood sugar monitoring becoming big business. With diabetes on the rise it seems like a logical

progression. Large food manufacturers will be up in arms as it becomes apparent that ready-made (read profitable) food screws with blood sugar levels I think there will also be a trend for ‘offline living’ where you deliberately disconnect from your device for a period of time. Technology retreats might become big business. We like holidaying in the Highlands due to the lack of phone and internet connection. Bliss! Ironically I first heard of ‘forest bathing’ on the internet and, appropriately enough, I quote Wikipedia: ‘Forest bathing is the practice of taking a short, leisurely visit to a forest for health benefits. The practice originated in Japan where it is called shinrin-yoku or 森林 浴’. I can see it being big in the UK where stress levels are on the rise. Wearable technology will tell you that your heart rate and blood pressure drop as a sense of calm engulfs the body. And that’s what we’ll be seeking. Whilst the world goes to hell in a handcart, becoming increasingly dysfunctional, we’ll be looking at ways to control our immediate environment. Log off and take a deep breath while you still can... ■ ÊÊTwi#er: @tracygriffen ÊÊInfo: www.getfitandenjoyit.com Issue 120 | leithermagazine.com | 27


Edinburgh Shared Repairs Service

Having problems with common repairs to your property? We can help. Call 0131 529 6778 for free information and advice or visit www.edinburgh.gov.uk/sharedrepairs

28 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 120


Deidre Brock MP

Edinburgh North and Leith

Constituency Surgeries Friday Nov 3, Dec 1, Jan 5 1 2pm, Constituency office, 166 Great Junction St

Thursday November 9 11am 12noon , Sainsbury’s Blackhall

Friday Nov 10, Dec 8, Jan 12 3.30 4.30pm, McDonald Road Library

Fri Nov 17, Dec 15, Jan 19 1 2pm, Stockbridge Library

Fri Nov 24, Jan 26 4 5pm, Royston/Wardieburn Community Centre

*No surgery on Dec 22nd or December 29th*

0131 555 7009

deidre.brock.mp@parliament.uk I dbrockmp.scot

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Everyone will be made very welcome Accommodation includes breakfast All rooms en-suite Sea views available Conservatory available for hire any function from Birthdays, Anniversaries to Private dinners Funeral catering to respect every wish Free Parking New Senior menu available from Monday till Thursday Food served Monday to Saturday 12pm to 8.30pm. Sunday 12.30pm to 8pm Now taking bookings for pre Christmas lunch, dinners and Christmas Day Last Friday of month is Cabaret night with free entry

Rockville House Hotel 2 Joppa Pans, Edinburgh EH15 2HF Telephone /Fax 0131 669 5418 www.rockvillehotel.co.uk Issue 120 | leithermagazine.com | 29


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30 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 120

Supplied by: www.leithlinks.co.uk Our friendly staff here are on the ball! Catering to all tastes with fresh homemade soups and juices, delicious rolls and toasted wraps, smooth coffee and tempting homemade cakes.For those who prefer the carb-free option, you can skip the bread and create your own satisfying salad box from a number of exciting options. There is also a wide range of healthy veggie fayre, including choice combo’s from Falafel, Baba Ganoush and Cous Cous to Goats Cheese, Pesto and Grilled Vegetables. A Mediterranean influence kicks in with meats such as Salami, Chorizo and Parma ham, cheese such as Feta and grilled Halloumi, topped off with marinated olives and sun-dried tomatoes.

Whether you choose from our menu or create your own, everything is freshly made with great love driven by our passion for food and for making people smile! Embo is small in size, but what it lacks in space, it makes up for with a big friendly welcome and great tasting, visually impressive food. Growing out of our small Cafe that opened 15 years ago, as word spread of our delicious food, came the outside and events catering arm of Embo. Taking the same love for food and making people smile, off-site to Offices, Birthday Parties, Weddings, Anniversaries, Corporate Events, Launch Parties, The Edinburgh Festival, Classic Motor Bike Rally’s, Private Dining….. and the list goes on!!

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Funeralcare

It pays to plan and pay for your funeral in advance with the Co-op Why you should choose us: 9 Fixed at todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s prices - so however much prices rise, your  loved ones will not be asked to pay a penny more for the services included in your chosen Co-op Funeral Plan. 9 Fully guaranteed â&#x20AC;&#x201C; we guarantee to cover third party  fees outside of our control, often called disbursements.* Not every Funeral Plan provider will guarantee to cover these and some will only pay a contribution towards them. We donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t agree with this, which is why our Funeral Plans cover these costs, meaning they truly are â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;fully guaranteedâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;.

Plan Comparison Are all cremation services fully covered with nothing more to pay? Are all burial services fully covered with nothing more to pay?*

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Value

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No - ÂŁ1,200 contribution, increases in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI)

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Yes

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ÂŁ28.22

1

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9 Flexible payment options to suit you â&#x20AC;&#x201C; pay in 1 lump  sum or over up to 25 years.1 9 With over 1,000 funeral homes nationwide - weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll help  you plan your funeral and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s us who will carry out your wishes too. 9 Your money is safe â&#x20AC;&#x201C; our Funeral Plans are invested  in a regulated whole-of-life policy or trust fund in accordance with the rules and guidelines set out by the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA).

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Don't just take our word for it Based on independent customer feedback, from YHULĆ&#x201C;HGUHYLHZVRXU Funeral Plans have an average rating 4.7 stars out of 5 (as at 1 August).

Out of 91 funeral plans reviewed, only 5 received a 5 Star Rating, one of which was our Gold Funeral Plan.

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Information correct as of 31 July 2017. This comparison table includes only some of the main plan features for Set Funeral Plans. To view the full Plan comparison table visit coop.co.uk/compare.

For your FREE information pack, call 0131 554 6174, or pop into your local McKenzie & Millar Funeralcare Funeral Home * ^

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As prices and availability vary across the UK, Co-op burial plans do not include the cost of buying a grave. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Dignity will cover the services included in the cremation except Doctorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Fees, which are ÂŁ164, and must be paid at the time the funeral is arranged. Doctorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fees are applicable in England, Wales and Northern Ireland except if a Coroner is required, but do not apply in Scotland. Terms & conditions: Based on ÂŁ125 discount taken from the offline price of a Simple Funeral Plan at ÂŁ2995. Discount is only valid for Pre-paid Funeral Plans purchased between 1 August 2017 and 30 November 2017 (inclusive). The promotional code for this advert is MKT/17/190. The Discount does not apply if the Funeral Plan is to be paid for by fixed monthly payments. Please note this offer is not available online. The Discount can only be used at Co-op Group funeral homes. This does not include independent co-operative societies including Scotmid co-operatives. The Promoter is Funeral Services Limited (30808R) trading as Co-op Funeralcare, with registered office at 1 Angel Square, Manchester, M60 0AG.Full terms and conditions can be found at co-operativefuneralcare.co.uk/readeroffer. Age restrictions apply.


Do you know what to do with your business waste?

REDUCING WASTE, CARBON AND COSTS.

The City of Edinburgh Council, Environmental Wardens are visiting local businesses to check that they are disposing of their business waste in the correct manner. If you don’t have a waste management supplier in place, we can help! Knowing your waste and recycling is taken care of means you can concentrate on doing what you do best, running your business. “Your drivers are so friendly. They come in everyday with a smile on their face and are always happy to help. The service is totally hassle-free.” Söderberg Bakery What we collect: recycling, confidential paper, glass, food and general waste. Based in Leith, we provide the most reliable collection service in the city. • As a local company we can collect 7 days a week, saving you from storing your waste on your premises. • Our friendly service team pick up the phone in 3 rings and are always happy to help. • We provide collections that are cost effective for your business. Join thousands of other businesses who have already seen the benefits of using Changeworks Recycling for all your waste and recycling needs, switching is easy! For more information - 0131 538 5381 hello@changeworksrecycling.co.uk www.changeworksrecycling.co.uk #ouredinburgh

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The Leither - Issue 120  
The Leither - Issue 120  
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