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2012: Persevere Politics | Music | Fitness | Reviews | London | Food | Humour | Cinema
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Editor at Large
Protempore offers his, usually on the nail, predictions for the political year. And if you follow the gee gees there are a few tips as well
Nightlife Robbery L
When I went to the bar I was confronted by my worst venue/ nightclub bête noire
et me tell you a story,” said the tall, bearded guy on stage. “When we agreed to play here, we stipulated that most of the tickets should be made available on the night and they weren’t. There are about 100 people freezing in a queue outside and the venue is trying to charge them £6 to go into an upstairs lounge to watch us via video link on a black and white TV, a fuckin’ black and white TV! I can tell you one thing… Frightened Rabbit will never, fucking never, play Cabaret Voltaire again.” (It later transpired that the band were late onstage because the singer had been out serenading the frozen hordes.) The trouble did not stop there, earlier, when I went to the bar I was confronted by my worst venue/nightclub bête noire. I asked for two pints of lager, the barman stared at me blankly and pointed to the (dreaded) towels over every beer font, “Sorry we’re having problems with the refrigeration, we only have bottled beer” – the same hoary old excuse coughed up every time. Although, in fairness, that excuse can sometimes be ‘problems
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with the gas or cellar’. The problem is money-grabbing bastards. There is nothing wrong with any of the bars ‘workings’. Bottles require less bar staff and aid quicker dispensation. We order two bottles of beer each. Cost? £18, yes, EIGHTEEN POUNDS! So if we are average drinkers, in a venue for four hours, we could have, say, five pints in bottles… For the princely sum of £90! To put that in context, if those ‘malfunctioning’ beer taps had been on, our evenings drinking would have cost less that £40. Nightlife robbery. We then join the throng, which is not so much a crowd as a giant moshpit (the singer later goes on a forum to say they had asked for tickets to be kept to a level where everyone could get a decent view) and the band burst into life. A few minutes in my mate turns to me mortified, “The girl in front is accusing me of inappropriate behaviour, she says I keep coming into contact with her.” 400 people sardined into a space, how could you not? He spent the rest of the gig trying to keep an, impossible, foot of space between them. Good night then.
Lach is a poet, a cartoonist, a singersongwriter and a standup comic – says Michael Pedersen – likely there are other noteworthy limbs of his out there but these be the mightiest. Read on…
Adam Smart assuages the horror of his own neighbours from hell by writing about the Top 5 movie neighbours from hell
Kennedy Wilson on Brian Sewell, a man who makes the Queen sound like Dot Cotton
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Front cover illustration of Leith’s mo!o Persevere: Bernie Reid
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Protempore Political Pundit Predicts Implosion! W
ell, would you believe it? Not only have I made it through another rambunctious and drink-fuelled year but so too have you my friends. It’s startling isn’t it? On the 1st of January every year we never give a thought to the flagrant abuse and maltreatment which we are about to inflict on our internal organs in the pursuit of haziness. Or should that read ‘happiness’? As you will have already guessed, I have, once again, embarked on the long road stretching ahead armed only with a corkscrew and a heady optimism that this year will be much like all the others – uproarious in places, melancholic in others but always sweeter than the alternative. However, this year might be slightly shorter than previous ones – if you believe the stories currently doing the rounds about the end of the Mayan calendar on 21st December 2012. Some soothsayers have predicted that this will also herald the end of the world, as we know it. So, as tradition (and an impatient editor) dictates, I’m going to give you some of my own predictions for the year ahead. And as tradition also dictates, these will consist of political and sporting tips that emerged as I gazed at my crystal ball, (surely an ‘s’ missing here – Ed) an affliction to which I am a willing martyr.
Although there aren’t any major elections planned for 2012, there could well be seismic shifts in the political landscape. In my opinion, we will see the beginning of the inevitable implosion of the coalition government at Westminster. This will begin with some high-ranking Tory buffoon being found in a basement tied to a chair, wearing stockings and suspenders, with a citrus fruit stuffed in his face, whilst being spanked with a wet fish by a 654 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 82
year old laundrette attendant. David Cameron will state, while acknowledging the fact that his colleague’s behaviour does not sit well with the Tory party’s staunch stance on family values, that he cannot discipline a member of the party for having “well recognised public schoolboy proclivities.” This will infuriate Nick Clegg who will respond by stating that in all his time at public school he had “never once come across a laundrette attendant.” This remark will be misinterpreted by the Speaker in the House of Commons who will suspend Clegg and rebuke George Osborne for “giggling like an old Etonian who suddenly realises that he’s been promoted beyond his capabilities.” With the coalition in turmoil, Danny Alexander will tell Channel 4 News that he has no intention of resigning and will continue to take his seat in the Commons and stare blankly into the distance as the country goes down the toilet stating “this is what this coalition Government was formed to do.” In the morass of resignations and repercussions, Vince Cable’s incontinence will rear its ugly head just as he is about to deliver a speech on quantitative easing, forcing William Hague to call him “a wet.”
In Scotland, Alex Salmond will give himself a massive hernia as he struggles to contain huge guffaws of laughter each time he has to pit his wits against his opponents in the debate on independence. The Labour party, having elected Johann Lamont leader, will soon realise that no-one in their right mind is going to vote for someone who looks like they spent their fortnight’s holiday in a leaky caravan in Harthill. Asked why she finds it difficult to crack a smile now and again, she’ll state “I’m Scottish, I’m steeped in the nepotistic, negative
Pigticians illustration by Bernie Reid
In Scotland, Alex Salmond will give himself a massive hernia struggling to contain guffaws of laughter as he pits his wits against opponents in the debate on independence
and therefore destructive traditions of west coast Labour politics and I’m fast approaching the menopause and proud of it.” Ruth Davidson for the Tories will continue her attempts to modernise the most hated political party in Scotland by insisting that her front bench team glam up and attend the Glasgay Festival gala opening. Well-known Rangers fan Murdo Fraser will resign from the party stating that he “cannot be seen to be marching in Glasgow without a bowler hat and white gloves on.” This outburst will disappoint former leader Annabel Goldie who was hoping to have Fraser on board her ‘Cabaret’ float where she will be dressed as Sally Bowles. For the Lib Dems, it will be business as usual, standing at the back of every photo shoot looking as though they’ve wandered into the wrong room before being ushered out by the janitor. While all this is going on, Alex Salmond will be quietly picking out soft furnishings for the presidential residence and trying not to laugh too loudly. As in politics, so it is at the Cheltenham Festival in March; horses for courses. And here are my top tips for the best racing week in the world. Although it’s too early to know exactly what races these beauties will be running in, they should be there or thereabouts at the finish. ‘Unaccompanied’ was second in the Novice Hurdle last year and will be better this time around. ‘Fingal Bay’ looks like a tremendous prospect and will be short odds come race time. And in the Gold Cup, all the money will be for ‘Long Run’ and ‘Kauto Star’, but I’m going for ‘Captain Chris’ to upset the odds. Warning: always remember, a racehorse is an animal that can take thousands of people for a ride at the same time. Protempore
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Dancing About Architecture No4
Cocteau Twins: Glass Candle Grenades I
f you had a gold coin for every time this band was daubed in purple prose, there’d be enough doubloons to buy Paisley Park Studios twice over. Listen. Can you hear that? It would be the sound of a glistening garrison of balletic bells. Look. Do you see that place in the rear view mirror of your imagination? That’s a placid lagoon of dreams after the exotic carnival. Music journo porn in other words and those other words might as well be Vogon verse – the third worst kind in the universe, as any galactic hitch hiker will tell you. Cocteau Twins made the perfect music to hatch worlds by – worlds of delirious beauty and joy and ennui and illumination certainly – but too often, from the pen of hyperbolists (yes this one too), worlds mapped by florists rather than cartographers. You see what I mean. For the Cocteau-s – and your must never say The Twins, or the Artist Formerly Known As Love Symbol #2 will come round to issue a spanking and convert you to scientology – represent the nub of what Zappa called dancing about architecture; the effing pointlessness of the belief that one could even begin to capture the ineffable and transcendental stuff of life and art – the magical, the spiritual, the inner and outer workings of love – with mere words of understanding or inquiry. Oh c’mon, Mr Zappa, you killjoy Dada weasel. This is fun. And though it was never their most obvious quality, the Cocteau-s were fun. “I’m going to be singing about plum pudding,” Elizabeth Fraser told one radio inquisitor. And when asked about the shag-along-ability of their music – and do you suppose Prince Rogers Nelson gets it on to the strains of Blue Bell Knoll? – Robin Guthrie told Mondo 2000 the band were always copulating while making the records. The wag. Elizabeth Fraser is Green Gartside’s third favourite melodist, which sounds an under-cooked compliment until you hear she’s on the rostrum with Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney. She was a Wilma Flintstone-looking punk dancing at ‘The Nash International Disco’ in Grangemouth when Robin spied the girl who would become his lover and singer. Which was just as well because she had boxing gloves for hands and was unlikely to follow her mum into the rag trade. But sing she could and how. That supreme warble, verily a sugar hiccup, the invented language, those
From le" to right. Simon Raymonde, Robin Guthrie and Elizabeth Fraser
I’ve worked with many singers, and a lot of them are fake. The world’s a sadder place without Elizabeth singing – Damon Reece
soul-stealing ululations – a theremin of a voice, as somebody put it. “They’re Liz’s insides coming out on record,” said Robin. So take that voice, one that would have tormented Odysseus (how fitting she covered Tim Buckley’s Song To The Siren with This Mortal Coil), add a big but far from brash noise, one that Guthrie calls: “That big guitar fucking thing”, and there you have heaven in three quarters of an hour. (Note to callow readers: in the latter half of the 20th Century, 45 minutes was roughly the duration of a vinyl longer player.) “The idea of three people totally stationary on stage with no affiliation at all to rock ‘n’ roll making the loudest fucking noise you’ve ever heard kind of appeals,” Robin told Melody Maker in 1985. AC/DC they weren’t, yet here was something primal and full of, well, you know, urges. Pleasure and pain too. Fraser’s childhood was a troubled one and she talked of channelling 30 years of anger into the music and how she’d considered herself “shark bait” before literally finding her voice. “I get a bug for words,” she said in an interview with a guy sounding suspiciously like poet Simon Armitage “but I don’t know what they mean.” The band split in 1997, Robin and Liz having broken up some years earlier. Guthrie now puts out solo records from his home studio in northern France, bass
player and token Englishman Simon Raymonde runs the Bella Union record label (home to Fleet Foxes), and Fraser has collaborated with the likes of Peter Gabriel, Jeff Buckley and Massive Attack (drummer Damon Reece being her beau) and will hopefully make music again some day. The trip hop-y 2009 single “Moses” was her last offering. “I feel sorry for the general public because I hear her singing in the house and it’s truly amazing,” Reece told The Guardian. “I’ve worked with many singers, and a lot of them are fake. The world’s a sadder place without Elizabeth singing.” I spoke to Robin about six years ago, with some trepidation, given his reputation as a reticent and caustic interviewee, but he was all sweetness and delight. Our hour’s gabbing took in cinema (we both adored In The Mood For Love), his love of Barr’s ginger elixir (easier to get in Moscow than his corner of France apparently), a mid 80s brush with Roy Orbison (““Get out of the way, son!” he said as he got into the limo”), the ideological thinking behind not doing Top Of The Pops in the Wham!/ Spandau era (“All those balloons…”) and Mystery Skin, a film about paedophilia and spaceships for which he’d just done the soundtrack – “My most beautiful recording ever,” he said. So who’s got Prince’s number? Rodger Evans Issue 82 | leithermagazine.com | 7
Lach pronounced Latch Michael Pedersen on how a New York lo-fi legend landed in our midst
as William Douglas, Lee Paterson, Emily Scott, Seafield Road and Mike McFarlane. I haven’t gotten out to as much comedy as I’d like but I did some stand-up on the bill with Jo Caufield the other night and she is just such a pleasure to watch work – funny, sharp, and in control of the theatrical moment. And then there are the people of this town who in the small corners of the day spoon out enlightenment and courage in the simplest yet noblest of ways. The moms dropping their little ones off to school and asking me how we are ‘coming along’ and the teachers who shepherd the children into the building. The taxi drivers always asking me where I’m from and saying “I knew it!” when I reply, “New York.” The pizza guy at Origano in Leith, who made my little boy and I a “wee extra kid’s pizza” when we were already full but still hungry for more. The waitress at Pierre Victoire who is from Paris and loves Hemingway and can’t wait to read Fitzgerald. The literary blood that seems to pump through the bones of this city making each daily encounter bold, like crisp type on a new white page.
nlike the belligerent approaches taken to foreign arrivals in popular football anthems, Lach is here neither to ‘drink our booze’ nor ‘shag our women’. His raison d’être is in fact a near polar opposite. A married man and a non-drinker – now anchored in mother Caledonia’s capital – he’s here to release rippling ambitions, feed our arts scene and flag-wave the merits of our resident performers. If Scotland’s creative talents were a nipple he, ladies and gentlemen, would be a nutritious milky torrent oozing from the teat. Lach is a poet, a cartoonist, a singersongwriter and a stand-up comic – likely there are other noteworthy limbs of his out there but these be the mightiest. On top of that, he has birthed, bolstered and basted the antifolk scene in New York – sculpting a stage from which to run his night The Fort. And what do you know, The Fort only turned out to be the mobile yolk of the antifolk movement, inhabiting various of New York’s most lusted after venues and pulling in/ giving wings to the likes of The Mouldy Peaches, Jeff Buckley, Regina Spektor, Beck and Daniel Johnston. He’s now in Edinburgh and shouting about it – whether a plane brought him here from New York or a big old gust of wind, I’m not entirely sure, I’m just glad to have him. He’s an innovator and a noisemaker – not another discordant pipe in the organ but a shiny new post, emitting fervour in a key we’ve been missing. I welcome his arrival like that of a generous glug of chippy broon on a late night supper. Timeout London once named Lach, Dylan and Syd Barret as the roots of the new song writing movement. With this to ease our minds we’ve signed him up for slot at Neu! Reekie! on Friday February 24th. This is most definitely a date for the diary.
What drew you away from the pulsing popularity of New York to Edinburgh? Time to leave. You’ve done all you can. Anything else would simply be repeating. My heart was beating for something new. And signs and coincidences fell in synchronous syncopation whispering “Edinburgh (Eden, bro!).” A label here wanted to release my new album, The Gilded Balloon wanted to produce my show for Fringe and the stones of the city reflected ancient dreams yearning for renewal. I felt called. What’s the greatest show, here there or anywhere, you’ve put on? 8 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 82
Tell us a little about Ramshackle Heart (out on Song, by Toad Records) and how you and the Toad met? Ramshackle Heart came about when Neil Halstead (of Slowdive and Mojave 3 fame) and I did a double-bill tour of the UK together. After it he invited me to his recording studio located in an abandoned RAF airfield in Cornwall to make an album. He brought in some fine local musicians and over a couple of twoweek sessions the album came together. Song by Toad first came on my radar when Matthew gave my previous album The Calm Before, a great review on his blog. I then met him when I came over to first perform at The Fringe. When he heard about Ramshackle Heart he asked if it could find a home on SBT Records and I was happy to agree. It was all part of some lonesome god of destiny’s urging me to be in Edinburgh.
I don’t think in terms of greatest. I don’t have hierarchies of best shows. I’ve put on thousands of shows, how could I isolate just one in that way? However, before going on stage I often say, “This one.” Who are some of the more inspiring souls you’ve come across here? In an arts community sense, your Neu! Reekie! night and The 26 Writers group. What Rupert is attempting with Summerhall. What Karen Koren does with Gilded Balloon, Matthew Young with Song, by Toad Records and Richard Melvin with Dabster Productions. I’m sure there are a wealth of other creatures out there doing great work; I just haven’t met them yet. Artistically I’ve seen so many amazing artists come through the last two Fringe productions of my Antihoot. The live Antihoot album I’m currently producing will feature about a dozen of them such
Lach has given wings to the likes of Jeff Buckley, Regina Spektor, Beck, Daniel Johnston and the Mouldy Peaches
What’s your favourite word? Sandwich it inside a sentence for us… I don’t have favourite things. There are myriad words I don’t like in songs or poetry. What remains are all jake with me. Most words that revolve around the digital age leave me cold and I can’t bear when songwriters think that using words with ‘tion’ at the end of a line counts as a good rhyme. Or even when they sandwich it into the chorus. What’s in store for Scotland’s denizens in 2012? Time doesn’t work that way. Info: Go to www.lachtoday.com for all things Lach
Nought Point Nought Children I
t’s the eve of my 35th birthday. A lot has happened in the last year: I upped sticks and moved to London, found a job I really enjoy and I’ve met some lovely people. But not only have things changed for me, they’ve changed for a lot of friends. Houses have been bought, engagements made, marriage vows spoken and this last week has seen me congratulating another set of friends on the birth of a beautiful baby daughter. . When I was younger I always assumed that at this age I’d be married with children. It’s always been in my life’s plan, along with finding something I enjoy and making a career out of it (tick), finding solid friendships I’ll have for life (tick), and keeping my body fit and healthy (tick (touch wood)). The marriage and babies bit, however, seems to have eluded me thus far. Marriage is something I’d love but what’s more important is finding someone with whom to share my life, and if that means out with the institution of marriage then so be it. Children, on the other hand, are something I’ve always wanted and still do. But as a single 35 year-old living in a new city I’m forced to admit that this is something that might not happen. I can’t imagine the pain and frustration of being in a relationship and despite trying, not conceiving. But at least you’re working towards a shared goal and ultimately there are options available to explore, from IVF to adoption. For a single 30-something person who would love to have children, you’re staring a giant hourglass sand timer in the face every time you hear of another pregnancy. Which doesn’t mean I’m not happy for these people – I’m thrilled for them. But is it ok to admit I’m also a tiny bit jealous?
Job search baby
For a single 30-something person who would love to have children, you’re staring a giant hourglass sand timer in the face
People keep telling me I’ve got plenty of time, but have I? Fertility starts to decline for women from the age of 30, dropping more steeply from the age of 35. The likelihood of getting pregnant falls while the likelihood of infertility rises. And let’s not forget, I’m in no position to start trying – there’s the small matter of finding a partner to consider first, a process akin to locating a needle in a haystack. And when you do find that person, having babies is not likely to be something that happens overnight. It takes time for a relationship to grow and get to the stage where children are something to consider. I’m not known for my mathematical prowess, but even if Mr Right came knocking
Detail of Biological Clock by Vivienne Strauss
tomorrow (that’d be an interesting birthday present) I figure this means I’d be pushing 40 before we started the business of making a Baby Right, by which time my fertility levels will be on their knees, so to speak. So where does this leave me? Am I destined to a life of being ‘Auntie Carine’ to the children of friends? God, I hope not. Whilst I adore my friends’ children, I want to be a mother. I want it with my heart and my soul and every inch of my flesh. I want nothing more than to know what it feels like to carry a child and have it grow inside me, and feel the nervous excitement of seeing it’s little body on a sonographer’s screen. I want to look at my baby’s face and see my partner’s features looking back at me. I want to care for and nurture and protect my child and give it all the opportunities I missed. I want to hear a small voice calling me mum. But what if it doesn’t happen? I’m still not able to accept this as a real possibility. However slim the chances, I still tell myself it could happen. A (heavily pregnant) 37 year-old colleague told me recently about a friend of hers, who two years ago announced that she had made a decision: she was going to dedicate the next 18 months to finding a partner and having a baby. The plan was to treat it like a job search, the law of averages
suggesting the more you apply for, the more likely you are to be successful. She registered with every online dating site, she told friends to set her up with anyone she might like, and went on more than her fair share of blind dates. And now? She’s married and a mother. So perhaps that should be my new strategy. And as another single, (childless) friend cheerfully pointed out last night when lamenting the lack of potential baby-daddies, soon all the 30-something divorcees for whom it didn’t work out the first time ‘round will start to emerge and we can add them to the available men to choose from. Something to think about for the New Year resolution list, perhaps.
This month I've been mainly…
…walking home a different way now it’s too dark to brave the canal; not being able to fully enjoy Rihanna live at the 02 because the winter sickness bug was kicking in; spending the best part of a week in bed watching Twin Peaks courtesy of the above bug; being less excited than usual about the Starbucks red cups; visiting Edinburgh and feeling really homesick ever since. Issue 82 | leithermagazine.com | 9
Daniel Gray’s Midget Gems No.1
Man with the child in his eyes Illustration: Peter Mills
922. Lloyd George at Number 10, Mussolini on the march. Ghosts of Flanders Fields lurking on street corners and weighing heavily on hearts. “Never again” the people mutter, “never again.” In one direction, Ireland is free at last; in the other, Lenin would be all smiles if he ever smiled. One in four of the world’s citizens are ruled by Britannia. Among the newest of them is my friend John Burns. At the start of January, John turned 90. In Edinburgh, the city that brought him unto us, a privileged few celebrated the milestone. John ran the show: lengthy jokes meticulously recited; comic verse unearthed from endless days waiting for action during World War II (“never again!”); the front room gamesmaster overseeing and inspiring the enjoyment of those present, ages 2 to, well, 90. What noise. What proper, non-electrical entertainment. When our throats ran dry with laughter and warbling, glasses were filled and charged again. Life felt simple and brilliant, happiness uncomplicated. John has that effect on people. When I talk to family or friends down in old England, most ask of him. To see him dance the Charleston at Mrs Gray’s own big birthday lately, was to see life at its fullest. The man hasn’t got a glint in his eye; he’s got a pack of sparklers.
An old soldier
h that all could shimmer like John in their winter days. On the number 49 recently, an old chap boarded and sat in front of me. On his head was an old army bonnet, and on his trenchcoat were medals. His eye, though, was black and blue, his hands specked with drying blood. The man shivered like an abandoned cat in the rain; it took him three attempts to reach into a pocket. When he succeeded, out came a cigarette, then a lighter. A simple pleasure, needed now more than ever. Alighting and looking back through the window, I noticed he’d placed the ciggie between his lips, as if about to light-up. I hope he did. Now that I’ve upset you, here’s some frippery. Think of the next two bits as your Dad tickling you into laughter through reluctant grazed-knee tears. Then think of your horrified Mum going: “Jesus, Bryan, she’s 37. Get off her you freak.”
Prick in Coma
like to read television and film credits. This is not a standalone hobby; I do tend to watch the
10 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 82
John Burns & Marisa
The man hasn’t got a glint in his eye; he’s got a pack of sparklers
programme or motion picture to which they belong first. In the last few years, this pleasure has often been stolen by squeezed screens and blazing advertising for what’s coming ‘Next’. No longer can I sit and wonder what a Best Boy does, or how much better my life would’ve been if I’d become a Second Assistant Grip. To compensate, I’ve taken to labelling people in everyday life as if they were credits. Already today, I’ve seen ‘Man in Shop’, ‘Girl with Flowers’ and ‘Barman 1’. Very soon I’m hoping to communicate solely in this way. I’ll get home and say “Hello, Woman with Remote Control. Can Man with Windswept Hair watch People Kicking Ball Around please?” At work, I’ll greet ‘Man with Mop’ and become ‘Worker Hiding in Stationery Cupboard’ when ‘Chatty but Slightly Racist Lady’ approaches. As ‘Man on Train’ I’ll delight in asking ‘Conductor 2’ from where he got his fetching ‘Hat with Badge’. It’s going to interest people so much that eventually I’ll be Annoying Prick in Coma.
Bluey, the underdog of bags
here is something very beautiful about the plain blue plastic bag. Handed out in newsagents, minimarts and family planning clinics (as a holdall, not a giant sheath), it is a symbol of comforting
Sunday night shop runs and a subconscious protest against trendy cotton carriers that say things like ‘Recycle all criminals’. A blue bag’s contents nearly always have a story. There’s probably an Independent on Sunday in there, because by the time you got dressed that was all that remained in the shop. There’ll likely be a Frijj milkshake or other designated hangover tonic, and very often a samosa, purchased spontaneously at the counter. A Peperami sits nicely in a blue bag, too, as does some chewing gum you’ll later mislay. Yes, the blue bag is a fine thing, and its stories many. Just feel that lovely, slightly grainy texture and inhale its charred rubbery scent. Despite its beauty and usefulness, the bluey is well, well down the pecking order in the hierarchy of bags. Indeed, only the lesser-spotted red and white stripe has a worse public profile. As well as sounding like the punchline to a Bernard Manning ‘wife joke’, bags for life, with their thickset bodies and high morals, lord it over ol’ bluey. Paper bags ooze the glamour of 80s American films and scare old ladies the most when blown up and stamped on. Small Boots bags appear useless but are, in fact, the perfect size for lining bathroom bins (you can have that, Take a Break Readers’ Tips). So raise a glass of Paul Masson wine, or six Carlsbergs for a fiver, to bluey – the underdog of bags.
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The ghost of Chancellors past, present and future Charles Erickson
Colin Montgomery’s alternative Winter’s Tale for a morally bankrupt Britain
t was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring. Actually that’s not strictly true. Because at 13 Curzon Lane, the rare Lionhead rabbits incarcerated in a reinforced hatbox below stairs were shitting themselves. For they seemed to sense they would soon be gracing Great Aunt Munty’s blancmange du lapin – a festive breakfast tradition ever since Great Uncle Chester assumed the honorary title of Quarter Master of the British Myxomatosis Club back in ‘72. The date? The 24th December 2009. As a young lad, trips to the old house of my aristocratic relatives were an exotic treat. Like a safari park with apes that chastise you for incorrect use of a fish knife instead of ripping off a wing mirror and wiping their arse on it. Having said that, Uncle Chester once dipped his baboonish testicles in the Vichyssoise to prevent scalding after a mishap with a lit Montechristo (he was recreating the first attack at Verdun which his father had endured bravely from a weather balloon). But that all stopped following an incident a couple of years ago, in the wake of the collapse of Lehman Brothers – just as the ensuing economic firestorm was burning the feverish brows of bungling financiers worldwide. To this day, I find it hard to talk about
Having steeled myself with a tot of Lamb’s Navy Rum and a dash of Tabasco I feel able to share the details. For this cautionary tale is a story for our times. It began on a particularly stormy Christmas Eve. Uncle Chester said it sounded not unlike his late mother berating the servants for failure to salute her Pekinese. I thought nothing of it, having arrived in good cheer – looking forward to a few gingerbread cravats and a game of Dead Man’s Punchbowl with Great Aunt Munty. All was well as we retired for the night. But I did recall feeling unnerved around midnight when the wind seemed at its strongest, howling and hectoring the clematis for its edifice-defying impudence. The infernal gale had blown out by morning. And the damage was 12 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 82
had invested her money in Fairtrade cocaine and ploughed the dividends into a local weasel sanctuary. Good old Nigel had taken her there and reminded her of his munificence, prodding her conscience and flashing his red box with festive trim along the way. He ate most of her bolster too – mistaking it for a frosted yuletide log. But no matter… Then came the second apparition – and what horrors ensued. The ghost of Christmas present arrived in the form of Barclays supremo Bob Diamond. Yes, he of the £89 squillion a year remuneration package who sees fit to lecture us on the need for mammon to be more community friendly while circling the orb in a golden helicopter with ivory rotor blades which runs only on Chateau Petrus. He shone a light on Great Aunt Munty’s current portfolio and the untold damage it was doing. She was
Like a safari park with apes that chastise you for incorrect use of a fish knife instead of ripping off a wing mirror and wiping their arse on it
truly terrible. Not to the stone of the old pile at Curzon Lane. But to Great Aunt Munty herself. We found her jabbering in the guest priesthole. She was pale as a starched haversack. After a brandy or nine we prised it out of her. She’d been subject to an unholy visitation. Three spirits had – in succession – materialised before her. Each more grotesque than the last, culminating in a terrible portent… The first apparition was the ghost of Christmas past: ex-chancellor Nigel Lawson. Not the new streamline one who looks like he’s got the wrong skin on. No, the pudgy Lawson, back in the days of ERM withdrawal and runs on the pound. When a crash was a bit of sport for the City boys to kick the arse out of a currency then haul it up by its ears, inject it with Vim, and send it on its way. Back then of course, Great Aunt Munty
Disclaimer: This is not a picture of the author’s great auntie Munty
bamboozled. Surely being a major stockholder in Orang-utan Rugs of Jakarta was no crime? The wild men of the forest were, after all, only to happy to sacrifice themselves for shareholder value. It was the way of the market. And the market made the calls, not her. Barclays Bob grinned a grin, vomited up a golden sovereign and was gone in a flurry of avarice. At that the room turned icy cold. What beast was waiting in the wings? What harbinger of doom would bring this grisly procession to a close? Why, none other than Lord Ashcroft, Britain’s favourite tax exile who shores up his corporate interests by meddling in our electoral affairs – despite not paying his dues. What disgusting eventuality has Ashcroft articulated to cause Aunty Munty such trauma? What terrible path was plotted for her and the rest of us? It was then that the invitation fell from her hand and she fainted. On it these chilling words: Prime Minister George Osborne invites you for Christmas 2020 drinks and nibbles at No.10…
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PAGE 12 < ISSUE 56 14 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 82
Batwoman & Beryl The Bitch Kennedy Wilson talks superheroines on Wonder Woman’s 60th anniversary
of her times and class. She was a pilot only by virtue of the fact that her father owned the airline. She and her female flight crew – Senior Captain Smedley and navigator the Hon Patricia D’Arcy – had clearly earned their spurs on the hockey fields of Rodean. Female comic book characters, however, all too often fell prey to the prejudices and power fantasies of their male writers and illustrators. Supergirl, Superman’s cousin, was busty and blonde and wore minis long before Mary Quant. A dominatrix Batwoman joined batman in 1956; she had such delightful weapons as a lipstick smoke bomb and an expanding hairnet to ensnare fleeing villains. Batman didn’t take to women.
ver since Batman and Superman first pulled their underpants on over their tights female rivals in equally eccentric garb have pursued them. Catwoman is to be played by Anne Hathaway in the blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises. Halle Berry and Michelle Pfeiffer played earlier versions of Batman’s cat-suited nemesis. There are significant differences between male and female superheroes. While the recent slew of superhero movies – Spiderman, Thor, Captain America – were all good guys, Catwoman is an antihero. In a photo that launched a thousand message-board debates earlier this year Hathaway was shown in her Catwoman outfit. The blogosphere was less than impressed with Hathaway’s ‘covered up’ look. While Superman, Batman and their kind are clad from head to toe in capes and cowls and colourful jumpsuits, superheroines are expected to reveal endless legs and deep cleavage. It seems we can’t get enough of superheroes so it’s only natural that superheroines will be next. A Wonder Woman script is already in development in Hollywood and gossip suggests that Mad Men star Christina Hendricks is everyone’s favourite to get the part. Wonder Woman wasn’t the first ‘shero’. During the Second World War, leggy Pat Parker, War Nurse donned a mask and bared her midriff in the name of the American Way uttering the immortal line: “Don’t cover that coffin! This soldier’s still breathing!’’ Wellspotted Nurse Parker! In 1943, Liberty Belle sported a vibrating bell-shaped belt buckle and did battle with Nazi invaders. Her war cry was: ‘’All right boys, I’m fully charged!’’ On this side of the Atlantic, the much less sexy Pansy Potter (the Strongman’s Daughter) gave vent to her super strength in the pages of the Beano, which informed readers: ‘’Pansy’s having fun galore, sinking U-boats by the score.’’ Wonder Woman, the first major superheroine, was another wartime creation. In patriotic stars-and-stripes bathing costume with golden eagle across the bust, she was descended from a race of warrior women from an ancient island where men were banished. Bracelets made of Feminium were constant reminders of men’s deceit.
The Beano joyfully informed its readers: Pansy Po"er’s having fun galore, sinking U-boats by the score
Purrrrfect! The fantabulous, wonderous, and only, Julie Newmar as Catwoman
In his fantastic new study of superheroes – Supergods – Grant Morrison, the Glasgow-born comic author writes, “the Wonder Woman strip far surpassed its competitors.” Part of the reason was that Wonder Woman’s creator William Moulton Marston was a respected psychologist who believed in the educational possibilities of the comic. In terms of comic books Wonder Woman’s “fantasy world is one of staggering richness,” says Morrison. Wonder Woman celebrates her 60th anniversary this year. She had an alter ego and when not being Wonderful she stalked the Pentagon in severely tailored military uniform and harlequin spectacles. Wonder Woman was much more wholesome than her rival Sheena Queen of the Jungle whose appeal lay more in her skimpy leopard skin bikini than her ability to zap the Japs. The first British superheroine was Electro Girl who appeared in 1947 in mask, regulation bathing suit and elbowlength evening gloves. She never quite caught on like Kitty Hawke who was to Girl comic what Dan Dare was to The Eagle. Like Dan, Kitty was a real product
Two of his most vicious adversaries were Catwoman and Poison Ivy (who played up to the misogynist notion that powerful women are mad, bad or probably both). No wonder Batman preferred Robin! (In a 1980s graphic novel reworking of Batman, however, Robin the Boy Wonder was replaced by a 13-year-old Girl Wonder in wraparound shades and a shock of orange hair.) Halo Jones set the trend for a new kind of superheroine, she was a knockkneed gamine and Alan Moore called his creation, ‘’not just another tough bitch with a disintegrator. What I wanted was an ordinary woman such as you might find standing in front of you at Tesco.’’ The undoubted star of the monthly Deadline was Tank Girl who was described as a ‘shero who has a solution for every eventuality’ and whose shaven head and aggressive attitude attracted girls to lookalike contests. Like superheroines before her, however, she was the creation of a man, Jamie Hewlett, and was constantly revealing her bare flesh. In today’s graphic novel world there are other examples like Helena Bertinelli in The Huntress: Year One but when DC Comics recently rebooted their roster, guess what? The clichéd sheroes all had big hair and big busts. How we long for Deadline comic’s Beryl the Bitch! Info: Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero by Grant Morrison: Jonathan Cape £17.99 Issue 82 | leithermagazine.com | 15
Neighbours From Movie Hell Adam Smart has some alarmingly noisy folks next door, which gave him an idea…
ccording to the theme song of a long running Aussie soap opera, ‘everybody needs good neighbours’ and, ‘with a little understanding, you can find the perfect blend’. I must be honest, I don’t care about the blend; house me next to a porn star, an arms dealer and a professional wrestler, as long as they are quiet I will be happy. My apartment block is like a Cowgate Night Club (in fact I’m sure there’s a door charge after 11pm). What’s more the noise is at its worst when I am trying to concentrate… like now for example. It is a fact little acknowledged that I appear to have been royally shafted when they were drawing up the neighbour roster. To my right I have a man who feels it absolutely necessary to play Sportscene at his TV’s loudest volume setting from 11pm onwards. I find screaming, “Turn your f***ing telly down!” through the chimney at the top of my lungs works moderately well as a countermeasure. The girls to my left, both very nice, have a weekend friend whose screeching Hyena-like laugh can be heard even before the communal door has been opened. Below me lives a man, again very polite and helpful, who does not seem to understand that Example blasting out from his stereo at 2am is not everyone’s preferred method of relaxation. And above me…well, I have yet to meet the neighbours above me, but from what I hear and feel, I’m guessing they’re a species of dinosaur. They stomp up the stairwell and across their floor like a couple of pre-pubescent Tyrannosaurus Rex having a temper tantrum; I swear I just heard the dying bleat of a goat as my wine rippled in its glass. Still, my noisy neighbours set me thinking –who are the worst neighbours in the movies?
The Klopeks from The ‘burbs You may not be familiar with this Tom Hanks comedy-horror, but it is definitely worth a watch of a drunken night on ITV2. A stressed out suburbanite and his neighbours become suspicious of the creepy Klopek family who have moved in next door after one of their number goes missing. Although Hanks’ comic timing, Bruce Dern’s paramilitary nut and a quantity of slapstick humour keeps the film light-hearted, the Klopeks are creepy enough to make you feel unnerved whenever they are on screen – families of 16 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 82
Austrian serial-killing cannibals tend to have that effect on people.
Charlie Meadows from Barton Fink
Illustration – The Klopeks from The ‘burbs
When New York playwright Barton Fink moves to L.A. he has a hard time writing and adjusting to life in the City of Angels. Then he meets his neighbour Charlie Meadows. He’s civil and apologizes should he cuss. He’s caring and will perk you up when you are having a bad day. He’s obliging and will help you discard a dead girl’s body from your apartment when you wake up next to her. The Coen brother’s regular collaborator John Goodman gives an excellent performance as Meadows; former wrestler turned full-time serial killer.
Melvin Udall from As Good as It Gets
Jack Nicholson deservedly won an Oscar for his portrayal of a bigoted, eccentric, cranky, obsessive-compulsive writer, who finds himself in a quandary when he is asked to take care of his gay neighbour’s dog. As much as he is a total bastard, there is something endearing about Melvin. He has no friends and everybody that comes in to contact with him finds him awful but at least, his atrocious behaviour, means he gets some peace and bloody quiet.
Ian ‘Ray’ Raymond from High Fidelity
Ok, so he is technically only a neighbour in a ten second flash back, but he is a
hippy, and I don’t really need an excuse to get ripped in to hippies. Tantric sex that shakes the bed and exotic cooking smells which pollute the stairwell and sting the nostrils; it would all be acceptable if Ray weren’t such a monumental dick. The grey ponytail, the yoga, the fact he steals John Cusack’s girlfriend. The moment when Cusack imagines three different scenarios of confronting the man who now sleeps with his bird is the highlight of a fantastic movie; especially when Ray is smacked in the face with a phone.
Quotes of Awesomeness #1: Austin Powers
You feel unnerved whenever the Klopeks appear on screen – families of Austrian serial-killing cannibals tend to have that effect
“The details of my life are quite inconsequential...very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a 15-year-old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would claim he invented the question mark. Sometimes he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy. The sort of general malaise that only the genius possesses and the insane lament. My childhood was typical: summers in Rangoon; Luge lessons in winter; in spring we’d make meat helmets. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds – pretty standard really. At the age of fourteen a Zoroastrian named Vilma ritualistically shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum…it’s breathtaking – I highly suggest you try it.”
The show must go on Gordon Munro on why Leith Festival needs you…
eith Festival means many things to many people and all are agreed it’s a good thing. But it doesn’t transpire by magic. It takes a lot of work to make it happen, volunteers have kept the spark going through some hard times recently and hopefully that ‘Persevere spirit’ will see it through the tough times ahead. Leith Festival has had to say goodbye to its offices, its Festival manager and has no money, but we know we can always say hello to lots of spirit along with a wheen of ideas.l. This was in evidence at the Special and Annual general meeting at Leith Community Education Centre where help was sought from Leith in its hour of need. A working group, including the editor of this organ, have agreed to come together to see what can be done with (and for) nothing in 2012. This is a tough ask as over the last couple of years Leith Festival was produced on an annual turnover of just over £50,000.That’s right over 150 events in over 100 venues over 10 days for £150,000 less than Wayne Rooney gets fined for being hungover at training. This head of steam was built up rapidly and could be lost as rapidly if help is not forthcoming. Scotmid have confirmed that they will support gala day but even their generous support may be enough to cover Gala Day but not the Pageant. Despite the downpour, this year was the biggest pageant for some time with over 450 participants parading from Lochend Park to the Links proud to show their love of Leith. The complicated logistics worked because Leith Festival employed someone to co-ordinate and work with the groups and this paid off with a fine display of community pride. So, how can this happen again without any money?
I believe that some form of Leith Festival can manifest itself in 2012, even if it’s in a diminished form, but it will need the help of local businesses, local venues, local artists and, most importantly, local people to make it happen. It will not happen without you. Firstly, Leith Festival needs money. Leith Chamber of Commerce has recently restarted and this provides a potential funding route for the Festival. The plight of Leith Festival has not gone unnoticed and one substantial local business is working independently to see how Leith Festival can be supported by its fellow businesses so that the core funding the Festival needs is there. In the absence of this core funding – which
Some kind of Leith Festival can manifest itself in 2012, even if it’s in a diminished form, but it will need the help of local businesses, local venues and local artists
has never really been there it has always been ‘piecemeal’ funding – it will be down to local volunteers putting on the best show they can. Secondly and even in the absence of achieving our first aim we need a new treasurer. This has always been a volunteer post but a key one as recent events have proved. Enquiries are being made but this needs to be filled now so that a handover can be done with the audited accounts for 2010/11 agreed at the AGM. Whoever it is will be starting with nothing and will need to take it from there. As the audited accounts are done by Cowan & Partners (see Leither ad) it can’t be them. However if this is for you, please let us know! Thirdly, Leith itself can play a part. A recent council report on ‘creatives’ in the city found that the EH6 postcode had the most (‘creatives’ in the city). Leither readers will be aware of this, just look at the entertainment and arts pages of this magazine or daunder into Out of the Blue, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, Leith School of Art, the Gallery triangle at the top of the walk, and places like Duncan Place Resource Centre. Even its pubs such as the Parlour, The Village, the Boda/Sofi’s/Joseph Pierce’s group or good old Robbies has regulars who can vouch for that ‘edge’ feel that Leith
has and that the Leith Agency takes into its work for clients. Can any or all of the above get together around the 9th June Gala Day date to provide a self generated and supported programme highlighting Leith’s creative’s, whether artistic, musical or the inspired and inspiring amateurs and dilettantes of EH6? Without a Festival manager this will have to be done by you but you’ll be doing it for Leith. All is not doom or gloom, a challenge maybe, but not doom and gloom. Local councillors have met to discuss how Leith Festival can be helped, with council officers working on how support ‘in kind’ can be given to Leith Festival. Leith Dockers Club, a natural home and hub for Leith Festival, has offered cheap accommodation but funds are needed to make this offer a reality. This last has big potential and could make Leith Dockers like its sister club the Casa Club in Liverpool. Remember the old showbiz saying ‘the show must go on’? It is true, but it cannot go on without you. What can you do for Leith Festival? Info: Anyone interested in helping, in any way at all, can do so by going to www.leithfestival.com and clicking on the ‘contact us’ bu!on. Issue 82 | leithermagazine.com | 17
FoodReview John Holmes
Repositioned, Reinvented… Result Café Fish
15 North West Circus Place 0131 225 4431 email@example.com
s someone famous once said, if you’re going to stick around in this business, you have to have the ability to reinvent yourself … It could, of course, apply to many businesses, to many walks of life, but surely none more so than the food and drink business. Café Fish left its not-so-old berth near Leith’s Shore and reinvented itself as a New Towner in the summer. We’ve been a couple of times now and its move to North West Circus Place has been pretty seamless. The familiar trendy greys and zinc tables are all intact, and the feel of the place is pretty much as it was, albeit the menu has changed a wee bit – rendering the reinvention more of a gentle progression, which I think is a good thing. I don’t like too much change. The space was originally a bank, it became a furniture shop, then morphed into a restaurant – Circus Bar & Grill under David Murray’s* son’s guidance. He was succeeded by the Continis, of Centotre fame, who had a brief and I thought successful spell there trading as Zanzero. Richard Muir has now given it the Café Fish makeover. The bank’s wood, stone and cornice features remain and work pretty well with the more modern feel you’d expect from the original in Leith. Another good thing is that their opening hours have been extended, and the Sunday lunch menu is available until 4.30pm. This is great value at £19.50 a head for 3 courses including a very decent bottle of house white or red wine between two. On our last visit we had very nice fish 18 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 82
goujons (grown-up fish fingers) and a decent Cullen skink. The goujons were nicely breaded, encasing wonderfully fresh, pearly-white cod. The soup was fine but a little bereft of smoked haddock, rather a small portion and lacking the usual unctuousness we fans of the dish expect – perhaps a consequence of the price. For mains we had a lovely sea bream fillet whose skin had been properly crisped without drying out the flesh, which was plump, fresh and well cooked. A bowl of good quality mussels in a tasty tomato, chilli and coriander sauce with very good chips was the other main. Unexceptional perhaps but even the fussiest would find it hard to complain. For puds we opted for a vanilla crème brûlée and chocolate delice which came with vanilla ice cream (which I believe is still from the peerless Luca of Musselburgh). The brûlée was pronounced excellent and the delice was very nice though I couldn’t detect any nuts, which would normally form part of the base, and was just a tad short of the superlative. All in all a very nice meal, and excellent value. We opted for a Provencal rosé to hose it all down (this is not supposed to be available as a house wine in the lunch offer, so expect to pay a couple of quid extra) which was archetypal, i.e., also very good. We’d previously sampled the house white that is included in the offer and, whilst not as good as the rosé, it is a notch above the average house wine you’d normally encounter. And whilst on the subject, yet one more good thing is Café Fish’s proximity to The Stockbridge Tap (another reinvention of the old Bert’s Bar) which is an excellent pub often selling beer you won’t see in many other hostelries, too many of which
Score: Damage: £39
We opted for a Provencal rosé that was archetypal, which is to say also very good
are in thrall to Heineken whose Caley 80/- and Deuchar’s are pale imitations of the fine beers that used to come out of Slateford Road. A fairly regular offering here is the excellent Pentland IPA from the independent Stewart’s Brewing Co – buy it and support independents rather than the rapacious Dutch behemoth whose sole intention appears to be the rape and pillage of once fine and iconic brews such as the aforementioned. [Note to Ed. – you might want to run this one by the Leither’s crack legal team.] A gentle stroll through the New Town’s leafier parts heading back to Old Leith in the faint, diffuse late November twilight - the 4th Sunday in a row to give us a glimpse of what it might be like to live in the warmer climes of northern Spain or southern France - was the icing on this lovely Sunday’s cake. But doubtless we’ll be a foot deep in snow by the time you actually read this, so that’ll be an end to those thoughts… PS If any of you are planning on joining the token-gesture huggers and taking the train for a journey to London instead of a flight, I’d suggest that you think
Serving Fish ‘n’ Chips to Leithers since the 1960s
A Real Family Business
again. I’ve been twice recently and both trips were awful. The north-bound carriages are invariably full-to-overflowing, the service is so poor that it doesn’t even warrant the term (think Scotmid BEFORE the staff customer awareness ‘training’ course), and the food is close to inedible. Update – I’ve just completed my 2nd journey home and the food actually was inedible. [Note to East Coast Rail chef - how do you manage to make a “chicken” pie piping hot on the outside but with congealed gravy inside?] I’m guessing the words small space and microwave would be part of the answer but even at that, it was quite something. And for the record, my soggy pie contained 2 pieces of chicken, and one of those was on the outside of it. There’s probably a joke there about what came first, but I’ll let you tell it... *Yes, the same David Murray who brought hope, pride and some success to TGGR only to have it dashed on the rock of fiscal imprudence. Where have we heard that before?
Pierino and Lucia Crolla opened their first fish and chip shop in Niddrie before completely refurbishing an old building on the Shore (now The Waterline Bar)…40 odd years later, their sons Adriano and Domenico are proud to welcome you to the family’s current shop on Bernard Street.
Delivery available (evenings only £1.50 charge, minimum order £5)
0131 477 7727 11 Bernard Street, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6PW Issue 82 | leithermagazine.com | 19
British art’s Lady Bracknell Kennedy Wilson asks, what’s not to like about a man who uses words like panjandrum and hobbledehoy
critic is to art what a dog is to a lamppost and, it must be said, Britain’s most controversial art critic, Brian Sewell is a big dog lover. Even if you have never read BS (unfortunate initials) you may well have heard his unmistakable dowagerduchess voice. At one time he was much sought after as a voiceover for unlikely TV commercials including one for a brand of feta cheese. Haughty, superior and hooting, his accent is said to make the Queen sound common. His documentary series for Channel 5 were high spots in that benighted network’s tacky schedules. Sewell retraced the steps of pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela and the 18th century gentry’s European Grand Tour. But his experiences with the TV executives was not entirely happy, too nervous were they of Sewell’s uninhibited take on religious iconography: saints with erections and so on. He described the making of one series as ‘nine weeks of hell’. His trenchant reviews for the London Evening Standard and assorted art magazines have been described as ‘intolerant but delicious’. He is savage about what he considers second rate or the kind of art that is more to do with publicity than substance. He once wrote of the British abstract painter Howard Hodgkin: ‘dab, dab, dab on go the blobs of colour as though he were designing rainwear for the common prostitute’.
Grande Dame of British art, Brian Sewell
Needless to say he is no fan of Britart. He once described the work of Grayson Perry as ‘infantile and gaudy’ and has little good to say about female artists, once saying that if ‘Frida Kahlo had been Fred Kahlo she would have been forgotten’. LS Lowry’s work was described as ‘tedious, repetitive [and] lacklustre’ and the artist was a ‘halfbaked amateur’. He has no time for the arts bureaucrats and initiatives aimed at popularising visual art. ‘To comment on the annual BP portrait award has become the most melancholy duty for the critic’, he wrote. Almost no one has been spared Sewell’s savage reckoning – from Charles Saatchi to the Arts Council. 20 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 82
On Howard Hodgkin: ‘dab, dab, dab on go the blobs of colour as though he were designing rainwear for the common prostitute’
Sewell’s views are based on intellectual rigour – although he is more appreciative of Tiepelo than Tracey Emin. He writes from a standpoint of academic seriousness. He studied art at the Courtauld Institute and for a decade was a dealer at Christie’s, the London auction house. He now admits to a love/ hate relationship with his employer in a juicy new tell-all autobiography. In the modern way of publishing the book tells only half the story; a record of his life up to 1967. A second volume is in development. Sewell came to national prominence after a notorious spy scandal was blown apart. His tutor at the Courtauld was Sir Anthony Blunt who, in 1979, was outed as the fourth man in the famous Burgess/MacLean spy ring. By this time Blunt was the Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures and, as Sewell puts it, ‘[I] spirited Blunt away from the eyes of the press’. In so doing, Sewell – with his strangulated vowels and old fogey vocabulary (who uses words like panjandrum and hobbledehoy?) – came into the public eye and over the years has almost become a national treasure. Sewell, however, has had the good sense not to become a parody of himself. He’s too astute and much too intelligent
for that. He has clearly followed the old showbiz dictum: always leave them wanting more. Now, at the age of 80, he has written his early life story. And it’s a life which confounds expectations. He never knew his father and describes his mother’s early years as a time when ‘she had as much sexual restraint as an alley cat’. His illegitimacy meant that he could quite accurately describe himself as a ‘queer bastard’.
Life of promiscuity
As a young man his strict Catholicism and latent homosexuality clashed. There had been thoughts of joining the priesthood but the gay side won (although he maintains he lost his virginity at 20, to a 60-year-old woman whose diamante spectacles got caught in his pubic hair). He writes that in 1959 he ‘launched into a life of such promiscuity as might suggest I was making up for the opportunities lost in the arid years of denial’. Now, in old age, Brian Sewell says he feels no embarrassment or shame. ‘I no longer feel the need for reticence’. Info: Outsider: Always Almost, Never Quite by Brian Sewell is published by Quartet £25
Wrinkly Rockers Hip-Hop Shocker! Dave McGuire damages his psyche listening to dreadful cover versions
licking channels late December I watched a few minutes of one of the last episodes of the X Factor where I had the misfortune of watching Leona Lewis massacre the Nine Inch Nails, and subsequently Johnny Cash classic, Hurt. With her popularity on the wane, Leona’s people clearly thought that Johnny’s much loved, and moving, swansong would kick-start her career. Unfortunately the overly slick, saccharine warbling snooze-fest removed the fragility and vulnerability that made the Cash version so good, completely missing the point of the song. At their best cover versions offer a new interpretation of a song, revealing previously overlooked elements and/ or taking it to new places retaining its essence whilst the artist covering the track stamps their own personality on it. At their worst they’re the flipside of this, whether that be not understanding what makes the original version special, or taking the track to a place that maybe it had no justifiable reason to ever go. There is of course the middle ground where acts try to almost replicate the original version note for note, something like Stereophonic’s version of Rod Stewart’s Handbags and Gladrags, which we’ll dismiss with the word pointless.
The cover of, erm, George’s crap cover version
There’s no fun looking at musical magnolia, so let’s get annoyed by the stinkers. In the 90s All Saints (AKA the thinking man’s Spice Girls) ‘did a Leona’ on Red Hot Chili Peppers Under the Bridge, Anthony Kiedis’ recollection of a low point in his time as a heroin addict – a triumph of destroying sensitivity with superficiality. They might have looked lovely in the video, but that was no excuse for this superfluous nonsense to go to number one, back when a number one was a big deal. Speaking of which, over the holidays I had the ‘pleasure’ of discovering that postkaraoke boy band chart botherer Ronan Keating teamed up with Clannad’s Moya Brennan to cover the now sainted and officially Best Christmas Song Ever™, the evergreen festive classic Fairytale of New York by dentist-shy Shane McGowan’s Pogues (and the late great Kirsty MacColl). Perhaps not as hideous as you’d imagine but it goes without saying that it lacks the depth of character that makes Shane and Kirsty’s version so great.
George Michael proved that his guilty feet had no rhythm with a truly bizarre version of New Order’s True Faith
Being a fan of Scottish football I appreciate the close but no cigar, valiant loser, who is willing to make the effort even though it might be unsuccessful. Having said that, there are a few choice cover versions that have gone a step too far. Brummie New Romantics Duran Duran were one of the biggest pop groups of the 80s, but they always fancied themselves as being hip with a bit of an edge. In 1995 midlife crisis came early as they chose to tackle Public Enemy’s 911 is a Joke (the original, a tale of a young black man suffering racism in a US ghetto) in a sub-Beck style done by middle-aged white millionaires. On the plus side, it made their reworking of Grandmaster Flash’s White Lines on the same album seem relatively inoffensive. I have even less sympathy for Simple Minds take on the title track of Prince’s 1987 magnum opus Sign O The Times. Poor man’s Bono, Jim Kerr, is trying too hard, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that their career went into decline following this 1989 stinker. Whilst taking a break from attacking the sensibilities of the American ‘moral majority’ with his high jinks in public toilets and then attacking unsuspecting branches of Happy Snaps with his car, George Michael proved that his guilty feet had no rhythm with a truly bizarre version of New Order’s True Faith. Very rarely have listeners been so united in agreeing that a track is
ridiculous, although opinion is divided as to whether the track was intended as a joke or if Andrew Ridgley’s mate had finally gone to pot; speaking of which, make a point of checking out the cover of Freddie Mercury and Monserrat Cabale’s bombastic pop-opera classic Barcelona by the most mis-matched duo of all time – Piss-Poor Pavarotti, Russell Watson and the vocally challenged walking pharmacy that is Happy Monday’s frontman Sean Ryder. Check it out on Youtube ASAP, it’s much more than you’re currently imagining. Special mention to my spandex loving, husky voiced lothario, shaggy blonde heroes, David Lee Roth and Rod Stewart, for having back catalogues packed with the good, the bad and the ugly in cover versions. Diamond Dave ranges from the definitive version of Just a Gigolo to a thoroughly god-awful mauling of Dancing in the Street. In the 70s Rod’s interpretations of tracks like I’d Rather Go Blind and (I Know) I’m Losing You were masterful, yet he’d later go on to become a caricature of himself with versions of Cigarettes & Alcohol and Rocks; nowadays he’s shamelessly milking the Great American Songbook cash cow with increasingly diminishing returns. There are enough gems out there to fill the entire magazine, yet I could equally sum up the whole subject of crappy covers with these words… The Fall and Sister Sledge’s Lost in Music. Issue 82 | leithermagazine.com | 21
WinterFitness & Health Tracy Griffen
Living through the New Austerity E
Thankfully I didn’t get too big for my boots and expand my business prematurely, or I may have been stuffed
dinburgh’s current dire economic position has more than financial repercussions. I am convinced we are seeing the beginning of a social movement that I refer to as ‘the new austerity’. It’s a mirror reflection of Britain after World War 2, except many of us weren’t around then so can’t remember it. As a child of the 80s, all the propaganda and advertising I’ve been bombarded with through my adult life is ‘you can have it all’. With the exception of some Royal Bank of Scotland bosses, this was clearly not the case. It is obvious we are experiencing a recession unlike any other. From having three credit cards, car loans and a permanent job, many of us have had to seriously reconsider how we spend our hard-earned dosh. Clearly the credit card situation in the UK was spiralling out of control. I can remember being bombarded by credit card hawkers at Waverley Station in 1999, interrupting my morning commute by offering me a Gold Amex card. “I’m a lowly temp worker,” I proclaimed. “I can’t afford more debt”. Obviously more people said yes than no to easy credit. Just how did we think it would all end? When I was a child, I was embarrassed by my parent’s hippy ways. We lived self-sufficiently for a period and wore homemade clothes, including sandals my stepfather made from the tread of a car tyre. He used to insist we recycled our sandwich bags, which for some reason was absolutely mortifying to me. “All the other kids will laugh at me.” My objections fell on deaf ears. It’d not that we went without, in fact much of my childhood was idyllic – riding my bike around the country side, making cubby houses (dens) out of left over building materials and going for long meandering walks. But it was most certainly frugal. I was an expert charity shopper by the time I was a teen and my Mum and I would have charity shop competitions to see who could get the best haul for the least money. Fast forward to Scotland, Albert Street 2004: I was gobsmacked by the fact people were dumping working televisions out on the street to make way for bigger, better, fancier screens to watch the gazillion channels piped
22 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 82
into their homes, encouraging them to buy more, more, more. Pre-tram Princes Street was mobbed on a Saturday with lads and ladettes purchasing their Saturday night threads, to be worn once, maybe twice, maybe never. In contrast I was a staunch supporter of the Stockbridge charity shops. I felt ill at ease about rampant consumerism; however starting a fitness business in this environment was a fabulous boost. I had regular clients booking in three times per week, and pretty quickly my business grew. They wanted to get fit in the quickest time possible, and I could do that. Thankfully I didn’t get too big for my boots and expand my business prematurely, or I may have been stuffed. Small is beautiful in so many ways.
With the bursting of the proverbial fun balloon, business has dropped. I was worried, but not as worried as I would be with massive debts. My frugal lifestyle paid off, and in fact, frugal became the new cool. BTW, Frugal Cool is the name of a funky remade shop in Musselburgh, worth a visit. So now frugal is cool, perhaps folk will start to appreciate the things we have. The simple pleasures in life; going out for a long hill walk, the smell of home baked bread, a lie in and a day pottering around the house with your nearest and dearest. We may be broke, but we still have our health.
The ‘new austerity’ is particularly active in Leith. Gardening is groovy and the council are building more allotments in reaction. There’s a flea market at the Drill Hall every month, crafting is the new cool too and there are a wealth of affordable small eateries the length of the Walk. But we need to be vigilant. The powers that be want to literally generate dosh by plopping a large biomass station in the historic Port of Leith. On the other hand, in a cost-cutting measure for Edinburgh Council, Leith Waterworld has closed. Despite a valiant campaign by Splashback…and that’s what it’s about, get active, get vocal, get off your behind and do something, it’s up to the everyday person to help get us out of this pickle. When business dropped over summer, I considered what I could do. Writing a book was my solution. Those who can’t afford Personal Training can read the essence of it in the Healthy Living Yearbook, yours for only £9.99. Having said that, my Personal Training is excellent value and the prices are frozen at 2008 prices, even though clearly my overheads aren’t. I guess I should be angry that my fitness empire wasn’t allowed to grow, but our allotment has more of my time, and my present clients get very good customer service and value for money. And did I mention my book? Info: www.healthylivingyearbook.com
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Practice random acts of kindness The simple instruction ‘get a spoon’ turns Stephanie Malcolm’s day into a better thing
ot long ago I was teetering dangerously close to extreme frustration in life and work. Though, for the most part, I enjoyed my job as a waitress I was fast becoming frustrated that nothing more concrete was coming my way or even seemed achievable. One day while working in the restaurant this always-looming pressure coupled with difficult customers was a bit too much to handle and made for an altogether, all too familiar, crap day at work. However, a very small gesture of kindness made the day instantly brighter and the overall outlook better. The chef instructed me to “get a spoon”. A simple instruction, yes, but what this meant was something so much more. Busy in the kitchen baking delicious desserts, the chef had emerged to invite me to taste his most recent treat. This is a rarity and is certainly something that demands you drop everything you are doing immediately to follow the instruction and get a spoon. What was in store was a bite of this brilliantly rich chocolate tart with a lightness that almost makes it feel entirely forgivable. A moment on the lips a lifetime on the hips this may be, but I’d have eaten my weight in that remedial dessert if I could. It wasn’t just the chocolate that instantly brightened my day – though this did have significant bearing - but the easy gesture, that unbeknownst to the chef, turned my day around and put a 24 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 82
positive spin on all that was seemingly so negative in my life. The most unexpected happening, was the most needed at that moment. It inspired my thinking of how it really is the small things in life that make the world of difference. ‘Big things come in small boxes’ isn’t just an echo of my whiney thirteen-year-old self anymore. And it wasn’t just this gesture, it was something that at that exact moment I desperately needed but had no clue that I did. Not specifically this bite of chocolate but the gesture that came out of leftfield. Something unexpected. Elated from the idea that something so easy could instantly make everything better I began a quest to prepare for more of these moments.
Nest of hair
So how exactly does one find the unexpected? How do we tap in to our subconscious and find what it is that we need exactly at certain moments of weakness to make things that little bit better? Of course this is no tangible thing that can be located and shelved for later making things slightly more difficult. This kind of thing isn’t limited to gestures that make people feel better. Many of the purest forms of subconscious thought can be translated into genius if we know how to catch it. Take Isaac Newton or the song All The Leaves Are Brown. Not quite on a similar level but close - arguably. Without the chanced upon apple falling into that nest of hair it may have taken many more years to arrive at The Universal Law of Gravitation. Or if John Phillips hadn’t acted upon that melody that suddenly presented itself to him, in the middle of a cold winter’s night, we’d never have had All the Leaves Are Brown from
the Mamas and Papas. An even more frightening notion, the band might have missed their lucky break, thus rendering my teenage memories of talking nonsense around a friend’s kitchen table, accompanied by Mama Cass’s soulful harmonies, rather soulless in retrospect. So where are these moments and how do we tap into the virtuosic parts of our subconscious? Do we await the stirring genius that lies dormant in all of us to someday enter our worlds with a timely bang? In one fell swoop it will turn our fortunes upside down; clear our debt; take an inch or two from our bellies? Wishful thinking. The unexpected doesn’t always arrive as a wave of happiness; often we’re caught off guard and the effects are disastrous. Take Ricky Gervais and mong-gate. Using Twitter to publicise your musings, no matter how profound, is meant to be a casual affair but Ricky got absolutely slammed in the press for something he claims was a non-issue. Understandably, when in the public eye, perhaps don’t tweet something that could be blown out of proportion. With hundreds of thousands of followers though, it’s unlikely you’ll remain on everyone’s good side as a comic but this was a spectacular example of political correctness gone mad. So how do we find it? The recession’s a shitter and most of us would do anything to be out of it. Do we ride it out or do we wait for our ‘ready genius’ to emerge and make everything better? I think it’s probably simpler: big things come in small boxes and all that, get yourself a spoon and make the best of it. Let your inner genius gush forth whenever it feels like it and ride the unexpected punches as they come - good or bad. Only then can we truly appreciate the unexpected.
A moment on the lips a lifetime on the hips this may be, but I’d have eaten my weight in that remedial dessert if I could
The Way We Listen Now Dave McGuire asks are Greatest Hits compilations actually the artists’ best work?
t Christmas everywhere from HMV to Amazon to ASDA is bulging with compilation albums ready to be snapped up. As Alan Partridge brilliantly replied when asked what his favourite Beatles album was, “Best of the Beatles.” The quote shows his musical ignorance but also illustrates the low regard in which purists hold compilation albums – as someone keen to discover new artists and keenly aware of changes in how we consume music, I started writing this piece not sure how I felt about Best Ofs. I checked the new releases yesterday and found compilations from the likes of recently split-up REM, Westlife, new Pink Floyd, Rod Stewart and Daniel O’Donnell. The main purpose of these releases is to make money, pure and simple. Whether it be a contractual obligation, cash in from a recent death or band split-up, a waning artist who’s had a resurgence in popularity or a simple repackaged compilation backed up with a marketing campaign. Although often titled as a Best of, compilations are usually an artist’s best selling singles, some of the finest tracks by an artist are not necessarily the most well known. Aficionados of artists with sizeable back catalogues will often opt for more obscure album tracks as their favourites. Artist compilations can also be restricted to a specific label, leaving the anomaly of a greatest hits package without the act’s actual ‘greatest hit’. The new (zillionth) Rod Stewart package is the first compilation covering his entire career, as was the case with the Rolling Stones 40 Licks in 2002.
I appreciate the oft-cited argument that a compilation album is the perfect introduction to an artist, giving the listener the opportunity to sample tracks from across an artist’s career (and hopefully want to explore more), especially if they’re released a lot of albums. The other argument in favour of such albums is that in some cases having all the ‘best’ tracks of an artist back to back can make for an enjoyable listen, even for those that have other albums by that artist. That being said, a couple of years ago the definitive 3CD Bob Dylan compilation Dylan contained two tracks from Blood on the Tracks, neither of which was Idiot Wind (which I believe to be Dylan’s finest ever song). Back in the 1950s the popular music scene was dominated by 7” singles sales;
classical music and jazz adopted the LP first and pop took its time. Early pop albums were basically a singles collection with added filler; there was no cohesion or theme. This changed in the mid 1960s with albums like Sgt Pepper and we see albums being fully recognised as works of art in the 1970s with the likes of What’s Going On, Blue, Dark Side of the Moon and The Fall and Rise of Ziggy Stardust. There were exceptions to the rule, some groups were always primarily singles groups, you won’t find an Abba album listed among the all time greats, but Abba Gold is unadulterated pop perfection. Perhaps I’m a product of my era putting the album on a pedestal as the ultimate expression of musical creativity. The current digital age has both revolutionised and brought our musical consumption full-circle. Instant access to downloading individual tracks on, and now phones, has seen the sale of singles go from being a promotional loss leader to overtaking album sales. There’s now a generation of listeners who have no physical albums, and they are less likely to download a full album when they can cherry-pick individual tracks.
One of the most prolific artists of the moment is Rihanna, who seems, in true
To hear an artist, look beyond the Greatest Hits, the tourist spots may be nice but true delights are always found off the beaten track
Caribbean style, to have a new smash hit every few months, although if you look at her albums you’ll find that the non-hits are very much filler. Ironic that an artist so very much of the now is following the release pattern of artists from half a century ago. The other point to bear in mind is that with streaming sites like Spotify it’s easy to try before you buy, and you can make your own playlists online or ask others to recommend their picks of an artist and buy those at your leisure. Of course, whilst such sites allow the uninitiated to explore an artist’s catalogue in ways previously unimaginable, the nature of this technology also means that the album may end up becoming a thing of the past. If popular music once again becomes dominated by single releases it could change the whole nature of what music is released, and compilations may end up being, indeed, the best of an artist. I for one am not convinced, if you want to hear an artist look beyond the Greatest Hits, the tourist spots might be nice but true delights are always found off the beaten track. If you buy only one album this Christmas, make it a ‘real’ one, and my answer to the best Beatles album question? Why, Rubber Soul. Issue 82 | leithermagazine.com | 25
ARC Colourprint ‘The Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them: there ought to be as many for love.’ – Margaret Atwood
All year round goose
Yon’s an awfie orange lookin’ goose Laird!
ello rerr mah wee muckers! Whits the bets yi’ve still goat defrosted turkey comin’ oot oh yir ears? Ahm takin’ plenty oh short odds on it (nae spread bettin’ though!). Ah went aw high falutin and had goose this year…so in the spirit oh Christmas past, here is whit ah did, yi can squirrel the recipe away fir next year or mebbe make it when yi’ve goat visitors. Whit yi’ll need is…
1 6kg goose 250g stoned prunes 500g cookin’ apples, peeled & quartered 75ml red vino Tablespoon cornflour (mixed wi’ yin oh water) 200ml chicken stock 3 tablespoons oh cream Sea salt & cracked pepper
Now whit yi dae is… Dry the goose, inside and oot, rub the skin wi’ salt and pepper and prick all over wi’ a skewer. Scald the prunes wi’ bilin water then stuff into goose wi’ apples. Pit
goose in a roastin’ tin, breast side up, intae a cold oven…turn tae 170c (gas mark 3) for 45 mins then add a drap water and cook for 3½ hours (or 40 mins per kilo). Add extra water if needed, yir goose is cooked when a probe thermometer reaches 82c – or when the juices run clear it the leg. Move yir burd tae a big dish, keep a wee bit goose fat, pour gravy juice intae a wee bowl and add cornflour mix. Increase oven temperature tae 250c (gas 9). Return goose – breast up with some water over – to the roasting tray and then oven. Meanwhile pour wine and stock intae pot, add gravy juice mix and bring tae slow boil stirrin’ aw the time. Add seasoning and cream…Now whip that burd oot oh the oven and get carving! I hud mah wee mucker Luke Deekin roond tae share mah goose, he telt us he wis taking up cage fightin’ fir the New Year… “Is that no a bit fierce?” Ah asked. “Ach naw,” says he, “the budgie disnae staund a chance!” Ching! Ching! The Laird
Mark Lazarowicz MP Constituency Office
5 Croall Place, Leith Walk, Edinburgh
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26 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 82
Weekly Surgeries Every Friday 4pm Stockbridge Library 5pm Constituency Office
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A Love Le!er To Hibernian 107cowgate.com
Andy MacVannan on writing a book about the most important people in football…the fans
istory is alive within every single one of us. We all have a story to tell and if we walk the streets of our towns and cities it is etched out in our buildings and the faces of people who walk by us. But there is a place, here in Leith, where thousands watch together and witness a new chapter of history being written almost every week. It’s called Easter Road Stadium - home of Hibernian F.C. Behind the game of football there lies a rich seam of stories that recount moments of joy, humour and sadness. Supporters of the game routinely nurture and often centre their friendships round their attachment to the club they love. So in compiling my book, We are Hibernian, I was soon to discover the remarkable impact that a ‘mere sport’ has had on so many different people from all walks of life.
I wanted to capture the sights and sounds that have come to represent the spirit of the game. “When I walk into Easter Road I am full of memories of going there with my dad, seeing great matches and of my childhood in general” says actor Dougray Scott, of Mission Impossible fame. His sentiments are one that every football fan will relate to but so are the words of Colin Whitson (support worker and musician). He humorously describes the hardships of enduring the windswept open terraces of yesteryear; “There’s a whole new generation going now who can’t remember a macaroon bar, spearmint chewing gum or a pie served in the Hibs colours because it was going off.” It quickly became apparent that we often remember the strangest things about watching football and often it may not be about what happened on the field of play. The team we support may also have an influence on the way that we see ourselves. Looking back to his first game as a child, Charlie Reid states, “I still think about that match every couple of days, and what it means to me and how it shaped me.” The journey to supporting a team usually begins as a child but what may be overlooked is this rare opportunity for parents to bond with their children. It certainly helped me to recognise that my dad was an individual
and that he had his own life experiences. His memories of the old ground and being packed in amongst 60,000 people intrigued me most. It made me connect with the past in a way that no normal history book could ever do. Thirty years on and I wanted to hear what other people had to say. I was soon to find out that their recollections would come alive to me, just like they did through the tales my father told me.
The author, all smiles, at book launch
We are Hibernian is also packed full of opinion about the way that Hibs fans see their club in the modern day. Whilst I think we should cherish the history of this remarkable football club we should also encourage the clubs benefactors to open their doors and give access to their facilities. It is the supporter that gives so freely every week of their money to watch the team they love. We should remember how important these clubs are to our past but enthuse about the positive role they could play in uniting our communities and paving our future. Football clubs can do more. They can help to reinforce a genuine sense of community spirit in these testing economic times, the Scottish clubs
The beauty of it is that even in a crap game something can happen that li#s your whole week out of the mundane
will never consistently compete with the glamorous, and much hyped, fare served up by the English Premiership. But we may still have our soul intact and the door to our local club may still be ajar. As Irvine Welsh says, “I know it’s a business but the more they invest in the community, the more the community will give back to Hibs.” The next time you catch a glimpse of your local football ground, stop and think about its history. Try to imagine the thousands who have stood and sat in its stands and terraces. Remember the players of bygone days who played for the love of playing and for the love of entertaining. Consider the events yet to happen and the stories that will be told. As Gordon Munro (Labour Councillor) says, “The beauty of it for me is that even if it is a crap game, something can happen that lifts your whole week out of the mundane.” You see football is more than just a game, it is living, it is breathing and it is important! Info: We Are Hibernian: the fans’ story by Andy MacVannan is available from Luath Press, all good book stores, and online. Issue 82 | leithermagazine.com | 27
Bainbridge Music 11 Feb: Your New Favourite Band @ Sneaky Pete’s 7pm 19 Feb: Duke plus support @ Sneaky Pete’s 7pm 24 Feb: The Mine featuring Rod Jones & The Birthday Suit @ Electric Circus 7pm
highlight of the month
Boda Bar 229 Leith Walk 0131 553 5900 Every Monday: Boda Bar Chan Bang. Join in the jam session 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 Elbow 133 East Claremont Street 0131 556 5662 1st Fri of the month: Live music with the house band “ The Hanley Tree” Tue: Pub Quiz, 8.30pm Sun: Open Mic, 8.30pm Espy 62 Bath Street, Portobello 0131 669 0082 Mon: Film club 8pm Tue: Stitch & Bitch (knitting circle) Fri: Live music 9.30pm 3 Feb: Fiona Young 10 Feb: Allan Frew 17 Feb: Jetta Wren and the Wranglers Valentine’s Day Lover’s Menu The Granary 32-34 The Shore Acoustic Sets: Wednesday 8-10pm, Thursday 10-12am, Saturday 10-12am & Friday Pianist 5-7pm Guilty Lily 284 Bonnington Road 0131 554 5824 Sun: Quiz Nite 8.30 Mad Mexican Mondays Every Thu: Film Night, wear pyjamas & get a free glass of wine! Open Mic on last Wednesday of month of the month 8.30pm 4 Feb: Fiona Young 10 Feb:Guilty Lily beach party 6pm till late. 11 Feb:Allan Frew 18 Feb: Sunshine Delay 25 Feb: Donna MacLorie Valentine’s Day Lover’s Menu Iso Bar 7 Bernard Street 0131 467 8904 Wed: Quiz Night 8pm Sun: Open mic with Sylvain 5pm onwards 28 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 82
Barflies: Traverse @ Barony Bar Mon 6/Thurs 9 Feb & Mon 27 Feb/Thurs 1 March Tickets: £15/ £11/ £6 7.30pm Box Office: 0131 228 1404 “Some people never get crazy. What boring awful lives they must lead.” Bukowski
Barflies, from multi-award winning company Grid Iron, is a visceral look at the pains and glories of drunkenness and all the humour, horror, hope and devastation it can bring. Drawn from the short stories and poems of Charles
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. Sun: The Random Selector with Annie Cavanagh Leith Folk Club @ the Village 221 Ferry Road OI3I 454 2060 New Venue – The Victoria Park House Hotel 7 Feb: Fiona Cuthill & Steve Lawrence 14 Feb: Brigid Kaelin 21 Feb: Rab Noakes Nobles 44a Constitution Street 0131 629 7215 Mon: Epic quiz night, Tue: Open Mic w/Caramello Fats & Packets O'Shea Wed: Jack of Diamonds Scrimshaw Shanties Thu: Acoustic Sesh w/Hailey Beavis and friends Fri & Sat: Free Live Gig Sun: Rossco Galloway & Alisdair McErlain
Bukowski, and set in one of Edinburgh’s best loved locals, The Barony Bar, Barflies is a rumbustious encounter with his alter-ego Henry Chinaski and a bevvy of the women who shaped his life and work.
The Parlour 142 Duke Street 0131 555 3848 Every Mon: The Parlour Unplugged. Acoustic jam session, 8pm Every Wed: Quiz – bar tab and jackpots to be won, 8pm Every Thur: Open Mic Night with Packets O' Shea, 8pm Pussy Whipped presents …
10 Feb: Noisy Pig, Help Stamp Out Loneliness
& Seafield Foxes.10 Feb @ Wee Red Bar, 8-10.30pm, £2 entry Saturday Night Beaver 36 Blair Street 3rd Saturday of the month, 10.30-3am 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.
What'sOn Sponsored by Chop Chop Leith 76 Commercial Street, Edinburgh, EH6 6LX Tel: 0131 553 1818. www.chop-chop.co.uk Now delivering (inc. Business Lunches) to EH6, EH7 & EH8 Sophie's 65 Henderson Street 0131 555 7019 1st Wed of month: Coup Red – SELECT – monthly artist gathering. 6.30-8pm 1st Thu of month: Sing Songwriter's night, 9-11pm The Waterline 58 The Shore 0131 554 2425 Every Thur: Pub quiz from 9pm! The Yard 2 Bonnington Road Lane 0131 554 2425 Every Sun: Jazz Sundays, 3-6pm, with The Ritz Trio Every Fri: Poker: NUTS poker only Friday night Scottish venue. All skill levels welcome
Marjorie Thomas City Chambers. 0131 529 4988 Leith Ward Lib/Dem. Advice surgeries: 1st & 3rd Wed. of each month at Victoria Primary School 5.30-6pm and Leith Academy 6.30-7.30pm Deidre Brock Leith Walk 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 0131 529 4019 Leith Walk Ward Lib/Dem Advice surgeries: 1st Monday of month at Broughton Primary School, 6pm and 1st Wedneday of month at Lorne Primary School, 6pm
Aerobics Classes Lianne on 07779064991 firstname.lastname@example.org Tuesday's at 6pm Pilrig Church, no need to book. £3 per class, £2 concessions. Have fun and get fit
Out of the Blue Drill Hall 36 Dalmeny Street 0131 555 7100 outoftheblue.org.uk 4 Feb: Wee Dub Festival 2012, 12-4pm, free 10-24 Feb: How the Land Lies, new work by Alastair Cook, 10-5pm, Mon-Sat, free 11 Feb: Bruncheon! Featuring The Sound of Muesli, 11.30-3pm Weekly classes: Drama, dance, yoga, martial arts, belly dancing, music. Aerial classes and children's art workshops.
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
Leith Gallery 65 The Shore 0131 553 552 Faces 2012: Exhibition runs till 25th Feb
Malcolm Chisholm 0131 558 8358 MSP Edinburgh North & Leith Advice surgeries every Saturday morning. Mark Lazarowicz 0131 557 0577 MP for Edinburgh North & Leith Weekly surgeries every Friday (no appointment required) 4pm Stockbridge Library. 5pm Constituency Office, 5 Croall Place
McDonald Road Library 2 McDonald Road 0131 529 5636 Cra" for kids: Every friday, 3-4pm (ages 4-9) Bookbug Sessions: 2nd friday of month,11.30pm; Last friday of month, 10.30-11am; 2nd sunday of month, 2.30-3pm Polish Bookbug Session: Every Tuesday, 10.30-11am Urdu Book Group (women only): Last monday of month, 2-4pm Book Group: Last monday of month, 6.30-7.30
New spring advertising rates available! Contact 07908 550 118 for details info@ leithermagazine.com
Key Point Building services
All insurance work carried out. Free estimates. Mob. 07904 657899 Tel. 0131 555 2483 Email. email@example.com CREDIT CRUNCH DISCOUNT 10% OFF TO LEITHER READERS
Laughter Yoga Classes resume 16 May at Leith Community Centre, 7-8pm,£3/4
Rob Munn 0131 529 329 Leith Ward SNP
Marie Curie Cancer Care Fundraising Event 0131 561 3963 Edinburgh to Dublin Cycle Challenge, 12-15 July 2012. Looking for 60 keen participants to sign up and take on the challenge.
Gordon Munro Leith Ward Labour. Advice surgeries: 1st & 3rd Monday of each month at Leith Community Education Centre, 6.30-7.15pm. 2nd Tuesday of the month at Victoria Primary School, 6.30-7.15pm. Last Saturday of each month at Lochend Y.W.C.A. 12noon-1pm.
Ramsay Cornish 15 Jane Street. 0131 553 7000 Thu: 11am Traditional Lane Sale Sat: 11am General Household Auction.
1st & 3rd Mon of month: Leith Library 6pm 1st Fri of month: Leith Community Centre, 1pm 2nd Wed of month: Hermitage Park Primary, 6pm
Stockbridge Market Kerr Street Every Sunday, 10-5pm. Issue 82 | leithermagazine.com | 29
Register free at www.malmaison.com for ClubMal offers!
Singles Wine Tasting – 7pm for 7.30pm – 14th February - £29pp. Still searching for your special Valentine? Try different wines and champagne alongside matched canapés from our kitchen, in a candlelit se!ing!
across 1 5 10 11 12 13 15 18 20 23 25 26 27 28
Could be a fun guy, say! (8) Aircraft personel surrounded by Gestapo prison warders (6) Local flower (3,5,2,5) A right rump heading south in the red (7) Dam ‘Arry out at the boat builders (7) Plummy perhaps Eros on it (8) Pianist’s toilet (5) Turn turtle, where’s the pun, Ed? (5) Deter, opt out and plant again (8) Roll top smashed for tart (7) Now apse shattered for veggie (4,3) 50’s holiday hot spot in torpor to Bell “OBE” christian (10,5) The Spanish 500 established seniority (6) Depressed pupils? (4,4)
down 1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9 14 16 17 19 21 22 24 25
Short hand miner? (6) At liberty with mountains for eggs (4,5) Support 5 without fuss for boldness (7) Vegetable keels over (5) State with gold that is energy related (7) Boy with a girl (5) Short science in half prison for plotting (8) Dry paw with BO needs beauty treatment (4,4) Forcibly entered scattering pure dirt (8) Phony, phony heat in visible manifestation of God (9) Plum tie and learner confused with type of choice (8) Poll, sod off, shapeless lumps (7) Model with Russian currencey problem (7) Shop at bomb site to evoke pity (6) Rowed out o’ dear! (5) Plant as, all out (3,2)
crossword prize A bottle of Malmaison house wine
winner no.56 Martin Reid, Hillside
Email your answers to: firstname.lastname@example.org 30 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 82
Supplied by: www.leithlinks.co.uk
answers: crossword 56 across
1 Cable Car 5 Grilse 10 Towering inferno 11 Amorous 12 Pancake 13 Sweet Pea 15 Dhobi
18 20 23 25 26
Towel Needless Outstep Suntrap Gone with the wind 27 Relays 28 Hostages
down 1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9
Cathay Bow wow wow Earlobe Agnes Refined Lorna Esoteric Airplane
14 16 17 19 21 22 24 25
Pint pots Observing Stronger Let Away Longest Spades Tonal Set to
Leither in London Carrie Mitchell
Biting the Bullet Carrie swallows her pride and signs up to dating the 21st century way
I should’ve listened to my gut – or realised a man who changes the venue of our date because “this pub’s got much be"er nonalcoholic beer than the other one” is not for me
o people, I finally did it. Bored of waiting for the man of my dreams to just arrive on my doorstep, I’ve taken the leap and entered the strange world of online dating. And man, is it strange. Initially, it seemed quite fun. Instead of spending my Sunday evening watching lame TV, I was busy shopping for a man. Browsing hundreds of profiles of men in the area, I quickly eliminated most. He’s too short. That one’s too corporate. Eek, that one’s a vegetarian – then now and then, there’d be one who seemed to tick all the boxes. I’m not even sure I knew what my ‘boxes’ were until now but they seem to be – over 5ft 7, aged between 28 and 36, good with words, creative, funny and intelligent. Oh and they must not look like a serial killer. That one’s very important. On the advice of a seasoned onlinedater friend, I vowed not to be TOO fussy at first and by the end of my first shopping sesh, I’d ‘liked’ an astounding 18 men. What this essentially means is that they get an email saying ‘Someone likes you’ with a link to my profile. In an ideal world, all the men I’d liked would immediately ‘like’ me back, send me a message and after a brief chat, ask me on a date. Of course we don’t live in an ideal world. Of all those men who received my admiration in their inbox, a grand total of three returned the compliment. However a great many other men did reach out to ‘like’ me. The thrill of getting an email to my blackberry to notify me of this lasted all of two days before I realised that the
vast majority of these men were very very wrong indeed – and not just for me. You don’t get much ‘wronger’ than Dr Degenerate, a bio scientist with a passion for fetishism who likes a “little gay sex from time to time but that doesn’t have to impact on our relationship.” Oh really?? Some even took the leap of sending a message. These varied from the totally random: “Are you any good at lyrics?” (I hadn’t said I was a writer) to the frighteningly formal: “I love music too. What is the favourite gig you’ve been to and why?” all the way to the nauseating: “Mmmm…you seem so perfectly lovely… why haven’t you got a lovely boyfriend to kiss you goodnight? I could if you like”.
However among all the strange dedications, there were the odd few which seemed to have come from perfectly normal blokes. So normal in fact that I agreed to meet some of them. First of all there was JMac – real name Jon – a 6ft tall Kiwi lawyer who bizarrely resided approximately four minutes walk from my front door. In his online gallery, he looked like a blonde superman, which was enough for me to overlook the fear that, in reality, the accent and sensible job would put me off. Of course I should have listened to my gut – or at least realised that a man who changes the venue of our date because “this pub’s got much better non-alcoholic beer than the other one” is not for me and made my excuses the second I’d rinsed my own large G&T. Instead, despite the additional factor
of not finding him all that attractive in the flesh (much more Clark Kent than his macho alter-ego), I decided what the hell, I’ve not been on a date for eons, I’m making the most if it and accepted his offer of dinner at a nearby restaurant. And as luck would have it, the evening went quite well. He educated me a bit on the workings of online dating, shared some funny stories and introduced me to a fab little Vietnamese place seconds from my flat. Not at all awful. However when he leaned in for a kiss after walking me home, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it so I swerved the lips, gave him a swift peck on the cheek and quickly closed the door. “Perhaps, if you weren’t into him, you shouldn’t have stayed out till midnight with him,” suggested Liv as she tucked into the leftover duck pancakes I’d brought home. She clearly had a point but wasn’t I allowed one warm-up date? Now I’d survived the first one, I wasn’t nearly as scared of going on a second and he seemed to have had a nice evening – had I really led him on? Deciding not to risk doing so any further, I politely passed on his invitation to meet again when it arrived via text a few days later. Fortunately he accepted my reasoning that I just hadn’t felt a spark with good grace and wished me well. He made the whole process so painless that I leapt into accepting another date – this time with a man who’d won me over with his opening gambit: “Selleck, Guttenberg or Danson?” I’ll leave you to ponder that one until next time… Issue 82 | leithermagazine.com | 31