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Free Issue 93

Leither Bowie

Renaissance Man


Royal Babylon Viva Chavez! The Collective Gallery

Sleaze | Music | Health | Reviews | Politics | Food | Humour | Cinema

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2 | | Issue 93

Editor at Large


You know you are getting old… …

When you pass comment on a singularly interesting looking woman’s arrival in a room and your friends tell you to stop being a pervert. Or, when you make the understandable mistake of referring to your girlfriend as – your girlfriend – the same friends warn: “Now you’re just being creepy.” Why? “You’re to old to have a girlfriend, she is either your partner or significant other.” Add the fact that not only are policemen getting younger, but they are also getting shorter and have even been known to stop and ask you for directions and people endlessly enquire: “No really, how old are you?” And well, you get the idea… But mostly it is that booming voice in your conscience’s ear, the family doctor, who puts the cat among the pigeons on the age front. “You’ve got high cholesterol levels… I’m not going to ask you to stop drinking” – oh, the good sense

and humanity of the saintly fellow – “but I must ask you to have a think about the types of food you consume.” In one sentence he has wiped out consumption of all your favourite comfort (okay hangover cure) foods. All day breakfast in a tin, an ingenious amalgam of; chipolata sausages, tiny scotch eggs, cubes of industrial black pudding, pallid diced potatoes and slivers of streaky bacon which have never been attached to any living animal, far less a pig, all swimming in a sea of beans? Gone From the same company – whose bizarre genius should be recognised by the renaming of Edinburgh Castle in their honour – comes omelette, chips and beans in, you’ve guessed it, a tin. No real eggs have been killed in the making of the mini omelettes in this masterpiece, which have the texture and colour of a urine soaked disposable nappy. And what of the soggy potato cut to

resemble flaccid, albino chips that taste singularly of soggy blotting paper? Gone (By the way both the above ‘meals’, like revenge, are best served cold, straight from the can, preferably using the lid from the recently opened receptacle as a rudimentary spoon.) Heinz spaghetti bolognaise on four slices of burnt toast with a whole block of tasteless orange cheddar grated over it? Gone. And what of the legendary ‘Sair Finger’, first encountered in Yumble Dumbles, which involves the best part of a whole baguette stuffed with corned beef stovies given a bit of extra ballast by the addition of a whippet sized smoked sausage, topped off by battered onion rings and a ladle of green curry gravy (for textural variation)? Gone. As toothless cooks in cowboy movies would say. “Them’s eatings!” Gone. All gone. ■

Free Issue 93

Leither Bowie

Renaissance Man


Royal Babylon Viva Chavez! The Collective Gallery

Cinema | Food | Humour | | Reviews | Politics Sleaze | Music | Health

Cover: Self portrait in pose adopted for the album cover of Heroes, David Bowie 1978 © The David Bowie Archive 2012 © V&A Images



If you took the average horror audience and boiled it down to a condensed gloop…heck, I’ll let Alan Bett explain


A piece on an epic poem investigating the criminal record of the Royal Family? That’ll be Mr. Munro then


As Good Vibrations, a film portrayal of the larger than life Irish entrepreneur Terri Hooley, hits cinemas, Sharon Wilson catches up with the man himself


Carrie Mitchell takes on the daunting task of four celebrity interviews a month but this time she’ll remember to press the record button

Leither Published by: Leither Publishing Editor: William Gould ( 07891 560 338  Sub Editors: Dot Mathie, Shelley Smith and Stephanie Malcolm Design:  Photography: Ryan McGoverne  Advertising: Shelley Smith ( 07908 550 118  Contacts:  8 Cartoonist: Gordon Riach Illustrator: Bernie Reid Printers: Arc Printing Ltd ( 0131 555 5459  8 © 2013 LEITHER PUBLISHING. Reproduction in whole or part is forbidden without the written permission of the Publishers. The Leither does not accept responsibility for unsolicited material. If you have an interesting story we should know about, contact William Gould on tel: 07891 560 338. If you would like information on advertising or sponsorship opportunities with the Leither email:

Issue 93 | | 3

Protempore … As the right wing of the Tory party jostles for position in advance of the 2015 election. Our correspondent says, Viva Chavez! I

t’s amazing isn’t it? Just when you think that we’ve finally emerged from our long, dark winter; the crocuses and snowdrops are popping their heads above the ground and we get a couple of mild, jacketless, blue-sky days, winter comes back to bite us in the arse. And with some winds from the Russian steppes whipping in across the east coast, it’s not just cold; it’s bonechillingly icy. And so, with absolutely no intention of exposing my extremities to the elements, I’ve been holed up in the flat, making soup and watching the world’s shifting political climate. It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. I’m sure that at least some of you will have noticed that Hugo Chavez died recently. During his time as president of Venezuela, Chavez divided political opinion across the globe. To the people of Venezuela and the other socialist leaders in Latin America, he was the man who finally managed to rid the country of its political elite, which had managed to squander much of the country’s vast oil wealth and drive much of the population deeper into poverty. His vehement criticism of the United States and its ‘imperialist core’ won him support across the region. His reforming socialist policies (for example, subsidised food and free medical care for the poor) which were designed to address the vast inequalities built up in the country over decades of economic mismanagement, led to Venezuela having the fairest income distribution in Latin America - a situation which persists to this day. However, he was not without opponents and even enemies. Many accused him of driving Venezuela towards a one-party state and of relentlessly clamping down on those who opposed him. The United States, 4 | | Issue 93

naturally, viewed him with extreme caution and worried that his influence and his socialist ideals would spread far beyond Venezuela. (Heaven forfend that anyone should criticise the failed neoliberalist policies that have led to the collapse of capitalism across the globe!). Chavez was a charismatic politician who managed to win four terms in office, gaining support from the poorest in society and also from a middle-class which had witnessed its living standards plummet due to the political elite’s obsession with preserving its own wealth and power. Sound familiar? I bet it does and as that old Irish comic with the wellies used to say: “There’s more.”

Pigticians illustration by Bernie Reid

Softly, softly, Cameron

Remember Liam Fox? That’s right, the former right-wing Tory Defence Secretary who had to step down after it was revealed that he had been squandering tax payer’s money by travelling the globe with his ‘close friend’, young Adam Werrity in tow. Well, Fox has been back in the news recently, making what some commentators see as a speech designed to get him back where he thinks he belongs, on the Tory front bench beside his chums William Hague and Oliver Letwin. Fox has called on the Tories to “reverse the great socialist coup” of the last Labour Government – that’s right, the socialist coup which gave poor families tax breaks by introducing tax credits; which protected lower income family budgets by not increasing VAT; and by providing teenagers from lower income families with an educational maintenance allowance which helped them to stay on at school. Dr Fox doesn’t like any of this. And there are other

Remember Liam Fox? The former Defence Secretary who stepped down after squandering tax payer’s money travelling the globe with his ‘close friend’ Adam

things that he doesn’t like. He wants to remove the ring-fenced funding of the NHS – what he really means is that he would like to see the NHS being dismantled and healthcare opened up to the worst excesses of the capitalist creed. He also wants to remove ringfenced funding for schools. He doesn’t believe in international aid. He wants a freeze on all public spending for five years which would essentially push more and more people into poverty. What he really, really wants is to cut taxes for the richest people in society as he believes that this will cure the country’s economic ills. But wait. There’s even more. Fox wants to remove the winter fuel allowance for pensioners. I think I’m now beginning to see where this part of his plan comes together. Force older people to live in freezing conditions which will lead to them contracting hypothermia, which, in turn, forces them to obtain medical services which they will have to pay for as the NHS no longer exists, which, in turn, forces money into the hands of the privateers who have commandeered the health care services which Fox has invested in, and before you can say ‘close friend’ everybody’s happy. The right wing of the Tory party is now positioning itself in advance of the next general election in 2015. They smell blood as David Cameron’s softly, softly approach on Europe and gay marriage is not going down well in the dyed-in-thewool Tory heartlands. They genuinely believe that they could take over the leadership of the party and move it even further to the right thus marginalising the poor and vulnerable even more. Now that’s really chilling. In fact, Viva Chavez. ■ Protempore

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Issue 93 | | 5

The Collective Gallery moves from Cockburn Street to a UNESCO World Heritage rock Jaco Justice is thoroughly enthused by an Edinburgh institution’s relocation to the City Observatory

may well plant modern retail in an area fitter for nocturnal fun and medieval exploration. So what can Collective bring to the City Observatory? Well the topography and vantage point provide ‘distance to reflect’ as the gallery’s director Kate Gray told me. “Our Art Festival 2010 jaunt into the Observatory, which pitted Jenny Hogarth & Kim Colemanʼs live city projections from inside the Playfair building against its external panoramic views created the spark to develop the location permanently with the Council.”


rom the southeast corner of Gayfield Square one can see Leith Walk’s curved avenues wending up to the bunched, silhouetted figures backlit on Calton Hill. During daylight they snake along the elevation, an assemblage of dark stoned historical structures as backdrop. This contourcropped appreciation of the Acropolis (Lite) National Monument is, from this viewpoint point at least, mistakable for an unfinished motorway fly-over, with vista hunting lemmings perched perilously close to its edge. A rather morbid real time treasuring of the Athenian-nodding folly then, the pillars – having been designed by the New Town architectural demigod W H Playfair in the 19th century as a memorial to those fallen in the Napoleonic Wars – left starkly incomplete. Up there on old ‘Cold Town’ you’ll find plenty of fulfilled testaments. Enlightener Dugald Stewartʼs column protected urn, David Humeʼs unmarked grave, and some 100-foot high’s worth of Trafalgar tribute to Vice-Admiral Nelson. Along with the Burns and Political Martyrs monuments that’s a mighty home run of history and progress gazing back over Edinburgh’s framework onto its contemporary cultural hotspots. Such as Greenside Place’s glass-facaded OMNi centre, complete with its very own Playfair Bar, which can count pink 4 by 4 owner and general media whore Katie Price as alumni. Yet there is another, more illustrious, Playfair-collaborated complex perched upon the UNESCO heritage rock. The wall-enclosed City Observatory boasts his grand neo-classical temple, while New Town arch-planner James Craigʼs gothic tower and oxidised, segmented, City Dome corner the site. This beguiling astrological location, (alas locked and closed to the public, apart from the annual Open Doors event day, or if you rent the tower for a holiday) is perhaps most memorable to visitors as host to an evergreen icecream van parked, engine running, at its forlorn east gate. All but dormant these 30 years, potential redevelopment proposals lost in bureaucratic red tape, or scuppered by ‘building at risk’ 6 | | Issue 93

Notorious intervention

compromise. Indeed, for its entire twocentury lifespan, itʼs never really lived up to its titular billing, give or take the odd binary star system study. Especially disappointing given the land’s ‘common good’ status. For the three decades that the building has been seeking fresh purpose the Collective Gallery has been operating as a prolific artist-led creative space with a global reputation. They are now set to move their operations from Cockburn Street over to the Observatory in an ambitious gentrification plan. Reinterpretation of the site will allow both an expansion of their artist exhibition and support programmes as well as plenty of room to salute the history, research and endeavours of this locales previous guise (itʼs hardly a White Cube to stick a pickled fish in after all). As visions go this move has far reaching prospects for Edinburgh’s all year round arts identity. Festival August and the ever stretching Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations have left the city lacking swagger for the remainder of the year. Exciting new arts incubator Summerhall is still searching for identity, and therefore, audience, while the Cowgateʼs resurgence (in SoCo)

From top: Mary Redmond’s Grime (2012) & Alec Pollard’s Door Mat (2012)

Inceptions and puns aside, their One Mile program (‘05-ʼ08) challenged public attitudes towards the gallery space as an end place of artistic engagement. It raised the notion of a viewer’s relationship with artwork while embracing the urban situation and community, not just the theoretical deciphering of, say, a riddle hidden in a giant, abstract sculpture. As a mentoring and exhibiting platform for an artist’s first major project or commission, the new location will bolster career essentials such as engagement with peers and critical review. Mind you, a segue from Collective exhibitions past to present including Mike Nelsonʼs 1999 show To The Memory of HP Lovecraft – in which the artist wrecked (by way of Jorges Luis Borges) much of the gallery space ripe for his exhibiting – and the notorious on-site intervention of ECA undergraduate Kevin Harman, involving a scaffold pole and their window, will have the Council quaking. Still, the precipitous new site will certainly allow them to see who is coming over the horizon while breaking into ambitious curatorial territories. Artists will, no doubt, address themselves to the strong personality of the environment. The Collective Gallery has been a career spur for many acclaimed artists – over 60 of them contributed work to the auction (as we went to press) that hoped to raise money to assist the move to Calton Hill. Bankable Turner Prize winners and nominees jostled with exciting, investable newcomers, all of whom have had close ties to the gallery since it opened in 1984. Now, appropriately, on former animal farmland, the Collective Gallery has the opportunity to become the Big Brother of Edinburgh’s contemporary art scene. ■


Help Save Mannafields School


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annafields Christian School is located in central Edinburgh, on Easter Road. The School provides education for children from Primary 1 to Secondary 2 in two composite classes, which enables the teaching to be targeted to each individual child’s abilities. Although Mannafields is a faith based school it is very integrated and has been home to many children from different faiths, ethnicity and nationalities. No child is ever refused. Over more than two decades noOver more than two decades now Mannafields has empowered and equipped hundreds of children and their families to be a valuable part of this society. Among some of its former pupils are medical doctors, ministers, nurses, doctors of science, attorneys at law, teachers and many other valued professions. Those who have attended this amazing institution have described it as a family rather than a school. This environment has made it conducive for Mannafields to provide specialist attention to children with certain learning disabilities and social challenges. The teachers at are also incredible and when one attends any of their lessons it is glaringly obvious that teaching is not just a job to them but a calling. (Sometimes the children have on occasion been known to mistakenly refer to a teacher as Mummy!) The school believes in preparing children for life not just for jobs. But, guess what, this amazing institution is now facing closure unless they are able to raise enough money to survive, by end of April. The pupils, teachers and parents are all working really hard to prevent this unfortunate fate from coming to fruition. In one attempt to do this they are hosting a wonderful event that promises to be an amazing, memorable, fun day out for families and groups of friends. Especially if you are staying home for Easter this year and are at a loose end. Please seize this unique opportunity to have fun with your family whilst simultaneously helping to raise much-needed funds to keep the school open. Mannafields invites

you to, Edinburgh’s Ultimate Easter Scavenger Hunt. The Hunt will take place throughout the city and end with a lunchtime BBQ at Volgrie Park. There will also be many amazing prizes for teams who play to win. (The prizes not the game!) Up for grabs are holidays abroad, meal vouchers and hampers to name

but a few. These prizes have been donated to the school by businesses from all across Edinburgh. The event will take place on Easter Saturday, 30th March 2013. So, if you own a car or have access to one then gather your team of at least 4 people and sign up to be a part of this epic event! ■ ÊÊFor more information or to sign up go to feriface/eu-scavenger-hunt Issue 93 | | 7

When Nijinsky met Woolworths The classic archer pose from the Station to Station tour 1976


ver 40 years ago there was a revolution in pop culture when radical chic met old-fashioned showmanship, welcome to the wonderful world of Glam rock. One of the most inventive pioneers of the look was David Bowie, whose experiments with gender bending, costume and, of course, musical style, are now legendary. Bowie’s glory years are being celebrated in a blockbuster exhibition at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum and there is an equally blockbusting book to go with it. The exhibition showcases the star’s style – from costumes and album cover art, to scribbled lyrics and much more. Storyboards, sketches of stage sets, hand-written musical scores and diary entries reveal the evolution of his creative ideas. There is a concurrent exhibition on the glam phenomena at Tate Liverpool. Bowie’s outfits, hairstyle, and face make-up, defied fashion. In the mid1960s as a Mod who transmogrified into a hippy, he was in danger of becoming just another pop singer on the slide, until inspiration hit him. The turning point was his creation of Ziggy Stardust. He designed his alter ego’s otherworldly look – the shaved eyebrows, the changeling’s pallor, the satin hot pants, the woolly all-in-ones, the combat boots, and the kimonos – a look as startling now as it was four decades ago, though it is generally acknowledged that his more outré guises were the work of his missus Angie. In 1976 he memorably called his look “a cross between Nijinsky and Woolworths”. Ziggy’s heart-stopping image – which drew inspiration from the Droogs of Stanley Kubrick’s ultra-violent movie A Clockwork Orange, to fashion 8 | | Issue 93

A look as startling now as it was 40 years ago, though it is generally acknowledged that his more outré guises were the work of his missus Angie

shots in Vogue, surrealism, German Expressionism and Japanese Kabuki make-up – adorned a scant four album covers before it was laid to rest. By the early 1970s Bowie was a star, a household name and teenybopper idol (helped, no doubt, by the BBC sound tracking their coverage of the first moon landing with his Space Oddity). What he did, other pop stars copied, albeit in diluted form. Bowie’s persona for Ziggy Stardust – alien/fallen angel hybrid, or as Bowie put it, ‘a leper Messiah’ – was polysexual and self-destructive. Both male and female he seemed to defy any pat definitions. It was difficult to see where Ziggy stopped and Bowie began. His pale androgyny, his reticence, his strangeness was a saviour to who knows how many mixed-up teenagers troubled by adolescent angst, the outsiders, the sexually diverse; to anyone who has ever dared to defy convention Bowie/Ziggy said, it’s okay to be different. David Bowie’s mentor was Lindsay Kemp, an avant-garde fringe figure, mime artist and linchpin of what would now be called performance art. (Kate Bush was another of Kemp’s students.) Beat writer William Burroughs and the radical Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto were other major influences. His art-school sensibility and outrageousness was playful and deadly serious at the same time. Appearing on Top of the Pops in 1972, he created a genuine ‘water-cooler moment’, before the era of the water-cooler. Who was this weirdo? Asked a million parents; worried he’d corrupt their children. In Bowie’s music there was a nihilistic undertow quite at odds with glam rock’s bubblegum sensibilities, indeed the Ziggy period has been described as an apocalyptic song cycle and much has been made of how the singer’s ever changing mental equilibrium influenced the music and the look.

Madonna, Boy George, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Annie Lennox, Lady Gaga reinvented themselves and rummaged around in the dressing-up box with different degrees of success and originality. But magpie Bowie was the original oddity with that strange mix of hardness and vulnerability, no more so than on the single Where Are We Now, described in the music press as a lament, which was released earlier this year. At 66, while shunning the limelight, he is still making music. “Whether designing album covers, staging a concert or making a video, Bowie’s dynamic approach has resulted in an exceptional portfolio,” says Victoria Broackes, Director of the V&A Theatre and Performance Collections and co-curator of the London show. "He has constantly exhibited an uncanny ability to anticipate the next pop cultural movement: glam rock, electronic music, music videos or internet distribution." Bowie’s trajectory is well known to almost anyone over the age of 35. Ziggy was followed by other, alternative Bowie incarnations on film and vinyl. To today’s downloaders he is no doubt just as enigmatic, having, in his career, covered almost every genre of pop music from rock to dance music and soul to neurotic funk – not to mention his work as an actor, writer, producer, collaborator. According to writer Jon Savage, Bowie is: "the kind of performer that comes along just once in a generation and pulls the whole culture along in his (or her) wake." There will, to be sure, never be anyone quite like him again. ÊÊInfo: The David Bowie exhibition at the V&A in London runs from 23 March to 28 July 2013. The Bowie book by Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh is published by the V&A at £25. Glam! The Performance of Style is at Tate Liverpool until 12 May

© John Robert Rowlands

Kennedy Wilson gets up close to metamorphosis man David Bowie

Maid of Stone? Let the market decide As disagreements abound over a proposed statue of Margaret Thatcher, Colin Montgomery dips into the handbag marked ‘lunacy’

foreign corporations. Those that refuse to participate in this scheme shall have their plinths confiscated and be named and shamed in the local newspaper – with the worst offenders publicly lynched. Although to be honest, hanging’s too good for them as far as we’re concerned. Our proposals are:


’ve dosed myself up on lithium to write this. The spectacle of a man hosing a keyboard with his own insides is never a pleasant sight. Purely an allergic reaction you understand. Because after years of careful ‘wrath husbandry’ fuelled by needlessly tribalistic bile, I no longer have the energy to hate Margaret Thatcher. She has ceased to be human to me, like folk myth, totem and shibboleth rolled into one. A 100% effective way of calibrating and contextualising friendships, affiliations and beliefs. She’s become a surprisingly useful monster to me, albeit a harmless one, my accursed great white whale, suspended in formaldehyde. That’s not to say her legacy is harmless. Toxic doesn’t begin to describe the ugly ideological spawn that grew into the warty mess that is the discredited socio-economic orthodoxy some still cling to in a near pathological or indeed cultish dance of death. (Just writing that is therapy to me.) I won’t play to the echo chamber any longer though. Which is to wsay that I suspect a handsome majority of The Leither’s readership share my engrained, nay fossilised, disgust towards the woman. And I’m happy to let Protempore dissect that disgust in more forensic political detail. Instead, I propose a salve to the soul in the form of absurdity. Not the well-drilled nihilism of Beppe Grillo you understand. That’s too much like hard work. No, in the face of Thatcher’s demonic legacy and those who seek to celebrate it, I’ll take this opportunity to wade boldly into the swirling nonsense that is the debate surrounding the proposal of a Thatcher statue in her hometown of Grantham. The story so far, in a shock reversal, the Tories on the council have vetoed an attempt by the Labour shower to have a statue erected. Yes, claiming that the lady wasn’t for turning (herself into a statue), the true blues have said no to a stone Thatch. So, in line with the neo-liberal tenets of the old dear, let’s ‘outsource’ and invite private citizens to bid to run her legacy, freeing it from the dead hand of the state. Here’s my tender:

Big Bang

Remembering Thatcher – A Submission to Grantham Town Council

Thank you for this opportunity to submit our ideas for a suitable memorial to Margaret Hilda Thatcher (nee Roberts), Britain’s only female prime minister to date and a daughter of Grantham. Thank you too for extending the submission deadline. When we sub-outsourced our submission to a cheaper foreign provider, we had no idea they in turn would sub-outsource to an illiterate goat herd in the Carpathians who believes laptops to be bewitched slate and a portent of the beast’s return to Babylon. But hey we all skimmed off a profit and that’s what counts eh? For now, let us walk you through our response. In keeping with Lady Thatcher’s lifelong battle to vanquish monopolistic socialist strangleholds, there should be more than one memorial. Then, the paying public, via the unerring dexterity of the market’s invisible hand, shall decide which will triumph as the only true memorial to her eternal wisdom and good old-fashioned British spunk. This will of course render the other memorials redundant. But fear not. They shall be forced to work for their upkeep by taking jobs as landmarks for

Maggie slicing up Britain on Spitting Image

In a shock reversal, the Tories have vetoed an attempt by Labour to have a statue erected, claiming that the lady wasn’t for turning (herself into a statue)

Once, our beloved ‘Square Mile’ was a place of limited ambition. But thanks to Mrs Thatcher’s glorious Big Bang and the bonfire of regulation it entailed, the City of London is the envy of the world, a place of unfettered wealth generation, which all around this nation are benefiting from. Just look at where it has left us today. To celebrate that enduring triumph we propose a weekly explosion in the town square. Yes there may well be casualties, but they are the necessary collateral damage of the market revolution.

The Eternal Flame

‘Come home to a real fire’. So went the famous ad extolling the virtues of a hearth full of burning coals. What a shame that wholesome family image is forever besmirched by the vulgar mob of quarrelsome troglodytes known as ‘the miners’. Still Mrs T showed them a thing or two eh? To both celebrate that victory and discourager les autres we propose a burning effigy of a coal miner. Literally a giant miner made of coal. Burning for all time.

The Belgrano Monument To be positioned exactly 370 km from Grantham, facing away from the town, this fetching exploding ship design is a reminder of how our dear Margaret tore up the rule book in everything she did to usher in a land of free enterprise, hard work and productive in-fighting. And in doing so she sailed HMS Blighty to the prosperous waters of foreign ownership, divide and rule and marketisation. God bless her and all who sail in her. ■ ÊÊInfo: Please note shares in this tender are available to buy. Apply 11 Downing Street Issue 93 | | 9

Daniel Gray’s Midget Gems No.9

Concerning Charlie & How to Wait for Girls C

harlie has been a sweepie for eighteen years. He never meant to clean the streets this long. Thought something else might come up, then a career path at the council. “Well, once you’re in, you’re in. That’s whit was supposed to happen, anyhow.” He probably thought he’d be running something by now. Maybe he should be. Charlie only works until 1.30pm; “Efter that, there’s nae one to sweep up so that’s why it’s a guddle by tea time. It’s the cutbacks, ye see.” In the afternoons, he likes to sit in front of the telly and do his crossword. “I love my puzzles, like.” He hasn’t got enough money to go to the pub every day, but when he can ‘a wee hawf and a nip’ is ‘taken’. Charlie is saving up at the minute, for a holiday. “Nothing special like, but ah’d love to go up north. Went when I was in the BBs and ah’ve no’ been since.” There’s never been a Mrs Charlie: “Ah’m just one of they yins who’s never settled doon. Ah’m a bit o’ a free spirit, you see.” And with a roll of the eyes and a veteran cough, Charlie is away. The next time I see him he is absentmindedly attacking some chewing gum with his sweeping brush, thinking much of holidays.

American football reverie A large open plan office. Lots of people walking really quite fast to nowhere in

particular. Their heels clump against the carpet, which has a number one haircut. There is a ‘Touchdown Area’ so I run the room’s length shouting in American and then dive down beneath it. That’s in my head, of course. Actually I am hiding in the toilets, wondering where it all went so wrong, for me and for them.

one minutes she’ll be here. An actual walking, talking girl that I might be able to touch. The other day in Maths, a lad friend had told me he’d broken ‘top half only’ rules; I just want to get as far as ‘top half only’. It would be a start. The bus pulls up. She gets off. The bus pulls up. They get off. I look at my three year-old and feel sorry that one day, she will have to be a teenager.

Top half only rules

I am waiting for someone, someone who is on a bus. I sit on a wall by the stop and find a song that is five minutes long. At the song’s end the bus is due. It occurs to me I have been doing this for nearly two decades. Now, I am waiting for my daughter, returning with her Granny from a winter’s day in a seaside town. Back then, it would be a pal from a different village to mine, a third of his pocket money splodged on his fare, the other two thirds already mentally spent on a quarter of sweets in a paper bag and Shoot magazine. A couple of years on and the lads who were my friends have gone. Now it is lasses who I hope, but I’m not sure, are more than just my friends. You can never be sure with girls, I think as I rewind the Walkman to a song, a song that lasts until the bus arrives. When you’re on your own with them they tell you you’re great, then when they’re at school they ignore you. Anyhow, I’m waiting for this one now, and I can’t believe in five four three two

The Art of Waiting

Anyhow, I’m waiting for this girl at a bus stop, and I can’t believe in five four three two one minutes she’ll be here

This month Dan’s been feeding his ears with the immense new I Am Kloot album…filming a thing about

the new book…hearing Wee Blue Eyes ask “Daddy, have you got your earplugs in?” I did. They’re shit

10 | | Issue 93

So much seems to be about waiting. Buses, good news, holidays; we’re forever just waiting for them. Our lives are a series of waits punctuated by arrivals and events. I’ve often wondered what I would be now if I’d used some of my waits constructively, learned a foreign language or something. I’m still waiting for an answer to my ponderings. There are skills involved in waiting, but circumstances and equipment are critical. A wait for public transport without headphones is a tortuous one. A wait for medical test results, added to free time on the internet googling symptoms too. Length of wait matters. Some are long enough for you to forget about them in the meantime. Some are practical enough for you to carry out other chores as you, well, wait. Some waits though, are only ten minutes, and ten minutes is rubbish. ■ ÊÊTwitter: @d_gray_writer ÊÊWeb:

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Irene is well known in Edinburgh for her lively poetry readings but she is also one of Real Foods’ earliest customers. Over 35 years ago Irene and some friends got together and ordered a variety of products from Real Foods, essentially starting their own small food co-operative. ‘Back in the ‘70s, we didn’t have much money but I wanted to feed my small children well. So a few women clubbed together and bought food in bulk from Real Foods - dried fruit and nuts, oats, flour, pasta, cereals, rice and the like. It worked out so much cheaper and you got such good quality for your money. I live by that principle today. I would rather have one excellent quality, cup of ethical coffee than more of a horrible, cheap coffee. I’m still a regular customer of Real Foods and they have some amazing offers with up to 50% off. Of course I use my 5% senior discount too. That’s not something you get everywhere! I think it is really important to support our local, independent shops - they add vital character to our environment. All the staff know me at Real Foods and we have a genuine friendly chat when I go shopping. That’s something you can’t buy. It creates a community - a real village in the city.’

Issue 93 | | 11

Dancing About Architecture No.15

The Ugly Guardians of The Beautiful Game

Rodger Evans channels Archie MacPherson’s ginger comb over and John Motson’s sheepskin coat to get to the dark heart of football’s pleasure and pain


y Grandpa was a heroic figure, a tall and dignified Maybole man with a knack for storytelling, and the one thumb. An industrial accident in the 1930s had robbed him of his 10th digit and the chance too of a trial with Preston North End. He loved his football, claiming to have watched the Wembley Wizards humble the England team on their own turf, and remained a season ticket holder at Somerset Park until ill health red-carded him. That passion, that infatuation, that curse, he shared with me just in time for the 1978 World Cup. Thanks, Wullie. So when the Scotland team came home, not in triumph but in tarnation, I understood the flimsiness of faith, the shallow splash of the wishing well, and the masochism of those who believe the rumours of splendour perpetrated by ugly guardians of the beautiful game. My dreams were no longer shatter proof and, cross my broken heart; I swore this would never happen again. Oh callow 11-year-old self! As Rod Stewart, that most teary of Tims, put it: “You can make me dance, you can make me sing. You can make me do just any old thing. And I love it” My first football high – save John Robertson’s penalty against England in 1981, which Joe Corrigan didn’t – was Oxford United climbing from Third to First division in two seasons and staying awhile, despite the bumptious presence of one Captain Bob Maxwell, the Bouncing Czech. The Mighty Yellows also won the Milk Cup, this in the year I turned 19 and I failed to see how that could be bettered. I was right. Sat in the Croatian spring, 20 years after that frabjous day at Wembley – one on which the exceptional touch of Ray Houghton undid QPR – I received a

text from a pal saying OUFC had been relegated from the football league. My team had fallen off the edge of the world. I sipped a beer and contemplated oblivion, the last day of the holiday passing as a dream, a bad dream and one from which there could be no waking. Come 2010 and four years into a stint in the Blue Square Premiership, with already one play-off semi-final defeat, the U’s were seeking redemption – alas, Google Maps can’t assist here – and a return to the league proper. Hobbit-like genius Alfie Potter scored in the 88th minute, making it 3-1 and causing your correspondent to celebrate like Prince Rogers Nelson; exhorting folk to go crazy but spelling it kray-ze, growing a Clark Gable ‘tache and wearing exclusively mauve. Or perhaps I simply levitated down Wembley Way. Christ, I hadn’t felt that good since I read that Leith-centric book turned into a film with the line about Renton not feeling that good since Archie Gemmill scored etc. Moon jumps and parrot maladies are of course the stuff of life and death and the game Bill Shankly claimed was more important than both. I was lucky enough to have a ticket for the UEFA cup final in 2003 – which Celtic narrowly lost to a Mourinho team that won the Champions League just 12 months later – and recall I Will Survive playing over the PA as we left the Estadio Olimpico. I’ve seen Man U, Barca and AC Milan

Sandy Jardine, Gordon McQueen, Kenny Dalglish with rock star Rod Stewart

Any defeat to the Govan Cloggers XI, or goodygoody Spartans FC – damn their superior facilities and solid community ethos – pains me

leave Parkhead with nil points. But any defeat to the Govan Cloggers XI, Il Duce’s Swindon Town or goodygoody Spartans FC – damn their superior facilities and solid community ethos – pains me; joy restored by my sons scoring for their school or Leith Athletic, even with my pound a goal bonus scheme – not one, be assured, involving EBTs. Driving home after Celtic’s win over the Catalans, Radio Shortbread referred to Lionel Messi’s ‘consolation goal’ and we laughed like hysterical 11-yearolds. Such are the nights that remind us why we’re fans; enduring moralebusting and goalless midweek nil-nils in November, tolerating the on and off-field cretinism and arrogance of a parade of expensive haircuts masquerading as athletes, and, without hint of emotional self-preservation – a trait missing also in drug addicts and the love stricken – renewing our season tickets. Football, eh, bloody hell. She’s a mythical and shrink-hearted beauty, forever threatening to deliver the frigpig truth, her hypnotic allure suggesting the golden chance of fast-tracked membership to the court of Kublai Khan, but more often – teeth bared and eyes rolling back in their sockets – followed by the farting of a Rodgers and Hammerstein show-tune. And guess what? She can make you dance; she can make you sing; she can make you do just any old thing. ■

This month Rodger lost the wee one’s favouritest teddy on the No.25 bus (a light brown M&S bear who answers to Spencer and loves a cuppa), and persuaded his 8 year old, who takes ownership of his Gran’s record player soon; it’s what’s in the groove that counts

12 | | Issue 93


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FoodReview John Holmes

A lack of loaves and fishes and redemption in Leith Edinburgh Larder Bistro 1a Alva Street Edinburgh  0131 225 4599 The Galley 20 Salamander Street Leith  0131 538 6725


’m running out of ideas, as you may have surmised from my last effort, which I left in the able hands of my dining companion. What, with my decision not to review in Leith – for fear of falling out with some of Edinburgh’s finest restaurateurs – whilst spending around three-quarters of my time socialising here, and a reluctance to venture much further south than Broughton Street, the choice out there is not huge. So if you have a place that you’d like the bright light of The Leither to shine upon, let us know. For now, we alighted upon Edinburgh Larder Bistro, which occupies a hitherto ‘unlucky’ spot on the corner of Alva and Queensferry streets in the West End. The current owners took over last summer and have given the place a reasonably pleasant makeover. But the first thing that struck us, on this cold Saturday night in late February, was how quiet it was. If you’re not at least three-quarters-full on a Saturday night, what chance the rest of the week? Anyway, the very friendly antipodean waitress showed us to our table in the back room where two other couples sat, quietly eating. I didn’t have a good feeling about the place. But no one wants other than success for new local ventures, so I decided to apply my New 14 | | Issue 93

Year’s resolution and be positive, and nice… The menu was changing the following Monday, so there was an offer of two courses (including a glass of Prosecco) from the a la carte menu at £24. For starters, December’s Guest Reviewer chose smoked haddock with potato and salad, except it was off. This was explained as being due to the imminent menu change, but smoked haddock pate was available instead. December’s Guest Reviewer was not impressed. She chose the pate anyway but soon realised why it was on the menu instead of actual smoked haddock – barring Divine Intervention, there wasn’t enough fish to go round even though we were well short of a multitude. Bad start. This would be an appropriate juncture to expand on my tortured pun and tell you that whilst I spied some lovely looking bread in the middle room, whilst on my way for a ‘comfort break’, none had been offered to us. I enquired and was advised that you had to ask for it. So I did, and it was an extra £2, for two slices – albeit thick – cut into four! Not generous when the average starter is £6 and the average main £16. But back to the starters – I had caramelised shallot tart (with crowdie mousse), usually a favourite of mine but this one tasted only of onion, and it shouldn’t. Redeeming feature – the pastry was very nice. For mains we had pheasant with pear and roast potatoes, and venison loin with barley risotto. The pheasant was well cooked and moist, a well-balanced dish that would have benefitted from a little more jus. But the venison was too strongly flavoured, verging on

Interiors of The Galley Bar & Restaurant

overpowering due to its accompanying mustard and thyme gravy. Conversely the wine we chose was too soft to be described as a good Rhone, as it is on their list, and overpriced at £23.95 – it’s available at £9, retail. It was okay, not quite water but far short of miraculous… For puds, the chef had tried too hard to make an apple charlotte a bit different – and it didn’t work for December’s Guest Reviewer. And whilst I found the chocolate tart acceptable, it was a bit too gelatinous with a rather bitter aftertaste. I was heading towards 4 territory but was reminded I was trying to be nice give it 5 she suggested. Hmmm.

The Galley Leith Edinburgh Larder Bistro ««««««««««

Damage: £82.75 The Galley Leith


Damage: Under £50

So this New Year’s resolution thing was gnawing at my conscience. I had to find somewhere about which I could gush. And such a place presented itself the very next day. We eat out in Leith most Sundays and on this particular one opted for the newly opened Galley on the corner of Salamander and Elbe streets. Our experience led me to disregard my aforementioned rule. We had the best Thai fish cakes I can


Some Dishes From Our New Menu! Confit duck, Toulouse sausage & pork belly cassoulet

The best Thai fish cakes I can remember having

remember having – even better that those at The Ship or The Port of Siam. There were whole pieces of cod, prawns and smoked haddock in there, and an accompanying chilli broth had exactly the right level of chilli kick. Beside them, the potato and leek soup might sound a tad uninteresting but it was warming and thick, a perfect pick-me-up for a freezing February night. Our mains of broccoli stilton tart and fish pie with chive mash were also excellent. We hosed them down with a very nice South African Chenin Blanc, which I think I thought better than Kelly (the owner who happened to be doing a shift in the kitchen that night) did. Go and support them, because The Galley is an excellent addition to The Compass stable and I hope it goes from strength to strength. Indeed, so happy was I that a 10 out of 10 was mooted, but that would be too nice; I had to find a fault. Then it happened – Adele came on the music player – and that’s a one-point penalty in any man’s language. Then, as we were girding ourselves for the cold walk home in the snow, Al Green replaced her, and even this (cynical) old heart of mine thought that merited a half-point back. ■

Monkfish cheeks, parma ham, pea & herb risotto Spinach & falafel burger, onion marmalade, chips, salad

2 Restalrig Road, Leith Links Monday - Saturday 9am - 8:30pm Sunday 10am - 8:30pm 0131 538 0664 Bijou-Bistro-A-Local-Eatery/ Issue 93 | | 15

Dark Carnival: A Symphony of Horror Alan Bett reports back from the dark side of the street as the Frightfest audience blink in the daylight after 36 tense hours 16 | | Issue 93


t was on the second day that the feeding frenzy began. I shivered, watching flailing limbs churn the thick air. There was no blood, except perhaps from a paper cut, as the stampede for free movie posters – offered up between films – continued unabated, merchandise-hungry middle aged men scrambled down the aisles of Glasgow Film Theatre, desperate for their spoils. This was Frightfest you see, a two-day extravaganza of horror. The day started well with Black Sabbath (The Three Faces of Fear), Mario Bava’s bloodthirsty beauty. Now we emerge, sated, from the immensely entertaining South American exploitation flick Bring me the Head of Machine Gun Woman; a film whose title holds no secrets. These are the true genre fans. If you took an average horror audience and boiled it down, evaporating off the squeamish part timers, teen dates and late night drunks, then this is the condensed gloop you’d be left with. And they are the reason I came here, to embed myself in this culture, as Hunter S. Thomson suggested: “To watch the real beasts perform.” I latch onto a brood of said beasts and we share some beers. Duncan proudly wears his wife’s Christmas gift; an ultimate geek chic Weyland Corp hoody from Prometheus, his bald goateed head duplicated endlessly in the crowds around us, enforcing the stereotype. “If I was going to commit a murder anywhere it would be here because there are thousands of faces like mine!” Duncan

exclaims, relishing his place in this audience who, depending upon the angle of the shot, mirror the voyeurs, victims and violators up on the screen. Most impressively they have a box of wine for boozy mid-film top ups to fuel this two day session of drink and violence – where nobody gets hurt. And that’s what it’s all about, their simple answer when I question their dark tastes? “It’s just good fun, having a drink and a laugh, actually the worst films are the best films. Boring; that’s the most damning thing levelled at any Frightfest film.” As an audience they react to blood and guts with a healthy release of laughter and erupt as one when a character blows their own head off with a shotgun. That is why this fanatical, knowledgeable tribe are trusted as the first to be shown these films. Features such as Neil Jordan’s neo gothic vampire tale Byzantium and the natural disaster nastiness of the Eli Roth produced Aftershock. And why the wonderfully outlandish Norwegian series Hellfjord was signed up for British TV, purely on Frighfest’s whoops of delight (it’s great, watch it!). Finally, why they’re the most enjoyable crowd I’ve had the pleasure to share a film with. They are trained chapter and verse in this stuff, they see behind the curtain and know that it’s all simply a dark carnival. It’s easy to judge them superficially – like 1980s video nasties ignorantly critiqued on their lewd VHS covers. I can understand this leper complex a little.

You see I was sent a Frightfest movie to review a few weeks back…The ABC’s of Death – 26 ways to die and I’m on about the 25th when the doorbell chimes and I open up to my new neighbour who’s locked herself out. She comes in to use the phone with the film still playing in the background and I will never forget her confusion gradually making way to abject fear as she faces the disturbing vision of naked Japanese ladies slathered in blood...oh, and a giant plastic penis. “I’ this,” I offer as an unsatisfactory excuse before suggesting tea while she waits. “Ugh... no,” she answers, possibly with the words ‘Put the fucking lotion in the basket!’ swirling horribly around her mind. I can dig it; a monstrous phallus would put anyone on guard. Sexuality is scary after all, why do you think horror audiences are packed with dating teens? But through horror we tackle these primal terrors whether it’s age, loss or Freddy Krueger fracturing our relationship with sleep – that cousin of death.

Horror in drag

Somebody who knows this all too well is Director of Frightfest Alan Jones. A personal friend of Dario Argento and Sam Raimi, his fledgling scribblings were proofed by cult legend Harlan Ellison in the late 1970s. Most importantly he is a man who prioritises the opinions of those sitting in the cinema seats. He materialises unnervingly around the theatre asking, “What did you think of

Clockwise from L to R, Aftershock, Bring me the Head of Machine Gun Woman & Byzantium

No one’s going to walk out on the grounds of bad taste though they may walk out if it’s in good taste

that? Did you like it? Be honest!” And has a wicked delight in this crowd’s twisted reactions. “Oh they’ll applaud.” He tells me, beaming. “There’s one shot in Aftershock I just know they’re going to raise the roof over and I cannot wait to be in the theatre for that moment.” On subtext he suggests that: “Horror is the perfect genre to sneak things in which are quite subversive or would be off-putting in the can deal with those edgy subjects in a fantasy way...but it doesn’t mean the message is less hard hitting. I’m not saying all horror should be Ken Loach movies in horror drag, but it makes these subjects more palatable, if that’s possible.” It allows us to experience those fears, to learn our moral lessons and escape unscathed. And as we grow out of one terror another grips us, “Fears are different for whatever age group you are, whatever demographic you are, for whatever class you’re in really. The older you get you tend to become more scared of dying.” Don’t Look Now must leave a particularly deep scar on parents, while Eden Lake found an unlikely ally in the Daily Mail readers who usually show an unqualified hostility to horror; this time identifying with the common enemy of working class feral youth. When I discuss these shifting sands of fear with Doghouse director Jake West, a contributor to The ABC’s of Death, he suggests an everyday dread fit for our times. “The word mortgage means ‘till death doesn’t it? That would have been a

good one, M for mortgage.” These demon days of economic meltdown are just waiting to be mirrored in our onscreen fears. In fact they already have, as Alan tells me, “We had a great movie two years ago, The Glass Man which was about a guy going off the rails because of the recession and killing his family because he just can’t tell them that he’s been fired from his job.” But although our fears are malleable, tolerance stretches alongside the moral elasticity of modern filmmakers. As we are draped in this desensitizing blanket then the task grows ever harder, along with the content of their films. “The one thing I’ve learned over the years is that there’s always another film waiting in the wings somewhere,” Alan suggests, “like a Martyrs, like A Serbian Film, like a Woman; something that’s going to suddenly come out and hit us in the face.” But this is an audience that is impossible to offend, if the fans I spoke to are to be believed. “No one’s ever going to walk out on the grounds of taste. They might walk out if it’s in good taste.” And with Alan Jones at the helm there’s little need to worry as he tells me finally: “I would never censor anything, I’ve never seen anything which has gone beyond acceptability and if I did that would just be more reason to show it.” Reassuring words for this erudite, fanatical audience who after 36 savage hours spill out into the night. ■ ÊÊTwitter: @AJBee888 Issue 93 | | 17

Sunshine on, erm, Leith Mike Smith, a southsider and jambo to boot on his recently consummated love affair with EH6


t is often said that marriage is an institution. It is also often said I should be in one but that’s another story. Last year was a difficult one for me as my marriage of 30 years came to an end. I’m not the only person to go through a painful separation after a long marriage so I won’t dwell on the gory details except to say my family and friends were shocked by the news. The consensus seemed to be that of all the people they knew who were married, our marriage was the one they didn’t expect to fall apart. C’est la vie and all that. However, their shock at the demise of my marriage was as nothing to their shock when they discovered I was moving to Leith… Since 1990, I had lived in Dalkeith, the heart of Midlothian. Now I realise that’s not a description likely to go down too well with readers of this esteemed publication. And yes, I must tell you dear reader, I am a lifelong Hearts supporter as the numerous lines on my face and greying, if rapidly diminishing, hairline will tell you. So having digested the news that my marriage was over, those close to me thought it was a ‘double whammy’ when news broke that I was going to live in ‘enemy territory’. Hearts supporters of my acquaintance thought the break up of my marriage had had an adverse affect on my mental health. “You’re moving to where?” They asked, with consistently high degrees of incredulity. “Don’t you know that’s the dark side of town? You’ll be perilously close to Hibernian FC, who ‘hate Jam Tarts and hate Dundee’,” (I don’t think 18 | | Issue 93

many Hibees do hate Dundee, it’s just that it conveniently rhymes with FC), “can’t you move to Gorgie?” The truth is that, initially, I did move to Gorgie for 6 months, a stones throw from that well-known drinking establishment popular with people of the maroon persuasion, The Athletic Arms, known locally as The Diggers. However, in July last year I moved in with the new love of my life who lives just off Great Junction Street. And, I have to say to my family, friends and fellow Hearts supporters – I love living in Leith – as a ‘Leith Jambos’ banner at last year’s Scottish Cup Final declared, I suspect I’m not the only Hearts fan declaring those sentiments.

A bygone age

It’s only when you move to the city from the suburbs that you appreciate the advantages of living in town. I actually lived in Mayfield, a suburb of Dalkeith and a sad example of suburban decay. There is little of any interest there aside from a couple of pubs and bookmakers. It’s a 15-minute bus journey from Dalkeith which itself has little to offer aside from more pubs and bookmakers and the odd cafe. You have another 3045 minutes bus journey from Dalkeith before you sample the cultural delights of Auld Reekie (clearly, I’m excluding Gilmerton from this). Leith, however, is different. It’s an exciting, vibrant community rightly proud of its history and still hankering after the days when it was an independent borough and Edinburgh only began at Pilrig Street. There’s a character about Leith that shouts out from the pavements of Leith Walk as you head down from the city. Famous names adorn the streetlamps proclaiming (do you see what I did there?) their love for the place. The Kirkgate Shopping Arcade may

Dear reader, I am a lifelong Hearts supporter, as the numerous lines on my face and greying, if rapidly diminishing, hairline will tell you

have been a consequence of an ill thought out 1960s architectural dream but there is a character about it that marks it out from other similar shopping arcades. Something, which the people of Leith might say, perhaps has its faults but it’s theirs. Constitution Street, The Shore and Commercial Street are laden with history and tales of a bygone age when Leith was a major port. A history should never be forgotten and will never be forgotten. Fine organisations such as the Leith Historical Society – which I have attended – will ensure that is the case. The numerous Polish, Chinese and Mediterranean supermarkets along Leith Walk illustrate the diverse nature of the area. On my way to work every morning, I cross Great Junction Bridge and take inspiration from the Water of Leith below; the tranquillity of the cycle path and walkway running alongside is a haven from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I close my eyes and imagine the great steam trains of yesteryear trundling under the bridge and the steam wafting to the street above. I haven’t forgotten Mayfield, as my daughter and wonderful grandchildren live there and I see them every weekend. And, being a season ticket holder at Tynecastle, my trips to Gorgie are still as frequent (despite some of the performances of the boys in maroon this season). However, despite being here for less than a year, I now look forward to coming home to Leith. I never thought someone who has been a Hearts fan for 45 years would say that – but believe me I mean it. My heart is now firmly resident here. Even if this means I will still have to go to Gorgie to see a victorious football team in an open-top bus. ■ ÊÊTwitter: @Mike1874

God Save Your Mad Parade

Monarchy is only the string which ties the robber’s bundle – Percy Bysshe Shelley


he furore provoked by the remarks in Hilary Mantel’s recent lecture – about the Duchess of Cambridge, a young woman who happens to be in the media spotlight – shows that sycophancy is still the order of the day whether for the lower orders or award winning authors. The fuss about the essay, mainly based on froth rather than a reading of the work itself (yes, Mr. David Cameron, that does include you and your knee jerk reaction), makes the silence about the epic poem Royal Babylon: The Criminal Record of the British Monarchy by award wining playwright and polymath Heathcote Williams even more interesting. Why pick on Hilary Mantel and not Heathcote Williams? Coruscating is a favourite word of mine, which is handy as it describes Royal Babylon perfectly. Sycophancy will always follow royalty and countering the outpourings of obsequious flattery in Jubilee year was Williams’ investigative poem which was published by IT and made into a video installation by the filmmaking collective Handsome Dog. Whale Nation, a previous work by Heathcote Williams sold in quantities as huge as its subject matter – this planet’s largest mammal. This latest work has been largely ignored and not just by the ‘poetry police’. As I said, those old hippy provocateurs at International Times have made a comeback on the Internet and earlier this year began to publish the poem online (at Its word of mouth popularity has seen it make the reverse journey into hard copy print form. Taking the (should’ve been) number one hit God Save the Queen by The Sex Pistols – released in 1977, Silver Jubilee year – as its starting point, Royal Babylon goes for the jugular and does not let go. Reminding readers, including this one, that Jamie Reid’s original artwork put swastikas in the monarch’s pupils as a reminder of the Royal Family’s Nazi connections, a past indeed referred to by the Pistols in the song – a step too far? Well Stuttering George VI is quoted and referenced on the problem of refugee Jews (in spring 1939) in the poem: ‘He blithely said he was “glad to think that steps are being taken, to prevent these people leaving their

country of origin”’. His secretary Lord Halifax telegraphed the British Embassy in Berlin asking them to encourage the German Government “To check the unauthorised emigration of Jews.” This was no simple gaffe; there are more references in the poem, his big brother – while honeymooning in Germany, telling one interviewer “I never thought Hitler was such a bad chap.” That’s why the swastikas were there not for style or provocation but as a reminder of a past that, whilst not taught, should nevertheless not be forgotten. I don’t recall any of the above in The King’s Speech indeed it may be one of the reasons why the general public never got the opportunity to make their own mind up about Royal Babylon during Jubilee year. The present is invoked as well, herein lies invective and a memory that does not forget. It’s aim is to show ‘A voracious vacuum that’s unsatisfied by seven palaces, Which requires over a thousand servants, And the state’s Holy Family, protected 24/7 by SAS patrols, Is charged to the taxpayer without their permission’. At a cost of over £50m a year, by the way. The investigative intent of the poem reveals that the current monarch signed the death warrant for the execution of Michael X, the self-styled civil rights activist, in Port of Spain in 1975. This is a power that the crown still retains. Did you know that? Thought not. It goes on to reveal how the family helps

Lord Halifax telegraphed the British Embassy to ask them to encourage the German Government “To check the unauthorised emigration of Jews”

the arms trade sell weapons whilst making a neat ‘commission’ as well, for services rendered. These are not the only ‘services rendered’ mentioned in the poem but as the Leither is not a tabloid or any other such scurrilous organ, you will have to read it yourself to find out more. Footnotes and references are provided for some of the more risqué quatrains in the poem to back up what some will portray as the ravings of Heathcote Williams the lefty. Whilst diverting in there own right and eminently enjoyable, the main text is where you should concentrate your attention, it truly is illuminating in its main aim of showing the criminality referenced by Shelley. In his review of Royal Babylon Niall McDevitt – pidgin poet on Radio 4’s Home Truths programme – asks the question: “Is it a poem? Some say polemic doesn’t count as poetry. Others say Heathcote Williams’ style is more prose than poetry. I see it as a stellar example of what Rimbaud called objective poetry.” (I’m reminded here of an old invocation by Leither favourite Patti Smith, “Go Rimbaud go!”) This comprehensively researched poem remains defiantly subjective. In a previous era Williams would certainly have been tried for treason. It is a wake up call and speaks to times past and yet to come, most importantly poetry just got dangerous again. “Go Heathcote go!” Milton and Shelley would be proud. ■ Issue 93 | | 19

“America had the haircuts and London had the trousers but Belfast, Belfast had the reason” T

his month sees the general release of the film Good Vibrations, which tells the story of Belfast-born Terri Hooley, who lost one eye in a childhood accident, yet grew up to be a man who many would call a visionary. Dubbed ‘The Godfather of Punk’, Hooley established independent record store Good Vibes on Belfast’s Great Victoria Street – commonly known as ‘Bomb Alley’ as it had been the scene of so much destruction during the 70s. Thus, at the peak of The Troubles, Hooley found himself on the frontline when punk, with its energetic anti-authoritarian stance exploded. The shop rapidly became Punk HQ for an Alternative Ulster. He went on to set up the record label Good Vibrations and signed The Undertones before releasing the legendary Teenage Kicks. The biopic stars Richard Dormer as Terri, Jodi Whittaker as his wife and Dylan Moran as the manager of The Harp Bar, the venue for punk gigs in Belfast at the time. Adrian Dunbar plays one of the IRA members who regularly meet at The Harp. The film opens on a Lynchian childhood scene where we see exactly how Hooley lost that eye whilst playing cowboys and Indians – think arrow and eye. As he is rushed to hospital the soundtrack plays Hank Williams’ I Saw the Light, picking up on Hooley’s enduring love of the country legend and of course scoring symbolic points. It’s a beautifully shot, blurry-eyed scene. 20 | | Issue 93

Hooley was brought up in the 60s, a hippy radical on Belfast’s vibrant blues and showband scene, but the 70s brought huge changes; the province was separated from the ‘mainland’ culturally as well as geographically and pubs and clubs emptied as the streets became dangerous and people chose to socialise at home. Many musicians simply excluded Northern Ireland from their tours. When I studied in Belfast in the 80s, Hooley was a legend among the student fraternity. Recording Teenage Kicks when The Undertones were about to disintegrate was a typically Hooley act and only after recording them did he actually realise what he had gambled on. He hotfooted it to London with the freshly pressed vinyl (£200 + vat) and was rejected by numerous labels before leaving a copy with John Peel, who liked it so much he played it once and then immediately played it again, (it remains to this day the only record to receive this Radio One honorific). Dormer captures Hooley perfectly; his accent, his intonation; the stance and body language that would identify Hooley in a crowd. But crucially he also nets the man’s spirit – a shameless self-promoter with an inherent contempt for the business of money. Trying to explain to his wife Ruth how he lost their house he explodes with impotent frustration, “I just did.” When he comes on stage at the Leicester Square premiere of Good Vibrations the 64 year old does

so with a clenched fist. All these years later, and riding a wave of publicity, he quotes his labour politician father, “if they can’t buy you they can’t own you.” Later, when the lights go down prior to the start of the film and someone shouts, “Hooley is a wanker!” I’m willing to bet that someone is Hooley. Few people stick to their principles so vehemently and at such cost. In the film, his wife leaves him, he gets beaten up by paramilitaries an manages to make a loss on a sell out gig at the Ulster Hall; the film doesn’t take the easy route of concentrating on his music biz success, preferring a more rounded character analysis. Terri recently took me on a musical tour of Belfast, which only served to emphasise the remarkable shift ‘post-peace process’ and, inadvertently, how much he himself affected the cultural landscape. Heck, let’s ask him... Why did you decide to open a record shop? “I was working at Kodak and a friend showed me an advert in Exchange & Mart, ‘£40 for a thousand records’, it was too good an offer to pass up so I quit my job. I started dealing records and eventually got the premises at Great Victoria Street of course it had just been bombed so the landlord gave us the first 6 months rent free. It became a sanctuary for music lovers, whatever their religion.”

Above, still from film Good Vibrations. Below, Terri Hooley

When Seymour Stein signed The Undertones to Sire Records, Hooley requested only £500 for a new van and a signed photo of the Shangri-Las

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What was your first involvement with punk? “The Clash were due to play the Ulster Hall in October 1977 but at the last minute Belfast City Council cancelled the insurance. Soon after I saw a band called Rudi, at The Pound and signed them because no-one else was going to and that’s how the label started.” What was the real Harp Bar like? “It was a strip club, a dump, and staunchly nationalist, but the owner (Pat Lennon) had nothing to lose by letting punk bands use it.” In 2004 your (then) record shop was set on fire, resulting in the loss of all your stock… “Moving all my personal possessions to the store meant that it wasn’t just records that were lost in the fire. I lost the whole history of Good Vibrations that night.” (The Belfast Telegraph reported the fire as arson, suggesting six different incendiary devices had been set off by an ‘expert’. The site, unsurprisingly, was primed for property re-development.) What about this ‘alternative music tour’ of Belfast that you intend to set up? “Well, it’s not about the feckin’ Titanic is it? It’s about sex, and

drugs and rock and roll!” Good Vibrations is a film then about a man made extraordinary because he put his head above the parapet when no one else dared. If it is true that someone’s imperfections can make them beautiful then it is also true their all too human failings can make them special. When Seymour Stein signed The Undertones to Sire Records, Hooley requested only £500 for a new van and a signed photo of the ShangriLas, throughout his life he has antagonised as many people as he has won over and he doesn’t compromise, even when it is clearly in his interests to do so. At a gig in 1980 he brilliantly sloganed, ‘America had the haircuts, London had the trousers but Belfast had the reason’, before singing Sonny Bono’s Laugh at Me. ■ Sharon Wilson ÊÊToday: Terri Hooley remains a music lover and record geek who at a certain point in history believed in the power of music to unite people in a state based on divide and rule. ÊÊInfo: The film: Good Vibrations is in UK cinemas from March 29th the book Hooleygan by Terri Hooley & Richard Sullivan is available from Blackstaff Press, £14.99

Malcolm Chisholm MSP Constituency Office

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

Saturday Surgeries 10am: Leith Library 12pm: Royston Wardieburn Community Centre

Tel: 558 8358 | Fax: 557 6781 Issue 93 | | 21

SpringFitness & Health Tracy Griffen

Seconds Out…Round Two! W

Thankfully I’m not prone to giving crazy projects much thought; I prefer to leap in feet first

aiting…waiting… waiting… I’m waiting on a book contract. It should be exciting, but it’s a guaranteed way to make time go extremely slowly and I am by nature an impatient individual. Let’s rewind just over a year and all will become clear. Regular readers may recall that I self-published the Healthy Living Yearbook back in December 2011. It was an impatient act of love, obsession, and generally feeling the urge to do something significant. I had it in my wee pea brain that Scotland needed a fitness book. Not only did it need a fitness book, it needed a fitness book that was specifically written for folk who didn’t give a flying monkey’s arse about fitness. My idea was to appeal to the multitude that didn’t read fitness books. The theory being that it was this demographic who actually really needed to read the material between the covers. By disguising it as an oldschool style almanac, I hoped to lure folk into become interested in fitness, month by month. I figured that no publisher would touch such a ‘unique’ project from scratch, especially from an unknown author whose claim to fame is to grace these fair pages. ‘No worries mate’ I thought, (I did, ‘cos I think in Australian) ‘I’ll do it myself’. Self-publishing was the shady avenue I chose. If there’s one market that is completely saturated, it’s self-published fitness books. Thankfully I’m not prone to giving crazy projects much thought; I prefer to leap in feet first. It was an interesting rite of passage on discovering how to produce a book. And so my booky baby was born and a pallet of books were delivered to my fitness studio on Balfour St. ‘Strewth’, I thought, ‘thank my lucky dingoes the hard work is done’. More fool me. Have you ever tried to sell a book? It is an, erm, interesting experience, a bit like an endurance event. I adopted a sales technique straight off The Apprentice TV

Andrew H. Black

show. That is, going into a likely looking shop with my book in hand and asking to talk to the buyer, at which point I would negotiate then and there on the shop floor a reasonable sale or return rate. I didn’t even know what ‘sale or return’ meant until early last year. My not-carefully-laid-out-plan was to sell the 1,000 copies as quickly as I could and generate interest in republishing a totally polished second edition, either by myself or with the help of a publisher. Unsurprisingly sales of the yearbook dropped mid-year (it must be something about the title) so I started to consider getting some help. I took my trusty Artist and Writers Yearbook and pink highlighter pen on holiday and spent a grand total of half an hour highlighting likely looking publishers. Upon returning I emailed all thirty highlighted publishers offering to send them a copy of the already self-published book in the hope that

they might like to republish it. I received six lukewarm replies, to which I posted copies. If patience is a virtue, then so must be forgetfulness, as it was early this year that one of the lukewarm responses turned into a nibble, and then a bite! Someone was interested in publishing my book. Not only someone, but a reputable publisher. I’ve met with him twice and had positive feedback from authors who he has published in the past. I’ve even talked to some book industry people who have worked directly with the publishing house, so I know it’s a good ‘un. It will be a relief to pass my booky baby onto someone with direct ties to the industry, and the promise of an eBook and UK-wide distribution is something I won’t sneeze at. To be honest, I’m pleased to no longer have to carry a copy of the Healthy Living Yearbook around with me everywhere. I have sold the books direct to folk at networking events, bagged retailers by being in the right place at the right time and had a huge amount of interest at ground level. However, selling is an exhausting pastime, especially when it’s your own book. I am happy to move onto other crazy projects and let the publishers do their thing. I feel nervy writing the end of this article as the contract is just ‘on it’s way’, but it is in the pipeline so I haven’t been premature announcing the adoption of my book. The remaining copies of the first edition are still available in the array of shops I’ve distributed to. And so I say to La Cerise, Flux, Inner City Sanctum, Leith Cycle Co, Los Cardos, Elvis Shakespeare, PureSpa and Waterstone’s Ocean Terminal… a GREAT BIG THANK YOU for helping me get the first edition out there. And here’s to the second! ■

ÊÊInfo: If you’re interested in ‘Guerilla Marketing for Creative Types’, come along to my workshop at Pulp Fiction bookshop on the evening of Thursday 21 March. Tickets available from www. ÊÊTwitter: @tracygriffen ÊÊFacebook: /griffenfitnesss

This month Tracy’s been waiting for a book contract, weight lifting, enjoying a wee tipple at Woodland

Creatures and organising the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling (15 – 23 June,

22 | | Issue 93

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For details Tel: 557 0577 Issue 93 | | 23

Let’s Make Histrionics History! Dave McGuire rails against over the top singing without mentioning M People

Can you guess which version was restrained and which off the scale?

shocking vocal acrobatics, viewing each performance as an opportunity to show off their full range and every technique they have in their arsenal instead of doing what’s actually serves the song best. For the past 10 years or so we’ve seen these shows trot out nonentities who’ll take a soul favourite or a power ballad and then add seven layers of shit in a misguided attempt to show their skills, passion and feeling.


appy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you.” Perfect. No need to mess with it. “Ha-ha-ha-haaaaaaapeeee biiiiiiiirthdaaaaaaaay to yoo hoo oooooooo” Nae need. Stop it. That pretty much says it all, but I’ve got 850 words to fill, so here goes… As the parent of a 5 year old girl I now by default watch all of the music ‘talent’ shows, whether that be X-Factor, The Voice, American Idol or Britain’s Got Talent. When I say watch, I don’t just mean the perversely amusing freak show where they serve up a cornucopia of the deluded, demented and the devoid of all talent, but the whole series. To its inevitable conclusion, where whatever spark of originality or talent the more successful kids had at the start will be gradually eroded through weeks of endless cover versions performed to the indifferent masses. Whilst the so-called judges in the X Factor were universal in their praise for pint-sized vocal noodle, and oddly monikered, Jahmene, I found myself shouting “stop it” at the TV week after week as he geared up for another needless vocal run. Whilst distinctly lacking in charisma and any form of star quality, the boy can clearly sing, he hit all the high notes and can hold a tune BUT to my ears all the histrionics did was ruin a perfectly good tune.

Scatting is out

Fagin-esque Cowell

The episode that really got my goat was where he covered Abba’s I Have A Dream and Smokey Robinson’s phenomenal Tears Of A Clown. I know, and yes they are as bad as you’re currently imagining (YouTube them if you’re feeling brave). There’s a reason why these songs are regarded as classics and why the original and/or definitive versions have nary a hint of vocal nonsense. Singers have dabbled with vocal noodling since time immemorial but its’ becoming a phenomenon is something that’s happened in my time as a music buyer. Whitney Houston’s first couple of albums featured some stunning vocals but the warbling was kept in 24 | | Issue 93

check, as Mariah Carey burst onto the scene this was about to change. I Will Always Love You was originally a sweet little song by Dolly Parton then Whitney added some vocal pyrotechnics and turned it into an epic behemoth. Mariah then discovered the ways of the warble and opened up the floodgates for a generation of vocalists, including Christina Aguilera, who will ham it up at the drop of a hat. Just like Britain, the US fell prey to the ‘charms’ of the Fagin-esque music mogul Simon Cowell and his talent contests. Pretty soon into the run it became the norm for every okay singer to unleash

Think of your favourite love song and then think of a Leona Lewis or Beyonce covering it… sorry to do that to you

If you think of some of the truly great singers in popular music, be that Aretha Franklin, Billie Holliday, Tony Bennett, Tim Buckley, Sam Cooke, Barbara Streisand or Robert Plant, they could all belt out a tune, and weren’t afraid to show it BUT they had a bit of restraint, and chose not to litter every tune with flamboyant flourishes. Technical proficiency is one thing, but it takes more than that to go from being a good singer to a great singer, I’ll always prefer a tune sung with feeling rather than flash. Think of your favourite love song and then think of a Leona Lewis or Beyonce covering it, sorry to do that to you. What about opera Dave? I hear you ask, well that’s an entirely different beast, and it’s a genre that I’ve always struggled with. The music is often stunning, and I would like to have someone to hold my hand and guide me along the way, but my instant reaction when I hear opera is invariably ‘this would be beautiful if they ditched all the high pitched nonsense’. Jazz singing, and jazz in general, fills me with mixed emotions, whilst it has some of the finest singers and musicians, and some of my favourite albums are jazz, it’ll come as no surprise to learn that scatting gets on my wick. I’ll indulge the wonderful Ella Fitzgerald or Louis Armstrong, 2 songs max on an album is all I can take. In concert a single one-off tune with jazz ‘singing without words’ can be fun, but jazz singers that try and ‘solo’ should just stop, simple as that. So, in a nutshell, Mariah Carey and talent shows are responsible for a generation of god-awful woeful warbling and are thus evil, (though Mariah’s Christmas tune just about spares her from being fed to the lions!). ■

The Cardinal Sin of Hypocrisy Sally Fraser on the suspension of disbelief required to watch Cardinal O’Brien jokes on 8 Out of 10 Cats


t’s been a funny few weeks to be a catholic, what with having no Pope and no Cardinal and all. Yesterday evening in mass there were so many people in attendance we had to miss out on our prayers! Like a lot of people, I’m finding it very strange seeing someone I sort-of know splashed all over the papers. The Cardinal, of course, has always made the headlines a lot, but not in quite such a dramatic way, when I see a man who announced my engagement in church, washed my feet when I was confirmed and blessed my bump when I was pregnant being joked about on 8 Out of 10 Cats, then it is frankly just plain weird. I’m not sure where the truth lies in all the stories coming out, but I do feel sorry for him, even if he has probably been his own worst enemy. There are certainly plenty of people who could crawl out of the woodwork and complain about my inappropriate drunken behaviour or unwanted advances over the years, but as I am unlikely to ever become a dominant figure in an institution which makes sweeping statements about the morality of others, and uses intensely provocative language like ‘grotesque’ in the same breath as referring to other people’s relationships, I think they are unlikely to bother. In recent times I have been increasingly enraged by the Cardinal’s (and wider church’s) irritating and often

embarrassing moralising and focus on other people’s morals, rather than the behaviour we are all guilty of, which harms and kills people all over the world; our own enormous greed. After all, our hero is the bloke who threw all his toys out of his pram at the temple and bollocked everyone for trying to make money, whilst telling them that every time they ignored the hungry and the suffering they were ignoring him. So we should be making a stand against social injustice, rampant greed and consumerism, but that’s a bit tricky isn’t it? Because it might involve sacrificing the big house or the nice car or the holidays so it might be easier to focus on what those nasty homosexuals are doing instead...

Protesting too much

Not that they are nasty of course. We love them because the bible tells us to love everyone but in a condescending ‘even though you’re awful’ way. We can even do that hilarious christian thing of saying it’s fine to be gay as long as you are not ‘practicing’, as in you are welcome to sit in a darkened room and think as many ‘gay thoughts’ as you like. (I remember being quizzed by some hardcore Christians as to whether a gay friend was ‘practicing’. I longed to reply that no, I suspected he had gotten rather good at it by now.) “Hate the sin, love the sinner,” we proudly proclaim, while a million homosexuals look back and say, “erm cheers, but I don’t really care for my loving relationship being viewed as sin, so you and your love and your hate can piss off.” But it is now hard not to interpret the Cardinal’s impassioned words on homosexuality as what an academic might call a discourse born of insecurity, or Shakespeare might have called

Our hero is the bloke who bollocked the moneylenders in the temple, explaining that every time they ignored the hungry and the suffering they ignored him

‘protesting too much’. Certainly those unsympathetic to both the man and his church will rub there hands together with glee and dismiss the whole church as either bigots or hypocrites or both. Which is tragic, because I am a convert, and I chose this church, and I chose it precisely because it wasn’t like that. When I became a Christian as a student I was constantly depressed and disillusioned by people who seemed obsessed with who I was sleeping with as the entire measure of spiritual integrity and was eventually delighted and relieved to wash up on the shores of catholicism, where everybody was a sinner, not just me, because even if you ticked all the boxes of traditional morality, everyone was either greedy or selfish or lustful or slothful or mean to their dog sometimes and it was clearly not possible to be any different. They said sorry, knelt down and shut up for a bit, and then all went for a glass of wine together afterwards, homosexuals, divorcees, cohabiters and people who had a tendency to get drunk and molest rugby players alike. It makes me sad that people won’t go through the door of churches because they are put off by men in silly hats who have lost sight of the whole ‘say sorry, kneel down, shut up’ ethos and who, tragically for them, failed to realise that they were just as welcome at the party - with all there indiscretions and perceived flaws - as everyone else. After all the Big Fella himself makes the importance of self-awareness and selfacceptance abundantly clear. What does he call himself? How does he describe himself? “I am what I am”. The secret of all existence neatly tied up with some simple common sense and a little Shirley Bassey. Something we could all use a bit more of. ■ Issue 93 | | 25

Laird’sLarder ARC Colourprint ‘Artistic temperament is the disease that afflicts amateurs.’ – Gilbert K. Chesterton

Peanut, Apple & Sage Roast H

ullo rerr mah wee muckers! Ahm gaun aw veggie oan yis this month wi’ a wee cheeky variation ae nut roast. It’s the bizzo. Whit yi need is…

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26 | | Issue 93

225g/8oz whole shelled peanuts 50g/2oz veggie fat 2 chopped onions 1 large tomato chopped 2 dessert apples peeled & diced 25g/1oz oatmeal Teaspoon chopped sage leaves 1 egg & a little milk Sea salt/fresh ground pepper

Wit yi dae is Chop the peanuts, heat yir fat in a pan and add the onions, tomato

and apples. Fry till softened then add the nuts, oatmeal, sage and seasoning (tae taste) then bind wi’ the egg, and enough milk tae gie yi a fairly moist consistency. Press intae a 500g/1lb loaf tin, cover wi’ greased tin foil and place in a preheated oven (180c/350f) for 45 mins tae an hour. Turn yir nut roast oot oan ti a warmed serving dish and garnish wi’ tomato, cucumber and cress. Serves 4 wi’ some steamed green veg. Enjoy! Bye the bye, did yis here Andy Murray bought Cromlix House Hotel near Stirling? …The service should be quite good. ■ Ching! Ching! The Laird

Mrs MacPickle

If it’s love you’re after this sounds like a crap place to find it D

ear Mrs MacPickle, In a bid to bring some peace to my life, I have enrolled in a meditation course. Is this a slippery slope? Will I stop wearing lipstick and grow a beard? The man on the phone asked me if I needed a chair or if I was able to sit on the floor. What the f**k am I doing? Help me please, oh wise Mrs Mac. Yours sincerely, Mary Krishna


ear Ms Krishna, Firstly, thank you so much for your compliment with regards to my wisdom. I do try. Secondly, I congratulate you on your courage in trying something new in search of peace and relaxation. We can, after all, only drink so much. I seek to assure you that I am quite sure you will not turn into a beardy weirdy, that it is possible to meditate without feeling the urge to knit ones own yoghurt. Or if you do go down that route maybe you will enjoy it, letting yourself slip a little might bring you the peace you so desire. I for one have only shaved my legs once since my wedding, and have managed to have two whole

children since then, meaning I have managed to have sex twice. As to your chair enquiry, I find that very encouraging. One of the things we can do to assure ourselves maximum happiness in life is to have Very Low Aims. Therefore I would see a class where I was asked if I had the ability to ‘sit on the floor’ as a delightful opportunity to really excel and much more likely to be a source of joy and peace than one where I had been asked if I could crack walnuts with my buttocks. So, my hairy friend, embrace the new hirsute you with open armpits. Although a word of caution, you do not mention your age or whether or not you are single, but if you are youngish and looking for love this sounds like a hopeless place to find it. In my early twenties, I joined a Gaelic choir in a failed attempt to find romance – there were only four men there and all were over seventy. When one of the septuagenarians, keen to swell their ranks with new blood, asked if I had a boyfriend, it was all I could do not to burst into tears and shout. “If I had a boyfriend do you think I’d be here?” Worth thinking about. ■

Problem? Feel free to soothe your troubled brow by emailing our agony aunt at

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Issue 93 | | 27

What’sOn entertainment

Bainbridge Music  @ Electric Circus, 36 Market Street 15 Mar: Altered Sky 7-10pm £6 @ Cabaret Voltaire, 36 Blair Street 23 Mar: The Deep Red Sky Album Launch 7-10pm £5 Boda Bar 229 Leith Walk  0131 553 5900  Every Mon: Chan Bang music 9pm Carrier’s Quarters 42 Bernard Street Sun: 6.30pm Jammie Devils Dalriada 77 Promenade, Portobello  0131 454 4500  Every Wed: Topical Quiz 8.30 Every Thu: Freestyle with Mike 8pm Every Fri: Sing-a-Long Sesh, 9-12pm Every Sat: Sean-Paul & Pals, 3-6pm Every Sat: Live Acts, 9-12pm Every Sun: Jed & Friends, 3-6pm 16 Mar: The G.T.’S - Superb acoustic duo 23 Mar: Dream Tobacco - Eclectic Sounds Elbow 133 East Claremont Street  0131 556 5662 Mon: Movie night, 8pm Tue: Pub Quiz, 8.30pm Fri: Selection of DJ’s & Live Music Sat: Ambidextrous, 8pm, fortnightly Embo 29 Haddington Place,  0131 652 3880  Exhibition: Mon/Fri 8am-4pm Sat 9am-4.30pm; The Granary 32-34 The Shore Acoustic Sets: Wed 8-10pm, Thu 10-12am, Sat 10-12am & Fri Pianist 5-7pm Greek Maggot Bingo Leith Franklin Academical Cricket Club 1 Leith Links 15 Mar: (The Mighty!) Bonnevilles 7PM Tickets available @ The Parlour Bar Hemma 75 Holyrood Road  0131 629 3327  Every 2nd Tues: Bake Club Lily Vanilli Every Wed: Lill Fredag (Little Friday) 22 Mar: Scandinavian Networking Night 27 Mar: Vintage Wedding Pop-Up Iso Bar 7 Bernard Street  0131 467 8904 Wed: Quiz Night 8pm Sun: Open mic with Sylvain 5pm onwards

highlight of the month

The White Gallery: Drawn Away Together Talbot Rice Gallery

University of Edinburgh Old College, South Bridge  16 March – 4 May 2013 Tue – Sat 10am – 5pm In Drawn Away Together, the Talbot Rice Gallery is transformed by a series of abstract shapes, forms and

colour, featuring the work of 11 Scottish, or Scottish-based, painters, sculptors and installation artists: Rachel Barron, Miranda Blennerhassett, Kevin Henderson, Paul Keir, Lorna Macintyre, Andrew Mackenzie, Jo Milne, Neil Nodzak, Malcolm O’Connell, Eric Schumacher, Alan Shipway

Joseph Pearce’s Bar 23 Elm Row  0131 556 4140  Every Tue: Jogging Club 7pm Kilderkin 65 Canongate  0131 556 2101  Every Tue: Pub Quiz 8pm, cash jackpot Every Thu: Booze School Every Sun: Kilderkinema Every Sat: Edinburgh’s oldest open-mic night 8pm Limbo

The Voodoo Rooms 19a West Register St  13 April: Comanechi, United Fruit, Vasquez 8pm £6/£8 Nobles 44a Constitution Street  0131 629 7215   All free entry Every Mon: Epic Quiz, 8pm Every Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sun : Live music, 9pm - check website/facebook for listings Every Sat: Bainbridge Presents

The exhibition represents a dialogue between different generations of artists in Scotland who, whilst connected by their shared interest in and exploration of abstract art, span a wide range of ages and career stages; from Malcolm O’Connell, a current Undergraduate, to Alan Shipway who has been exhibiting for over 30 years.

Every Sun 8pm: Featuring a fine variety of music, comedy, magic acts & more.

Pussy Whipped Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh College of Art 5th April: Kings Queer, Ste McCabe, Ladies of Midnight Blue 7-10pm £3 entry Roseleaf Bar Café 23-24 Sandport Place  0131 476 5268 March/April: Jenny Moodie Jewellery Expo & Barbara Duncan Art expo 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: Kevin Gore 9pm Sun: Jazz - Ellis & Kellock 2pm-5pm

The Parlour 142 Duke Street  0131 555 3848 Every Wed: Quiz 8pm

Sofi’s 65 Henderson Street  0131 555 7019  20 Mar: Clothes Swap 7pm 27 Mar: Book Club 7.30pm 2/5 April: Knitting Club 8.30pm 6 April: Pugs in Pubs

Pressure Valve Open Mic Night @ The Pear Tree 38 West Nicolson Street  0131 667 7533

The Street 2 Picardy Place  0131 556 4272  Sponsored by

Chop Chop Leith, 76 Commercial Street Tel: 0131 553 1818 Now 28 | | Issue 93

Wed: Pub Quiz, 8pm; Thur: DJ LL Honky Tonk, 9pm Fri: DJ Trendy Wendy, 9pm Sat: Pre-Club parties & DJ’s Sun: A guest Club Night each week!

The Royal Oak Bar 1 Infirmary Street  0131 553 7473  Every Sat: Hidden Edinburgh Tour, 12-2pm Secret Edinburgh Tour, 3-5pm Victoria Bar 265 Leith Walk  0131 555 1638  Every Mon: Language Café 7pm Victoria Bar Additions 23 Mar: Speed Dating Singles Night April/May: Ben Sielly Art Exhibition

the arts

Concrete Wardrobe 50A Broughton St.  0131 558 7130  Maker of the Month: The eclectic up-cycled furniture of Edinburgh based Ziggy Sawdust throughout March Diner 7 7 Commercial Street  0131 553 0624 Ever changing Art Exhibitions The Fruitmarket Gallery 45 Market Street  0131 225 2383  Till 14 April: Massimo Bartolini Exhibition 116pm Institut Francais d’Ecosse 13 Randolph Crescent  0131 225 5366 19 Mar: Theatre: La Voix Humane 18.30-20.00 20 Mar: Theatre: Novecente 18.30-20.00pm 25 Mar: Talk: Le Temps des Cathedrals The Leith Gallery 65 The Shore  0131 553 5255 16 Feb-30 Mar: New Faces 2013 Exhibition Out of the Blue Drill Hall 36 Dalmeny Street  0131 555 7100  Weekly classes: Drama, dance, yoga, martial arts, music, aerial classes and art workshops 16 Mar: Edinburgh Yarn Festival 10.00-17.00pm Victoria Park Hotel 221 Ferry Road  0131 454 2060 Mar/April: David Grigor Art Exhibition


Malcolm Chisholm  0131 558 8358 MSP Edinburgh North & Leith Advice surgeries every Saturday morning. Leith Library 10am, Royston Wardieburn Community Centre 12pm

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 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. Deidre Brock  0131 529 4187 1st Monday of month McDonald Road Library @ 6pm; 2nd Friday of month Leith Walk Primary School @ 12.30; 3rd Saturday of month McDonald Road Library @ 10am Aerobics Classes  Lianne on 07779064991  Tuesdays at 6pm Pilrig Church, no need to book. £3 per class, £2 concessions. Have fun and get fit The Jack and Jill Market Meadowbank Stadium  17 Mar & 21 April: Baby & Kids Market 10.30-1.30pm Leith Library 28-30 Ferry Road  0131 529 5517 Bookbug sessions: 0 to 4 year olds and parents/carers. 1st and 3rd Tues & 2nd and 4th Wed of every month 10.30-11.15am Fri: Craft Time (ages 4-11) 2.30pm Book Group: 2nd Tues of month 6.45pm & 4th Tues of month 2pm McDonald Road Library 2 McDonald Road  0131 529 5636 Every Fri: Craft for Kids (ages 4-9) 3-4pm Bookbug Sessions: 2ND Fri of month 1-1.30pm; Last Fri of month 10.30-11am; 2ND Sun of month, 2.30-3pm; Polish Bookbug Session: Every Tues 10.30-11am; Urdu Book Group (women only): Last Mon of month 2-4pm; Book Group: Last Mon. of month 6.30-7.30 Pilates Classes 3 Queen Charlotte Lane  Mat classes, 1-1 and 2-1 sessions, small groups


Send your new and updated listings to  billy@

Ramsay Cornish 15 Jane Street  0131 553 7000 Thu: 11am Traditional Lane Sale Sat: 11am General Household Auction Restalrig Lochend Community Hub 198 Restalrig Road South  0131 346 1179  Every Thur 2-4pm: Third Age Computer Fun Free taster session for new potential members Stockbridge Market, Kerr Street  0131 551 5633  Every Sun: 10-5pm ■

w delivering (inc. Business Lunches) to EH6, EH7 & EH8

Key Point Building services

All insurance work carried out. Free estimates. Mob. 07904 657899 Tel. 0131 555 2483 Email. CREDIT CRUNCH DISCOUNT 10% OFF TO LEITHER READERS Issue 93 | | 29

CrosswordNo.68 Mal Toast The Roast 190x72 landscape Ad.pdf












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

People primarily scratching, at the Yankee's game? (8) Sun line seen on cloudless night (6) Catch reel critic strangely in the frozen North (3, 6, 6) Picked didn't start but still chosen (7) Bewildered goddess in cot (7) Cure fart perhaps with break (8) God's abode sheds drug for safety (5) Pulsate by stirring broth (5) Envelop crazy dun horse (8) Crushed paper containing lithium by painter say (7) Characteristic quality that hit Pete badly (7) Main killer of Greg Norman? (5,5,5) Used to be a harbour for goods abroad (6) Stag, part animal Ed? Eerie (4,4)

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

Preserved drugs, Ed! (6) Period of French Revolution also caused by 26! (3,6) Against orthodox religion, in this place, louse (7) Score without, Ed? (5) Rump, hit out and win (7) Stones topless dresses (5) Dingy lie perhaps with give in the ground (8) Drinks found in 10 maybe (3,5) Finds sun heart that explodes (8) Have focus out giving in a gracious manner (9) Learner included in weird kill (8) Bristle badly because of skin swelling (7) Born again? (7) Dracula's fireman (6) Before work with knife maybe (3-2) Run into sex trap (5)

crossword prize A bottle of Malmaison house wine

winner no.67

Magic Bob, happy & proud Leither

Email your answers to:

Supplied by:

answers: crossword 67 across

1 motherly 5 assess 10 Starsky and Hutch 11 abstain 12 adrenal 13 molester 15 oater

18 hitch 20 underway 23 overact 25 wearied 26 the miners strike 27 ensign 28 credence


1 missal 2 transport 3 ensnare 4 lay on 6 scherzo 7 eaten 8 scholars 9 unpaired

14 trustees 16 tradition 17 throttle 19 heading 21 reacted 22 adhere 24 epees 25 wiser

Visit the original, mother of all Mals, find a cosy sofa in the bar and peruse the cocktail list, before heading to our Brasserie for fresh Scottish favourites and British classics 30 | | Issue 93

Leither in London Carrie Mitchell

Four celebrity interviews a month? The potential for disaster is huge I

What I didn’t bank on was her hubby Rod Stewart appearing a few words into my interview and promptly dropping my dictaphone into the nearest ice bucket

’ve never been all that good at interviews – I don’t mean job interviews, strangely, I seem to have an aptitude for talking people into giving me positions they perhaps shouldn’t (more on that later). No, I mean, interviews in my capacity as a ‘journalist’. Interviews where I sit down with someone deemed important and interesting enough for readers of the publication I happen to be writing for to want to read about. There’s a heartpalpitating/trembling-hands /burning cheeks situation that seems to happen the moment I say hello, set the dictaphone to record and look to my list of carefully researched questions. It became apparent pretty early on that this was a part of the job that was going to be something of a personal challenge. While studying for my postgrad at Napier, I was tasked with the seemingly simple challenge of interviewing a local playwright. Easy, I thought. But walking towards the theatre where we’d arranged to meet, I felt an aching dread in the pit of my stomach. This guy was going to take one look at me and know I was an amateur, regret agreeing to see me then contact my tutor immediately afterwards to insist not a word of the interview be published. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. However, I did manage to trip over a chair leg, spill my coffee all over my notebook (and his script), then proceed to nervously babble my way through my questions so he was forced to ask me to repeat almost every one. Listening back to that recording afterwards was a cringe-inducing challenge akin to watching the worst X-Factor auditions through my fingers. But at least there was a recording to

listen back to. I wasn’t so lucky when it came to my first interview with a real celebrity – Leith’s very own literary bad boy Irvine Welsh. A few of you who’ve read the Leither since its inception may recall said interview, conducted in Leith Docker’s club at the launch of Welsh’s Bedroom Secrets of the Masterchefs. The fact he’d agreed to the interview at all was a miracle and then editor Peter was understandably peeved when I confessed that my sparkling new dictaphone had malfunctioned spectacularly and failed to record a word. Yep, the words may have made the page but they were painfully extracted from the depths of my panicked brain and translated from a few pages of practically illegible notes. God, how I wished I’d paid the extra few hundred pounds to study shorthand at Uni. A few months later, I miraculously talked someone into giving me shifts on the features desk at the Evening News where my Achilles heel became even more apparent. Here, I wasn’t required to conduct face-to-face interviews but celebrity Q&As over the phone, which might sound like less of a challenge. It was in fact more so. Not only would I be talking to actual famous people, I’d be doing so within earshot of my editor and several other competent, professional journalists who would undoubtedly realise my ineptitude and stop what they were doing to look on open-mouthed as I garbled my way through, making gaffe after gaffe and getting the paper into hot water with the legal department. That may not have happened but the allencompassing fear that descended on me every time I picked up the phone never ceased. Indeed, it followed me all the way to London when I moved down here to pursue a magazine career.

As Features Assistant at , part of my job was attending celebrity events and collecting sound bites from stars I could coerce into talking to me after a few glasses of champagne (for both them and me – I needed the Dutch courage). On the first few occasions I was saved by the farbraver Entertainment Writer who had no qualms about approaching even the frostiest of A-listers. Of course there finally came a time I had to go it alone. That night, I sought out the least threatening character I could – Penny Lancaster was perfect, a good face, a perfect fit for our readership and not famous enough in her own right to want to deride journalists simply trying to do their job. What I didn’t bank on was her hubby Rod Stewart appearing a few words into my introduction and promptly dropping my dictaphone into the nearest ice bucket. Penny shrugged apologetically and stalked off as I scrabbled to retrieve my tape recorder and dried it off on the hem of my dress. This wasn’t going to be easy. But somehow, despite my chequered interviewing past, I have suddenly found myself in the role of Celebrity Editor on a major womens’ glossy. Yes, someone in a position of considerable journalistic authority seems to think I am the right person to put in charge of securing no less than four celebrity interviews every single month. I must find them, talk them into being featured then sit down with them for a cosy chat at a major photoshoot. I’m taking the precaution of recording everything on at least two devices, drinking no fluids in the vicinity of any interviewee and having a pack of Calmz eternally at the ready. Still, the potential for disaster is huge. ■

This month Carrie’s been learning the tricky art of negotiation with celebrity publicists, witnessing a hero of hers throw

a proper strop and appearing in a rather embarrassing photoshoot as herself (readers of Marie Claire, I apologise)

Issue 93 | | 31

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Leither - 93  

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