Free Issue 97
A Taste of Martin Wishart Marilyn Munroe and Bert Stern | The Secret History of Our Food A Tribute to Seamus Heaney | The Chilean Scottish Experience
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Editor at Large
The Naming of the Disappeared T
o the City Chambers for a night dedicated to the other 9/11. On this day in 1973 Chile’s air force bombed the seat of government, La Moneda Palace in Santiago. This first brutal strike, ordered by General Pinochet’s military junta with more than a little help from the CIA, would foreshadow the overthrow of the Allende government followed by the immediate ‘disappearance’ of 3,197 people. It was sure to be an emotional evening, so I nipped into a bar on the Royal Mile to get an estimate on a pint of lager, which proved rather stiff. So it was that I turned up at the event, as it were, naked. Which is to say ‘without drink taken’. The smell of empanadas wafting down the corridors of power was perfectly in keeping with the occasion, which is more than could be said for the rather alarming sight of former councilor, and popular mine host, Mr. Phil Attridge barreling down the imposing stairwell at a ferocious pace: “We’ve got twenty bottles of wine in there and no corkscrew” he cried, betraying a slight note of panic, before disappearing into the night. No doubt with the intent of collaring the first Italian waiter that glided into his path and wrestling him to the ground, whilst demanding the handover of his corkscrew ‘with menaces’. On entering the beautiful room at the top of the stairs, I was gratified to see that it was filled to bursting for what was to be a reading of Pablo Neruda’s poetry by the great and good of Scottish Letters (oh, and Michael Pedersen). The evening, hosted by the excellent Chile 40 Years On initiative, was inspirational. Life affirming despite, or perhaps because of, the thousands of dead and disappeared we were there to remember. The afore mentioned Mr. Pedersen offered a spirited take on what must surely be Neruda’s raciest verses, resulting in more
Mr. Gray vents his spleen at vending machines, self-service checkouts in supermarkets, deli staff and, one for the social services this, his daughter’s toys
Descriptors beginning with ‘g’ suited Seamus Heaney: graceful, gentle, gifted, genial, genuine, generous, gallant and gargantuan of talent… So says Paul Hullah
Fancy a Keep Calm and Carry On Being a Mug mug? Asks Sally Fraser. Or how about that Keep Calm and Don’t Get Angry about Immense Social Injustice fridge magnet?
So, Carrie Mitchell has only gone and got herself a quote on the forthcoming Sunshine on Leith film poster! Leither in London? Your getting it at last, we’re infiltrating
Leither Their families await them still
than a few blushes radiating around the august old space. Ron Butlin’s reading was vivid, and leavened with no little humour. Pablo San Martin Varela delivered in his native tongue, which was at once appropriate and redolent. And Gordon Munro (who had arranged the event along with Sonia Leal) conducted the evening with a large dollop of passion and a side order of delightful showmanship. It fell to the inimitable Liz Lochead to close the evening on a wonderfully empathetic note with a nuanced rendering – at times shattering, at times ennobling – of Adrian Mitchell’s elegy to Victor Jara, bringing forth salt tears from many in the now hushed room: They broke the bones in both his hands, They beat him on the head. They tore him with electric shocks, And then they shot him dead.
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong. Mr. Attridge, incidentally, delivered on the corkscrew front and much more besides – to chat with him on these occasions is to be humbled by his lightly worn knowledge of Chilean history. Finally, I spoke to Sonia Leal about another event that had taken place a few days earlier on Wednesday 9th September 2003 at the Scottish Parliament. She, and many others, had read out the names of every single person who had disappeared on the day of this other, forgotten, 9/11… It took over two hours. By the time she got home she said (almost apologetically) that, “I couldn’t stop crying” – her lovely smile, for once, full of broken things. Three thousand, one hundred and ninety seven people ‘disappeared’ in less than 24 hours. Their families await them still. ■
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Cover: Courtesy Cecile Wishart Issue 97 | leithermagazine.com | 3
Dad said. “There’s us. And…them.” He liked vitriol on his fish and chips L
ike most people, I’m not a huge fan when it comes to listening to other people’s dreams but I indulge them because dreams are important. Whether they actually tell us anything about our inner selves or have some distant touchstone to our beginnings as sparkly pieces of dust in the cosmos, I don’t know and I don’t care. They’re important. Whenever I hear anyone say, and it’s usually about their children, “oh she’s such a daydreamer,” I want to shake them and point out that making children concentrate on things that aren’t important when they’re very young and become even less important as they get older, is a miserable, joyless way to behave. And whenever I think about what’s miserable and joyless, a picture of Michael Gove comes into my mind’s eye. A Tory education minister who thinks children should be seen and rounded up into a herd to study English history from the age of five. What a fuckwit. Five year old children should be spending the vast majority of their day daydreaming and having silly ideas put into their heads. Take a minute to think about this; how good does it feel when you suddenly realise that you’ve spent a vast amount of time doing nothing but dreaming? There you go. And talking of dreams. I had one the other day. I drifted off back to the 1970s when I was about 12 years old. I don’t want to get all Proustian on you but I remembered things like my mum putting little dots of butter on breaded haddock before grilling them and making proper chips in the bespoke fire hazard of choice at the time, a chip pan. Around about quarter to five every 4 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 97
weekday, my dad would get back from work and his grey overalls would smell of oil and tobacco and the cab of his lorry. He always bought the Daily Express because he wanted to know what ‘the enemy’ was saying. He hated the Tories and was a staunch member of the Transport and General Workers Union. I can still remember those words being spat out by people like Edward Heath and Keith Joseph. Back then, you knew where you stood in politics. It was us and them. My dad always used to pause before he spat the word ‘them’ out. “There’s us. And….. them”. He liked vitriol on his fish and chips. Like all good dreams, this one seemed to end just as things were becoming clearer and more meaningful. But by some miracle, when I eventually got the world back into full focus, I was watching the Labour party conference and Ed Milliband was on stage and in full flow.
Lord Snooty and...
Now I’ve never been a huge fan of Ed as regular readers of this page will know. I’ve always thought of him as being a ‘straight from Oxbridge into politics clone’ and to be fair that was his route to the leadership of the party, but he appears to have had some kind of epiphany. And here he was, talking about freezing energy prices, taking on the energy companies and seizing land from property developers if they hoarded it for too long so that the Government, his Government, could build houses on it. He also stated that he would increase corporation tax for big businesses in order to fund a cut for small businesses.
Pigticians illustration by Bernie Reid
Around quarter to five every weekday, my dad would get back from work and his grey overalls would smell of oil and tobacco and the cab of his lorry
Was I still dreaming? Was the Labour party being pulled to the left and finally standing in direct opposition to the Tories? Would the newspapers be full of ‘Red Ed’ headlines? Did we finally have someone who would stand up to…..them? Well it looks like we have. And how has this gone down with the energy companies, big business and the Tories? As you would expect, the energy companies, who normally keep their heads well below the political parapet because they fund the Tories, have come out predicting economic disaster for the country and the prospect of blackouts. Big businesses, who normally keep their heads well…you get the picture, are panicking and predicting much the same. The Tories and their favoured newspapers have, as you would also expect, accused Red Ed of taking the country backwards and are apoplectic about the prospect of the energy companies and big businesses having their vast profits reduced in order to help working families up and down the country. It’s not surprising, the less money big businesses have, the less they can afford to donate to Lord Snooty and his chums. The Daily Mail even went so far as to call Ed ‘Stalinist’. Are they stuck in the 1970s? If so, they better wake up fast because this isn’t a dream. Against all the odds, Ed Milliband has got the Tories on the back foot and has, I hope, ushered in a new era of us and….. them. In my mind’s daydreaming eye, I can see the huge smile on my dad’s face over the top of his Daily Express. ■ Protempore
Before Gwyneth Paltrow was born T
he first thing you need to know is that this is not an advertorial piece. It is a personal thank you from me to Real Foods for fifty years of sterling service. Not, you understand, that I am in my dotage (although a few friends chide me that I have long been in my ‘anecdotage’, what with my habit of repeating stories) but I have been shopping with them for a good twenty-odd years.. In my professional (eh?) cooking days, a visit to Real Foods could take up at least an hour and not a moment was wasted: Japanese Kabuki peas, Turkish mulberries, Colombian Amaranth seeds, Black Beluga lentils, American Wehani rice, all were first discovered in Real Foods and later appeared on my menus. As evinced above, every visit was like a mini tour of the world. In 1963, when the first shop opened, most consumers were tucking into sugar coated American cereals and sliced
white bread. Real Foods, which began life as a market stall selling organic fruit and veg then became known as ‘wholesale victuallers’ and, later, a ‘scoop-amarket’, set out on its mission to make healthy foods accessible to the nation. Contrary to the popular belief that glowingly healthy Gwyneth Paltrow discovered macrobiotic diets, it was in fact Real Foods who first imported macrobiotic foods from Japan into the UK. They were also quick off the mark with dairyfree, gluten-free, raw and world foods, as well as organic baby food. (You can blame/thank them for Bombay Mix!) The Broughton Street store opened in 1975, oak shelving made from former local government desks is still used in the premises today, and the Brougham Street store opened in 1981, relocating from Morrison Street. Both stores now provide advice to those in need of help with special diets and ‘free-from’ lifestyles, including
coeliacs and diabetics. Retro ephemera from the Real Food’s archives shows that products like carob snacks, broth mixes and vegetarian meat replacements like TVP have stood the test of time and remain among the retailer’s staple goods. They have been joined however by more exotic and luxurious wares
such as fairly traded rum, organic lipstick and raw, vegan chocolate. Fairly traded rum, eh? I feel a visit coming on! ■ ÊÊInfo: Three generations of Real Foods’ customers are encouraged to share their memories of the store here: www.facebook.com/ realfoodsedinburgh
We’ve packed a lot into the last 50 years
Real Foods has been in business about as long as this chap so we know a thing or two about packing wholefoods. We pack all our Essentials and Organic products on site. This means we can pass on the savings of buying in bulk to you and you still get the smaller quantities you want, as and when you want them. The wholefoods we buy arrive vacuum-packed for maximum freshness. These are divided into smaller quantities for you on demand and remain fresh for longer in your home, retaining more of their goodness. You literally do get to weigh up all your options, with minimum wastage - we call it ‘pre-cycling’ - and cellophane packaging that is completely biodegradable. • Fresh - as the day our Essentials and Organic goods were produced. They arrive in your home packed with goodness.
• Convenient - sold in the quantities you want at home. • Value - we buy in bulk on your behalf and the more you buy the less you pay per kilo. So you can really see on ‘balance’ that buying from Real Foods means maximum freshness, minimum packaging and greater value, for you and the environment.
f50r eyears s h providing n a t uwholefoods r a l h etoathe l tnation hy value
Shop online at www.realfoods.co.uk UK delivery now FREE for online orders of just £24 37 Broughton Street, Edinburgh EH1 3JU 8 Brougham Street, Edinburgh EH3 9JH
Fresh • local • seasonal • value
At Real Foods today you can still buy as much or as little as you want, and we’ve already packed it for you. iStockphoto©hultonarchive
Issue 97 | leithermagazine.com | 5
Daniel Gray’s Midget Gems No.15
Child Labour And Job Stealing Machines Since you asked, these are my four most disliked modern machines and appliances
Vending: When these windowfaced arsewipes are not telling me to ‘USE CORRECT CHANGE’ they are hacking at the back of my hand with their surprisingly-hooky sideways doors. Then there’s the treble beep when I hit G7, which clearly has a wealth of Toffee Crisps, only to be told by that snide digital slit ‘ITEM UNAVAILABLE’, with those words in Speak & Spell lettering. The beeps are an air raid siren to me, and I usually flee in anger to hide behind the nearest bin or old lady. At least while I am hiding, though, I can avoid the most hellish of perils a vending machine offers: the hanging item. Once selected, this item, usually though not exclusively a packet of crisps, is nudged forward by the small Victorian kids who man (or child) these machines from their rear, but only as far as the last centimetre of the last metal holding coil. The item’s top half hangs loosely over the edge, its bottom half remains in situ as if saying ‘Just jump, go for it, leave me’, like a person in recent hit motion picture Tremors shouting to Kevin Bacon while disappearing into a hole. The Victorian child just laughs. It is the only entertainment it has had since its family died in 1863. When this happens, I am firmly in the ‘shake machine until someone tells you to leave the building’ camp, rather than the ‘plough in another 70p and have two of them’ camp, just so you know.
Self-sevice: There is nothing ‘unexpected’ about a tin of beans when you are a self-service machine in a supermarket. It is what you are manufactured to expect. Your Bagging Area lives for these items. They are its bread and butter, though you probably find bread and butter a bit leftfield and zany. I’m not sure why I’m
addressing you in person. I bet you didn’t expect that, did you? Is it unfair to blame you, the machine? Should I be blaming the Bagging Area itself? Perhaps your mate Bagging Area is the most easily surprised thing you’ve ever known. Perhaps when a customer bawls “I HATE THESE FUCKING MACHINES. THEY ARE JOB-STEALING COCKJAWS” Bagging Area sends you a signal that says: ‘What an unusual and original attitude that old dear had’. Or am I asking too many questions? Which brings me to…
Deli staff: Not strictly a machine or appliance, more of a person or persons. I walk in to a sandwich place and the man behind the counter is already halfway through asking me what I want to eat. It is possible that his question started while I was still in the shower that morning, or even attending infant school. Or perhaps he is just on loop, fated to stand asking the same question until a colleague palms a wholemeal bap into his face. He continues to ask it as I look upwards at the blackboard menu above his head. So many options on there. “What can I get you?” Sandwiches, soup of the day, hot dishes. “What can I get you?” White and brown bread. “What can I get you?” Roll and sliced. “What can I get you?” And panini. “What can I get you?” Or a toastie. “What can I get you?” Oooh, a wrap, yes. “What can I get you?” Now, what to have in it. “What can I get you?” Maybe falafel and houmous. “What can I get you?” Mind, that feta and sundried tomato sounds nice. “What can I get you?” Or the Mexican chicken. “What can I get you?” Yes, I’ll have that. “What can I get you?” Or maybe a cheese and ham toastie. “What can I get you?” No, definitely the wrap. “What can I get you?” Erm, carrot and coriander soup,
Dan’s daughter’s dinky Steve Irwin doll
There is nothing ‘unexpected’ about a tin of beans when you are a self-service machine in a supermarket. It is what you are manufactured to expect
please. “Do you want a brown or white roll with that?” pipes up another voice. I run out of the shop and chew on my hands.
My daughter’s toys: Not all of them. I like the wooden ones and the ones with bubbles and the one that’s a talking doll of the late great croc-botherer Steve Irwin. It’s the ones with batteries. The worst of these is a small hamster which is impossible to turn off (and possibly to turn on, I haven’t tried, I’m not that way inclined, but each to his own, whatever floats your boat). It likes to wait until I am alone, watching television late at night. I hear its motorised wheel feet first, the wee gobshite. They spin into action and it rattles along the wooden floor towards me, wittering in Japanese. It then rams my feet, back and forth back and forth, all the time wittering in Japanese. But I know what it is saying. It is saying: “Daniel son. Tomorrow, you must remember to take the correct change with you to work.” ■ ÊÊTwitter: @d_gray_writer ÊÊWeb: danielgraywriter.com
This month Dan’s been mostly paying far too much attention to the Amazon ranking of his new book, Hatters, Railwaymen
and Knitters: Travels through England’s Football Provinces (Bloomsbury, £12.99)…watching Wee Blue Eyes learn to wink
6 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 97
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Issue 97 | leithermagazine.com | 7
To set the darkness echoing Seamus Heaney passed away at the end of August. Poet Paul Hullah pays tribute to a Nobel Prize winning writer of unassuming grace and enduring significance
ransience is fast supplanting tradition these days. There may be merits in this. We will see. There is, undoubtedly, a downside. Tradition offers the illusion of permanence; the transitory intimates and imitates mortality. And permanence is a comforting illusion: a firmer foothold as we slip and slide into the shape-shifting nouvelle éphémère. Insightfully prescient, in 1890 W. B. Yeats famously observed of modern poets that ‘the only thing certain about us is that we are too many’, and mourned the mounting difficulty of accurately identifying ‘talent’. More than a century later, we’re well and truly adrift amid a media-fueled maelstrom of rapid-turnover uploadable ‘fame’. Warhol’s projected 15 minutes’ limelight-time seems risibly optimistic now. Omnia vanitas… As evanescence threatens to become our new norm, destabilizing confidence in continuity, we mark the passing of a mortal of grace who savored and adored tradition, conserving and cultivating it in vividest verse. A modest unassuming man, Seamus Heaney identified momentous, useful meanings and morals in rituals and customs, framing all these for posterity in cogent, coherent mini-ruminations of (what his 1995 Nobel citation termed) ‘lyrical beauty and ethical depth, which exalt everyday miracles and the living past’. A neo-Platonic neo-Romantic, his was the Wordsworthian language of all men; his scenes were from everyday life. He found durable dignity in the rural and the rustic: a philosophy of the observable ordinary, or ‘gleaning the invisible from the palpable’ as he rhythmically put it. He read the 8 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 97
world as Wordsworth did above Tintern Abbey, made connections in the ways that Hopkins, Frost, Kavanagh, Hughes, and Larkin would later. (Heaney carefully clarified this prescription in ‘Poet as Professor’ (1991), reaffirming faith that ‘poetry is a part of the usual life [and] a poet or a poem should embody a certain amount of gumption and horse-sense’, those last two object nouns carefully chosen for their bucolic nonscholarly ambiance).
He was Famous Seamus for five decades. Seamus Justin Heaney, the Mossbawn farmer’s lad, born in 1939, eldest of nine. His was no disappearing act: like the olden ways he liked to write about, his talent was profound and it endured. To pinch the main metaphor and title of the 1966 piece he called his ‘first real poem’, Heaney kept digging. And the increasingly self-scrutinizing layers he uncovered as the years and accolades got bigger behind him played talisman to many a reader’s empathetic awakening too, whether to self-discovery and spiritual growth or politicocultural facets of Ireland’s everpresent past. Ginsberg argued that the ‘only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world. That’s what poetry does.’ Yes. That’s what Famous Seamus did. Decentred, diluted, and undisciplined as it is become of late, it’s unlikely that the world of letters will ever be lit with such longevity of living significance again. Blake Morrison identifies ‘earthy’ as the most-used adjective — panegyric qualifier of both person and poetry — adorning the plethora of eulogizing paeans
recently published at Heaney’s passing. If Morrison’s correct, I’m out of pocket: my money was on ‘graceful’. Or maybe it was the noun I noticed: ‘grace’. That’s what Heaney had. Descriptors beginning with ‘g’ suited him: graceful, gentle, gifted, genial, genuine, generous, gallant and gargantuan of talent. Good. Great. But never ‘godlike’: his placid humility was widely known. Indeed, from that humble honest nature grew the grace. I met him once — poetic-licencecarrying wannabe bard myself, I use ‘met’ as euphemism for ‘stood beside’ — at some lit-fest wine and cheeser many summers since. As with certain other authors whose aura I have briefly glimpsed firsthand (Iris Murdoch, Douglas Dunn, and Philip Larkin come to mind), what struck me most of all was Heaney’s warm and radiant, noble and elegant ordinariness, a dignified realness rooted in his clear-headed sense of a rural working-class past still residing inside him, and his privileged professorial present as something simply handed to him by fate and others, neither craved nor looked for, and thus never cause for personal fuss or revision. Famous Seamus, most famous for never coming on as famous, was an affable, pithy, witty, altruistic, charming and convivial man. Even in the few minutes I brushed shoulders with him, gazing on in awe with the best of a bottle of Beaujolais already floored, I managed to glean all that, and I remember it well. He was the sort of bloke a lot of us would like to be like, the sort of poet that a hell of a lot of us should strive more to be like. For his legacy is considerable, and we can all of us learn from it. In Preoccupations (1980) Heaney prosaically asked the central
Heaney at a turf bog in Bellaghy wearing his father’s hat, coat and walking stick
questions his poems severally sought to explore: ‘How should a poet properly live and write? What is his relationship to be to his own voice, his own place, his literary heritage and his contemporary world?’ Heaney’s own poetic vision profited from his remarkable ability to combine objects, impressions, and experiences in ways that reveal their inner nature. Ploughing with horses, lighting a fire in the morning, carrying water from the well… He never gave up digging. Most poets can write as badly as they can write well; Heaney’s batting average was remarkable. There’s lots of dodgy Wordsworth, tons of turgid Tennyson, much bad Bob Dylan, but there’s no bad Heaney, or if there is I’ve yet to read it. And he never hectored, was never dogmatic. Capable of calmly being in uncertainties, his tone epitomised that peaceable pensive serenity Keats admired enormously in Shakespeare and christened ‘Negative Capability’. The American critic Harold Bloom has it that ‘out of an old, crumbling world, the poet has to make something… the old, though, must not be allowed to crumble.’
Bobbie Harvey: Photographic archives, John J. Burns Library, Boston College
Heaney put it of course more humbly, saying he made poetry about ‘being changed a bit by something happening’…everyday miracles, and the living past. So, he dug. He found the better soil. ‘Between my finger and my thumb/The squat pen rests/I’ll dig with it…’ he wrote, early on in his impeccable career. His pen now rests, but the graceful good words he wrote down will endure.
Heaney also said that the aim of his poetry was ‘trying to make sense of a life’, and (borrowing a phrase from Patmore) wrote that ‘the end of art is peace’ (with ‘end’ deliberately chosen to mean both ‘purpose’ and ‘terminus’). He was looking for (not answers, but) edifying, comforting patterns. Of course he was. Making or locating significant patterns: that’s what everyone does. Whether it was my own father planting rockeries and landscaping gardens, my amateurgenealogist cousin in his steady quest to trace our family tree back to mediaeval times, or me writing this: we’re all trying for some sort of order, striving for structure and reassurance. That’s why there’s music, menus, anniversaries, alarm clocks, football leagues and festivals. That’s why there’s poetry and politics and religion.
We’re trying for harmony, meaning, order. Without such endeavour, the alternatives are unthinkable. Without it, we go back to chaos. And, as Heaney noted, poetry is one of the most enigmatic and enduring, magical and mighty patterns we can weave on the world to contain it, because poetry’s patently ‘made up’. Yet made-up enlightening words such as those Heaney leaves us affect us more than storms or heat, disclose more meaning than centuries of systematic demonstrable science. ‘I rhyme/To see myself, to set the darkness echoing’, he wrote. In the lucid light he left us, we will find ourselves echoing too. ■ ÊÊInfo: Paul Hullah lived, studied, worked, and drank (not always in that order) in Edinburgh throughout the 1980s, where he was active in the local music and arts communities. In 1992 he moved to Japan, where he lives today. He is tenured Associate Professor of British Literature and Culture at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo. His fifth volume of poetry, Homing, illustrated by the Scottish artist Susan Mowatt, was published by Word Power Books in 2011. He is currently working on a new collection of poems and a critical study of the sonnets of Christina Rossetti.
Den of Iniquity Tattoo Parlour 0131 557 8586
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Dancing About Architecture No.19
Standing up Nancy Sinatra Recovering from a decade in the biz they call show; it’s a matter of one day at a time, says Rodger Evans
nce I’d grown out of wanting to be a Thunderbird or the blond one in The Virginian or that bloke who until recently always read the football results, I set my heart – and one or two other organs – on becoming a music journalist. It was a dream that relinquished its pterodactyllike grip on me only in 2007 when I decided it was time to switch off that cliché that begs to be hurled from the window of room 1015 of the Hyatt on Sunset and go and do something less boring instead. For, as Haruki Murakami says in his novel A Wild Sheep Chase, the art of the critic can be likened to shovelling snow from here to there; it may appear useful work but… Let me not be complacent. Until I stumble across the Leith chapter of Music Journalists Anonymous, this course of therapy requires I recount for you, reader dearest, a fistful of my misadventures in rock ’n’ roll. I blame the missionary work of John Peel (the Radio 1 DJ who saved souls rather than collecting them), two weeks’ work experience at an Oxford firm of accountants circa 1984, and a teen obsession with the aesthetics of skronk as perfected by the Velvets, Ramones, Jesus and Mary Chain and Iggy. All of the above leading me to think: 1) the world that was chartered or certified was not the world for me, (b) I’d look just knock-out in leather trousers and iii) it would be Aldrinesque to see my name in the NME. At least two of these things proved to be so. From standing Nancy Sinatra up (for which I still feel bad) to talking copulating dinosaurs with Terry Gilliam and provoking threats of violence from Mark E Smith or Ivor Cutler, I was lucky enough to encounter a number of my heroes, have my articles grace front covers (Aldrin-plus), and knock back a Bruce Springsteen interview. I might have imagined that last one. Maybe I dreamt the whole decade… No, I can dig out the copy and find the tapes if it’s evidence you need. The Fall interview, for one, is 15 minutes of beautiful mayhem. But, sweet Buddha, don’t listen to the Shed Seven C-90 (my very first go) or my conversation with 10 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 97
You just know she can’t play that sucker
whisperin’ John Squire. Actually, you can’t listen to it because I hit the play button rather than record and thus had to sit in Nice ‘n’ Sleazies afterwards transcribing his mumblings from memory. My favourite encounters included Ralph Steadman, Kinky Friedman and Robin Guthrie, gentlemen and genii all, with Julian Cope and Edwyn Collins being mentioned in dispatches. Suede was something of a struggle, all in-jokes and reticence. Marsha Hunt was wise
and funny and nope I didn’t ask her how Mick was in bed. Gore Vidal gave good fax. Siouxsie couldn’t be bothered getting up that morning. Rich Hall was droller than rock and roll. And Phil Kay was assaulted (not by me I add) half way through the conversation but continued as if nothing had happened. Ones that got away? Edward Gorey, Deborah Harry and Arthur Lee top the regret list. The piece in which I take most pride is a Supergrass interview, which I wrote up while keeping an eye on both my 8-month-pregnant wife and a telly in the corner on which I could observe Celtic gubbing Ajax in Amsterdam. Gonzo journalism via Look-In magazine, it contains the most cow-related puns you’ll ever find in a piece of allegedly grown-up writing. One that served me a helping of angst was the Suede story, meant as a front cover but bumped for a piece about video games. Damn you, Sonic the Hedgehog. There went my A Confederacy Of Dunces – my Mr Gum And The Dancing Bear. And best not start me on that zobr at the Pink Tissue who edited my Belle And Sebastian exclusive with the delicacy of a pished Edward Scissorhands, before splitting the byline. Perfidious fink. How then was it I was persuaded back to tap out a dance on these keys in pursuit of further architecturally inspired choreography? Well, this estimable magazine you hold in your hands has reeled me in with promises of Quality Lit glory, a lifetime’s supply of cola cubes, and a bootleg DVD of Moomins Behaving Badly. Meanwhile, back on the set of The Virginian, my oldest child says he wants to grow up to be a vet or a dealer. I think he means the latter in the financial rather than pharmaceutical sense but we can argue about any moral mitigation later; much like Borges’ two bald men quarrelling over a comb. At least he declares no desire to be famous for being famous or to write about the tuneful but vapid musical comedies and diddle dum rhymes of fey young men with flying saucer eyes and Babylonian dreams. Or as Waylon and Willie almost sang it: Mamma-s, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys or music scribes. ■ ÊÊTwitter: @RodgerEvans
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AmericanGraffiti Jessica Taylor
I conducted the experiment, going out without a bag using only my pockets for storage T
some nicely fitting trousers and a pair of reasonable shoes, all preceded by a shower and a shave, and Bob’s your uncle. But this simplicity in dressing is often difficult to achieve when your body is not that of svelte androgyny. Despite this a handful of web stores have appeared, catering to this new ‘tomboy movement’, for a price. But while the clothes these stores bring together seem to include the most rugged items from what is available elsewhere, they still
Jail not included
I’ve always wished, in a mostly jokey way, that I were a guy. Not in terms of being a man trapped in a woman’s body – that I wouldn’t joke about – but I have always envied much of manhood: the increased opportunities; life without menstruating/menopause; freed from the worries of needing to have children before you are too old (too old being relatively young in life terms); and the greatly decreased risk of being attacked/ raped by a stranger or family member (jail not included). But tritely, my envy of men was for what was inside their wardrobes! Being a groomed, well dressed man – it’s so simple! All you need is a crisply ironed shirt,
stock, in my opinion, ridiculous clutches. How will you possibly be able to climb a tree with a clutch? You’ll need to leave it on the floor and risk it being stolen, or sit demurely watching others climb trees while a small tear forms at the corner of your eye. There remains a slightly sexist element to ‘androgynous fashion’, in that it consists almost entirely of men’s clothing. The practicality and minimalism of the trend is what I find most interesting. Doing without all the extra bits that get in the way, wearing flat shoes for running (those hidden wedge trainers do not count!), wearing hats that don’t blow off in the wind, and much more. So I conceived an idea for a small experiment in the name of gender and fashion, for one night I would do as men do: I would use my pockets.
Bag full of crap
I conceived an idea for an experiment in the name of gender and fashion, for one night only I would leave my bag and do as men do: I would use my pockets
here was a girl on my train to Glasgow recently who had a see-through, weekend sized bag, chock full of make-up, hand cream, nail polish and other stuff; I got the impression she was only popping over for a few hours. So why was her bag so large? These über huge bags are a blight to humanity, and especially to women the (western) world over. Yet for some reason we (I’m referring primarily to women; this may be an issue for men also but without research I can only discuss what I know) believe we need a bag full of stuff to face the day at our best. A bag might contain at the least: make up (a minimum of three shades of lipstick), some sort of lip balm, hair brush, perhaps hair product if you’re that way inclined, keys, sunglasses (even in cloudy climes), perhaps a bottle of perfume, phone(s), book/magazine/tablet, keys and some sort of trinket/keepsake – and that’s if you don’t have any children. Then there was a trend where fashion lifestyle bloggers would bare all by photographing and labelling the contents of their bags, which would of course make you think, ‘gee, why don’t I carry my tripod with me everywhere too so I can capture that beautiful, flat, white with utter sharpness’? Without even getting to the part where I remind myself about future back pains and the fact that if I brought the tripod I wouldn’t be able to fit in that two litre bottle of water.
On my first night club adventure in the United Kingdom I brought my bicycle messenger bag; at that time I did not understand the accepted norms for a female on a night out in the UK, and perhaps how it all ‘works’, and to a degree I still don’t, in terms of practicality. So after years of not knowing what to carry out at night, I few nights ago I conducted that experiment – I went out without a bag…using only my pockets for storage. What a revelation! It might seem obvious, but it was incredibly freeing. I almost felt tough (both hands are free, come at me bro!). Instead of the usual, “my hands are lethal weapons but please hold on a minute for one of my hands is currently being weighed down by my bag full of crap.” I can now fully understand and endorse the worth of a well placed waist bag, the American name for which always seems to cause fits of giggles (would that be a fanny pack? – Ed) so let’s just call it a ‘bum bag’. Hands free action with no unsightly bulging pockets, sign me up! However the papers are saying the ‘Granny bag’ is firmly on trend so you’ll have to be encumbered, both physically and by womanhood, for at least a season more. ■ ÊÊTwitter: @reddotbluedot Issue 97 | leithermagazine.com | 13
A Tale of Two Chippies Forget condimental controversy, a visit to the chippy can expose fault lines in the fabric of humanity, contends Colin Montgomery
s I write, what’s traditionally deemed ‘Silly Season’ for the fourth estate is pretty much over. No longer shall we tut and roll our eyes at hysterical headlines about sharks mugging pensioners in Cornwall, people finding God in beetroot or buses that run on yoghurt. Which is a shame, because now it’s back to mayhem, murder and mendacity. . To me, the foul stench of political bias prevents our sociopathic press from donning the sober Homburg of serious enquiry in their reportage on such matters. For the most part, despite pretensions and protests otherwise, they’re cheerleaders for the cold unforgiving architecture of entrenched inequality, grubby patronage and ideologically motivated misrepresentation. No wonder we’ve stopped using these rags to wrap chips in. Third paragraph in, and we’re approaching a veritable supernova of contextual confluence. So, space suit on, I’m going for it: man from Glasgow buys chips in Edinburgh chippy, is charged for ‘red’ sauce but not ‘brown’; complains he’s a victim of anti-west coast racism; absurd non-story is ideal ‘Silly Season’ fodder for both redtops and broadsheets; destined to become ‘tomorrow’s chip papers’; loopy story closes its own loop. That was strangely satisfying. Unlike the first part of an expedition to a chippy I recently undertook. I say expedition but it was hardly the stuff of Sir Ranulph Fiennes – in short, I wasn’t reduced to eating huskies and pit ponies (although once, I swear I found a hoof lodged in the sweaty grey anonymity of a ‘Chipsteak’ supper back in 1994). Which is to say, I endured no great physical hardship. But it posed difficulties in other ways. In the interests of space/love for my fellow man the story you are about to read has been ruthlessly filleted. But contrary to culinary convention, the fishy flesh has been chucked and the bare bones remain. Said bones would have made for bad juju but for saintly intervention. Enough arcane burbling, my tale is congealing like an abandoned supper atop a telephone exchange box – the flotsam of an inebriated evening. It went like this. From a starting point close to the top of Leith Walk I set off to buy fish suppers for four (plus sundries). My first thought was to yomp to the Tailend. Sublime fish and chips. Alas, I was in dire need of a feed, so I went up 14 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 97
the Walk, heading for a closer chippy that shall remain nameless. Save for the codename Demersal. It was Sunday night. Post Festival. And a little wet. So, it was no surprise that Demersal was quiet. That was no indicator of quality; I’d been before and the suppers were fine. Plus, aside from a random gentleman eyeballing a haggis, I could place my order straight away and very soon be wiring in, high on a vinegary tang. All in the world was good. Behind the counter, immediately in my eyeline, stood two men: short, balding, one getting on years, the other a younger version – they appeared to be related. Most likely, judging by the tête-à-tête they were having about an errant aunt or a cousin who needed their wings clipped. But the nonsense that happened next made all of that irrelevant. The catalyst for the stooshie? I bade them good evening. The greeting proffered was clear, intelligible and – even after a glass of red – the work of a sober man intent on a fried food transaction. At no point did I whip my John Thomas out, hurl faeces or accuse them of slagging off Hibs. In retrospect I wish I had. For in response to the vicious calumny that is: “Good evening gents, how are you?” the two men fixed with me unseeing eyes and – after a second of silent disgust – turned their backs on me.
After a look of disgust they turned their backs on me. I ceased to exist; my role as customer had been written out of this everyday drama
I had ceased to exist; my role as customer had been written out of this everyday drama. Not with a gas explosion or hit and run. Rather with callous contempt. When the lassie behind the counter (watching idly from the wings as this pathetic incident unfolded) asked me what I wanted, I was still reeling. But that discombobulation was short lived. I told her I’d take my £26 order elsewhere and left the chipper in high dudgeon. Fortunately, as I ranted northward down the hill, I reached Eatalias – the chipper next to the Ristorante Vittorio. And the contrast couldn’t have been greater. Welcoming staff. Impeccably clean. Delightful aromas. An air of honest endeavour. In short, they clearly gave a toss about running a chippy properly and treating customers with respect from the moment they stepped inside to the moment they left with (in my case) absolutely delicious fish and chips. So, that’s Eatalia folks: well worth a visit. Is this tale of two chippies worth a Leither article? Some may think we have bigger fish to fry. Perhaps. But to me, it’s how we behave and interact in small everyday ways that, seen as a whole, make up society’s ‘big fish’. And personally, I like mine served up with a bit of consideration, respect and decency. Believe me, it’s far, far batter that way. ■
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Yanking On The Food Chain If we place no value on food, no-value food is what we will get says Tom Gregorson
ou would have thought that after BSE, Foot and Mouth, TB in cattle (possibly caused by badgers, although I am pretty certain that a slowing of the rate of increase of the disease by 16% is a pretty feeble justification for slaughtering a species), and the Horse Burger scandal, we would be ready to take a measure of responsibility for what we put in our mouths, but it seems to be business as usual in the food chain. This is pretty disappointing, because there are plenty of ways of ensuring that what you is eat is what you were expecting (and I don’t mean the government’s ludicrous labelling schemes, all of which you could drive a refrigerated truck of Polish dobbin meat through), and many people offering transparency in their food sourcing, from retailers like Earthy and the Farmers’ Markets at Castle Terrace and Stockbridge, to restaurants such as Iglu, The Gardener’s Cottage and Urban Angel. The Slow Food movement has been in existence since 1986 and can be said to have set the template for how to look at food as an important part of our lives, rather than as the cheapest possible way to stay alive. The essential change that has eroded our perception of the value of good food over the last two generations is the never-ending attempt by both large food producers and retailers to reduce costs. With the opening of food markets across the globe where production costs are cheaper (Eastern Europe for meat and North Africa for vegetables and salads, for example), the supply chain lengthens and the risk of malpractice and/or incompetence increases. This damages the ability of farmers in the UK to compete successfully. In the 1950s, food accounted for over 25% of the UK’s disposable income.
In 2010, that was down to just 8%. Whilst some of this shift is due to improved income and thus higher standards of living, most of it is down to the deemphasis on food in our everyday lives. Despite the plethora of cookery programmes, chefs-on-tour series and dinner party-as-public-humiliation shows, there is an increasing gap between the slow-grown, free-range, 16 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 97
organic image that we like to project, and the processed, boil-in-the-bag, ready in seconds reality. We only have ourselves to blame. If we place no value on food, no-value food is what we will get. Simple maths is all that is needed to make the point. We all know that beef is not the cheapest meat available, in fact the cheapest bulk imported beef will sell to the processor at over £3.00 per kilo – and that is before processing costs, packaging, distribution and two profit margins (processor and retailer). So when retailers offer frozen minced beef at less than £3.50 per kilo, why on earth wouldn’t we think that something funny is going on? Since supermarkets always ensure that they make their margins, any corner cutting is going to be further back in the food chain. This way, the retailer’s hands are clean, and any demonstrable problems can be greeted with cries of horror and the mantra ‘we had no idea’! In reality, of course, they know exactly what they are doing (as an ex-supplier to all the major supermarket groups, I have plenty of direct experience of off-the-record conversations with certain buyers). There are honourable exceptions, of course – Waitrose and the Co-op, to name two. But anyone who believes that the multiple grocers are on the side of the customer is guilty of remarkable naivety. Next time you shop, take a look at the special offers, buy-one-get-one-free deals and discounts – all of which are paid for by the supplier, not the retailer. In fact, having products displayed prominently
The Four Horseburgers of the Apocalypse
at the end of the aisles, at eye level on the shelves, or in free standing displays all costs the supplier money, sometimes tens of thousands of pounds for a short promotion. There is nothing that hasn’t been successfully monetised. Even performing too well in a promotion has its cost. I was once billed an additional sum retrospectively because the rate of sale during the promotion had been greater than expected and some branches had run out of stock. The invoice was for the profit that the supermarket would have made had they not run out!
Where is it from?
Next time you shop, take a look at the special offers, buy-oneget-one-free deals and discounts – all of which are paid for by the supplier, not the retailer
The importance of knowing where your food comes from cannot be understated if you are at all concerned with the future of the food industry in this country. The harder we make the supermarkets work for our money, the more likely we are to affect a change for the better. Only a decade ago, food provenance was the province of a small group of ecowarriors, and now it sits front and centre in both the media and retailers (however distorted their methods and carefully worded their claims). No restaurateur has an excuse for not researching their supply chain, or dealing directly with producers where possible. Good produce doesn’t necessarily cost more, although it might take a little more work to find. The more often we ask “Where does this come from?” the sooner we will get the answer we deserve. Fail to ask the question, and we will continue to be fobbed off with whatever makes them the most money. ■
Our Shadows Will Remain Sonia Leal tells us about arriving in Scotland as a child of seven after the horrors of the 1973 coup d’état in Chile
hen Chilean exiles started arriving in Scotland shortly after Sept 11th 1973 two main working bodies made up of Scottish trade unionists and community groups were set up, the Chile Defence Committee (based in Glasgow) and the Chile Solidarity Campaign (based all over Scotland), together with the Joint Working Group (a UK wide network) they worked closely with local authorities who allocated two or three houses in towns and cities around Scotland. . Initially Chilean exiles arriving in London lived in ‘exile’ hotels but as soon as houses became available they made the journey to their new ‘adopted’ home. In this manner up to 500 Chilean exiles (including whole families) arrived in Scotland. Many had suffered unimaginable torture and as a child I grew up hearing their stories until they quickly melted their way into my consciousness, forever ingrained in my being – incidentally it was not until I was 26 that I first read my own father’s account. He never spoke about what happened to him but he wore his scars every day, his fingernails rough as barnacles where they had been torn out. He died too early, his heart that of an old man’s, due to the electric torture. There was no funding available for this resettling work it was achieved solely by Scottish people giving thousands of hours of their voluntary time as well as furniture and clothes. They welcomed us warmly, a country mocked abroad for its stinginess it was not, they had a history of their own struggles and could identify with ours, Additional assistance included English lessons for the parents and assistance in looking for work, a lot of this was organised by Jane McKay, a relentless and tenacious trade unionist and someone the Scottish Chileans owe much to. Chileans threw themselves into the political and cultural life of Scotland (they joined the trade unions, their fellow Scots fight was their own) and began raising the political consciousness of the Chilean struggle within their communities, through campaigns and cultural events, which led to working closely with many wonderful artists such as Dick Gaughan, 7:84, Wildcat Theatre, Sorley MacLean, Norman McCaig and Hamish Henderson. My family arrived in Cowdenbeath by bus from the exile’s hotel in Shepherds
Bush on the 1st of May 1977. I was 7 years old. The only thing I knew about Scotland was that it was a land of giants and that the men were so tough that they could wear skirts and no one would say anything, this had been relayed to me by Helen, a young Englishwoman working in the hotel. On arrival we jumped off the bus, my sister clutching a bear as big as her, donated by the same Helen. We stood in the cold spring afternoon while a beautiful marching band of Cowdenbeath Miners warmed up their bagpipes, I remember standing mouth agape. They all wore kilts! They were all huge! I fell in love with the sound of the bagpipes and to this day they can make me melancholy (or combative!). They escorted us through the village towards 25 Greenbank Drive; I have lived in many addresses since then but this one trips off my tongue in a millisecond. We followed in a daze, our bags carried by locals, when we reached the white house with the overgrown garden a beautiful blonde woman ushered my mother towards the front door where she dangled a key in front of her and motioned for her to open it, she did this several times as my mother was confused, once it dawned on her she smiled and unlocked the front door to what was to be our home for the next year. There was a huge coal fire in the front room and our beds had at least 10 blankets each, the miners wanted to make sure that we would not be cold. This was the time of package holidays and the miners and their families had obviously been to Spain, there were tons of little plastic Flamenco dolls on the windowsills and straw donkeys in the corner of the rooms. Against the back garden wall was a mountain of coal and triffid-like plants – which I later learned were rhubarb. I loved this house that the whole village of miners – some of whom had fought in the Spanish Civil War – had generously given to. They sang us rebel songs in Spanish and raised their left fist in solidarity. That welcome we got ensured I stayed in this country. We didn’t have to communicate with sign language for long we were given our own teacher who used toys to teach us words. In fact I can’t remember not speaking English. It made me happy to give back, to build my home here, and to form the strongest friendships, to have the privilege of meeting so many wonderful Scottish compañeros including your very own contributor Gordon Munro. As co-ordinator of the Chile: 40 Years On Scotland branch one of my aims was not only to highlight and acknowledge the amazing work of the Scottish people but to also give heartfelt thanks to them. ■
Still from Nostalgia for the Light: A mother scours Chile’s Atacama Desert for remains of her son, ‘disappeared’ during General Pinochet’s regime ÊÊInfo: chile40yearson. org
I remember standing mouth agape. They all wore kilts! They were all huge! I fell in love with the sound of the bagpipes and to this day they can make me melancholy (or combative!) Issue 97 | leithermagazine.com | 17
Edinburgh’s Original Crematorium From The Scotsman, 17th April 1937 Crematorium Dedicatory Service Lord Salvesen stated that the directors were now able to propose a further reduction in the costs of cremation, which he thought would be welcome, especially to the industrial classes, for whom the present charge was £4. From 1st July 1937 they proposed to reduce that charge to £3, which would cover everything connected with cremation. To those in better economic circumstances, they proposed a reduction from six guineas to five guineas. Warriston Crematorium continues to offer thebereaved the ability to say their farewells withdignity and respect, and now with the modernconvenience of private internet viewing. Edinburgh Crematorium Limited, established 1928.
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“I don’t praise plots as accurate representations of real life, but as ways to keep readers reading.” Y
ou want to write a story, yes? You have a sort of an idea – hey, a vague idea is fine, most of us writers have no idea what we’re doing when we set out, as Robert Frost said, “No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” And, you read my last article so you know how to engage the reader in what Samuel Taylor Coleridge famously called “the willing suspension of disbelief in the moment.” You start writing. You finish. You rewrite (because you know writing is about rewriting) and rewrite. Yet, something is wrong. You don’t know what. You ask a friend for advice and tell them to be honest. They love your description but say the piece lacks tension. It’s like a dagger to your heart. Don’t despair. Chances are you’re needing a plot. Yes, I know, in some literary circles the ‘P’ word is associated with cheap commercialism, but I’m with Kurt Vonnegut on this: “I guarantee that no modern story scheme, even plotlessness, will give the reader genuine satisfaction, unless one of those old-fashioned plots is smuggled in somewhere. I don’t praise plots as accurate representations of real life, but as ways to keep readers reading.” And what is plot? Plot is to do with creating trouble for your characters and seeing how they deal with it. Why? Because in fiction only trouble is interesting. According to the writer Charles Baxter, “Say what you will about it, Hell is story friendly. If you want a compelling story, put your protagonist among the damned. The mechanics of hell are nicely tuned to the mechanisms of narrative. Not so the pleasures of paradise. Paradise is not a story. It’s about what happens when the stories are over.” And how do you create trouble? You make your character want something and then have someone else or something try to stop your character getting it. All Cinderella wants is to go to the ball, but her ugly stepmother and those two sisters try to stop her. All Romeo and Juliet want is to be together but their parents are arch enemies and try to stop them. So far so good? The thing to remember about wants is that they can be expressed in many different ways. Sometimes, such as in detective stories, a want is clear; your goodie wants to get the baddy. However, a want can also be a quest (Moby Dick), a journey (David Copperfield), a triumph over an obstacle (The Old Man and the Sea) as well as a need, or a wish, or a hope or revenge, or love or obsession – in
Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby is obsessed with recovering the past. But, however wants are expressed, it is not so much what your character wants, as how much he or she wants it that is important. As writing guru Janet Burroway says, “It is true in fiction, in order to gain our attention and sympathy, the central character must want and want intensely. The thing that the character wants need not be violent or spectacular, it is the intensity of wanting that counts.” You see, if your character isn’t bothered about getting what he or she wants, there can be no sense of danger when their object of desire becomes under threat. And it must come under threat, because that’s what creates conflict. The greater the threat, the greater the tension. Think: tension equals desire plus danger. It is tension that keeps a reader reading. So, you could say, plotting is about forcing your character to make decision after decision, driving your character closer to or further from reaching his or her desire. And, as if you needed to be told, characters can have subconscious desires and wants too, which can sometimes contradict their conscious desires. In the story Kramer v Kramer by Avery Corman, all Kramer wants
Say what you will about Hell it’s story friendly. If you want a compelling story, put your protagonist among the damned
is to get on with his work, but then a subconscious desire surfaces to be a loving father to his son, which directly contradicts his conscious one – in fiction, a subconscious desire is always stronger than a conscious one (and makes for more compelling reading). Finally, whatever it is your character wants or desires, the outcome of the story must always be in doubt until the end, otherwise your reader will not read on. It’s also important to remember that even if a character gets what he or she wants, it doesn’t automatically end happily. Think of Hamlet: Hamlet wants to kill the King. When he finally succeeds it’s at the cost of his life and the life of all significant others in the play. It can also happen that a character doesn’t achieve his conscious goal, but does achieve his subconscious goal, as in Kramer v Kramer, when Mr Kramer becomes a loving father. To plot then is to give your characters and readers something to worry about. It’s tricky, but doable, if, as Sylvia Plath once said, “…you have the outgoing guts to do it.” (Part two next issue!). ■ Marianne Wheelaghan ÊÊTwitter: @mwheelaghan ÊÊInfo: mariannewheelaghan.co.uk and writingclasses.co.uk Issue 97 | leithermagazine.com | 19
Considering the Lobster Dominic Lowndes speaks to Martin Wishart; an Edinburgh born Michelin starred chef, about his stellar career and how a lobster played its part in that journey. They met at Wishart’s eponymous restaurant in Leith…
hat did you have for breakfast, Martin? I don’t normally have breakfast; I have a coffee, get the kids up, feed them, do the school run and take the dog for a walk. Today, I took a swim in my local gym out in East Lothian. Then drove the van into work. Sometimes in the summer, I will cycle in. Can you tell us a little about where you grew up? Blackhall. Though I went to nursery in Leith. My Nana and Grandad lived in Madeira Street, so I spent a lot of time there. Those were the days of Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks on World of Sport. It was the 1970s. I’d be about eight. Wrestling on the TV and a wee Scottish granny in the corner knitting. You don’t see that anymore. Prior to having kids you were already someone who valued and promoted the family unit. Do you feel that the breakdown of family values continues to trouble Scotland? It’s a complicated subject. My family came from the Islands of Shetland. There’s a sense of community there. A spirit that comes from the countryside as well as the population centres. You rely on each other more. There are a lot more social gatherings there too, drawing in wider groups. (He breaks off to rib a junior member of staff about his espresso making abilities. At this early, pre-service hour there’s a jocular vibe to the kitchen. A positive, big football club feel, like being in the boot-room at Parkhead on the eve of a Champions League tie.) So your first job was at the Crest Hotel aged 15? I actually started my own business in the early 1980s when I was twelve. Advertising sheets – six to a display. I sold the idea of local ads to local businesses that wanted promotion. A box on the board was, say, £30.00. The USP was the honesty of the whole 20 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 97
thing. We supplied a marked map of everywhere that we delivered to. Everything was proven… guaranteed. I even employed a couple of friends to do most of the delivering. Then we decided upon selling door numbers door-to-door. That didn’t work so well (he laughs fully at the folly), no that didn’t work so well! Yes, the Crest Hotel, a school friend’s dad was the manager and we had a guided tour when I was about nine. It was the first time I’d ever seen a lobster. It stayed with me… I was fascinated by that lobster. Working at the Crest led to the next thing, The Caledonian Hotel, which, at the time, was the best restaurant in Edinburgh for a chef to work in. The place was, as it had to be, regimental; a proper, old-fashioned kitchen brigade, head chef like a drill sergeant, Big tall white hats. When did you undertake your first foreign trip? That would’ve been to Brittany where I had my first oyster. It’s interesting, just last night after service, the chefs were talking about travelling and one of them said, ‘I just want to work on my career’. And I said ‘Working on your career is great but you can do that and travel. I’d definitely recommend that you go and see the World’. Can’t recommend that enough. If someone comes to us to hand in their notice we’ll ask them if everything’s okay. Sometimes, someone will say ‘I’m going to travel Chef, I’m going to go to Switzerland or elsewhere’. We’ll say ‘That’s a fantastic idea’. We won’t stand in their way. Encourage them. Is there a strong case for the type of school they have in Italy and France that takes Secondary School pupils who feel that catering is their chosen path? I work with the schools in France. They send their students to me. And the quality of the student that comes across is excellent. Their hunger for knowledge is
just fantastic. How they dress, attention to appearance, how they mix with the rest of the team, all great. The quality overall of a French third year student is wonderful. Their discipline… everything. I’ve worked with nearly twenty of them and only one wasn’t up to, or up for, it. It does occur in Scotland though: People taking it up as a career, and a serious career, from an early age. But, like America, here it is often perceived as a temporary thing that you do while you are at University. In Scotland, it is fair to say that there is a lack of urgency when it comes to the service. Service is a bit slow. T his is not the fault of the (college) tutors. You can’t just blame them. It’s the responsibility of the establishments. The pace of work is what’s important. The pace everything proceeds at. And that is set by the employers. Some Scottish kids can be put off by the lack of glamour. Others know that this is what they have to do to get to where they want to be. Why make it complicated? If you want to be a cook, a chef, or run a restaurant, eventually you’ve got to accept that you start at the very bottom. Do you feel your persona changes when you put on your chef’s whites? Yes. Of course. Yes, you do. If I’m not wearing my whites then I’m not at work, I’m probably at home and hopefully don’t feel the need to constantly tell people what they should be doing! Just how rooted in Scotland is your approach to food? My grounding is of course cooking in French restaurants, while being a Scot. You’d need to be pretty narrow-minded to say ‘I’m just going to cook Scottish’, no? In my view… we’ve got some world-class ingredients and it’d be absurd not to use them. We take that and my experiences and we combine them. Other things add to it. This could be a memorable dish that I’ve discovered in Sardinia and brought
home. We’ll put that on the menu. The basis is Scots ingredients done in a classic French style. Are there any intentions of expanding the Cook School? Well, that’s something that’s a great part of the business in that it gets myself, the Chef, very close to the customer because you’re passing on techniques that you have learned yourself. It’s a great piece of marketing for us as well. We’ve been asked to expand elsewhere, but presently there are no plans to do so. What do your kids like you to cook for them? My children love salmon. Not the smoked variety though. French beans. They love them. Chicken nuggets, (laughs warmly). One of them is really into vegetables. They eat fresh fruit, aren’t interested in fizzy drinks and like drinking
Courtesy Cecile Wishart
Mark Lazarowicz MP Constituency Office
5 Croall Place, Leith Walk, Edinburgh
Weekly Surgeries Every Friday 4pm Stockbridge Library 5pm Constituency Office water, which I am very pleased about. Like all kids, you have to work to convince them that something’s going to be nice! When I was their age I loved stew & dumplings, lentil soup with a ham hough, apple crumble, a pie and Bovril at Easter Road! Winter food What is your favourite comfort food these days? Tortilla española. A nice Spanish omelette. Get the potatoes in there. Boiled Beef Brisket with carrots and sliced Horseradish. (Ponders further) Rollmop herrings. Like them too, had them on Monday. There’s always a nice Spanish ham on the go. Other than diet, how do you stay so fit? Do you really own a yacht? I swim, cycle, surf – constantly moving. I had a small boat down at Granton when you used to work for me (14 years previously) and then
sold it. I have a boat now, down at Port Edgar. Not a yacht. (A delivery of glittering seafood briefly halts proceedings) What is my boat called? I don’t have a name for it yet. (I suggest that this perhaps contravenes Maritime Law). You’re thinking of it being deemed bad luck to sail without a name, not that it breaks any sea-faring rules! I should have decided on a name quicker than I have, but I haven’t, so that’s one more thing I need to do. ■ ÊÊRestaurant Martin Wishart, 54 The Shore, T: 0131 553 3557 ÊÊMartin Wishart at Loch Lomond, Cameron House Hotel, T: 01389 722 504 ÊÊThe Honours, 58A North Castle Street, T: 0131 220 2513 ÊÊCook School by Martin Wishart, 14 Bonnington Road, T: 0131 555 6655 ÊÊ www.martin-wishart.co.uk
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Keep Calm and Carry On Being a Mug Sally Fraser reckons that the ruling classes are closing ranks with remarkable speed
o did she or didn’t she? That was the question on everyone’s lips… She was showing hormonal changes after all, she had been spotted eating a whole bar of galaxy and crying at an episode of Home and Away, and suspicions were really raised when she ordered a shandy on the Panda Night Out. Is the zoo resounding to the pitter-patter of tiny panda paws? Is Alex Salmond knitting tiny Saltire booties as I type? Does anyone actually give a shit? I do a bit. At least on balance I give slightly more of a shit than I did about that other eagerly awaited birth. I mean don’t get me wrong, I wish wee George and his parents every health and happiness, I just wish I didn’t have to hear quite so much about him. And I wish I didn’t live in a world where some people can spend half of what I live on in a year on one night in a maternity ward. And I wish that the message didn’t go out that that was okay, because then what can you do? We all want the best for our kids don’t we? You can’t go getting the 49 bus to the Royal Infirmary when you are in labour (and no-one wants to sit next to you) can you? Well you can, because I did it and it was fine, and I’m sure K Middy would have managed fine too. Hell, its still a cushier number than the millions of babies born the world over without anything approaching the luxury of the 49 bus to hospital, cushier indeed than those mothers whose experiences make the opulence of The Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital (£6,265 a night) such a repulsive fucking insult.
(Not) socially mobile
It’s not okay. It represents an inequality that is not okay, an inequality that somehow we are all becoming desensitised to. A few years ago I said on my blog that the dummy was the new symbol of the class war and I was half joking, thinking that as a common girl who had married a posh boy and given his baby a dummy to suck I was on my own in a battle that didn’t exist anywhere else. But fast-forward to a Tory government and class is everywhere, and all of sudden I find myself with Skunk Anansie’s Yes its f**king Political playing on a loop in my head. We are pummelled every single day 22 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 97
The greatest act of revolution they can commit is to marry a commoner and delve into a new world of dunking biscuits in tea, and pronouncing garage ‘garridge’
with posh, rich, spoilt people casting judgements about poorer people and making their lives impossibly difficult. People with several enormous houses saying other people should pay for their spare bedrooms. People whose school fees cost £30,000 saying benefits must be capped at £26,000. People who live off £250 a day saying other people should be able to live off £50 per week. And people who have never worked and are rich saying people who have never worked and are poor are the kind of monsters who murder their children. In amongst all this the BBC decided a while back that there are now seven classes in Britain, what matters is whether you listen to classical music or not or if you have a friend who works in a call centre, which implies this country is a hell of a lot more socially mobile than it really is. You see I have insider knowledge. I slipped through the net. A girl from Bradford with a passion for Austen novels made it to Edinburgh and discovered that there is nothing these posh boys like more than sitting drinking beer with girls with northern accents and listening to them talk about schools where people carry knives and throw petrol bombs. Some of them even realise that if they have even slightly rebellious tendencies, the greatest act of revolution they can commit is to marry one of these commoners and delve into a whole
new world of dunking biscuits in tea, pronouncing the word garage ‘garridge’, blessing people when they sneeze and generally pissing their parents off at every turn. This was the decision my husband made, and so it was that I found out that Austen isn’t quite as funny when you are related to half the characters. Could that happen now? I don’t think so, the ruling classes are closing ranks with remarkable speed and efficiency and no one even seems to mind or get angry about it.
It’s all part of the illusion that these very rich people deserve it, and maybe if we work hard we might deserve it too and be like them, not like all those yucky poor people who bring it on themselves. Because we get to see wee George’s picture with his smug smiling parents and well behaved dogs we feel we somehow have a stake in it, are somehow part of it, which prepares us to be happily screwed over by his family. And now that celebratory Pimm’s is a distant memory, we will no doubt need some reminders. Fancy a Keep Calm and Carry On Being a Mug mug? Or how about that Keep Calm and Don’t get Angry about Immense Social Injustice fridge magnet? ■ ÊÊInfo: Sally’s blog is at: slow-progress. blogspot.co.uk
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15 Broughton Street, Edinburgh, 0131 556 3132 Issue 97 | leithermagazine.com | 23
The First Lady of American Ghosts When Vogue commissioned Bert Stern to photograph Marilyn Monroe they triggered an extraordinary collaboration that still resonates today
escribed as the original ‘Mad Man’ the photographer Bert Stern was famed as an advertising art director and photographer. He started out as the mail boy at the influential American magazine Look. After being drafted into the Korean War in the early 1950s he learned about photography. In 1957 he was hired to shoot the ‘Driest of the Dry’ Smirnoff advertising campaign. One photograph – shot in Egypt – of the Great Pyramid reflected upside down in a cocktail glass became an adland legend. In the early 60s Stern was commissioned by Time magazine to shoot Burton and Taylor on the set of Cleopatra. “I fell in love with everyone I photographed,” he once said. His biggest claim to fame however came in 1962 when he was commissioned by Vogue to shoot Marilyn Monroe – this was to be her last sitting before her mysterious death. These photographs, taken against a white backdrop in a suite at the Bel Air hotel, have been likened to the informal shots of Princess Diana taken by Mario Testino in 1997, only a few months before Diana’s fatal car crash. Monroe and Diana were the same age when they died. The Monroe images are haunting. She was just on the cusp of losing her radiant youth – cigarettes, sleeping pills, booze and unhappy love affairs had all taken their toll. Some of the most intimate shots were done with just the photographer and star and no hairdresser, stylist or PR in the room. The resulting body of pictures – known as ‘the last sitting’ but actually several sittings – shows Marilyn being herself. In turn playful, tender, sexy and so, so, sad. In some shots she is obviously tipsy; she and Stern had been drinking her favourite champagne. In others she’s naked save for a chiffon scarf that leaves nothing to the imagination – not even an ugly operation scar on her abdomen. In still more shots she is the movie 24 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 97
I cared too much for her. My desire for Marilyn was pure, it bordered on awe. To make love to her would have been too much – and not enough
sex kitten lying on a rumpled bed. Another session has her looking more formal in dark cocktail dresses. These black-and-white images have been called Marilyn’s obituary photographs. Further shots show her in a black wig (à la Jackie Kennedy). Bert Stern shot 2,571 photographs over three days. In some of the photographs Monroe looks more beautiful than ever (one picture was used on the cover of Norman Mailer’s photographic biography of Monroe published in 1973, in which he called her ‘the First Lady of American ghosts’. In some she looks exhausted and maybe a little angry and viewers can see what Mailer referred to as ‘the devil of the orphanage in her eyes’. In other shots Marilyn looks ineffably lost and burned-out, she seems to be yearning for someone to come and save her. Because of her perennial lateness and perilous mental health her last film was cancelled and her career was on a downward spiral. Norman Mailer talked now ‘of the days of dwindling’. Just like Diana, MM’s life was at a crossroads and Stern’s photographs crystallise that moment. When he met Monroe on that first day: ‘The sun was setting behind the Hollywood hills’. (Stern wrote in the introduction to his book The Last
Sitting) ‘And the girl-nextdoor that every man dreams of was walking slowly toward me in the golden light’. Forty years later, he remembered, “She came alone. She had a bandana around her head. Some slacks and a sweater. No makeup. She was just gorgeous. I was shocked that she was so fit. She was wonderful for photography.” In the 1960s Bert Stern’s life began to unravel in true Mad Men style. There was womanising, booze and a love affair with Dexedrine, a popular ‘upper’ of the time. His marriage to New York ballerina Allegra Kent also ended. Monroe was sent contact sheets and transparencies for approval. The ones she didn’t like she scored through with a Magic Marker, and ones she really didn’t like she scratched angrily with a hairpin. These actions in themselves reveal much about what she thought of her self-image. The X’d out images were never meant to be seen but the star’s untimely death made these the most interesting of the shots. Signed copies now sell at auction for thousands of dollars. Indeed, the Last Sitting images have become a lavish coffee table book, and a documentary on Stern’s life as a photographer was released in 2011. Stern died in June this year. Stern remembered that one time, when he finished photographing Monroe, they lay dizzy with champagne and he wanted to make love to her but didn’t. “Why not? I’ve asked myself that question many times, and I’ve come up with many answers: marriage, prudence, cowardice, destiny… Dexedrine. But at that moment I think the truest one was that I cared too much for her. My desire for Marilyn was pure, it bordered on awe. To make love to her would have been too much – and not enough.” At Marilyn’s funeral her acting teacher Lee Strasberg said. “She had a luminous quality – a combination of wistfulness, radiance, yearning – that set her apart and yet made everyone wish to be part of it”. ■ Kennedy Wilson
AutumnFitness & Health Tracy Griffen
Get Fresh With Your Food O
ne of the best things about exercising all day every weekday is that I really enjoy my food. You’d think being a personal trainer I would eat anything, but as I get older I become increasingly fussy about what I put in my body. I believe in quality over quantity. Many people try to economise on food, either time wise or financially. Many who are cash-strapped buy processed food because it’s ‘cheap and easy’. Busy office workers often fall prey to convenience food as they may come home from work ‘too late to cook anything’. In this article I hope to explain why we all need to cook from scratch more. Supermarkets and processed foods form a vicious circle for consumers. They convince customers that ‘You’re too busy to cook’, with packaging on microwave meals portraying a gourmet feast (usually the photo doesn’t come close to resembling the brown slop inside). No worries about the appearance, it’s laden with salt and sugar to make it more ‘palatable’. Eating processed foods regularly can increase your blood pressure (the salt) and waistline (the readily available processed sugars). If you don’t usually eat them and you get served one, you also realise that they usually taste like shit. You may be stuck in a habit of buying ready-meals, as they appear better value. I have news for you my friend; supermarkets inflate the cost of store cupboard ingredients, giving the illusion that processed foods are better value. Hummus at tesco (lowercase t please) costs £1; if you shopped for the ingredients in the cooking aisle, you would find chickpeas come in at 89p, and you’d get a lot more hummus. If you go up The Walk to Polypack continental shop, you will find chickpeas for only 39 pence. Ha!
Pop don’t stop
In this article I hope to explain why we all need to cook from scratch more
Another reason why home-cooked food is superior to supermarket mush is that it’s better for you. Fact. The food is mechanically processed, so there is less ‘processing’ for your digestion to do. This makes it higher on the Glycaemic Index, and gives you a blood sugar peak, and consequent crash. I have found that when fitness clients switch from processed food to more raw ingredients (fruit, veg and unadulterated wholegrains), they report having more
Steamed vegetables – 6 minutes to prepare in Tracy world. Reader, she is right
energy and feeling less sluggish. Also, be suspicious if a processed food item is making a health claim. How can Belvita breakfast biscuits be better than a basic breakfast? I quote from their website: ‘Belvita is a range of biscuits specially designed for breakfast. Made with wholegrain, rich in cereals, a source of fibre containing a selection of vitamins and minerals, these delicious crunchy biscuits have been scientifically proven to slowly release carbohydrates over 4 hours’. They have 40 ingredients! Why so many? To engineer the biscuit so it can make health claims on the front of the box (whilst the extensive ingredient list hides on the bottom of the box in small print)? If it’s fortified, chances are it’s had vitamins added as the goodness has been already mechanically processed out of the raw ingredients. Breakfast cereal is a good example of this. Better off with a bowl of porridge. Food production is a huge industry that sends out many messages. The big shops press home the mantra that you don’t need to bother with the mundanity of cooking. Mass produced food exists for profits rather than nutrition. There’s more profit to be made on processed food as it uses cheap ingredients, mechanically produced for a few pence and then heavily marked up. Processed food ships better and keeps better than fresh food, so it’s a better business to be in.
Some people are shocked when they think about the prioritising of supermarkets towards making a profit, rather than having a responsibility to sell food that has some nutritional value. The biggest sellers are the crap food, the food that is irresistible so that ‘when you pop, you don’t stop’. Hopefully I have convinced you that time spent in the kitchen is time well spent. Cooking should be easy and it should be a pleasure. Steamed vegetables with couscous take around six minutes to cook. If you enjoy your food, you’re more likely to enjoy the process of planning and creating it, and vice versa. Spend time getting good quality ingredients, and learn a few simple recipes, or revisit favourites. By being in control of the sugar, fat and salt levels of home cooked food you may find your palate adapting to the fresh options. It seems counterintuitive that convincing my fitness clients to spend a bit more time in the kitchen actually helps their waistline, but I have proof that more time spent preparing food can aid weight loss. This includes planning your lunch and taking tasty healthy snacks to work. Food preparation is a sensual pleasure. So turn off your TV and switch on your oven. And you will also end up saving yourself money... ■ ÊÊTwitter: @tracygriffen ÊÊFacebook: /griffenfitnesss
This month Tracy’s wearing shorts and cooking a glut of courgettes
and other allotment vegetables whilst trying to change the world
Issue 97 | leithermagazine.com | 25
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26 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 97
Dear Mrs MacPickle, My husband has a friend who seems to have an endless string of angst-ridden ill-defined relationships with women. This is not only tedious, but my husband and I are starting to fight about it because I have said I can’t be bothered meeting or getting to know these women because it will be all beer and skittles one minute, then heart break the next, then we will have months of them tagging along in an undignified manner despite being officially dumped. Sometimes we even get more than one of these poor waifs out at the same time! Anyway my husband just gets cross with me for being unreasonable and I know it shouldn’t bother me but I just can’t help be irritated at a grown man insisting on living life like a perpetual episode of Dawson’s Creek. Where do I go from here Mrs Mac? Yours, Iva Bugbear My Dear Iva, The fact of the matter is that while
this ought to be none of your business, people who conduct their romantic lives in a crappy way have a habit of rubbing a little misery off onto other people. I am not surprised that you are arguing. You probably sense that, rather as if your husband was spending time with someone with the flu you would both expect to come down with something yourselves, you can expect a little of the lack of emotional integrity to infiltrate your marriage. But try not to worry, you are grown-ups and will not descend into a teenage hell of anguish and acne that easily. My advice would be: tell your husband you are happy for him to spend as much time with his friend as he likes but stay well away yourself. I am sure you won’t cause any offence, as I would imagine this gent has his head far too far up his own arse to even notice. And rather than focusing on your negative feelings toward the friend, try to dwell on what a nice and patient man your husband must be to accommodate him and his various romantic satellites. ■
Green&Leithy Rebecca Jane Armstrong
Deli... Park Your Bike And Come On In
Blueberry, cardamom & coconut pancakes U
h oh, we may have accidentally discovered culinary nirvana…not that that’s in anyway a bad thing, but it could be dangerous. Especially since it involves pancakes. Yep, nirvana inducing pancakes. Curious? Yeah, I’ve got your attention right?! These marbled pillows of ecstasy are extremely easy to prepare. The cooking time is slightly longer but once you start, you’ll soon be hypnotised into mindful contentment. Watching over the beautiful creation that unfolds in front of you. Now, I’m guessing you all know the superfood properties of the blueberry, but flax seeds? Well, these little fellows contain hefty doses of Omega-3, the essential fatty acid usually ascribed to oily fish, making these pancakes extremely good for you. Did I mention they taste like pure bliss? You may think the combination of lavender and cardamom slightly odd, but once you taste it you’ll be sent into a state of pure bliss. The taste is multi-faceted. Swallow, smile, pause, smile more. It’s that kind of dish. (That being said, if you’re still not keen on this culinary adventure, go with the flavours that work for you.)
24 Haddington Pl T: 0131 652 5880, facebook.com/Embo-deli
Makes 8, Vegan, Gluten Free
100g Coconut Flour 100g Gluten Free Flour (buckwheat, almond etc) 2 tsp Ground Flax + 6 tsp Water 2 tsp Baking Powder 200ml Plant Milk (I used Oat) Pinch of Sea Salt 1/4 tsp Green Cardamom Seeds, ground 1/4 tsp Lavender 1/2 cup Blueberries Coconut Oil (for cooking)
Method Mix the flax with the water and set aside for 10 minutes. Mix all the dry ingredients then add the flax gel and the milk, stir well. Tip in the blueberries and stir gently until just combined. Heat a little oil in a skillet and spoon one 1/2 tbsp of batter onto the pan, cooking three at a time. Cook on a medium heat for about 4 minutes, until the sides start to dry and the blueberries start bubbling. Flip and cook for a further 4 minutes, place on a plate and keep warm in the oven until all the batter is cooked. We served our pancakes with grilled banana, toasted almonds and maple syrup. You know, just a suggestion. ■
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Regular live gigs (check at Parlour Bar) Luminate Poetry Slam Ghillie Dhú, Rutland Place 13 Oct: Compered by Jenny Lindsay Tickets free from Traverse Nobles 44a Constitution Street 0131 629 7215 noblesbarleith.co.uk facebook.com/noblesbarleith All free entry Every Mon: Quiz Murray Briggs 9pm Every Tue: Jamnastics & Lewis Gibson 9.30pm Every Wed: The Jack O’ Diamonds 9.30pm Every Thu: Nathan Fynn or Bluegtass Session 9.30pm Check website/facebook (above) for unlisted Fri/Sat Gigs The Parlour 142 Duke Street 0131 555 3848 Every Wed: Quiz 8pm
Pressure Valve Open Mic Night @ The Pear Tree 38 West Nicolson Street 0131 667 7533 Every Sun 8pm: Featuring a fine variety of music, comedy, magic acts & more.
live music in a well-produced environment. Each night sees the right mix of the most established, brand new and freshly breaking live acts from Scotland and beyond alongside great music from the Black Spring DJs (aka Hobbes and DC) and friends. Described as the barometer of pop by the press, you’re guaranteed to see/hear the best music every month with consistently reliable, high-grade entertainment. Royal Lyceum Theatre lyceum.org.uk 25 Sep to 19 Oct: Ian Rankin & Mark Thomas’s Dark Road, Tue/Sat 7.45pm (Matinees Wed & Sat 2.30pm 30 Sep: William Boyd: Solo 7.30pm 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 Sofi’s 65 Henderson Street 0131 555 7019 bodabar.com Every Mon: Cult Movie Night The Street 2 Picardy Place 0131 556 4272 thestreetbaredinburgh.co.uk 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! Victoria Bar 265 Leith Walk 0131 555 1638 bodabar.com Every Mon: Language Café 7pm
Victoria Park Hotel 221 Ferry Road 0131 477 7033 Every Tues: Leith Folk Club £7
Concrete Wardrobe 50A Broughton St. 0131 558 7130 concretewardrobe.com
October Maker of the Month: Lesley Thorn-
ton (Crimson Textiles) exhibits her range of knotted tartan jewellery and accessories
The Danish Cultural Institute 3 Doune Terrace dancult.co.uk Till 10 Oct: Mind over Matter Exhibition, Mon/ Thurs 10am-4pm Diner 7 7 Commercial Street 0131 553 0624 Ever changing Art Exhibitions The Fruitmarket Gallery 45 Market Street 0131 225 2383 fruitmarket.co.uk 1 Aug-18 Oct: Gabriel Orozoco - The Eye of Go Exhibition The Leith Gallery 65 The Shore 0131 553 5255 the-leith-gallery.co.uk Till 5 Oct: Douglas Phillips – A Retrospective, Mon/Fri 11am-5pm Sat till 4pm Old Ambulance Depot 77 Brunswick Street 18-20 Oct: Make Something Or Be Forgotten, Sculpture & Drawing – Robby Ogilvie 11-6pm Out of the Blue Drill Hall 36 Dalmeny Street 0131 555 7100 outoftheblue.org.uk Weekly classes: Drama, dance, yoga, martial arts, music, aerial classes and art workshops Fleamarket last Saturday every month 10-3pm Summerhall summerhall.co.uk 16-19 Oct: confab and Dance HQ present The Gates 8pm, £12 (at Ticketline)
Weekly surgeries every Friday (no appointment required) 4pm Stockbridge Library. 5pm Constituency Office, 5 Croall Place. 2nd Sat every month (except hols), Wardieburn Community Centre 10am 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 Leith Walk Ward SNP Advice Surgeries: 1st Tuesday month McDonald Road Library 5.30, 2nd Friday of month Leith Walk Primary School 12.30, 3rd Saturday of month McDonald Road Library 10am Aerobics Classes Lianne on 07779064991 firstname.lastname@example.org Tuesdays at 6pm Pilrig Church, no need to book. £3 per class, £2 concessions. Have fun and get fit Chile: 40 Years On David Hume Tower, George Square 2 Oct: Dick Barbor-Might, discussion after 5.30-7pm 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
Advertising? Call or email the ever helpful Sue on 07772 059 516 or email@example.com for prices, distribution and ideas
Free Issue 97
Pilates Classes 3 Queen Charlotte Lane firstname.lastname@example.org Mat classes, 1-1 and 2-1 sessions, small groups
Adam McVey 0131 529 3279 Leith Ward SNP Surgery 3 Wednesday every month Leith Library 6pm. Appointments any time
Ramsay Cornish 15 Jane Street 0131 553 7000 Thu: 11am Traditional Lane Sale Sat: 11am General Household Auction
Malcolm Chisholm 0131 558 8358 MSP Edinburgh North & Leith Advice surgeries every Saturday morning. Leith Library 10am, Royston Wardieburn Community Centre 12pm
Restalrig Lochend Community Hub 198 Restalrig Road South 0131 346 1179 thirdagecf.org.uk Every Thur 2-4pm: Third Age Computer Fun Free taster session for new potential members
Mark Lazarowicz 0131 557 0577 MP for Edinburgh North & Leith
Stockbridge Market, Kerr Street 0131 551 5633 stockbridgemarket.com Every Sun: 10-5pm ■
A Taste of Martin Wishart t History of Our Food Bert Stern | The Secre Scottish Experience an Marilyn Munroe and us Heaney | The Chile A Tribute to Seam
theleither TheLeither Issue 97 | leithermagazine.com | 29
CrosswordNo.72 across 1 5 10 11 12 13 15 18 20 23 25 26 27 28
Scene of chiropractor in theatre (8) Pushed quietly, dove flew (6) Outrageously gay man on holiday may do this (5,4,6) Runs away from the French, also known as, gendarme externally (7) Interferes with animals on backstreet (7) Insurrection, first to last for books (8) Cut card game of high pressure (5) Aid in-out country (5) Actors, musicians, dancers the lot! (8) Cold tor, Ed? That’s cool! (7) Model of excellence, made SAS go north (7) Anger of writer Stephen, e.. It’s the end of the line (7,8) Walk Street on horse (6) Lead into, what brain surgeon must have (3,5)
Down 1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9 14 16 17 19 21 22 24 25
Bend under pressure and Rogers the French (6) In charge of dotcom, man deduced (9) Far away princess’s thanks to national trust (7) I love bad fruit (5) Author decapitated by dog trainer (7) Weird wives, looks (5) Hated exam in legal document (8) Apothecaries play chess at MIT (8) Muirfield has these! (4,4) Conscientiousness of cracked ceiling, Ed!(9) Finds out how much record makes, say (8) Let everyone have an obligation to pay dollars primarily (7) Xylophone that took mother to edge of Buenos Aires (7) Fresh nudes from university maybe (6) Cooler than 23 (5) Sandwich on board (5
Supplied by: www.leithlinks.co.uk
answers: crossword 71 across
1 Brandish 5 Abuser 10 One man and his dog 11 Opts out 12 Undress 13 Peddling 15 Roger 18 Music 20 Biddable 23 Lunatic 25 Bastard 26 Airedale terrier 27 Smelly 28 Chargers
1 Boo-boo 2 Alertness 3 Diamond 4 Start 6 Blinder 7 Sidle 8 Registry 9 Adjudged 14 Imbecile 16 Galvanise 17 Small ads 19 Citadel 21 Assurer 22 Adores 24 Nurse 25.Bitch
30 | leithermagazine.com | Issue 97
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Leither in London Carrie Mitchell
A viewing of the fine new film Sunshine on Leith triggers a return to the Burgh I
Guess which prestigious film critic they’re quoting on the movie poster and TV ads? Barry Norman? Pah. Jonathan Ross? Pfft. Claudia Winkelman? Please! No, it’s ME!
think my career has just peaked… and I’m not referring to the interview I just did with Judi Dench. No, this is big. HUGE. Brace yourselves. Have you heard of Sunshine on Leith? Well yes of course you have but I’m not talking about the Proclaimers’ album or even the spin-off West End musical – I’m talking about the movie. Yup, Leith has finally had the recognition it deserves earning itself a place on the big screen with an all-singing, all-dancing, all-star cast. Excited? I haven’t even told you the best bit yet… Guess which prestigious film critic they’re quoting on the movie poster and TV ads? Barry Norman? Pah. Jonathan Ross? Pfft. Claudia Winkelman? Please! No, it’s ME! Who’d have thunk it? Yours truly will appear in the media campaign for what could be the most exciting film release in The Leither’s history. I guess it’s quite fitting really. I can’t lie though, when the invitation to the screening arrived in my inbox, I was nervous. Was I about to witness a car crash on the big screen? Could they have gone back down the Trainspotting route with another film on Leith’s grubby past? Or would it be Mamma Mia relocated to Edinburgh’s waterfront? Thankfully it was neither. Sunshine on Leith is an uplifting, upbeat film, impressively directed by Press Gang alumnus Dexter Fletcher, and featuring a cast who can not only act but also hold a tune. The film focuses on two young squaddies, Davy and Ally, returning home to Leith after serving in Afghanistan and trying to adjust back to everyday life. The plot is moulded to fit the soundtrack so without giving too much away, if you ponder the Proclaimers’ biggest hits, you might be able to predict some of the ups and downs they face along the way. Musical high notes include a stirring rendition of ‘Lets Get Married’ by the lads down the pub (keep your eyes peeled for a brilliant cameo from one of the lads from Edinburgh’s other favourite musical duo, The Cuban Brothers); a heartfelt rendition of ‘Oh Jean’ from
Davy’s dad to his conveniently named wife at their anniversary do (set in the salubrious surroundings of Leith Dockers Social Club); and the singing, dancing, flashmob finale that is (naturally) ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’.
On the waterfront
The film could quite easily have gone a step too jazz hands but with respected names like Jane Horrocks and Peter Mullan on board for the ride, the movie gains a certain gravitas - their presence undoubtedly helping Fletcher negotiate the slippery space between grit and Glee. And while the film will surely have the tourist board jumping for joy, I personally don’t think the picture painted of the city is all that different to the reality – at least not in my romantic imagination. All those sweeping shots of the Edinburgh skyline, Calton Hill and Princes Street Gardens pretty accurately reflect the images that flash up in my own head when I’m indulging in a little yearning for the homeland. In fact, after seeing this movie and skipping out of the cinema to a mental soundtrack of King of the Road, I went straight home and booked myself a train back to the Burgh for the weekend. I don’t think I’ve been quite so excited
to arrive into Waverley station – not least because those pesky tram works were finally gone so, for the first time in a long time, I could walk straight out onto Waverley Bridge and revel in what may be my favourite view of the capital. To the left, the imposing rooftops of the Royal Mile stretching all the way up to the monolithic castle perched majestically atop its volcanic rock. To the right, the lofty peak of Scott monument puncturing a rare bright blue Edinburgh sky. All this was enjoyed to the appropriate soundtrack of the bagpipes being played by the piper on the corner of bustling Princes Street. If I hadn’t been in such a hurry to catch the 22 and get down to Leith, I could happily have stood for hours soaking it all up but I had another thrilling view awaiting my arrival. It doesn’t matter how long I stay away, when I drive round the corner onto the shore and get that first view of the waterfront, it feels like coming home. Sadly, it was only a fleeting visit this time but I’m working on it…I just have to convince the man I love that a life in Leith could offer us as much in the way of adventure and happiness as a life in Stockholm. My next move is taking him to see Sunshine on Leith when it hits cinemas on 4 October. Wish me luck. ■
This month Carrie’s been welcoming the arrival of Autumn and an excuse to stay home Skyping to Sweden every evening;
fantasising about moving back to my beloved hood; and booking A LOT of flights. Why does everyone live in another country?! Issue 97 | leithermagazine.com | 31
LAST CHANCE TO BUY!!!!!!
2 bedroom shared ownership property at Salamander Place in Leith. Property specification includes :
Fully fitted dining kitchen with Zanussi appliances (washing machine, fridge freezer and oven, gas hob, extractor hood and dishwasher) Bathroom with white sanitary ware and chrome fixtures, including over bath shower A solar panel hot water system combined with a condensing combi boiler to reduce energy costs and carbon footprint Private parking space and bicycle storage in secure under croft car park Use of the shared common courtyard area Carpets and vinyl flooring can be supplied as an incentive Full property valuation of £145,000
The initial purchase can be 25%, 50% or 75% of the value of the dwelling, however when your financial circumstances permit then you can choose to increase your share or purchase your home outright (only one such transaction in any 12 month period).
Monthly occupancy on POLHA share inc service charges* £306.68
*Service charges include: contribution to the development long term cyclical maintenance fund, grounds maintenance and stair cleaning and block buildings insurance; however day to day development maintenance costs will be issued to owners on a quarterly basis via factors invoice. If you require mortgage finance you must seek independent mortgage advice and a deposit will be required. The City of Edinburgh Council’s guideline maximum income levels apply (these are currently £36,000 per household).
Please contact Port of Leith Housing Association for further details on: 0131 554 0403 or email@example.com