Fay Young

curiosity about the ways of the world

Category: Street life (page 1 of 6)

cafe culture, arts, music but no shopping!

Creative cities: built on can-do culture

All’s fair in love, war and creative city competition. Well, yes, maybe but losing a heartfelt City of Culture bid can hurt as Creative Dundee’s Gillian Easson freely admits. Continue reading

Scotland needs jesters

Looking up at the Gift Horse skeleton sculpture by Hans Haake

Gift Horse by Hans Haake on the Fourth Plinth: could Scotland risk such public art?

I looked a Gift Horse in the mouth. Or, to be more accurate, I joined the tourists in Trafalgar Square snapping pictures of the latest sculpture occupying the Fourth Plinth. After a day in the Houses of Parliament the Tory ‘long term economic plan’ sprang to mind as I admired the skeleton; bronze bones stark and bold against a cold spring sky.

This first appeared in Sceptical Scot, a new online magazine asking awkward questions about life in Scotland. 

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What on Earthy is this?

Just for the record, I objected to ugly plans for a new development at Canonmills on the banks of Edinburgh’s Water of Leith. Midnight was the deadline but my email to the Planning Committee prompted an auto response…the planning department officer was now away for two weeks. So I posted it on the City Council Planning Portal and got a response telling me my ‘truncated comment’ had been lodged.  Online objecting is not quite as easy as it seems, but still worth doing.  Why do I care?  It goes back a long way. Continue reading

Is Edinburgh finding its feet at last?

The news went more or less unnoticed last November.  I heard it with some surprise but it sounded thoroughly good news to me. Edinburgh was preparing for a bold step towards becoming a modern city centre, a European city with a little more room for people and a little less room for cars. Since the Living Streets conference did not attract mainstream media attention, Lesley Hinds’ announcement to a crowded room did not make it into the press. Given The Herald’s gloomy interpretation of a bright idea, it’s probably just as well. Continue reading

Poetry, politics and pedestrians

I’m walking home along Rose Street when writing on the wall catches my eye. Ron Butlin’s Recipe for Whisky. Perhaps not many people know it but this is the poem that launched Edinburgh’s Poetry Garden in St Andrew Square a full five years ago. It seems significant as I’ve just been to the Living Streets conference (Walking and the Urban Environment) which produced a few poetic surprises of its own. Continue reading

The human city

People Make Glasgow.  The new slogan was revealed after a marketing research campaign that trawled the wisdom of the crowd. Across the city and round the world, Glasgow City Marketing Bureau sought themes and words that summed up  the city. Continue reading

Give us statues we can look in the eye

I might have known better. Getting into the taxi in Queen Street Station one rainy day I couldn’t help commenting on George Square. Looking a little tidier today, I say, but what’s happening to the statues?

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The art and craft of making a good town centre

The Post Office closed and reopened as a DVD shop. Then the DVD shop closed and reopened as a shop selling…well, to be honest I’m not sure what it is selling, the window display does not tempt me to cross the street let alone go through the door, but it looks like they are selling ‘gifts’.  Or to put it another way, more stuff. Continue reading

It’s not Tesco

My curiosity was raised by three words scratched on the empty shop window. “It’s not Tesco,” was a nicely enigmatic teaser which turns out to be true. The food store about to open in Canonmills is a very different kind of business.

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Where exactly is the centre of Edinburgh?

Just wondering, in the event of revolution where would Edinburgh crowds gather, where is the city square, where the city’s heart? (Twitter Mon 21 Feb 17.50)

It was an impulsive question on Twitter.  I didn’t really expect a response.  During the Arab Spring it occurred to me that Edinburgh lacks a true centre. In the unlikely event of revolutionary fever spreading through the capital, where would crowds gather? Autumn has brought an answer of sorts.

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