‘And so, let’s pause a moment here, draw strength –
and reclaim what is ours.’
Reclaiming St Andrew Square Ron Butlin
Green, gold, gone. Any day soon the leaves will turn and fall. And in a shady corner of Edinburgh’s St Andrew Square a young tree will reflect the colour of its relatives on distant mountains of Japan. Here’s a good news story for the telling. Continue reading
How history twists and turns. The at times black comedy tour, first improvised by comedians Jamie MacDonald and Harry Gooch six years ago, acquires newly topical significance at the finale in St Andrew Square. (Disclaimer: I’m a director of Walking Heads but there are many true words among the jests so I’m reblogging the story here.) Continue reading
The Gender Neutral Toilets are warmly welcomed by ‘trans queer’ punk band Spook School though I tiptoe back out to the old school Ladies after encountering a row of urinals.
‘Hello World, welcome to Paisley,’ the smiling face of Paisley2021’s Jean Cameron beams a global greeting from the SAY award screen streamed live from Paisley Town Hall, ‘Enjoy the party. We’re delighted to have you with us’.
Tread softly on the way to Paisley Town Hall; it’s a journey threaded with names of the stuff that made a great civic centre. Here’s Gauze Street crossing the canal. Turn right at Abbey Place just before the road divides between Lawn Street and Cotton Street. And pause.
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
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.
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
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
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