Demolition · Music

Demolition of North Merchiston Church

A while back I mentioned that I had taken lots of pictures of the demolition of North Merchiston Church in 1988.
I got a scanner to scan them, in much the same way that all these years ago I bought my first 35mm camera to take the pictures, an Olympus Trip.
As you can see, I was a bit late in getting to the demolition site. The top part of the church was gone as was most of the interior, including the business end where the altar and pulpit were.
Here’s a picture of what was the entry to the church, on Slateford Road, taken pretty much from the top of the street where I live now.
Behind that pinky/orange double door were several steps leading up to the vestibule of the church.

Blue sky Merchiston

The picture below is taken looking up Hermand Crescent and shows that the back end of the church was already gone.  The door to the vestry was just at the end of here.

I did manage to salvage a small pane of glass from the stained glass windows at the top of the picture.

Edinburgh Merchiston

Standing about the same place, but now looking toward the top of Robertson Avenue…the building across the road is no longer there.

Merchiston Edinburgh red car

Always the thinking man’s idiot, I ignored the sign warning me of danger and went inside to get some pictures (a real, ecclesiastical Tim Page, me.)
The wall on the right here has the Slateford railway line on the other side of it and I’m looking toward Slateford Road from the area about where the vestry would have been, about half way up the start of Hermand Terrace. The yellow/pink fire door at the far end was the escape route from the church hall.

Demolition Merchiston Edinburgh

This is what was left of the interior of the church, taken from about where the altar would have been. In this picture and the one below, we can clearly see where the balcony was, although I don’t think that’s actually the correct church-architecture word for the raised seated area at the back.

Rubble Merchiston

Blue Merchiston

The interior of the church hall.

Church Demolition Edinburgh

This was taken just before a big lump of stone fell a few feet away from me…again, the back of the church.

Fire extinguisher Merchiston

The organ was about here and that’s the inner door leading to the vestry on the left…

Demolition Merchiston Church

I seem to have managed to get the remains of the back of the church and a bit of the vestibule here, again, looking toward Slateford Road.

Demolition North Merchiston Church

When the church was levelled, the new building which replaced it was a GP’s surgery for a while, but was thereafter converted into flats.

Gigs · Music

Concert for Stewart

This show was one of my favourites from 2017 – Concert for Stewart at St Luke’s in Glasgow on 24 November.  Loads of my favourite people and favourite musicians performing in tribute to Stewart Cruikshank, famed radio producer who was so generous over many years with his time and knowledge.

The concert poster below shows the blue plaque which appeared in Glasgow’s Byres Road shortly after his untimely and sudden death in 2015.

A pretty stunning line-up of talent there…

Concert for Professor Stewart Cruickshank

I hadn’t been to St Luke’s before and as it turned out, the 24th was the first cold night of the year.  I waited about an hour for the bus from Edinburgh and found Glasgow well slippy, so was doing a good Bambi impression for much of the walk down to the venue.  Being an old church, the ground outside is made of stone and was like an ice-rink.  Zero coefficient of friction.

But what a lovely venue.  Just past Barrowlands and a sort of mini-me Queen’s Hall, with great staff, service, drinks and prices.  We’d booked a hotel at the far end of Sauchiehall Street as we were aware there was going to be a lot of music played that night – about three hours as it turned out.  Lots of Dylan and Byrds references – Karine Polwart did a lovely version of “Make You Feel My Love.”

It was the first time I had seen The Pastels, who were amazing.

The picture below, courtesy of Sushil K Dade, shows the finale, with (from left) David Scott on piano, Stuart Nisbet on David’s guitar, (I Can’t Get No) Stevie Jackson on Rickenbacker 12-string, Jason McPhail, Rab Noakes and Emma Pollock on vocals, Justin Currie on pint, Kim Edgar, Chloe, Gerry Love on bass, John Hogarty and Duglas T.

Concert for Stewart live Glasgow


Sushil is hosting this event in April, in Helensburgh…if only I still drove…

Festival of Bass Herbie Flowers Jah Wobble


Gigs · Music

Pink Floyd at the Usher Hall

I mentioned this gig in my last post about the Caley Picture House/Wetherspoon’s…

Pink Floyd Usher Hall Edinburgh

Guy Fawkes’ Day 1974 and yes indeed, there were some people in the stalls who let off fireworks.
I would be 14 and a half at the time. I can remember nothing about going to or returning from the show, but I vividly remember everything else about it.
My friend Alan and I went to our seats in Row C of the upper tier to find there were already a couple of herberts in army surplus greatcoats sitting in them – when we pointed out they were our seats, they told us to go away, in the demotic…so we hung around until the end of the first tune, when the two went off to their third row seats in the stalls.  Not the brightest.

The first set was all new material – “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” “Raving and Drooling” and “You’ve Got To Be Crazy.”  The first, of course, would appear on Wish You Were Here, which the band started recording at the start of 1975 and released in September of that year.  The other two would be re-titled “Sheep” and “Dogs” and appeared on Animals in January 1977.

The second set was a complete performance of Dark Side of the Moon, which had come out in March 1973 and I think I must have got in early 1974 – I had a set of headphones as well and spent a lot of time listening to this album.

For an encore, PF did “Echoes” from Meddle, which I must also have heard by that time.  I probably got that in late 1974, it certainly wasn’t the second Floyd record I had after Dark Side – like a lot of people, that would have been A Nice Pair, the budget-priced reissue of the first two Floyd albums from 1967 and 1968, in a pretty vile Hipgnosis sleeve. Although The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Saucerful of Secrets may not have been immediately palatable listening for the youthful fan of Dark Side, it was cheap and a nice early introduction to the Barret Floyd – that fascination has never gone away in forty-odd years.

Pink Floyd A Nice Pair

After the show, we went to the edge of the stage to look at the equipment (I hadn’t yet figured out how to walk into dressing rooms, that came a bit later and is now close to involuntary) and were impressed that Nick Mason had car or scooter wing mirrors set up on the drum kit to allow him to sync with the back projections.  For such a hi-tech show, that seemed comfortingly homely.

Note that the ticket for the show by one of the biggest bands in the world at the time was £1.40.  It’s fairly trite to laugh about the price of things 43 and a bit years ago, but what does stick in the mind is that Alan’s dad paid for our two tickets by cheque, which he forgot to sign.  The Usher Hall simply returned the cheque to him and asked him to sign it so they could send the tickets out.

I can’t imagine anything like that happening today.

Gigs · Music · Pubs

Caley Picture House

The Wetherspoon bar at The Caley Picture House has been open for over year now – this plaque is outside;

Caley Picture House plaque

here is the foyer;

Caley Picture House Wetherspoons foyer Lothian Road Edinburgh

and here’s the main bar, in front of the stage of the old Caley. The company has done a great job of the renovations and have paid appropriate respect to the history of the building, as they always do.
The latest edition of Pints of View mentions that the pub has been nominated for a CAMRA/Historic England (sic) Pub Design Award.

Wetherspoons Caley Picture House

Unfortunately, this wee sign in the foyer lets the side down a bit. Ignoring the extra apostrophe (nobody cares about that, do they?), we have the information that Beck had played at the Caley Picture House, as had a duo called Bogert & Appice…

Caley Picture House Pink Floyd

When, in fact, on 9 January 1974, something like this happened at the Caley…

As the plaque also says, Queen played there – they don’t mention they were the support for Mott the Hoople (I was there.)

Mott the Hoople Queen Caley Picture House

As for Pink Floyd, the excellent Edinburgh Gig Archive reports that although there was a show booked there for 19th May 1971, it was moved to the University’s Health Centre in Bristo Square. The Songkick website also places the gig at the University, while Pink Floyd Archives lists it as being at The Caley.
I would tend to follow Edinburgh Gig Archive. I wasn’t there, but I did see Pink Floyd at The Usher Hall, about three minutes walk away, on 5 November 1974.

Last Friday, a second Brew Dog opened on the other side of Lothian Road, I look forward to a visit soon.

BrewDog Lothian Road Scotland

BrewDog Edinburgh

Festivals · Gigs · Music

Bright Phoebus Revisited

Well, I thought it was great.
The Mitchell Theatre in Glasgow on Wednesday night, after an epic bus journey from Edinburgh (the capital) to Glasgow (Scotland’s major city) of 2 hours and ten minutes – for forty-five miles, in normal weather.
Infrastructure, we got it.
Martin Carthy, Marry Waterson, Eliza Carthy, Richard Reed Parry from Arcade Fire and supporting cast MD’d by Kate St. John.

Bright Phoebus Revisited live Glasgow

They did the record proud and I got Marry and Martin’s autographs on my Bright Phoebus booklet with the great sleevenote by Pete Paphides.