Music · Pubs · Demolition

Gorgie sights…

It was The Green Tree, then it was Robertson’s, then it was something else, then finally, with a dreadful air of self-parody, The Gorgie Bar.
Now boarded up and with work going on inside…

Gorgie Bar Edinburgh

…to make it into a branch of the Co-op’s Funeralcare business.

It will definitely be a much more jovial and lively place than any incarnation of the pub.

Co-op Funeralcare Edinburgh Gorgie

Meanwhile, at Murrayfield stadium (aka BT Murrayfield) they’re getting so excited by the prospect of a few multi-millionaires banging out some blues-rock on June 9 that Jon Pasche’s classic two-dimensional design has once again been twisted, meretriciously, into this shadow of itself…

Rolling Stones Murrayfield Jim Pasche

Why two? Why now (well, actually a few weeks ago)? At upward of £400 for good tickets, I’ll probably not being investigating much more closely.

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

Demolition · Music · Pubs

The Music Group…

The Music Group North Merchiston Church

 When I arrived back from the Christmas holidays, I was delighted to have received this CD from a dear friend.
North Merchiston Church was at the top of the street where I live now – I attended from childhood until my late teens. During and beyond that time, I played in The Music Group mentioned on the sleeve. We would play at Christmas and other festival services in the church, at old peoples’ homes and hospitals – it was fun and yet another example of the Church of Scotland’s role as social adhesive in the latter part of the 20th century.  Some of us had discovered pubs as well.
The musical performances herein are not as bad as I feared or remembered – they’re a lot better, in fact. The sound is pretty good given that they were all recorded on a 1960’s cassette recorder which would be planked on top of the church organ.
The church was demolished in 1988 – as happened with many Scottish churches, the size of the congregation had fallen so much that necessary repairs to the fabric of the building could no longer be afforded and North Merchiston church joined congregations with St Michael’s, about five minutes walk along the road.  Here’s a recent picture of the frankly imposing St Mike’s…

 St. Michael's Church Edinburgh

Predictably, I have loads of great photos of the demolition, which I must scan and add to this blog – in fact, I bought my first 35mm camera precisely for the purpose of taking these pictures. It is impossible to find any good pictures of the church on the Internet – the aerial picture on the front of the CD is as good as it gets.

Demolition · Music · Pubs

Leith Depot

I had a pint the other night with my friend John in Leith Depot at the foot of Leith Walk.  Nice place, with nice staff.  Could have been warmer, but it was snowing outside.

Leith Depot Leith Walk

The reason for the name is that the pub is opposite the site of the former Leith Depot of the Edinburgh Corporation Transport, where my dad used to work. He was a bus inspector and used to schedule the buses that left from and eventually arrived back at Leith Depot. He was nicknamed The Cruelty Man for the length of the shifts he used to assign to drivers and conductors on the buses.

The picture below is of the entrance to what used to be the office – I was surprised to see it was built as recently as 1938.  That office used to be thick with smoke and contraband stuff from Leith docks.

It was the only building still intact the other night, all the buildings in subsequent pictures have now been demolished since I luckily took these pictures on 16 June last year…

1938 Leith Depot office

…when I went to see the magnificent Kim Edgar play her only Edinburgh show of 2017 in the pub. It was the “rock Kim” version of her offer, augmented by Steffen Wutzke on bass and Christian Haas-Lachmann on drums, who played like mothers and had familiarised themselves so well with Kim’s songs.

I think these buildings were where the buses were garaged.

Bus wash Leith Depot

When it ceased to be a bus depot, the Social Work department used it.

Dept of Social Work Transport Section Leith Walk

I think this used to be the recreation area. Most Sundays, if I went to visit my dad at work, he was playing snooker in here.  Don’t know who did the murals or why they chose these subjects.

Leith Murals

They used to wash the buses in here as well.

Bush wash Leith

Books · Festivals · Music · Pubs · Theatre

Edinburgh Festival Day Eleven.

Edinburgh International Book Festival - who are we now?

Saturday 12 August…I’m way behind…

We only had three shows booked today and were possibly a little relieved that the first had been cancelled.  It’s only the second cancellation I can remember having in umpteen years of attending Fringe shows and I subsequently learned it was due to a bereavement of a member of the company presenting the show…I hope it all worked out OK for them.

When the programme for the Edinburgh International Book Festival came out, there were two people who I really, really hoped would be visiting and I got one of them.  I’ve banged on about how great Jess Phillips’ Everywoman is on here before, so it was good to get the chance to listen to her speak about the book and her job; happily, she speaks just as she writes…

 

Jess Phillips Everywoman Edinburgh Festival

 

I was able to thank her for the book afterward…

Jess Phillips with Stuart Ferguson Edinburgh Festival 2017

And got a pleasing dedication…

Jess Phillips Everywoman - One Woman's Truth About Speaking The Truth

A few hours later we attended The Unmarried, a new piece by Lauren Gauge, at the Underbelly Med Qu

The Unmarried, a new piece by Lauren Gauge

This was a refreshing and interesting piece – rave theatre? Epic poetry with beatboxing and live vocals? Either way, highly recommended and playing right until the end of the Fringe on 28 August.  I wish I had been sobererer…

Here’s a trailer Gauge has put on YouTube.

The Toad from Badger & Co. was also packing Book Festival tickets…

 

Toad from Badger & Co. selling tickets - Edinburgh Festival 2017

 

Demolition · Pubs

The Horseshoe, Gorgie Road

Horseshoe Inn Gorgie Road

The latest edition of CAMRA’s Pints of View magazine reports that The Horseshoe is due for demolition.

This is very unfortunate.  Not only is it a great pub with McEwan’s 70 shilling, it is cheap and has a vibrant beer garden.  Worse, this is allegedly Gorgie’s oldest building (opposite the soon-to-be renovated Saughton rose gardens;) say what you like about the pub, as lots of people do, often, but I think it’s a handsome building which will be a loss.

Horseshoe Inn Gorgie

Just a bit along the road is this building; it was the Roxy Cinema until 1963, then a bingo hall, you can see that the art deco frontage has been retained. John Lennon allegedly used to go there when he visited his uncle in Edinburgh. I guess it’s possible, but there must have been easier cinemas to get to from Murrayfield.

Old Roxy Cinema Gorgie

Gigs · Music · Pubs

Roy Wood in Glasgow 26 February 2017

Roy Wood in the Griffin Bar Glasgow with Stuart Ferguson

 

This picture was taken last week in The Griffin in Glasgow, before Roy’s show at The King’s Theatre.

This show was announced late last year, much to my surprise.  Roy Wood was probably the only artist I had not seen that I would have liked to see, that I could see and my friend Barry hipped me late on a Sunday night via Facebook that the Roy Wood tour would be coming to Glasgow.  (Actually, that’s not strictly true; I did see Wizzard at the Edinburgh Odeon when I was young, in the 70s, but it was a matinee show and even as young as I was, I knew they were holding back a bit for the adults’ show later…)

He appears to have kept a low profile over the last decades, touring sporadically and not very often, which is a shame for an artist who has not really had the widespread acclaim for his work with The Move, Wizzard, Electric Light Orchestra and indeed his eclectic and always entertaining solo work.

Late in the evening though it was, I got on to the King’s Theatre website and got two tickets in the front row.  I went to bed happy with the glad tidings…

A couple of days later, I wanted to check whether I had requested the tickets to be sent out or to be retained at the box office, so I went back to the website to check.

It was confirmed I had two tickets in Row U…which didn’t sound like the front row.

Now, I may have had a couple of glasses when booking, but I’m not that bad, so I checked the seating plan for the stalls of The King’s theatre and sure enough, I was not alone – most of the back three rows of the stalls had been booked, the front few rows being fairly sparsely taken.

The way the stalls are laid out is the opposite way round to everybody else’s seating plans, so everyone had assumed the long row was the front row.

It got fixed though.  I was in Glasgow earlier in the year and went to pick up my Row U tickets and was able to swap them for Row D.

So, before the show last week, my friends and I were in The Griffin, which was unusually quiet, at least until Roy and some of his band walked in, then it got quite busy, which I guess is the power of social media.

The show itself was great.  Mr Wood was relaxed and delivered everything I wanted.  Even the encore of “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” did not seem too incongruous in late February.

Thanks to Barry for the picture below.

Roy Wood gigs live in Glasgow 2017