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

Festivals · Gigs · Music

The quietly fantastic Kim Edgar

Kim Edgar at the Edinburgh Fringe

As one gets older, one begins to relish the past tense when someone tells you “I had a health scare…”

Great to see Kim Edgar back in action on Saturday at Stockbridge Parish Church. She’d new boots which a fan had sent her to replace the pair shown on the last album, which I thought was impressive; if I sent a woman footwear, there would probably be a pursuant restraining order. Maybe it’s me.

Kim Edgar's new boots

Anyway, here’s a performance from earlier this year of a great new(-ish) song which uses the comfy footwear conceit…

Gigs · Media · Music

Record Store Day at Coda…


Coda Music Vinyl Room Edinburgh

My good friends Dougie and Rose at Coda Music on The Mound, Edinburgh, have a special reason for celebrating Record Store Day.
They’ll be opening The Vinyl Room to sell a range of LPs – not just folk and roots stuff like the main shop.
They’ll also be welcoming some guests into the shop to play live music and will have a full range of the Record Store Day special releases – see details at their website here.
Below is one of these special releases – outtakes from Self Portrait! No, really!


Wigwam Thirsty Boots Dylan


Kim Edgar at Coda Music
The great Kim Edgar with Brad Pitt at the launch of her first album in Coda.

Kim Edgar live shows

Although this blog has only been up for a couple of days, one of the first to contact me about it was the great Kim Edgar.

I originally wrote the piece about The Ornate Lie much earlier this year, so have re-dated it accordingly (now that I’ve figured out how to do that…) In doing so, I realised that I hadn’t included a link to Kim’s website.

On it you’ll find lots of good stuff, but most importantly at the moment, upcoming concert dates, including her first headline show in London (with accompaniment from Mattie Foulds and Kevin McGuire.) I also see there’s a show in Dunfermline next year…so go to Kim’s site for full details.


Kim Edgar and The Ornate Lie

Ornate Lie Kim Edgar

  For the last few weeks I’ve been lucky enough to be listening to Kim Edgar’s new album The Ornate Lie.

  Every so often, if you’re lucky and attentive, an artist will come along who is just so right that their work will change the world for you.  Even if it’s just a little bit, it will be significant.

  I’ve enjoyed Kim’s work for the last several years and been fortunate to watch her perform about a dozen times in different formats; as a solo act, as part of The Burns Unit, as an accompanist and significantly as one of the guiding lights of The BIG Project.  Her generousity of spirit and optimism inhabits her music and you always come away from a show feeling a lot better about yourself and (crucially) everyone else.

  So; I had the album, listened to it lots, enjoyed it; then one evening my partner and I were sitting after dinner…”I know we love Kim and everything, but I can’t really get into the new record…” she said.

  “What about The Steamy Note?” I countered.  This song has a conceit that makes me think of the metaphysical poets; a meditation on the permanence of love even in its evanescence…

  “Oh yes, that’s great…”

  “Or A Favour from the Sea?”  A big bundle of 70s Beach Boys in this one; lovely strings and brass, a vocal haunting in its intimacy.

  “Oh of course, that’s brilliant…”

  “All the Little Sunbursts?”  Insane happy clappy optimism, a litany of good stuff.  Miles away from my normal outlook, so must be great for me to even tolerate it, much less love it…

  “My favourite!”

  Anyway, it was finally agreed there were five, maybe six top-drawer tracks on the album and when I say that, I mean the sort of top drawer that many artists are lucky to dip into five or six times in a career.

  I could have mentioned “Hands Held,” a simple celebration of the significance of,well, holding hands; or “8, 9, 10,” another in small corpus of Kim’s number-inspired songs.  Or Ready, performed solo at the legendary Castlesound piano.  But then I didn’t really have to.

  I’m looking forward to Kim’s album launch show for The Ornate Lie, where she will be accompanied by many of the musicians who contributed to the record.