As the colours of autumn begin to show and the leaves begin to fall, it’s time for some reflections. The book continues to do well, sales have been good and interest in it continues. Recently i have been dealing with a production company that is preparing a 1-hour documentary about the arrival of HIV in Leith in the 1980s, to be screened on BBC around Christmas. The director, from Glasgow, said he thought he knew enough in a general way to make a start – then he acknowledged that he had no idea how closely HIV was linked to the heroin scene. He found my book to be a treasure-trove of facts, narratives and people. I was able to introduce him to some of my sources, and there was even some thought of shooting me taking a tour, but I’m glad his schedules changed and that idea died. I never like myself in front of cameras. I’ll put a link to the programme when it comes out.
Things change. There are several details I would have included in my book if I had known about them then. For example, I missed referring to an American Vietnam vet who set up as a dealer in Muirhouse in the 1970s and certainly gave the heroin scene there a big push forward. Then there’s the phone kiosk on Henderson Street, from where addicts would often make a call to a dealer to a dealer in the adjacent Banana Flats. But I always knew that in writing a history of a recent period of which there are so many vivid memories, it would never be complete. It’s the author’s lot to be incomplete or out of date as soon as the book hits the streets.
We are hoping to hold some sort of event in Leith in November, not so much about my book, although it obviously contributes, as about giving the people a chance to “come to terms with” (I hate that cliche – please write in with something better) its Trainspotting past.
Leith moves on. At long last, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club and the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers have acknowledged their Leith origins, and a statue of the author of the first written rules of golf, for playing in Leith, has been erected on the Links. I had a hand in the early days, way back in 2002, and my membership number of Leith Rules Golf Society is 007. I’ll be writing it up in The Leither. I’ll start the tradition of rubbing ball, like they rub Greyfriars Bobby’s nose, and next time they play golf they’ll hit a hole in one. That should pull ’em in.