Last night in Custom House I met with 30 or so people and discussed my book with Gordon Munro and everyone in the room. But not only my book. Many of these people had vivid memories of 1980s Leith, the heroin scene and the arrival of HIV. To my great relief, nothing in my book was contradicted, and neither was it found wanting. I seem to have the implicit stamp of approval of people who could have been my fiercest critics. That matters a lot to me.
To add to the occasion were half a dozen youngsters from the nearby Citadel Youth Club. My kids tried it, briefly, in the 1980s and 90s, but in the end they preferred the more nearby Fort Community Club. My admiration for the Citadel knows no bounds. In the 1980s, when sex workers were walking up and down the street outside, it was a safe place for youngsters and parents. The sex workers have gone, but poverty stalks the streets and the neighbourhood. The club supports and sponsors a wide range of activities that otherwise would not be available at all. A book event might not seem very mainstream on Commercial Street, but coming along adds to their experience. I would like to find out what they thought about the stories they were hearing from older people, about heroin and HIV. Trainspotting may be ancient history for them, but illicit drugs and HIV certainly haven’t disappeared.