Tipping point no. 02

Midsummer day. The solstice. We should mark it more than we do. It’s not just another day. A few years ago on this day I was visiting the coal ships in Leith, and got friendly with a Philippine crew. At 10 o’clock in the evening I was extolling with them...

aw Jock Tamson’s bairns…

Give Welsh’s Trainspotting a bit of respect for having a broad view of Leith in the 1980s. Spud Murphy, explicitly of Catholic Irish descent, and his mixed-race uncle Dode, are going into the Persevere pub near the foot of Easter Road where the Orange Order and...

Journalism, history or fiction?

Exactly three years ago, as MC of the Leith Community Tattoo, I called for the customary minute’s silence following the Last Post to include respect and a call to action for the dead, bereaved and affected by the fire at Grenfell Tower. Later I wrote in my book:...

Well done, City of Edinburgh Council

Picture the scene, all as it really happened. On a cold January evening this year, coming out of the City Chambers on Edinburgh High Street I was startled to hear a very loud voice and vivid lights. Turning round, I saw that they had just started the poem with...

Aren’t we forgetting something?

I’m drafting out an Author’s Note for the next re-print, or second edition of my book. Amid the C-19 crisis we are forgetting a whole community of people in our streets and right across the world who look set to become reservoirs of the C-19 as well as...

Just when you thought…

Irvine Welsh, or someone on his behalf, is objecting to a Waitrose poster calling for fruit and veg pickers: PICK GETTING OUT OF THE HOUSE. PICK RAIN. PICK SHINE. PICK FRUIT AND VEG…. PICK PUTTING MONEY IN YOUR POCKET. PICK PUTTING FOOD ON YOUR PLATE… PICK BEING A KEY...