Of last journeys and shoes

On the opening day of the Test match series England v. West Indies, let me make this contribution to Black Lives Matter and to Israel/Palestine. Two personal memories, thirty years apart. In 1978 I was in Senegal, the most westerly country in Africa. I came across...

Lazy journalism

Oh dear. Lara Feigel  is trying to assemble 10 novels that explore character and friendship. Included are Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, book of the year Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, various other classics – and Trainspotting. Oh dear. The claim...

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...