Thursday, March 27, 2008
Subject: fireworks Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2007 09:19:28 +0000(wrote this last week)
Its been one week here in Edinburgh, beautiful Edinburgh and I must admit that I do feel quite at home. Well, it is home.
I see myself in others. Everyone looks familiar. My long lost clan. Like one big extended family I feel akin to everyone. I see my cheeks and my smile on every turn. Its really strange and i like it.
Princess Street, the main drag here in Edinburgh, is one mile long and home to Marks & Sparks, British Home stores, Jenners, House of Frasers, John Lewis, Top Shop, Miss Selfridge and in more recent times, the emergence of several crap kilt shops and Scottish tea-towel shops.
This consumer activity is situated on one side of the street. On the other are the gardens and The Castle. Walking toward Princess Street from one of the side streets you are confronted with, in the near, middle and far distance, The Castle.
Sat majestically atop an enormous iceberg, now an extinct volcanic rock formation; ancient, still, built in 800 a.d, timeless. It renders one dumb. Truly and utterly stunning.
But everything here is.
This city is steeped, drenched and saturated in history. Not only evident in the architecture and urban landscape but in the people. There is true clanship here. A kinship. Its really interesting. And things are changing too.
Culturally Edinurgh has really moved since last I was here two years ago. Its really opened up. A typical Scottish response to this change is to ridicule. Take the piss. Yet this too is a dying mentality (thank god) leaving dinosaur's like my 'stuck in his ways' Dad to chew on his bacon rind in between grumping on about what the problem is....' the problem is awe these youngsters eating oot now since the Poles huv' came over an' opened up awe these cheap cafes. Nae buddy cooks at hame any mare..'
EH!? Totally from left field (or right field i should say) he will spurt of.
With my Dad, there is always a problem.
Two years ago I could not get anything organic unless I travelled to the back an' beyond, today it's everywhere. Coffee with soy milk? Nae probs! There are loads of gorgeous wee cafes/coffee shops sprouting up. Really, these places used to be rare, usually situated near the university, but now, are ten a penny.
Old oak furnishings and lots of different accents. In particular, since the demise of the Eastern block, Polish and Russian.
With food - Greek, Turkish, East African food is available...this may sound like 'so what?' but it's a large leap ahead for Scotland. The only other cultures here up until 5 or so years ago was Asian. Indian, Pakistani and Chinese and where mainly ghettoized in Leith.
Leith - the port of Edinburgh.
Leith - Edinburgh's heart.
Ah leith...I love Leith. Leith is my home. I spent my formative years as a school girl at Leith Academy. I spent 30 years of my life in and around Leith. Mum and Dad still live in the same house where i grew up in Leith. It's so familiar. The garages where we used to play ... Mikey and me. Mikey, my first kiss, my first love, my Starsky.
We; Mickey and me, found a stack of old stinky well thumbed Huslter magazines behind a garage down at the garages. We where 8 years old. I still remember giggling with slight horror and revolt at the pictures.
Leith is an enormous melting pot. Leith has always had the reputation for being 'rough'. The wrong side of the tracks. Dodgy fuckers live here.
Huddled within the shipping port, home to a thousand sailors,
Ten thousand love songs,
Anchors of rust
Leith is staunch. It's working class, brimming over with heathens. Of course Leith too has seen some changes not only with different cultures settling in, but from within.
As with Fitzroy and Collingwood the division is visible. Wine bars stand adjacent with spit 'n' sawdust pubs.... i like this clash of the classes and although initially there was much discourse, i now witness a settling within the ranks.
The locals remain, with all their colour and ailments (lots of folk limping with black eyes..florid alcoholism at play), whilst yuppies, whom after an afternoons swarray at one of the posh wine bars, canoodled shoulder to shoulder with a block of council high rises, return to their leather clad upholstered chariots and find their wheels still intact.
Now that was unheard of.
It's Halloween and my god fire-works a plenty. It's full on. Street urchins scuffing down the(Leith) Walk - the main THOROUGHFARE TO PRINCESS STREET - jam packed with double decker buses, cars, taxis, shops with wonderful names; 'Tip Top Tresses' (2 pound hair 'CUTZ') Tattie Shaw's,(10p for a pound of spuds) and pedestrians.
So kids throwing rockets, going off in the middle of the street..double deckers totally swerving to avoid explosions of smoke followed by stardust...fire lorries hooning up the road tailed by ambulance and police...honestly it's crazy.
I devour every moment.
Walking on I take a shortcut through Leith Links (which incidently if any one's interested is where golf was first invented.)in the darkness. Gets dark by 4pm with blue sky, it's kind of wonderful. I witnessed clusters of kids of various sizes huddled around huge 'bonnys' piled up high with old furniture and ...wait for it...shopping trolleys!
This place is truly shameless. A time warp. Frozen.
I have lost my voice since my arrival. I sort of crashed and am laden with the cold. Slowly I am coming too, enjoying the headiness. I walk every morning with my funny Dad who is gorgeous. We walk for miles. The air is so fresh. Every morning I awake to the dramatic sun light peircing an icy overtone that makes for a chilly under bite.
I feel as though I have always been here. I suppose in a way i have. Everything is so, so familiar......but I would miss Melbourne if I stayed away for too long. For now I will forever be split.
Eddy I dreamt that you didn't want to be my friend anymore. I woke riddled with anxiety. Strange how insecure I can get. We need to travel together. So much I have to tell you.I am catching up with old pals this week. As for Eva? well i will not rest until I see her again. Will be sure to pass on your love Eddy. (hey did we get the space for our show?)
love love love
Lesley x Lesl