Shop’s celebratory gig is tinged with sadness

Musician Amy Duncan performed a set at Loud and Clear's audio emporium

Musician Amy Duncan performed a set at Loud and Clear's audio emporium

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IT’S not every day that you find a shop converted into a concert venue, but Loud & Clear’s Leith-based audio emporium was doing a good impression of a mini-Usher Hall last week.

Staff spent hours clearing away the many hi-fi units, speakers and winding cables, creating an intimate space to host about 30 guests gathered to hear Scots songstress Amy Duncan.

Accompanied by harpist Fiona Rutherford and Lawrie MacMillan on bass guitar, Duncan worked her way through a terrific set of back-catalogue numbers and new, never-heard-before material.

The gig came a year to the day since a similar event was staged at the Newhaven Road store as part of a week-long series of events organised with Meridian Audio to celebrate the launch of the British firm’s latest loudspeakers.

A key figure present then was Paul Webb, from Meridian, who sadly passed away at the end of October, aged just 38, after being struck down with a virus.

Following the 2014 concert, he had become a big fan of Duncan and her music and the anniversary event paid tribute to Webb, who is survived by his wife Jo and their three daughters.

An understandably anxious Duncan, who admitted to having not played live for about six months while she works on her new album, seemed relieved after song number one: “That’s the first nervy number out of the way,” she confessed to the appreciative audience.

Growth, with eye on China

Less than two years after starting his eponymous Edinburgh estate agency, Mark Coulter is branching out with a second office in the City – and a presence in China.

Coulters has launched a website in China to meet demand from buyers among the country’s burgeoning wealthy classes, who are looking to Edinburgh property either as an investment, a second home or a place for their children to live while they study at the city’s universities. The firm is also expanding physically, adding a Marchmont office to its original Stockbridge base.

To celebrate the opening, the team at Coulters will be launching an #AskMark Twitter campaign where house buyers and sellers can ask any burning questions about the property market.

Ratner’s sparkling return

A MAN who cost his company an estimated £500 million by labelling its product “crap” might not seem like an obvious choice to give a talk on business leadership, but as he says himself, it should be interesting.

Gerald Ratner has made a comeback since his infamous comments to the Institute of Directors in 1991.

At a dinner hosted by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce on 30 March, Ratner will tell his side of the story that cost him millions.

Since his ignominious fall from grace, he has built up and sold on a successful health club business and continues to run the UK’s largest online jewellery business geraldonline, as well as geraldonline in India.

And as he says: “Listening to some businessman who has gone from strength to strength is not as interesting as one who has lost everything, gone from one calamity to the next and had to fight their way back up.”

Clearing the workplace air

IT’S that all-too-familiar feature of the working day – that “afternoon slump” when the mind wanders and the eyelids droop.

But boffins believe there may be something in the air – or rather a lack of something – causing the phenomenon.

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) academics have teamed up with Cumbernauld-based Gas Sensing Solutions to create a system that monitors air quality to predict a looming drop in quality, under a project funded by Censis, the Innovation Centre for Sensors and Imaging Systems.

Hadi Larijani, a senior lecturer at GCU, says: “People have traditionally tackled afternoon drowsiness with making a cup of coffee, but in reality the issue tends to be associated with diminishing air quality.

“Our system will make intelligent decisions about the conditions in the building and take action to address it. That might involve increasing the flow of air into a particular area where the system thinks it will do the most overall good.”

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