Simon Pia

Simon Pia

Dark deeds in DNA of city drive writers

WHY do so many people write such nasty things about dear old Edina? Doesn't everybody love her? After all, she was voted the best place to stay in Britain last week on television while swanky travel magazines fall over themselves with their surveys proclaiming how marvellous she is.

We need real deal in war on booze culture

IT takes a thief to catch a thief, which is why Irvine Welsh is as good a choice as any to advise the Scottish Government on how to tackle our "booze and blades" culture. Now, as far as I know, my old pal Welshie has never wielded a blade, but he has 'fessed up to being a prodigious binge-drinker, as well as a former junkie. Indeed, he's made his fortune out of it.

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Meadowbank's mad dash goes to the wire

IS that Alf Tupper coming round the bend in the final straight at Meadowbank in a late surge to try to save the day and the stadium? No, it's the Reverend Blue Jeans, aka Ewan Aitken. Quite a U-turn by the leader of the Labour group, but it is to be welcomed as he battles to bring his party up alongside the SNP and Lib Dems in a last-gasp effort to save Meadowbank. Better late than never.

Education chiefs have tough lessons to learn

WITH the ring of the bell for the new term could Gillian Tee and Marilyne McLaren report to the dominie's study?

It's a barrel of laughs in the Capital of mirth

COMICS can be a miserable bunch, and the whining has started already. Indeed, you know it's August in Edinburgh when "the Fringe is killing comedy" stories start popping up in the press.

Edinburgh gave Harry his magic

SO farewell, Harry Potter, and, if I may say so, I'm glad to see the back of the little wizard. But can 325 million people be wrong? That's how many copies JK Rowling has sold over the last decade and let's not forget the films and all the other junk marketed with it.

Catch a budget flight to holiday hold-up

IT'S summertime, the weather is awful and airports are in chaos. Nothing new in that. But why should we ever expect that the living is easy at this time of year compared with any other. If anything, it's worse. Holidays are a hassle.

Across the water they know about transport

WITH Stagecoach's success in the US you'd have thought they might have made a better job of the launch of the Hovercraft across the Forth this week. However the little matter of a "communication breakdown" won't bother them unduly - although undoubtedly it did for many passengers - as Stagecoach surely know more than most ferries and water taxis are big business in the States.

Special flavour of the Mile is turning sour

THE "constant whine" has been irritating residents of the Old Town, but for once it is not a newspaper columnist. Hot air, yes, but it's the bagpipes this time. Not those cheeky little buskers out on the streets but the "tartan tat" shops that blast out bagpipe music what seems like 24/7. It's got so bad for the neighbours that anonymous notes have been posted in the Canongate urging people to boycott the shops.

Youngsters running riot.. what else is new?

AAAH, the youth of today. Where did it all go wrong? Successive generations have been asking the same question since the ancient Greeks, but reports of marauding gangs in Portobello at the funfair last week and the recent assaults on the Meadows would seem to back up the belief that society's falling apart . . . yet again.

Club home advantage is not to be sniffed at

BEER and biscuits is the familiar smell you'll always associate with Tynecastle, just like the briny tang you catch coming in from the Forth at Easter Road. And long may it be so even after the brewery has dried up, the biscuit factory crumbled and global warming sees the Forth seep up to Salamander Street.

No satisfaction the day Mick rolled into village

IS there no end to the talents of the ubiquitous Inspector Rebus author Ian Rankin? Here he was popping up in the News on Tuesday as a songwriter as he's now penning a tribute to the Sixth Stone. Only the week before, he was in the paper lecturing Merchiston Community Council on how to fight crime (be sure always to lock your door).

We've rung the changes at the bells since 1970s

NOSTALGIA ain't what it used to be. Munching a mince pie in front of Still Game on BBC on Hogmanay the thought occurred how much the New Year had changed . . . and so much for the better.

The Big Yin may hold the answers

SO how good a citizen are you? Not a very good one, it would seem, if you cannot pass the new test anyone wanting to become a British/Scottish citizen has to sit as of last Tuesday.

Low culture should still be a high point

ANOTHER day, another survey. Edinburgh may be the most romantic city in the UK according to one on the "personality" of British cities. But it adds, Edinburgh lacks an "edge" and is not cool or "modern", unlike the one at the wrong end of the M8.

A lighter shade of Brown would suit

IS Gordon Brown too intelligent and serious to be Prime Minister? So it would seem, if recent polls are anything to go by. We like our Prime Ministers lite nowadays and Blair Mark II (aka David Cameron) seems to press all the right buttons.

Irvine back at the Pilton Embassy

WE HAVE reached Episode 32 of Sandy McCall Smith's saga, but still there has been no mention of the Pilton Embassy in Scotland Street.

With added nuclear power

THE exhibition of Richard Demarco's archive at Skateraw has proved a great success, receiving rave reviews and being featured on The Culture Show on BBC last week.

'A Mt Rushmore of incompetence'

JOE Wilson was certainly not undercover when our man on the West Coast bumped into him the other evening. Nor was his wife, for that matter, although Karl Rove probably wishes they were.

Bill in the frame with Leibowitz

LAST heard of in the Diary, Bill Barclay was bouncing for the Beatles at the ABC in Edinburgh and dragging John Lennon through the cinema doors. Now we find him dragging Annie Leibowitz, whose photograph of John Lennon and Yoko Ono was voted the top magazine cover of all time in America, out of a cinema.

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