Best unfinished thing in Scotland

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UNFINISHED symphonies …

NATIONAL MONUMENT, Edinburgh The capital's version of the Parthenon has long been an albatross around the neck of "the Athens of the North", a rather ironic epithet when you consider that the Greek original was actually completed – before it fell foul of a Venetian mortar.

The money ran out on the National Monument project only a few years after work started in 1822, and to this day, Edinburgh's Folly sits unfinished atop Calton Hill.

This memorial to the fallen in the Napoleonic Wars seems destined to remain incomplete, as local indifference and financial prudence put the mockers on any schemes to complete it.

WEIR OF HERMISTON by Robert Louis Stevenson Stevenson's death in 1894 put paid to what many regard to be his masterpiece. Published two years after his demise, Weir of Hermiston tells the tale of a fractious relationship between Lord Hermiston (based on the real Lord Braxfield), a "hanging" judge, and his son Archie Weir. Exiled from the family home, Archie begins a relationship with Christina. This, however, is where the book "ends".

Stevenson died in Upolu in Samoa where he had settled with his wife. David Rintoul, famous for his portrayal as Dr Findlay, made his small screen debut as Archie Weir in a 1973 made-for-TV film.

THE USHER HALL, Edinburgh The hall was originally built in 1896 and has enjoyed a colourful past – it hosted the 1972 Eurovision Song Contest, the boxing at the 1986 Commonwealth Games as well as making room for political rallies.

Despite the current renovation being incomplete, the Usher Hall has opened, at an estimated cost of 600,000, to host four concerts during the Edinburgh International Festival.

Work began in 2005 and the proposed "21st century concert hall" should be completed by late summer 2009. Check to see how the renovations as coming along at the Usher Hall.

EDINBURGH TRAMWORKS Am I the only middle-aged person who wonders if I'll actually be around to see the completion of one of the most contentious projects in Scottish history?

Political arguments, countless delays and endless traffic chaos have made this a never-ending story of Mahabharata proportions.

Will it be worth it? Only time will tell. You can keep up to date with its progress online at:


&#149 Paul Johnston is co-founder of the Scottish music website