Claire Smith: Steel lets his dog off the Leith

I ALWAYS knew writing about dog poo would get a reaction.

Last week’s column about the habit of tying dog poo into shopping bags and flinging it into trees has inspired one rich friend of mine to offer to sponsor a poop scoop bin at the posh end of the Water of Leith.

Not only that, it was featured on the BBC when comedian Mark Steel read out the description of ‘the Leith Pinyata’ during his festival show Mark Steel’s In Town.

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I was in the audience and I can tell you everyone murmured agreement when asked if they had noticed little bags of dog poo swinging in the trees along the Water of Leith.

The lovely Steel had done his research well – and Leith aristocracy Mary Moriarty and Kevin Williamson were both in the audience for his show in the big purple BBC Festival tent.

Moriarty, former landlady of the Port of Leith pub, was introduced as“the greatest celebrity in Leith – more famous than anyone at the Festival”.

Williamson, ex of rebel inc and now a re-interpreter of the work of Robert Burns shared a story from the early days of the fanzine when he and a group of friends sprinkled the pages of the mag with LSD and sneaked them on to the shelves John Menzies.

As is always the case with Mark Steel’s In Town shows, the audience had to have a Leith postcode to qualify for tickets.

But the BBC missed a trick by insisting the show had to take place in central Edinburgh – rather than in a more suitable venue such as the Leith Dockers Club. A show based on taking pride in your hometown felt completely odd because it was all taking place somewhere else.

A frightfully posh recorded BBC welcome announcement set totally the wrong tone and after the show all anyone could talk about was how quickly they could all get back down the road to Leith.

Moriarty said she had only come into town because Steel was “very handsome”

“Generally I feel I’m going to have a nose bleed when I pass John Lewis,” she said.