Tenement gig hits all the wrong notes

I AM seriously concerned about the irresponsibility of featuring and thus promoting the idea of "hosting gigs in your own front room", as suggested in Saturday's Evening News by a young Marchmont flat dweller.

A similar nonsense some months ago featured throwing a party on the flat section of the tenement roof; no doubt the next will be skateboarding on the roof slopes, or "free running" around the block.

Obviously these suggestions will appeal to the proportionately large part of central Edinburgh's tenement population, who are immature enough to consider this sort of behaviour is cool.

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I know I would be damned if I should advocate attendance at any event for 30-plus people, to be held in a two-bedroom, one-toilet, Victorian tenement flat anywhere, and anyone who does so, ought to have an Asbo stuck on them immediately.

Do the people involved have any idea of the floor-loading capacity such a flat was designed for over 100 years ago? Do they have any concept of how much that loading factor may have been reduced, by hidden rot or structural weakness, possibly introduced by unauthorised alterations, which are common in such properties?

Edinburgh's old tenements notoriously suffer from neglect of maintenance, arising from the complexities of multiple ownerships, compounded by a disproportionately large number of absentee landlords, who are housing many young and naive tenants with no long-term investment in the property.

Public safety is of course the prime consideration in such matters. But even if the floor does not give way, there are other factors such as fire precautions, toilet facilities, ventilation, catering, seating, accessibility, etc, and that is of course where the local authority's responsibility lies.

No doubt that they will have questions to ask regarding safety inspections, licences, taxes, and other stuffy matters designed to ensure the safety of those who can't think for themselves.

John Simon, Warrender Park Terrace, Edinburgh