Tag Archives: Edinburgh

Miracle on Princes Street.


Every once in a while something miraculous occurs on Princes Street. The traffic momentarily vanishes and the bus speeds beyond 5 mph. I thought I’d wandered into an alternate reality this morning. Incredible.

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Begbie’s crib.


The infamous ‘Banana flats’ on Gorgie Road. This is where Begbie stays in T2 Trainspotting. I went to a house party in there a few years ago. Everyone present was a chav and they were all off their tits on Daz washing detergent. I quietly left and went home for a wank.

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It was raining in Edinburgh today.

Shock horror.


One of my ‘hobbies’ entails hanging about the back of buses when I’m bored and taking pretentious ‘art-farty’ snaps of pish. Here is Edinburgh’s Lothian Road. It’s raining. Some folk had umbrellas but others didn’t give a fuck. I love this city like George Best did ethanol.

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Auld Reekie in pictures(!).

Behold the spring delights of Edinburgh in this wee montage of recent snaps I’ve taken. No poverty or bar brawls here; it’s my propaganda piece.

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The Foot of the Walk pub in Leith. Quite the dingy establishment at the best of times, pop in to witness regular brawls, glassings, and the sight of a woman in a poncho snorting lines of heavily cut drugs off the table at two o’clock in the afternoon.IMG_20170318_160713032

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Gorgie – Cloud City.


One of the very rare occasions on which a wander down Gorgie Road has resulted in a photo opportunity. Look at that sky. It’s something out of Cloud City … with the added bonus of an ALDI and a manky McDonald’s resting underneath.

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Dean Village.

It’s always a treat passing through Dean Village, the soft underbelly of the Edinburgh experience. It’s how I imagine J. R. R. Tolkien conceived of an urban idyll. There’s nothing much to do here save waltz around, but one is briefly transported into a real-life Arcady.


Dean Village.

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Raging Portobello.


At high tide and with the waves chopping into the promenade, Portobello Beach is transformed from the plain, dreary sandpit typified by dog walkers and Strongbow-guzzling city dwellers lazing on towels with their tits out into something with urgency and vitality, a bit of drama for the afternoon. There’s nothing quite like pissing in the sea as the waves are thrashing. I like miserable scenes and I do most enjoy a good storm.

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Trainspotting 2.

The Trainspotting of ’96 was made in that allegedly esoteric Britpop era of New Labour, swaggering Gallaghers, and unshackled chemical exploration, when the last honking remnants of Thatcher’s Britain (or Major’s) were ebbing away; a new cultural discourse on the horizon, things could only get better. I read an article (somewhere) a few weeks ago that pondered whether Trainspotting was a product of that alchemist epoch or actually created it. It’s a movie synced to its time, yet it doesn’t feel dated. Boyle’s expressionist, almost magical realist style – Gabriel García Márquez meets ’80s Edinburgh – is without gimmicks. Every tour de force shot or bravura sequence has a purpose, serving to express his characters’ experience of heroin and hedonism.


The sequel is strong. It nails how much both Edinburgh and our sensibilities have mutated over the past two decades. The essentials of modern living have altered – now it’s Facebook and Instagram and not the Compact Disc Player and big fucking televisions. Sensations are less corporeal, more about building a social narrative – it’s surface appearances and their validation that brings happiness, not the materialism of yesteryear. Edinburgh is no longer the destitute hellhole of old but a gentrified cluster of hamlets, with some no-go areas still hanging in there. I was in Niddrie last week and I must confess I experienced ‘The Fear’ – it was like another world, an urban toilet with trolls. Left behind the express train to post-modernity, you’ll never see this ‘non-place’ – as Marc Augé  would put it – in a travel guide.


Mr. Francis Begbie in a toilet ….

There’s a sadness to proceedings, that these now middle-aged blokes look back on the shite times in a nostalgic sense, like the Ossis did (and still do) the GDR. Spud and Begbie especially wax lyrical about the rough ol’ days as if they were less a perversion and more an idyll. Familiarity doesn’t always breed contempt.

The new film has so much energy, is so visually dynamic, and the characters imbued with so much zest that it can’t be missed. And Francis Begbie is one scary bloke.

Further reading:




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München, Salzburg, Berchtesgaden, Alkohol.

Guten Morgen.

Arriving in Munich, we wander around the Hauptbahnhof before our 17:54 Salzburg departure, stumbling into an assortment of ghetto eateries (for the booze). What is it about train stations and their surrounding streets that attracts the oddballs and the riff-raff? I’ve never felt entirely safe sparking up a ciggy near a railway. One is invariably sniffed by the local hyenas wishing to devour their carcass of tobacco. We escape a verbose gentleman in green dungarees and find our seats on the train. When I finally conduct my Trans-Siberian Express jaunt, I wish it to be just like this, but with several suitcases filled to the brim with liquor.


The delights of Salzburg. They have some cracking pubs – notably Alchimiste Belge – and a fag machine. And a SPAR selling Bacardi Breezers. What more could one want in a city? Oh, and a born-again Christian outside a nightclub gave me a book about God and things. I endowed it to the hotel for a lucky person to devour.

The wee Sunday market left the most memorable impression. Tiptoeing from stall to stall with a beer in each pocket, I got the sense that I was somehow intruding upon this idyllic community gathering. They all appeared so happy and thoughtful, like this was the day to take stock of the week’s events and indulge in a little R&R. There’s an ersatz ‘German Market’ back home in Edinburgh – it mostly consists of teenagers in tracksuits being very loud. No comparison, really.

Morning entertainment.

A spot of Apocalypse: The Second World War (2009) and a Jägermeister chaser performed their noble role as Room 304’s pre-eminent hangover cure. The hotel were showing The Sound of Music (1965) on a loop, but it’s just not graphic enough for my sensibilities. Julie Andrews doesn’t do it for me; I need proper carnage.


To Obersalzberg.

Driving to Hitler’s notorious crib above Berchtesgaden and peering up awestruck at its twin delights of the Berghof and the Eagle’s Nest and all the tumultuous, tragic history that was made here, left me with a sense of being quite insignificant. The overwhelming splendour of the milieu merely magnified the feeling that I was an ant ripe for a trampling.

Munich (again).

By the time we reach Munich and go our separate ways after a few more drinky-poos, I’m content to conk out on my bed as Richard Wagner emanates from a tacky Bluetooth speaker. I wake up in darkness and feel my way around the room, realising I’m in Munich and not a lucid dream three minutes into this escapade. I crawl to the shower, then luxuriate in another cheeky nap, and depart at the first sound of a cleaning lady (I presume) patrolling the corridor. In the railway station I get visions of an anthropomorphic dog in a leg-cast playing Daft Punk’s “Da Funk” from a boombox. I don’t know why.

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