Scotland’s rockin’ scene

  SATURDAY night. Edinburgh. Tojo, a stocky, kindly-eyed 49-year-old Fifer wearing vintage peg-trousers, an Argyle shirt and a Jay Gatsby cap, reaches into his box of seven-inch singles and places a record, reverently but without hesitation, on the turntable, a diamond horseshoe ring on his left pinky sparkling in the dim, buttery light of the… Read more »

The “lost genius” of Paul Reekie

ON Sunday the 6th of June last year, at the tail-end of the final weekend of his life, the poet Paul Reekie walked into the Artisan, an old-fashioned pub on Edinburgh’s London Road, one of his favoured locals. Reekie was, according to those who met him that evening, his usual gregarious self. He had a… Read more »

The Scotia

“THE Scotia?” says Wullie. “This isnae jist a pub. Issa a way of life.” Although he topples backwards into a urinal shortly after making this declaration, there is no denying its heartfelt sincerity, and – though Wullie slurs his words – no difficulty in grasping his meaning. You could fall for The Scotia no bother…. Read more »

The Violence Reduction Unit

IT IS a stiflingly hot morning and Karyn McCluskey is sitting at her desk with the windows closed, as usual, to keep in the heat. She wears a dark dress, a silk scarf and snakeskin-effect heels, and she keeps her blue eyes fixed on the print-out in front of her: a colour photograph of a… Read more »

A taste of Govanhill

GEORGE Verrecchia, a dapper gent of 84, stands in the doorway of the Bungalow Cafe, which he has owned since 1949, watching folk pass to and fro along Victoria Road: a woman in a black hijab with a small girl who is wearing a brown headscarf and carrying a pink schoolbag; a halal butcher in a… Read more »