SETTING off for a short break to Krakow in Poland a few years ago, I had one concern.
At the time the city had a misplaced reputation for stag and hen parties – something we certainly didn’t want to encounter. Some friends raised their eyebrows, with one asking if we were equipped with pink cowboy hats!
Krakow was beautiful, highly cultural and the hub for a range of places to visit including everything from Auschwitz to the magnificent salt mines. We didn’t encounter a single stag or hen d, and came home recommending it highly.
Not every bride and groom’s last single night on the town ends up with drunks staggering round their own vomit and pals shrieking and yelling at 3am as they strip the ‘victim’ and tie them to a lamppost.
But any city that declares itself keen to embrace hen and stag weekends is waving a welcoming green flag, including to those who are in search of strip clubs, cheap drink and late licences.
No, I’m not sneering down my nose at them. For some destinations with not much else to offer, they are life blood to the local hospitality industry. In my younger days I too was part of the crew, getting smashed and presenting a bride-to-be with Ann Summers accessories.
But other tourists need to be considered. When visiting a city known for its history, culture, fine dining and stunning architecture, an excess of stags and hens is a turn off and a blight which ruins their break and puts them off returning.
Even worse, it can affect their journey to and from if they find themselves in a train or plane surrounded by whooping, hollering, clinking glasses and life-size, blow-up plastic dolls.
Some cities, Dublin in particular, spent years trying to rid themselves of their hen and stag rep.
And now we have Essential Edinburgh chief Roddy Smith welcoming the idea of Edinburgh as a “party city” for stag and hen culture.
Of course, we can’t and don’t want to, ban stag and hens, or demand to know the reason for a group of people coming here. But openly declaring ourselves the ideal venue and rolling out the red carpet is asking for a surfeit and skewing the image of Scotland’s capital, bringing it more in line with Blackpool.
Hundreds of stag and hen nights could happen in London with no adverse effect. But Edinburgh is a relatively small, compact, city centre making it potentially discouraging for other tourists, not to mention locals.
Mr Smith says: We’re fairly lucky because there are a few residents in our area but not many. You’re not going to buy a flat in the centre of town if you want to live a completely quiet life.”
Really? Our tenemented city centre is comparatively densely populated. Has he ever been in the Grassmarket or the Royal Mile?
He accepts that a “party city” has to be watched, managed and controlled – which makes me wonder how many riotous stag nights he’s actually attended and whether he’d like to be “the controller”.
He also acknowledges the current work and cost of cleaning crews clearing up after Saturday nights.
And that’s before he’s formally rolled out the red carpet and taken the bevvy culture to new heights. Not a great idea Mr Smith.
Couch potatoes have had their chips
McDONALD’s have been hit with unfair criticism for years despite serving high quality beef, healthy options and keeping prices down. Fast food? Yes. Junk food? Not in my opinion, as long as it’s an occasional treat
But home delivery? Well that baffles me. From a public relations point of view it ‘beefs up’ its image as an outfit catering for sedentary fatsos who can’t cook and can barely make the ‘marathon’ to their front door.
In the real rather than Uber world, the delivery itself could cost more than the Mac and chips!
It’s the thick end of the wedge in a world hurtling towards everything being ordered from our sofa and delivered to our doorsteps.
According to Darwin, mankind evolved gradually from a primordial swamp. How long is it going to take before our legs wither, we don’t have home kitchens any more and birds are replaced by drones?
Paul has a lot of bottle to take on bin men
PAUL Penman, Tory council candidate for Leith, caused a storm by saying Edinburgh’s bin men didn’t know the value of hard work.
It’s not the sweetest, most pleasant job in the world but someone has to do it. A Tory questioning the work ethic of bin men, sewage unblockers or anyone else toiling at the coal face (or back end) of humanity isn’t a wise, campaigning move.
But I would respectfully ask our refuse collectors to exercise a little more care, especially when it comes to glass collection.
I have noticed, several times, trails of broken glass on the pavement and gutters in the wake of the pick-up. It’s unsightly, dangerous and causes injury to dogs.
Don’t they have brushes and pans to sweep it up?
Bottoms up for Kim’s curves
HOW times change. In the 70s we all wanted a non-bottom, modelled on Twiggy or a plank of wood. Today, the bottom to die for is Kim Kardashian’s. Google it. You may think you’ve accidentally landed on the Little Britain website with a rear view of Bubbles Devere.