Karen Koren: Back to Usher Hall

Gary: Tank Commander's Greg McHugh. Picture: BBC
Gary: Tank Commander's Greg McHugh. Picture: BBC
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I THINK spring might have finally arrived, or is that too much to hope for? Well, I have bought daffodils, anyway, for the office and the house, and there are crocuses and snowdrops in my garden. A lovely sight. Just the time to begin thinking about getting out and about and going to shows.

As I’ve mentioned before the Gilded Gala, this Friday, celebrates 100 years of the Usher Hall. I am very much looking forward to the show, which sees Arthur Smith compering, and Barry Cryer, Phill Jupitus, Greg McHugh aka Gary Tank Commander, Rich Hall and Dylan Moran, entertaining.

They have never shared the same stage before. We also have Stephen Frost coming to read a few of your memories and poems recalling the hall’s colourful history, and there will be music, too, with the very talented Withered Hand. So get your tickets now, as they say.

I was on TV at the end of last week, being interviewed about the opening of the new SoCo Cowgate building. They also showed me being interviewed 11 years ago. Aaargh! I don’t like seeing how much the years have changed me. The old Gilded Balloon site in the Cowgate has been filled by a 250 bedroom Ibis Hotel, a Costa Coffee and a Sainsburys local and it is now possible to walk from South Bridge down to the Cowgate, via a walkway. But there’s a wrought iron gate near the bottom, either to stop us getting down or undesirables getting back up, not sure which.

All of the upper units have been filled; however, three are still empty. I get the impression the lower area was an after-thought by the planners. I would certainly have considered going back into the Cowgate had they not put so many pillars in the triangular space the Gilded Balloon used to occupy.

They say there is no going back. Sadly, I think that is right.