Blowing in the Wind? Bob Dylan gets an answer from Edinburgh about how many streets to walk down – Susan Morrison

Dylan. Bob Dylan. Not the Magic Roundabout rabbit. The singer.

Friday, 17th September 2021, 4:55 am
Bob Dylan perform, seen with Joan Baez in 1963, famously asked 'how many streets must a man walk down?' in his song Blowin' in the Wind (Picture: Rowland Scherman/National Archive/Newsmakers)

Can’t stick him myself, but some folk think he's a legend. Always struck me as the sort to stay clear of at the office party, know what I mean? Sang dirges about “How many streets must a man walk down?”

The answer, my friend, is roughly zero, at least hereabouts. Clearly yer man Dylan had never tried to stroll up Leith Walk. Or drive for that matter.

Should have been a simple journey. Great Junction Street to the Meadows. It's not like I was attempting something complicated like setting the UK record for walking backwards to Cornwall to raise funds for cats suffering from vertigo.

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First step, get out of Leith. I have long suspected someone in the council is trying to wall the Republic in. Mind you, there are some on the Shore who consider this a good move.

The tram works have closed half of Leith Walk. At the same time, a re-design at the junction of Duke Street and the bottom of Easter Road has been causing a little local difficulty.

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Great Junction Street isn’t so much a traffic jam as a traffic treacle, with cars moving so slowly that urban legends have begun of drivers stuck so long they’ve resorted to eating the passengers.

Plainly, this is nonsense. There’s plenty of time to pop out and get a steak bake, two yums-yums and a coffee from Greggs.

You need to watch your bus stops as well now. They’ve shut some. There are people standing so long they look like those irritating statues in the Water of Leith. And yes, I do think those gormless Gormleys are horrible. He models them on himself you know. Why should I be confronted by some chap’s member every time I take a riverbank stroll? A rusty one at that.

It’s easier to walk. Oh, yeah? Well, have I got news for you. The trams have also wreaked havoc with the pavements. It’s dodgy underfoot. You know, “Have you ever tripped and it wasn’t your fault?” dodgy.

In fact, I’m amazed one of those legal outfits hasn’t set up a little pop-up office up by Elm Row, ready to fill in the forms for the recently broken-ankled.

Of course, they wouldn’t be able to help the people mown down by the relentless two-wheeled traffic. I can’t be the only person glad to see the back of those ‘Just Eat’ bikes.

Now, before you all start screaming, yes, I know most cyclists are good folks who stick to the roads.

I’m not talking about the lycra lads and lassies who ride bikes worth the same as a small car. I’m talking about the "oh, yeah? Where exactly did you get that bike from, mate?” riders who barrel along pavements already reduced in capacity and make menaces of themselves to pedestrians, people pushing buggies and, unforgivably, wheelchair users, a group of people not known for their ability to leap out of the way.

And now they have been joined by a new menace, the whizzy scooter.

How many roads can a man walk down, Dylan? Well, in Edinburgh, precious few without lurking danger.

Made the Meadows eventually. Think I’ll buy a tank. That’s the only way to travel about this city now.

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