- Karen Koren

When I was around three years old and my big brother was around four we were playing happily in my father’s office at home, having a great time trawling through his drawers in his rolltop desk.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 7:00 am
Photo: Andrew Stuart/NW Artistic Director Karen Koren of Fringe venue the Gilded Balloon seen here with an archive photograph of former venue performer comediene Caroline Aherne which was salvaged from the debris of destroyed club premises (behind) on the Cowgate, Edinburgh; December 22, 2002. The Gilded Balloon, the world renown comedy venue which Koren founded 17 years ago, was destroyed by the fire of the 7th December which gutted the Old Town block bordering the Cowgate and South Bridge.

It was a treasure trove and we found a handgun that he had left over from the Second World War. Of course, I had no idea what it meant, but my brother was pretty wised up since watching lots of “Cowboys and Indians” shows on the TV - it was the 50s after all!

The gun wasn’t loaded thank goodness – not that we would have had a clue if it was or it wasn’t.

My dad walked in on us just in time, as my brother was handling the magazine that loads the handgun. He was furious and grabbed all the bits of the gun and we were crying and there was quite hullaballoo, I can tell you.

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In later years I found out that my father had taken the gun and hurled it out of a moving train on the Forth Rail Bridge into the Firth of Forth.

He realised that it was not worth keeping something so dangerous, even though it was his memory of a time gone by and was precious to him.

Sometimes we have to sacrifice things in order for our children and grandchildren to flourish. This includes letting go of old ideas and look forward to the future and letting the younger generation learn from their mistakes and make inroads to a brighter future. I may have run my own business for 35 years, but times are changing and I have no qualms in letting Katy, my daughter, take the reigns and move the business forward to where it needs to be to survive. This last year has been one of the toughest on us all and we must make sacrifices in order to get our country and livelihoods back on track. It should not be too long now and with a bit of sacrifice and effort from us all the world will be a stronger and better place. Happy Easter everyone!