Don’t let the Christmas ice rink slide out of existence – Kevin Buckle

The St Andrew Square rink is one of the few Christmans attractions that Kevin Buckle is in favour of.

Saturday, 6th July 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Saturday, 6th July 2019, 7:00 am
The Christmas ice rink is popular with both young and old. Picture: Neil Hanna

Given my general criticism of Edinburgh’s Christmas festivities some might be surprised that I was disappointed to hear that there would be no ice rink this year.

However the ice rink is one of the more traditional attractions and unlike so many other things does help bring people into town while not taking money away from local businesses.

What did annoy me greatly was when Underbelly, who organise the ice rink, said they were worried that its absence this year would affect Edinburgh’s retailers as they have shown no concern at all before.

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What Edinburgh needs is a comprehensive plan to support its retailers but actually all businesses get is to be tagged on to a whole range of events and projects that think it will help their case to say their ideas will aid retail.

The idea that more people equals more sales ended years ago and yet that is the only basis on which claims are still made. Roddy Smith, chief executive of business group Essential Edinburgh, which manages St Andrew Square on behalf of the owners, clearly felt that the benefits to the area could not possibly justify the damage and disruption that is caused.

I’m not versed well enough in all that is involved in locating an ice rink but when Roddy Smith says it is a five-month process certainly a good chunk of that is because of the damage to the turf. It would be good to know how long it would take if placed on a different surface. Surely other locations are more suitable with regards to the surface and the ice rink could bring much needed footfall to an area. How that footfall translates into business of course is a different matter and to be honest the idea that folk come in to both Christmas shop and visit the attractions is an outdated one but there is no doubt sales of food and drink increase.

Hopefully the ice rink will find a new location that yes may not be as perfect for Underbelly as they might wish but will mean that Edinburgh has an attraction this year that benefits both the public and business.

It’s as easy as ABC...

When Avalanche first opened next to Edinburgh University in the eighties we had our CDs on a wall placed alphabetically. Next to each row was a clear indication of the letters involved. The first row would be A to C and so on.

Despite all this we would regularly be asked by students if there was any system to the CDs. We would explain they were alphabetical and nine times out of ten the student who had asked the question would sheepishly apologise. However more often than you would imagine we would be asked “so how are they alphabetical?” – something which was not easy to reply to.

Several decades later it now appears all sense of order has been lost as not only do many struggle with the idea that our LPs are alphabetical but also that T-shirts are placed on the rack in order of size. However, all is forgiven as I do have to say what a pleasure it is to get so many enthusiastic youngsters in the shop and hear them chat about music and vintage clothing. Just like the old days indeed!