Avalanche has always had a very successful social media presence and in particular a popular Twitter account. I hope that I come up with some decent original content myself but I also have to thank many other accounts that provide an endless source of news, facts and entertainment all day and felt it was time to pay my dues.
First on my list is @ScotsPostPunk who it will be no surprise to you covers mostly Scottish post punk. Mike who is behind the account not only has one of the best collections of Scottish post punk in the UK but is often first to get news of anything new happening.
When I first started working on the ScotPop Music Exhibition Centre Mike’s account was essential reading as it has all the detail that fans will want and I still make sure to read everything each day so nothing is missed. Rare demos, interesting gig tickets, unseen pics, all the latest news and much more can be found and often causes much discussion.
Mike has just started presenting a radio show on Stranger Radio called Unamerican Broadcasting and it is well worth tuning into at strangerradio.com/unamerican-broadcast.
I also need to give an honourable mention to @caroline_binnie who kept a diary of those post punk days and to this day can produce set lists from the gigs she goes to that now come with added photos.
As a former NME and The Face journalist you would expect Glenn Gibson’s Twitter account @gibsonicG to be well written but the detail is fascinating and often with background only Glenn would have as the NME’s first Scottish journalist.
That he has so few followers is criminal as when I invariably retweet what he has to say it is always very popular. Glenn kept his ticket stubs so there are stories of gigs that match the day of the tweet but there will always be some added fact or observation that is completely original. Highly recommended.
With Ian Rankin @Beathhigh of course you get much more than music but Ian’s knowledge of and support for Scottish music is known worldwide and appreciative words on Twitter have helped sell many an album by bands like Star Wheel Press and The Scottish Enlightenment in healthy quantities.
Musicians are a mixed bag on Twitter but Bobby Bluebell’s account @ropoem1 is always fun with lots of music as well as football, politics and general gossip! Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian @nee_massey does tweet a little band stuff but often it is his personal thoughts and observations which are always interesting. Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand @alkapranos has a similar account and though fairly quiet these days Gordon McIntyre of @ballboymusic is as articulate as you might expect from a headteacher.
Moving away from music, for the dreaded planning applications you can’t do better than follow @EdinburghSSC, Edinburgh’s outpost of SkyscraperCity, and if you are looking for an amusing take on New Town life then @NewTownFlaneur is the go-to account. Red trousers feature heavily!
There are many accounts with old pictures of Edinburgh and Scotland but none better than @YoorWullie and of course another great account focusing on Edinburgh is @lostedinburgh which is also hugely popular on facebook.
Some museums and galleries seem to pay no more than lip service to Twitter but others do an excellent job and no more so than @NatGalleriesSco and the Chief Curator and Deputy Director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery Imogen Gibbon @BoutsofHysteria. Both accounts keep followers up to date on all that is happening in the galleries plus adding topical tweets relevant to the day.
National Galleries of Scotland is the Scottish National Gallery, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery & the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art so several bases are covered. Though not as prolific it is also always worth looking up what @fruitmarket has to offer whether it is its exhibitions or the events it puts on inbetween. Similarly @Waterstones_Edi has events on every week worth checking out.
There are many more accounts I could recommend so apologies to those I regularly retweet but haven’t had space to mention.
I was put off Twitter myself for a long time but if you avoid all the arguments and overzealous campaigning it is a mine of useful information, interesting stories and genuinely valuable insight. Add in a healthy smattering of humour and there is much to recommend it.
Playfair Steps scrum must be tackled soon
There was some confusion as extra road closures were announced for this year’s Festival based around the High Street meeting Cockburn Street and before all stakeholders had been consulted.
While this looks like being resolved, hopefully to everybody’s satisfaction, there are certainly more pressing areas of concern and top of my list would be the Playfair Steps. I use them regularly during the Festival and they are often dangerously busy.
Relocating the stalls is an obvious answer but it would certainly not be enough and visitors do enjoy looking at the stalls when it is quieter. Another obvious answer would be to encourage people to use The Mound instead at busy times.
I mentioned this on Twitter and both Jo Mowat and Claire Miller are looking into the road closures and what else can be done so hopefully there is still time for some simple measures to be put in place to avert what potentially could be a major disaster if somebody stumbled on those steps and panic set in. The crowding and often pushing very much reminds me of leaving a football match before all the safety measures were put in place
It’s high time we set out our stalls
Speaking of possibly relocating stalls it does seem time for Edinburgh to find a location for a central daily market that operates all year. A vibrant and interesting market can be found high on many visitors’ wants list and to be honest Edinburgh could easily have both an indoor and an outdoor daily market.
There is good money to be made by running a good market and most in England are run by the councils themselves, bringing in valuable revenue. Many have reduced rates for those who can prove their wares are self-produced, be that art or food.
Edinburgh has so many attractions that it sometimes forgets to create others that people actually want when towns and cities with maybe less to offer make far more of an effort.
The great thing about markets is that they can be aimed at locals and visitors alike while at the same time providing a foothold for fledgling businesses to thrive. Edinburgh council would do well to try to identify suitable spaces and see what can be done.