Music venue at Waverley Mall would hit right note – Kevin Buckle

There have been lots of old customers from West Nicolson Street and Cockburn Street days visiting the new Waverley Mall shop, but what I didn’t expect was the large number of young people that have been in from our time in the Grassmarket which ended only a few years ago.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 22nd March 2019, 2:36 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd March 2019, 2:43 pm
Glasvegas play to a packed Avalanche store in the Grassmarket in 2013. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Unlike the “old” customers who I recognise immediately, most of those from the Grassmarket are not well known to me and yet have been as lovely in their memories of the shop as their elders.

We didn’t sell much music to youngsters in the Grassmarket but we did sell a lot of posters and often that is mentioned, but top of the list is the in-stores we did that were open to all ages. Often very busy for the bigger names, I remember that there were a fair number of youngsters with older siblings and parents and also just with their friends but never really appreciated how much they had enjoyed it.

Of course one of the main reasons for opening in Waverley Mall was in the hope of reaching beyond the usual fan base of an artist and attracting the mall kids to new music and all this recent feedback is great news for the idea. Some of those who visited the Grassmarket are still teenagers of course so can hardly be called old customers in any sense and have been asking if we intend to have bands play again.

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An artist's impression of the plans for the Omin Centre

All being well there will be news on that soon with the possibility of a “proper” stage and some big names playing like before which given the recent comments should prove very popular indeed.

Certainly with meetings over the next month to see what can be done to promote live music at the mall as well as discussions about exhibition space to acknowledge Scottish music’s varied history there is plenty to look forward to.

This does raise the question again about the lack of small venues and also whether they should cater for under-18 gigs. I’m not sure who should be looking at this as it is a tricky area to get involved with these days but anything that encourages young people to get out more has to be a good thing.

If Waverley Mall could be convinced to expand plans for a well-equipped stage to actually having a small venue that would of course be perfect, as it couldn’t be more central and handy for the station for those travelling in. Wishful thinking maybe, but with lots of other works planned I will certainly ask the question and see what can be done.

‘Misplaced’ funds no way to build a ‘forgotten’ bridge

I’m well used to the planning committee discussing views that don’t really exist, but this week there was a new one when the Omni Centre extension was discussed. It turns out that when the original planning permission for the Omni Centre was granted in 1999 a condition was attached for the developers to pay £200,000 towards the construction of a bridge between the leisure centre and Calton Hill.

The plans never progressed and officials were unable to tell councillors what had happened to the funding. Despite the extension being described as “clumsy” and opposed by the planning convener Councillor Neil Gardiner it was narrowly approved by six votes to five, with some councillors arguing that it didn’t stop the bridge still being built though after 20 years. I’m not entirely sure what plans there will now be to complete what was originally proposed.

Quite how such a structure could simply be forgotten about and the money misplaced I’ve no idea, as even by council standards it seems hard to believe. While Calton Hill may be famous for buildings that were never finished it can now also add a bridge that was never started!

Maybe if somebody has enough time on their hands they could investigate and see what other buildings and structures developers and the council have simply “forgotten” to build.

New frontiers in sustainable fashion design

The R Sustainable Fashion Show tomorrow at the Jam House on Queen Street is an event run by the new social enterprise group R Sustainable who are part of Edinburgh University.

It is, they say, “a professional platform that raises awareness about sustainable design practices and the future of material innovation by creating a space for conversations around this theme. The letter ‘R’ stands for reinvent, reclaim, re-innovate, and more!”

The runway show, hosted by ethical fashion blogger Ruth MacGilp, features work created by student designers who are interested in manipulating unconventional materials through innovative processes. Some have chosen upcycling as a way of transforming older items into new and original futuristic pieces, others are exploring new frontiers in fashion by creating lab-grown materials themselves.

Alison Harm whose shop Psychomoda I know from my time in St Mary’s Street has six upcycling pieces in the show and hopefully as Waverley Mall expand their commitment to culture and the arts this may well be the sort of thing you will see there in the future.

The show also has an exhibition space showcasing local and international artists working in a variety of mediums that explore sustainability. There is a range of exhibitors who incorporate everything from recycled plastic bags, wood, organic fibres, to bio-plastics, creating an open discussion about contemporary sustainability practices.

Those who know me will not be surprised that fashion is not high on my list of interests but clearly I am in the minority as there are only a few tickets left and it looks like it will sell out on the day, if not before.

The show is on from 6pm to 10pm with a few front row and general tickets still on sale at