Susan Morrison: Trackula and his monsters are after you

The nightmare tram project is nearly at an end. Montage: Dave Hamburgh
The nightmare tram project is nearly at an end. Montage: Dave Hamburgh
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The sleekit beasties have been seen moving. Yes, the trams are finally showing signs of life, just when most of us had given way to despair.

It’s like that bit in the movie where Frankenstein turns away from his lifeless creature, having a bit of howl, only to be comforted by Igor, who, let’s face it, doesn’t really strike you as being that handy with the tissues and sympathy, but there you go.

Anyway, we all know the minute he turns his back on the beast that’s the very minute the creature’s hand will suddenly jerk into life. Cue close up and dramatic music and before you know it a bunch of outraged citizens are storming up the garden path accessorised with burning torches and pitchforks, and we all know they aren’t there to deliver a 
Betterware catalogue.

Now our own monsters are moving – admittedly not very far. The full horror of what is happening is slowly dawning around the city. The trams are rolling.

So, my friends, what will we talk about now? Oh, I know, we can fall back on the weather. As a matter of fact, I think the weather knows it’s about to regain centre stage in our discussions.

What else would explain that hissy fit Mother Nature threw this week when we suddenly woke up to find Ice Age 4 on our front gardens?

What will our taxi drivers talk about? Let’s be honest, the trams have been a boon to the guys, especially when conversing with the lady passenger. Few women have much interest in the doings of our football teams, so lively conversation about the seemingly endless diversions around the city centre was at least a topic for discussion.

Can we now expect to see our taxi drivers in the ranks reading the last celebrity gossip mags in a desperate effort to connect with the female demographic?

Hint: don’t. Lots of us don’t read them either.

Knight derider

Take that, Leicester! Thought you could get one over Edinburgh by digging up a king in a car park, did you? Ha! Why, all we had to do was stick a shovel in the ground and dig up a medieval knight. And ours had a fancy sandstone tomb.

Yah boo sucks to you.

Caltongate ghost back out of the cupboard

THE city would seem to be under supernatural attack. As well as the tram beast moving, the ghost of the Mountgrange development has been spotted in the city. Mountgrange, you might recall, was dead keen on taking over the old bus station site, flattening it and then “redeveloping” it.

Now, in redevelopment speak, this meant a five-star hotel, a conference centre and executive two-bed flats with balconettes. Architects are wildly keen on balconettes these days. The fact that a community lived there – you know, real people, with jobs and stuff – seemed to have passed them by.

The fact that the community that lived there rose up and did battle seemed to have stunned them. How dare those who do not hold degrees in city planning and architecture challenge the clever blokes with the stylish glasses and smart-casual work wear over these tenements? Tenements that had housed families and friends, and incidentally now still sit empty. Fight them off they did, and more power to their banner-making elbows. New plans are afoot, I see, only this time some of the buildings the activists fought to save such as North Canongate Infant School and Old Sailors Ark have been included in the plans, which makes you wonder why they didn’t include them in the first place.

Artist’s future vision is slim pickings

MIND you, I looked at the “artist’s impression” of our bold new future in the Caltongate. On first glance it looks fine, but gee whizz, people, we are all going to have to sharpen up our act here. By the time this development is finished, my friends, we had all better hit the gym and cut the carbs. Not only that, but global warming is going to arrive a lot sooner than we expected.

We are presented with the image of a multi-use space (yes, I did wade through some of the guff the Mountgrange people pumped out) with people wandering about conversing – presumably not about the trams – in summer tops and even shorts. Slender people are just strolling about, instead of the reality of Scotland where the weather frequently forces us to dash from building to building like Second World War Leningrad defenders avoiding Nazi snipers.

There’s even a man reading a book – Kindles must be going out of fashion – and a chap in a suit dragging a wee black terrier about. Clearly this multi-use space is not for the likes of us lumpy folks.