r___-_____._ _.__, - _ -


disassociate himself from both his previous concerns. and instead become involved in not one. but three ambitiously independent new projects; designed to act as a continuation and culmination of what has gone before.

The motivation for this is not money. ‘Bccause mediocrity

remains the way to financial success in this country.‘ Rather it is the impatience of a man excited only by ideas. whose plans lose (for him) their apparent surface dynamism once enacted. These latest schemes a club in Edinburgh‘s Niddrie Street. a cafe/restaurant in Leith and a shop and bar in Glasgow have. for the moment. captured all his attention and excitement; a fact which soon becomes obvious when he begins to

explain the reasoning behind them. 'I think that you have to have the experience to insist on certain standards. which I have always done and will continue to do so. Because ofit l have had my life threatened, but that is the way that I want to run my business. lam not interested in the fast buck. That is not the way to succeed. The word for the 905 is quality. And that quality must be

' shared with everyone, whether they

have money or not.’ Quality is the keyword in Sam‘s philosophy; it is the rationale which

governs his every move. along with a .

policy ofcatering to the needs of those uncatered for.

‘I know that there is a market in this city for a purpose-built, well-run club that is of a consistent standard, and which people can attend regularly.‘ he elucidates. ‘The most important thing to me is that people feel comfortable there. [don‘t believe in the Manchester idea because it alienates a lot of people. You cannot create a culture out of a pair of flared jeans and a hooded top. It is all hype. with no quality at all. Clubbing has been reduced to a mass activity. which does not allow for individualism. Thus we will not be catering for any specific trend.’

‘What we will do instead is put a lot ofeffort and energy into it; the main criteria will be that ifyou don‘t make

a similar effort then you won‘t be getting in. That principle is very important and because people do not understand it city clubbing has reached a low ebb. Our aim is to eliminate the threatening atmosphere which exists in places run by amateurs.‘

This sense of uniqueness is shared by Sam‘s second project a cafe and restaurant initially. which will in time have the addition ofa mid-ranged small hotel.

‘We are not out to compete with anyone ifyou consider that you are, then you are not looking after your own business. It will be an addition to what already exists. we are just putting our own identity down there. It will be in keeping with that area of Edinburgh in design context, but totally one-off in that everything will be newly designed. right down to the furniture that you will sit on. We want it to stand on its own without alienating anyone.‘

Glasgow. European City of Culture, whose growing sense of cosmopolitan chic has been one of the the most remarkable phenomena ofthe last decade. would seem to be an obvious choice for Sam‘s final venture. The site is in a central but run-down lane. the idea is to combine a bar plus a ‘designer‘ shop under the one roof, with one being complementary to the other.

‘Glasgow can do with that and nobody is being fooled by the extravagances ofbreweries‘ theme pubs any more. A repeat of the old ideas doesn‘t pull the wool over anyone’e eyes.‘

‘What is needed is a bit more originality. and I think that is what sums me up a European who wants to make us all Europeans at the end of the day. There is no reason why we shouldn‘t be; it is just a question ofstandard.‘

This is the bottom line in the Sam Piacentini doctrine, the ideal that governs everything with which he involves himself. The only difficulty is in persuading the public to acquiesce with his vision.

‘My intention is not just to have a place full of one specific crowd of people. What I want to attain is a whole cross-section ofsociety. But it is hard. because when you open something new, people automatically think that to fit in you have to have a certain image.‘

‘The problem here in Scotland is that people just do not want to be themselves. It is a very inhibited place. If you walk into a bar or club abroad it will be full ofpeople showing off, and I think that is what it should be about. You are out to enjoy yourself— not just sit in a wee corner and hope that nobody is looking.‘

as well.

from local


Ask any artist, finding inspiration IS easrer than finding finance.

That's why each year SAC spends around £16m supportingtheartsinScotland.thanks to the Government and you, the taxpayer.

Without this help many exhibitions and events would not take place, let alone be free to public admission in so many cases.

The same applies to other areas of the arts

Our support. together wrth contributions authorities sponsorship, make it all possible.

The Scottishl‘rts Council

and business


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MThe List 13—26July 1990