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We can all club together: round table discussion about Edinburgh club venues
‘One of the differences between Edinburgh and Glasgow and why Glasgow has moved on so much further than Edinburgh, is that their council supports the clubs there,‘ believes Warren Deighan, ex-owner of The Honeycomb. 'They recognise that clubbing is an industry and it's why so many tourists go there. Edinburgh could have that too.’
Trudy Gibson, venue manager of the Bongo Club, agrees: ‘I really think that the Edinburgh Council doesn't recognise how much clubs contribute to culture within a society; they aren't willing to offer support like they do to the other arts.‘
The unexpected sale of The Honeycomb in late August, coupled with the planned closure of Cafe Graffiti in December and the short-term tenure of the Bongo Club, has caused a great deal of concern to clubbers in the capital. As the promoters in The Honeycomb struggle to find suitable new homes for their club nights, the escalating problems surrounding venues in Edinburgh have become apparent.
Edinburgh has long enjoyed an impressive diversity within its club scene — hip hop, jazz, house, techno, trance, garage and reggae all have strong followings here - and it‘s this diversity which is now under threat, believes Nicki Forrest of club promoters Lowdown Productions. ‘The Bongo Club and Cafe Graffiti were a breath of fresh air, and now they're closing,’ she states. 'Who is going to take
The future is bleak, believes Yogi Haughton, Edinburgh DJ and promoter for the past fifteen years: ‘We're going to lose them, like we're losing so many good clubs at the moment.’ Looking to Glasgow is the way forward, believes Sarah David, general manager of The Liquid Room. 'I would like to see it be a little bit more like Glasgow where the venues are funded, to a certain extent, as a part of the arts. It's the independent venues in Edinburgh who are trying to be a little bit different but are getting no encouragement whatsoever.’
The promoters and managers that we spoke to highlighted three problems that were causing them the greatest concern: the lack of support from the Edinburgh Council in terms of licensing and grants; the lack of venue owners who were willing to invest money to upgrade their venues; and the clubbers themselves, who are largely unwilling to travel outside the city centre for their clubbing.
As Edinburgh readies itself for the Millennium, the Council seems anxious that we appear to be international. Many believe, however, that the Council are only interested in Hogmanay and the Festival, turning a blind eye the other ten months of the year. As Glasgow has shown, a successful youth culture needs the support of the city authorities to thrive. (Simone Baird)
Philharmonic, and continue into the
By Royal appointment: Eddie Izzard
Telecadefor the Concert Hall
In the ten years since Glasgow Royal Concert Hall opened, during Glasgow's year as European City of Culture, it has confirmed its status as an international centre for the arts. As its Director Louise Mitchell notes: ’We are now the central focus for a diverse range of music.’
The twin feathers in the Concert Hall’s cap in 1999 are Celtic Connections — now the world’s largest winter festival — and the International
Series, which regularly plays host to the'
world’s finest orchestras, soloists and conductors. The illustrious likes of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and the Kirov Orchestra attract audiences that continue to grow. The 1999-2000 International Series will commence on Monday 18 October with a programme of Dvorak and Mahler from the Czech
new year with recitals from the world's greatest pianists and appearances by
the Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic.
Other upcoming attractions include a series of Sunday brunch concerts by the Paragon Ensemble, and a hotly anticipated return by comedian Eddie Izzard.
Ten years have seen the venue increase not only its level of cultural significance in Glasgow and beyond, but also its public appeal, as Louise Mitchell proudly emphasises. ‘Withbut the Concert Hall, artists and orchestras of international acclaim would not be able to perform in Glasgow. This strength is reflected in our audiences, as the numbers are growing every season. The next ten years will mean we can only get bigger!’
The Scottish Inquisition
Questions you don 't expect. This issue: Paul Massey, General Manager; Aberdeen Alternative Festival
Broadsheet or tabloid?
Broadsheet - The Herald.
First arts/medialmusic related job? First media job was as a reporter with the Paisley & Renfrewshire Gazette. After about twelve years in newspapers I turned self-employed and started in the 'arts', initially working part-time for various venues and organisations.
What is your career highlight?
Helping James Brown get to the Aberdeen Alternative Festival in 1993. Everyone thought we were mad and that it wouldn't happen. It was a logistical nightmare flying everyone in from the States but the show was breathtaking.
The award for a lifetime contribution to Scottish culture goes to?
James Kelman, who has opened so many eyes to literature and what surrounds us as Scots.
Name a work of art that you cannot live without . . .
Probably the radio, it's a medium for so many other works of art so it qualifies as one itself.
.. . and a law that you are proud to have broken?
I was sacked by the Evening Express in Aberdeen in 1989 during a dispute over trade union recognition. I suspect I may have broken a few then.
You're about to be exiled - where and how would you spend your last night? On the dancefloor at a Northern soul venue, either the Cleethorpes Weekender or at The Soul Club night in the Grosvenor Hotel in Edinburgh.
What motion would you make as an MSP?
That there should be no massive Millennium celebrations: local authorities should spend the cash on tangible, long- term benefits. I don't think anyone could argue that we couldn’t benefit from half a dozen detox centres.
What should be in the Millennium Dome?
Anything that reminds us of Scotland's ability to contribute to the bigger picture . . . particularly in education, medicine and the arts.
llow do you see Scotland's future? Bright - so long as we look fon/vard, not back. (Compiled by Mark Robertso )
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7—21 Oct 1999 THE "8'"?