Lesley Thompson, Chair of the Arches Board was first up to welcome everybody and thanked all those who had made it possible. I know it's

not the PC thing to say, but I'm not usually one . E N for speeches, but let me tell you I could listen to that lovely Brian Wilson MP read me the ingredients of a low-fat, high fibre cereal box. Speaking about the Arches contribution to the arts, he said: "The Arches is a fantastic venue and I am delighted to see its future being secured in this way. This is a model of how a creative approach can bring new life to a city centre. The transformation of 14 railway arches into a major performance and exhibition space is an act of great vision. I pay tribute to the commitment with which the project has been pursued and the funding secured. In particular, this is an excellent use of Lottery funding to create a centre of genuinely popular culture. Over 120,000 people visit the Arches every year to see plays and exhibitions, hear live music and comedy, or dance the nights away."

Andy Arnold, Arches Artistic Director was the final speaker. Andy, having set up the Arches Theatre 10 years ago, was positively glowing. His speech, which consisted of a whole host of acknowledgements, was witty, entertaining and endearing. His baby has grown up. Now I've been to a few openings in my day, so when the

speeches ended I was preparing to make my

way to the cloakroom, grab my pashmina and

ball, but that's when things really got into full (under Heilanman's


In one arch there was live hip-hop from local groovers Maxi 5, drum n' bass from Balance and some superb deck action from the wonderful DJ Sidewinder and the masterful Lawerence Hughes. Downstairs in the swish cafe/bar designed by One Foot Taller and Timorous Beasties, people danced, drank, ate and schmoozed to their heart’s content.

With a belly full of canapés and wine, shoes full of blisters and a head full of gossip, I left the Arches having had an absolutely fabulous time. How I ended up in Edinburgh (this columnist is from Glasgow!) at an ungodly hour sitting in front of my laptop is anyone's guess. Brief recollection of a minibus...

Anyway, gotta dash, have to go and buy the wool for the matinee

jacket l'm knitting for Nicole and Liam...