News. gossip and opinion


The world’s biggest climbing arena is about to open here, promising gigs, parties and fitness.

Words: Ruth Hedges

tate of the art design meets nature in this awesome

climbing wall at the heart of the new Adventure Centre-

Ratho. Towering 28m high with craggy outcrops. overhanging ledges and geometric angles. the multi-coioured. polka-dot peppered surface looks like a Jackson Pollock-inspired sculpture with McFIurry influences. and will provide the greatest indoor challenge to climbers that the UK has to offer. It's the biggest wall in the UK and the biggest climbing arena in the


Opening on Thursday 20 November. the brand new $224m centre also contains Europe's largest SkyRide a 30 minute aerial assault course. mountain bike trails. scuba diving and an

adventure sports gym.

'lt's exceeding my expectations.‘ says Duncan McCallum. the brains behind the project. 'We‘ve just had people in today who are looking to book it for a series of rock concerts and dances.

factor out here.

project. It's kind of like an Eden Project with balls.‘ But it's not just the centre that has the balls. Visitors can expect rigorous training if they sign up to the adventure gym. ‘Most of the normal health clubs in Edinburgh are about well-being rather than fitness and health and our unique selling point is definitely about providing functional training. either for the sports you're involved in or to give you a reason to train. because essentially going into a gym day after day after day is pretty boring.’ Boredom shouldn't be a

The various biospheres are basically housed within one third of a stone quarry near the village of Ratho on the banks of the Union Canal. It's 10 minutes drive from Edinburgh airport with

buses running from the city centre. and Scottish adventurers will

As a music venue it can cope with about 4000 peOpIe. It's a huge salts.

One wants to be amused

First we had the rock royalty dropping in for MTV. Now the real deal are coming here for the Royal Variety Performance.

Daniel Bedingfield rules

4 THE LIST 13—27 Nov 2003

Words: Ruth Hedges

: How do you fit one Queen and

a Prince into a Royal Variety

Performance? A: Build them a new box specially for the occasion and plump them down with a good supply of sandwiches. Maltesers and tubs of ice cream for the interval. And that‘s exactly (well almost exactly) what the Festival Theatre is doing on Monday 24 November for Scotland's first staging of the loveable romp through light entertainment.

From the newly constructed Royal Box. Queen Lizzie and the Duke of Edinburgh will be entertained by some of their favourite performers including Daniel Bedingfield. Donny Osmond. Gloria Estefan and Westlife. And it's all

never need to go anywhere else. In fact. the world's top climbers are gathering for the world championships in the first weekend of December to scale the dizzy new heights. Take your smelling

hosted by Birmingham babe Cat Deeley. Aren’t they the lucky ones?

2003 is the show's diamond jubilee and organisers are hoping that the Queen will enjoy the celebrations as much as she obviously did at her own golden party when Brian May rocked the house. Edinburgh's Festival Theatre will surely be quaking in its foundations when Luciano Pavarotti graces the stage as headline act.

But at the very least, it will be light relief for Queenie from her own personal royal variety show that’s being played out closer to home by the light entertainers of embittered ex-butlers. embarrassing aides and Fleet Street hacks. God save ‘er.

Mr Who?

I Never quite saw the point of artists releasing work under a pseudonym and allowing people to know that it‘s you all along. But shiny-topped megastar Moby is at it. releasing his second album under the moniker Voodoo Child. February's Baby Monkey is full of ‘hard. sexy, straightforward dance music'. according to whatsisface . . . More good news for the common man is that Timothy Spall is heading for Hollywood to join up with Jim Carrey and Meryl Streep for a role in Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events . . . Less happy news is that J-Lo and Richard Gere are set to get jiggy together in Shall We Dance . . . The Christmas number one single slot remains a coveted prize (even if it only takes five record- buying people and a cat to help a song to the top of the tree these days) and three versions of John Lennon's ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’ will be battling for the honour. The original will be unleashed once again, as well as a version by the winner of Pop /do/. Meanwhile. Yoko Ono has humbly allowed Delta Goodrem to change some of the lyrics for her own effort. Depressing though it is. you can just tell that the dead Beatle is going to come off worst here, can't you?