Allan Radcliffe drinks in Auld Reekie’s pleasures.

7am. Awake to pungent scent of hops from Caledonian Brewery. 8.038m. Leave house and buy breakfast from Snax: two Lorne sausage baps with broon sauce. Demolish in three bites to avoid sin of taking hot food on bus. 8.32am. Grace number 10 bus driver with dazzling smile. Receive grunt in reply. Buy Day Saver and lose 20p change to shared tips jar.

1 1 .45am. Order cash from world's slowest ATM. corner of Forres Road and Lauriston Place. 12.35pm. Accosted by tartan- clad American tourists. Explain that Scottish Parliament isn‘t quite finished yet. Attempt to ingratiate myself as potential tourguide and point them towards Whisky Heritage Centre. 2.14pm. Head for Harvey Nicks. Watch in horror as credit card takes on a HAL-like life of its own and goes into meltdown.

6pm. Dinner: fish and chips with salt’n‘sauce washed down with lrn-Bru and a deep-fried Creme Egg.

7.30pm. Arrive Traverse Theatre in time for last instalment in the Slab Boys Trilogy.

1am. Stagger from Trav Bar. Try to avoid Lothian Road's hordes of Burberry-clad revellers, psychotic bouncers and police cars.

2am. Arrive Dario's Pizzas. Enjoy cold calzone accompanied by carafe of white wine.

5am. Arive Penny Black pub for final snifter.

6am. Depart Penny Black. Attempt to find taxi.

7am. Still waiting . . .


Why Edinburgh’s retail wealth lies in belly dancing, board games and brooms.

A poster in the window of a ‘fancy goods' shop towards the eastern reaches of Portobello High Street

demands: ‘Don't Support the Superstore.‘ Read: 'Don't Support the ProXimate Retailopolis of Kinnard Park.‘ But do Edinburgh's local retailers need such an obvious tactic when their individuality speaks far louder than any A3 doctrine? ‘Shop here. we're friendly': a less in-yer-face inference.

Jenners was. and is. the archetype for progressive indigenous retailing. Still the world's oldest independent department store. it set the tone for quality and service: the cornerstones of Edinburgh's shop trade. But where trademark names moved in to feed on its success. it

retained its character through various reinventions and refurbishments.

Only the most important force in Edinburgh's retail isn't to be found in its famous institution. but instead in the quirky stores which lie off the beaten track. It is in ambling past the Tobermory-eSQLie. painted shop-fronts of Victoria Street. or up the idiosyncratic Broughton Street

that you experience the vitality and diversity of Edinburgh's boutiques.

Their arrangements range from the bizarre (austere antiques emporium adjoining Whiplash Trash

on Cockburn Street). to the comical (Victoria Street's honey stop the Honey Pot. a happy streetfellow of a dedicated broom trader). And there's the level to which they specialise: Boardwise's ‘board only' sperts equipment. Wind Things' airborne playthings. and the Russian Doll shop (albeit encompassing Russian doll

accoutrements. Reckless. or what?).

The resultant cross-fertilisation of stores breeds rich Success: abundant charity shops and second-hand retailers enjoy mutually conducive arrangements: independent stores form associations to promote their interests.

And the shoppers' experience is. at the risk of over-stating the case. life affirming. You've never lived until you've bOught a scarf from a professional belly dancer; acquired a robot named by its owner; purchased a hat from its designer or paid $220 to a man who turns jackets into handbags. Vive la difference indeed. (Maureen Ellis)

Capital checklis

The ten things all self-respecting Edinburgh residents must do. Words: James Smart

Enjoy the Fringe The world's biggest arts festival is horrible and irritating and utterly mindbogglingly glorious.

Chill in the Meadows Great for frisbee and lager in summer. football and mud in winter. and free golf on the Bruntsfield Links all year round.

Gob on the Royal Mile Got a mouthful of phlegm but don't want to appear uncouth? Go spit on the Heart of Midlothian, on the site of the old tollbooth. It's good luck.

Drink in the Cameo Buy a pint at the bar to drink in front of the movie of your choice. Or pour it over twits offering vocal plot expositions.

Try a bus tour What better

place to learn the word for ‘castle' in six different languages?

Eat salt’n’sauce It's gloopy. it's gunky and it makes a fish supper into a work of art. Rarely seen outside of east-central Scotland. and a great reason to never go west of Oueensferry.

Freak out the ghosts Take the ghost tour to Subterranean Mary King's Close. Or stand on the Cowgate waiting for the bloke dressed as a monk and surprise him to see how he likes it.

Walk the Union Canal To admire countless ducks. patches of rubbish, biblical-style reeds and a bloody great aqueduct.

Play skittles Only in Edinburgh could you stroll round a small mOuiitain and find yOurself in a village bordered by council estates that contains an ancient pub (the Sheep's Held} with an old-school skittle alley.

Feel smug While looking down from George Street to Fife. It's nice here. isn't it?

20 THE LIST 5—19 Feb 2004