Category Archives: The Edinburgh Address

Articles about Edinburgh written for the Edinburgh Address luxury holiday apartment company, where I work as Marketing Assistant, and also take on tasks in guest relations.

October in Edinburgh

Wednesday, 02 October 2013 by Aija

 

Edinburgh city, a strong contestant for years for the best city in UK, with the happiest inhabitants, most culturally vibrant and the best travel location, never sleeps – even in October.

As always,  Edinburgh offers much to its vast student population, great things for the more stable residents as well as showing its best for the families with children as October is also Mid-term break from schools.

October in Edinburgh is especially exciting for families. For the pupils being on holiday, families are forced to think of other forms of entertainment. How about the Scottish International Storytelling Festival? From 18th till 27th October, this years Festival is all about journeys –  with nomads, explorers, pilgrims and voyagers.  Audiences are to be transported by travellers’ tales that span worlds of geography, fiction and landscapes of the heart, the wanderlust of myths, legends and ancient traditions bringing some magic into the city of literature!

For the older kids, and the parents, there is another kind of festival – the Oktoberfest, bringing the best of Bavarian spirit right into Edinburgh. Strange, right? What does an ancient Gaelic nation have to do with Bavarian “high culture”? Well, nothing – it’s just that little quirky spark that sets Edinburgh apart, celebrating traditions and the best bits from around the world. Mark it on your calendars, as it definitely will be an event not to be missed – 9th till 13th October!

For art lovers of all ages, the Scottish Parliament is providing a true rare treat – in a first for any Parliament, the Scottish Parliament is set to host a free exhibition of more than forty Andy Warhol works of art exploring the themes of power and politics. The exhibition titled Andy Warhol: Pop, Power and Politics exhibits nearly fifty of Warhol’s finest works, supported with workshops where art lovers can learn more about Andy’s extraordinary screen printing method. The exhibition coincides the International Legacy Festival of Scot-American Andrew Carnegie, who believed art and culture should be accessible to all. The exhibition is free and running from 5th October till 3rd November – book your tickets now, especially for the workshops!

Ending this wonderfully quirky month is the Beltane Fire Society‘s Samhuinn Fire Festival on 31st October. A spectacular show made of volunteers who put on the grandest of shows for one night only. And what better place would there be to celebrate Halloween than where the celebration originated. Spooky things are on their way – are you ready for All Hallow’s Eve?

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Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble…

Sunday, 06 October 2013 by Aija

Scotland is by many accounts considered the home of Samhuinn – a traditional Celtic holiday. The end of summer and beginning of winter is embraced, and it is believed that this change in season causes two worlds to nearly collide; the druids would prepare a feast for the one day a year when those from beyond could join the living in a celebration.

Lighting bonfires and wearing costumes to frighten away evils, and laying out a feast of new harvest fit for a king for the kinder sprites was a norm on a night when the doorway between living and the dead would open in search of an opening for a permanent residence. The twilight is inviting, and so Halloween is the favourite time of the year to many in the city as it is a perfectly valid excuse to be a little naughty, a lot frightful and perhaps a pinch childish, too. This year, like every year, the city explodes with activities all themed with Halloween and horror for all the family, the hoards of students and tourists alike.

Who loves Halloween more than children? Costumes, candy, tricks, candy, ghouls, candy. Well, at least if American television is to be believed. Instead, traditional Samhuinn is more about the ghouls and activities of lantern making, bonfires, secret haunts and witchery in the grander scale. Some of the most exciting children’s events for Halloween has an almost-adult like myself trying to find a good enough excuse to join some of these events myself!

Friday 18th & Saturday 19th October: Halloween Hoedown – Puppetry Workshops

  • Ages 7+. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art – STUDIO. 2pm & 3.30pm (1hr)
  • Free, booking essential. Learn how to make your own puppets with Yugen Puppet Company.
  • Part of Scottish International Storytelling Festival.

Sunday 20th October Bewitched!

  • Free, drop-in. Ages 7+. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art – STUDIO. 11.30am (1hr)
  • Join traditional storyteller, or Shennachie, Jess Smith and hear magical tales of witches and the supernatural from the Scottish travelling culture.
  • Part of Scottish International Storytelling Festival.

Saturday 19th – Thursday 31st – October Spooky Happenings at Almond Valley

Encounter unearthly creatures on a trail of terror, collect the clues and claim a small prize for your bravery. Join in with creepy crafts and gruesome games, and have a spine-tingling good time.

Friday 25th October Friday Fright Night

6pm-9pm. Doors re-open after dark for traditional Halloween games, a moonlight trail, and a ghost train journey into the depths of the night. Come dressed to kill. Almond Valley Heritage Centre, Livingston.

Saturday 26th October: Harry Potter Film Showing & Wizarding Ball

Ghillie Dhu does it in style; Get sorted to your house upon entry, enjoy a food banquet and a butter beer or two whilst taking part in Quidditch, Wizarding Ball and watching the first of Harry Potter films! 12-5pm, £10.00 Per Person (All Ages).

Saturday 26th October The Big Halloween Big Draw

Free, drop-in. Ages 7+. Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Two. 1.30-4.30pm. A magical potion of Halloween fun for budding artists, inspired by the exhibition Witches and Wicked Bodies. Find your funny bone by creating your own mixed media dancing skeleton; make a magnificent magic wand from brightly coloured paper, silks and ribbons and use traditional pen and ink techniques to join our ‘Witches Gathering’ by drawing your very own witch to add to our eerie group work. Free entry to exhibition for participating families.

Friday 1st November The Meadows: The Sick Kids Halloween Freaky Friday Monster March

The Sick Kids are holding the first ever Freaky Friday Monster March event. There are plenty of spooky shenanigans planned for this fancy dress sponsored walk around the Meadows, from 6-8pm. Terrifying and fun in equal measures, entry fee is just £7 per person!

Technically a little old for trick or treating? Cannot pass off your obsession with Harry Potter due to the fact you have kids as your kids are already in college or don’t have kids at all? There are some very special treats for the rest of us as well, as Halloween is not all about kids 

Thursday 31st October: Halloween Murder Mystery – The Sorority

Blue Murder Events and Ghillie Dhu have framed up for the perfect Halloween event for crime fictions fans; Following a tradition started almost two thousand years ago, The Sorority Coven meet.   However, they have come a long way from the pointed black hats, billowing cloaks and broomsticks of their ancestors. There are pressing issues for The Sorority to discuss…

Friday 1st November: Club Noir Halloween Horrorama

  • At the Picture House, Edinburgh, 11pm till 3am for some Kitsch horror.  Bloodthirsty burlesque. Glamorous Scream Queens with fetish for Halloween. Cabaret of 14+ acts: striptease, dance, live music, variety. Devil, Madame De Sade, Ghosts, Lady MacBeth, Playing With Fire, etc, etc.
  • Also starring DJs playing vintage and modern music.
  • Dress up.  Like only a Club Noir audience knows how! Anything Goes.

And to wrap the Halloween season up is the ever breath taking Beltane Fire Society’s Samhuinn Fire Festival, October 31 from 9pm.

And last but definitely not the least, travelling from a bit further away, a student? Not is the city alive with ghouls and witches, ready to frighten the bravest of souls, is the Frankenstein’s Halloween Party Week from 25th October till 3rd November every night till 2am- and not just any party week, but one of the biggest Halloween parties in Europe! Come dressed for occasion and jump cue!

The Edinburgh Address loves Halloween just as much as the next person – therefore, our October is filled with special offers to coincide with the busy October! Browse through the special offers on the homepage and find the perfect location to stay whilst getting frightened out of your wits – or while enjoying a calmer Halloween, enjoying the best of the Edinburgh autumn has to offer.

Have horrifying Halloween!

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Edinburgh vs. Hollywood – no contest!

Edinburgh vs. Hollywood – no contest!
Written by Aija   
Monday, 14 October 2013

 

I recently saw a film that took place in Dublin, near where I had lived years ago. And that little titbit of personal reference got me thinking of films based in Edinburgh. There are quite a few actually, but for the sake of keeping thing interesting, I’ve chosen to enlighten you as well as myself on four particular.The first two were originally novels by Irvine Welsh, the wild child of Edinburgh, writing observatory stories about the underbelly of the most popular city in Europe. Mainly written in Scottish vernacular, Welsh incorporates not just the uniqueness of Edinburgh city, but also the uniqueness of language, with its singsong qualities of the dialectal style and the rhyming slang. Describing the existence of the squalor underground in culturally rich Edinburgh to the finest detail, Welsh has even the most desensitized reader thinking twice.

Trainspotting follows a group of heroin addicts in the late 1980’s, where no matter how you look at it, the lives of the characters are going to end up in purgatory or something worse. Welsh has a knack for tapping in to the subculture. The energy in the film pulls you in, but at the same time you feel like a voyeur and wish you had never peeped in the first place. The allure of the lifestyle has Renton as hooked as the viewer is in following the fast paced film.

What is even more intriguing is that after two decades, the original cast, also with the original director Danny Boyle, of Trainspotting coming together, set to return for a sequel. Based on the follow up novel Porno (2002), the script is finally in progress and the film is planned to be released in 2016, or the twentieth anniversary of the original. Boyle laments on the reasons of doing a sequel; “The reason for doing it again is that people cherish the original, people remember it or have caught up with it if they never saw it because they were younger.”

Also from Welsh comes Filth. Just couple weeks ago Filth opened in cinemas across UK and, as we have grown to know with Welsh, is already tearing viewers and critics into two very distinct groups; those who hate it, and those who love it. Despite which group you might belong to, might be best to avoid the film with a full stomach as Welsh rips right into the seamiest side of human nature with his main character Bruce, who is anything but pleasant, as far from anti-hero even as you could imagine. You cannot sympathize with Bruce, but you can – and you will – pity him.

Much in the vein of Trainspotting, Welsh one again dips into the junkie filled general horridness of Edinburgh’s underbelly. Welsh himself said Filth was the one from his books he most wanted to see being made into a film, as it had the “most potential for a bold filmmaker.” Not for the faint hearted, as anything by Welsh is tapping into that “peculiar extremism to Scottish self-destruction, (…) perhaps because it has to work so hard to drown out the vocal little Puritan lurking in the Scottish psyche” .

Too heavy, too potentially gut wrenching? Then you would probably enjoy the feel-good Edinburgh’s cinematic gift to musicals – Sunshine on Leith. First a stage hit and now a feature film that enchants audiences. Who would have thought to make a film of two young soldiers, returning from Afganistan to re-enter civilian life – and to make it a musical? Preposterous, you might think. But Sunshine on Leith might not be the best film you have ever seen, but it certainly is very likeable. The music of Scotland’s very own the Proclaimers provides the tone and soundtrack (think of Mamma Mia and Abba and you get what I mean) for the film, a jukebox musical that will have you dancing and singing even days after you saw the film.

Whereas as Trainspotting did not offer much in the views of our gorgeous Edinburgh, Filth and Sunshine on Leith both have those of us who have not been here as long as well as those who have grown up here exclaiming in excitement “that’s where I …!” or “Remember just there…!”

The lyrics of the Proclaimers’ repertoire employ as the narrative drive – for example when during I Met You, Davy sings the line “And then one night I went to Morningside and you were waiting” to Yvonne, who, sure enough, has a flat in Miss Jean Brodie’s former neighbourhood.

And one more for the road, something quite different than the first three described films. Angel’s Share is rough, and not just round the edges, but it dives into the life of the young ne’er do well Robbie’s life during a time when he has to make the roughest decisions of whether to continue down his squalored ways or become a better man. Definitely the kind of film you would not expect to get under your skin but does. Director Ken Loach is a master at Loach is a master of sudden, disturbing shifts of mood, and embedding the comedy in works that are often deeply sad or tragic .

Technically not an Edinburgh film, as Robbie and his fellows are based in Glasgow, but they do venture out to Edinburgh for some whisky tasting, and that is where they get their grand idea that ultimately leads to Robbie’s transformation. Angel’s Share is tuned into the seemingly permanent youth unemployment and the despair and communal erosion it engenders. But the realistic and humanistic tone is bracingly optimistic, and when Robbie packs Leonie in their van, to start a new life in Stirling, you know you have witnessed an ultimate redemption Robbie needed in order to put his old life behind him.

The term Angel’s share, well-known for the connoisseurs from the distilling lore, transform with Robbie from a joke about capitalist exploitation that turns at the end of the film into a metaphor for generosity and gratitude.

All of these films, and more, make Edinburgh that much special.

 

Locations worth seeing from the films:

Trainspotting was mainly filmed in Glasgow, though you can see how fast you can run from  the Princes Street to Calton Street Bridge – why not.

Stroll around some of the more off-beat alleys and passages much like Bruce in Filth

Dance in front the National Galleries like in Sunshine on Leith, or 

Go for whisky tasting as in Angel’s Share in either the excellent The Scotch Whisky Experience or equally great Whiski Rooms.

 

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Welcome back Haymarket and Shandwick Place!

After six years of construction, numerous promises and extended periods of exhausting inconvenience, grumbling commuters, loss of business in the areas and overall dissatisfaction of Edinburghians, finally the tram line, operating between York PLace in New Town and Edinburgh Airport, is nearing the finishing line and is set to start running May 2014. But what is better – Haymarket (Dalry Road to Manor Place) is set to reopen to traffic around 12 October and Shandwick Place crescents to open around 19 October!

Unbelievable!

The ability to arrive to the Haymarket station and actually get to where you need to go with the constant construction related noise pollution, the muddy up-turned streets and, if you drive, being able to navigate straight to the city centre rather than finding winding alternative routes seems like an unlikely novelty.

Laura Jones, a regular Haymarket station commuter, exhales a sigh of relief and snort of contention. Laura speaks of the craziness that was contagious among pedestrians and frustrated drivers alike, the irregularity and pure hazardness of public transport and the general constant congestion of roads that had her opt for using Waverley station – even though Waverley station was further away from home. It was just easier and more pleasant way to walk. Laura, effectively pointing out, traffic is never easy anywhere in the city, but at least from the pedestrian point of view, having Haymarket and Shandwick open for traffic and pedestrians again will just enable faster, easier and less dangeours commute for all involved.

The small business owners, inhabitants of the two respective areas and the influx of tourists and other visitors to Edinburgh are embracing the news perhaps with a little scepticism but nonetheless eagerly happy to claim back the streets!

(Originally Posted in the Edinburgh Address Blog on 19.9.2013)

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