Edinburgh. City of music, arts and culture. Festival city. The captivating, beautiful, historical capital of Scotland. Home.
I’m feeling a little bit fragile today, all thanks to a great idea I had yesterday. Well maybe that last, one too many, glasses of wine might have had something to do with it too. But it was the idea that led to it. I really need to stop being so smart. It’s not good for me. Or my wallet for that matter. And now I’ve got to write this blog hungover. Yeugh. Darn you Boundary Bar.
That’s where my smart idea led me and Jay last night. I had been walking home from work, and was, once again, struck by how stunning this city is. This reaction to my surroundings is a pretty common thing here. Everyone I know does it. All the time. You simply can’t help it. That’s one of the reasons millions of people from all over the globe visit Edinburgh every year. That and the fact that we are home to the world’s biggest Arts Festival every August. So it suddenly occurred to me. Why are we waiting until we go away to write blogs about travel destinations and the arts? It’s all here, right on our doorstep, every day.
Another thing that’s right on our doorstep, literally, and a great starting point for blog posts about Edinburgh, is the Boundary on Leith Walk. It’s one of a host of great bars in the city, and a big favourite of ours. Garry and Roseanne behind the bar are just great. Genuinely lovely people who make you feel totally at home, and are unbelievably helpful and accommodating. It’s a bit like the bar in Cheers. Only it’s in Leith, which adds a touch more spice. They also have a lot of fun things going on most nights of the week. All great nights, but our personal favourite is Phil Ramsay’s Pressure Valve Unplugged on Sundays.
We’ve not been along for the Sunday session since we returned from Europe a month ago. We’ve been really good, staying in and saving our pennies for the next trip. But we decided to pop in last night to take some photos and give you a taste of the great, grassroots music scene in our home town. We’ve known Phil for a lot of years now, and he is definitely a character and a half, who really knows how to put together a good night out. Trumpet player extraordinaire, supreme showman, natural born clown and someone whose instinctive, enthusiastic love for his fellow man just leaps out of him in an endless rainbow of grins, hugs and banter. He’s got this incredibly dirty laugh that sounds totally put on. But it isn’t. It’s just Phil’s laugh, and it’s impossible not to laugh back at it. It’s totally worth going along simply to see what Phil gets up to, never mind the music.
But even without him, and the lovely Garry and Roseanne, it would still be worth going along just for the music. For the princely sum of nothing, yep it’s a free night, you get about 4 hours of a wide variety of mostly original music. From completely new faces doing their first ever gig, to well known local bands just out for a jam and a laugh, it’s a great wee showcase night of Edinburgh talent. You never know who’s going to pop in for a beer and wind up getting up with the act currently playing. That lone singer songwriter with their guitar is suddenly transformed into a 3 piece, 4 piece, no hang on, it’s a 7 piece band! With drum, trumpet, saxophone, fiddle, another guitar and a backing vocalist. Wow. Did that really happen? Yes it surely did. And does. Miraculously, magically, week after week.
This is Edinburgh. Home of the Fringe. This is how we do things here. Craftmanship, collaboration, community. A community of artists, both home grown and from all around the world, who just open their arms and say “Welcome. Join in!” It’s not unique to this city by any means, but we do it well. And the Boundary bar and Pressure Valve do it very well indeed.
Here’s a few photos from the night.
Oh my head. Time for another lie down I think.