Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Easter Alternatives

Many of you may be preparing for the onslaught of another commercially driven Easter and
perhaps saw the recent Panorama programme Chocolate: The Bitter Truth or you already have concerns about where your chocolate comes from.
Maybe you have children you dont want to fill with sugary treats or just want to do something more creative than munching through choclate and watching telly. Perhaps you dont have the cash to splurge on Easter treats and trips but there are alternatives. Dont forget this is a time to celebrate Life, rebirth and renewal. Easter is a happy time! An opportunity to get together with friends and family and enjoy LIFE! and a great chance to try new things, get creative and and explore new ideas, it doesn't have to cost money.

Why not try out different dyes or create characters by painting and drawing on boiled eggs (free range of course!) and explore your area by taking a walk up a hill to roll your eggs.
Create something new from junk, and join in at a free scrappage salvage workshop.
Or how about some guerilla gardening with recycled eggboxes from SEEDBOMB or have a go at making your own.

As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer (well slight hiccup here in Scotland with the return to snow!) lets remember Easter is a time of joy, a time to look forwards with renewed hope for the future.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Graffiti and gap sites

Here we see a terrible example of neglect!
Although the graffiti adds some colour to the otherwise sterile space left after the demolition of New St Bus Depot, don't forget the community were promised a temporary landscape art scheme to be implemented if the redevelopment of the site was delayed at all.

However, the only work to continue on this site is the regular repainting of the blue hoardings around it by CEC staff to remove graffiti or fly posting. Whilst many may object to graffiti and consider it vandalism it must be considered in terms of it's location. Is it really vandalism when it is located on the walls of a BIG UGLY GAPSITE? A big ugly gapsite which speculative developers gave up on when it was revealed a year ago to be toxic. A big ugly gapsite which is controlled by administrators who still expect the public purse to cover the costs of maintaining security fencing round it and who insist that council owned workshops and houses are kept empty.

Many of those who remember the bus depot and the mix of creative enterprise and talent which emerged from it will remember the art work which was created inside there both in car park/Sunday market and Old Bongo Club and studios.
Now Edinburgh's official graffiti wall is to be removed at Potterrow maybe it is time to recreate space for street art in the Canongate's biggest gapsite! After all there is little other space available for artists to practice in the Old Town since the New St studios and workspaces were demolished and CEC closed down the Canongate Venture.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Caltongate or Canongate

After 5 years of pr spin, dodgy dealings, speculative profiteering, and legal wranglings the debate around the huge gap site in Edinburgh's Canongate continues.
This week a rash of letters emerged in the local press in response to the to new designs for an alternative to the Caltongate scheme.
The latest plans to be produced by Anta Architecture propose a stronger 'Scottish identity' but still refer to the site as Caltongate. Whilst many may agree smaller blocks with some traditional features would be an improvement to the anywhere architecture of Mountgrange's Caltongate fantasy the Anta plans fail to recognise that the big problem is the Council's view that Caltongate exists as a place.
The name is as unrelated to the identity of the place as the monolithic blocks proposed in the Caltongate Scheme.
If we are to move forward with a more realistic and sustainable development for the Canongate lets start by referring to the 2 sites being considered by names which relate to their place.
Canongate Venture (previously North Canongate Infant School), Jeffrey Street arches, and the market building are on New St and East Market St. The demolished bus depot (and site of the original Gas Works for Edinburgh) lies beside New St and Calton Road. Both lie in the North Canongate area.
Caltongate is created by the same team who redeveloped Greenside and called it Calton Square as is just as unconnected to the community where it has been placed.