|Image: Mike Byrne (BBC News)|
I woke up to the terrible news that the best Indian restaurant in Edinburgh and the venue of my work’s Christmas lunch last week, Kushis, burnt down last night. The building it’s located in just off the Grassmarket, is also home to the Finnegan’s Wake pub and the Liquid Room, so both are now in serious threat. Judging from the pictures, it was a bad night for Victoria Street and the surrounding business and homes.
I dashed up town early morning to beat the Christmas rush and finished the last of my shopping. All presents are now down and only need wrapped, apart from the couple still “in the post”. I also finished writing the last of my cards – yes, I know, I’m running late with these again – every flippin’ year I leave the cards till the last minute. I’m such a slacker when it comes to this kind of thing and it makes me feel guilty. What’s worse, is that after writing and sealing the envelopes of about a dozen, I’d wished people a “wonderful 2008”. The phrase: “clucking bell” springs to mind.
I managed to get in and out of town before the big crowds started, but couldn’t stop for a coffee as I’d hoped for lugging that last of my (pretty large) gifts around. Still, it was worth it to avoid the constant dodging and trawling.
We’re getting a new carpet laid in our hall and stairs so I did what I could to help out in the afternoon – which wasn’t much – but at least I offered. Did some tidying and clearing up in the house and read the paper, including starting on a couple of printed novellas I’ve been meaning to make time for.
I was delighted to discover that the picture taken of me when I was a guest of Madness at last year’s gig in Aberdeen, is still being shown on the big screen to the side of the stage at their gigs. Last night at the O2 Arena in London, during It Must Be Love and just before a Scottish piper led the band on stage for their first encore, there I was in 20 foot HD colour for 20,000 Madness fans to appreciate my shades and bright red Fez. Wonderful stuff!
Speaking of Madness, I got hold of a digital copy of their new album due for release on March 2nd. It’s called The Liberty of Norton Folgate and is an outstanding work of art. 2009 is Madness’ 30th anniversary – along with 2 Tone – and with the new album and compulsory tour, it looks like being a big year for the band. Expect to hear more on it in the coming months.
I feel like there’s something else to tell but I can’t remember what it was. As I write this I’m looking forward to Christmas, my New Year break, and to a fresh year.