A couple of weeks ago I was wandering along Edinburgh’s Lothian Road and I happened to pass the building formerly known as the Edinburgh Picture House. Until the end of 2013 it’d served as the Scottish capital city’s only real medium-sized live-music venue – i.e. it was big enough to accommodate bands you’d actually heard of, but on the other hand the gig-going experience didn’t involve you having to position yourself in the middle of a crowd in some football or rugby stadium with the performers visible only as tiny homunculi on a far-distant stage.
However, a few months ago the forces of commerce dictated that the Picture House could no longer cut it as a place for live music and it’d be much more valuable to society as an outlet for the giant pub-chain Wetherspoons. Because if there’s one thing we absolutely need in our lives at the moment, it’s another branch of Wetherspoons.
Anyway, it saddened me – choked me up a little, in fact – to see the above-pictured sign hanging next to those closed doors (behind which the interior of the Picture House is currently metamorphosing into yet another warehouse-sized clone-pub). The sign listed the acts that’d performed in the building during its six-year incarnation as a music venue. And viewed in its entirety, it was quite some list.
Jarvis Cocker, Isobel Campbell, Franz Ferdinand and Rodrigo Y Gabriela. The Gang of Four, Chic with Nile Rodgers, the Cult and the Red Hot Chili Pipers – that’s the Pipers, not the Peppers. Mudhoney, Neville Staples, Stiff Little Fingers and Seasick Steve. Teenage Fanclub, John Cale, Killing Joke, the Damned and the Alabama 3. Hawkwind, Magazine, John Cooper Clarke, Gil Scott Heron and the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The Fall, Gogol Bordello, Basement Jaxx, Nick Cave, Tinariwen and the New York Dolls.
And many, many more – musicians, singers, artists and entertainers.
And One Direction.