So a few people have asked if we are opening in Victoria Street and there was a plan but sadly it’s not happening . It had been suggested to me that the shop next to and belonging to Espionage would be free at least for a while and it was to be honest perfect as I could have cleared off a lot of the great stock I’ve sorted out and then had time to plan further. We might even have stayed ! It falls within the Grassmarket BID and they had kindly been looking into it for me while I was busy with the King’s Stables Road site. I have been let down a lot over the last year or so but in this case I have to stress this was just an idea that looked like it might work perfectly for both parties but unfortunately the timing simply wasn’t right in the end for Espionage and it wasn’t possible. I really am gutted simply because it was such a perfect fit.
As seems to happen these days I had another amazing suggestion the day before I found out and I’ll investigate that further tomorrow and then discuss more the following week but time is marching on and I was sure I would be open by now. I could do a few pop ups but I’d really like to do more than that and also it simply isn’t feasible to do anything outside where stock might get wet/damaged. I need a secure space and reasonable footfall so not asking much ! Any ideas do get in touch. Everything else of course is going very well indeed and hopefully in two years time we will have a lovely indoor market in King’s Stables Road and no worry about the weather.
I had stocked up with vinyl ready for opening this month so I’m now having a mini sale with great stuff at great prices just to keep some money coming in. Please buy stuff !
Vinyl A to Z
CD A to Z
Many thanks for all the kind comments. It never ceases to amaze me when people based abroad buy something on Discogs and say they were in the shop many years ago and want to keep supporting now. Very kind !
I was shown round the King’s Stables Road site on Tuesday by the council’s surveyor. There are various buildings some of which will need demolished and others that could stay. A fairly small part of the land has most of the value to a developer so there is undoubtedly room for discussion on some, possibly even much of the land being used to help develop an arts quarter. The council are looking for something more interesting than simply a hotel, flats and a couple of shops if the area and its footfall are to be improved as they wish. While there has been a lot of interest in the site from developers there has also been a lot of interest in The Evening News article and the plan will be that when the council announces its short list at the end of October some of those short listed will be people we have had discussions with.
The council then want to have a preferred bidder by the end of the year and hopefully the arts quarter idea will be a part of that. Obviously I know the area very well and have some expertise in the retail side of things but I’ve been very lucky to enlist the help of Tom Watton who recently finished working on the St Margaret’s House project at Meadowbank https://www.list.co.uk/place/23063-st-margarets-house/
Much of the chances of success will be based on “credibility and deliverability” so hopefully we now have all bases covered. If we are successful then there can be more detailed discussions about how we best use the space secured. I can only thank everybody for their good wishes and interest. This will of course only be a small part of a larger plan and I’m told there will still be a public meeting in The Usher Hall in November to discuss in particular live music.
Dear Kevin Buckle,
Your Evening News report is exciting, but may I ask, if you did not know that there is already a new culture quarter, now over 2 years old, Summerhall at east end of The Meadows, open free to the public every day of the year?
We have 150,000 square feet of various buildings around 3 courtyards, and where we co-produce and host 900 music, dance, theatre and art shows, far more than any other arts centre, a cultural village etc. annually, with over 400,000 visitors, a top-20 arts/culture visitor attraction in Scotland, where 300 people work, and with a new sound recording studio among workshops, studios, 8 theatres, many gallery space, libraries and pub, restaurant and cafe. It is the biggest multi-arts centre after The Barbican, and biggest private arts centre in Europe.
Edinburgh may need more. We have expansion plans too. But may I express a small disappointment you do not know or recognise us.
director & founder of Summerhall
You won’t find many people arguing against the fact that Edinburgh should have its own arts quarter, but up until now very little has been done about it.
Just over a year ago, Argyle House in Lady Lawson Street and the land behind it was reportedly identified as one possible location, but talk then concentrated more on the issues of demolishing the building rather than what might be in its place.
Since then, there has been nothing except the city council’s vow a few months ago to help music industry-related businesses stay located in the city centre. Meanwhile, cities throughout the UK have been working hard on plans similar to Manchester’s “Northern Quarter”. Liverpool has just announced expansion for its Bluecoat arts hub, Birmingham has its Custard Factory and Nottingham has joined the fray attracting Rough Trade to open in its Creative Quarter. England’s major cities have also recently all agreed to start working together, not only on these areas but in keeping interesting retail alive in general.
After the city council’s announcement about helping the music industry, I kept an even closer eye on what has been happening in Edinburgh, so when I was told that council land originally earmarked as part of the Edinburgh arts quarter had just gone up for sale, it seemed worth further investigation. A 1.2-acre site on King’s Stables Road, it stretches all the way from the tunnel famous for its saxophone player to the entrance to the Grassmarket.
A large storage shed could easily be imagined as a venue, with shops and cafes complementing something else Edinburgh needs but does not have – a fantastic indoor market, still leaving space for artist studios. With most arts hubs being created on the periphery of city centres at best, Edinburgh has the chance to create something very special indeed in the heart of the city, close to so many other arts-related buildings – from the Usher Hall to the Filmhouse and, of course, the art college itself.
Something else that was pointed out to me very quickly was that the arts quarter would also be great for footfall in the city, meaning people would walk the length of the Grassmarket to reach it from Victoria Street and encouraging those in the west end of Princes Street to approach from Lothian Road. With a little bit of signage, the long daunting walk up King’s Stables Road to the Grassmarket would be halved and bring new life to the area.
Word spread like wildfire and within 48 hours I’d been contacted by a range of interested parties all pledging support for the idea. There are so many wider benefits that extend beyond the arts and even tourism that there would be a huge positive effect immediately. There is no doubt the project would give an air of credibility to the wider area being considered one of Europe’s finest arts quarters attracting new visitors to Edinburgh from all over the world.
For more details on how to get involved in the Edinburgh arts quarter campaign
This opinion piece was written for The Edinburgh Evening News and appeared on 30/09/2014
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1. There Will Be Fireworks – There Will Be Fireworks
2. Pictish Trail – Secret Soundz Vol.1
3. Kid Canaveral – Shouting At Wildlife
4. The Savings and Loan – Today I Need Light
5. Star Wheel Press – Life Cycle Of A Falling Bird
6. There Will Be Fireworks – The Dark, Dark Bright
7. King Creosote – Psalm Clerk
8. TV21 – Forever 22
9. Quickbeam – Quickbeam
10. Olympic Swimmers – No Flags Will Fly
11. Bwani Junction – Fully Cocked
12. Randolph’s Leap – Introducing …..
13. Kevin MacNeil and Willie Campbell – Visible From Space
14. Scottish Enlightenment – St. Thomas
15. King Creosote – Disclaimer
16. King Creosote – Vintage Quays
17. Emily Scott – Longshore Drift
18. The Last Battle – Heart Of The Land, Soul Of The Sea
19. Rob St John – Weald
20. Emily Scott – abcdefg…etc…
21. Cancel The Astronauts – Animal Love Match
22. Endor – Endor
23. King Creosote – Red On Green
24. Edinburgh School For The Deaf – New Youth Bible
25. Conquering Animal Sound – Kammerspiel
26. Dead Flowers – Midnight At The Wheel Club
27. Aberfeldy – Somewhere To Jump From
28. Trapped Mice – Winter Sun
29. Hamish James Hawk – Aznavour
30. Emily Scott – I Write Letters I Never Send
So big hitters like Ballboy, Saint Jude’s Infirmary, Meursault and Withered Hand aren’t included as they all had distributors I bought from. Others in the chart may have had distribution but I dealt directly for the vast majority of the stock. The Scars album would have been at two but I stuck to new releases and not reissues.