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Review: Hitchcock


The story of Alfred Hitchcock must

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be more interesting than this. The genius behind some of the greatest moments in cinema history gets the standard biopic treatment in Hitchcock. The problem is that it not only fails to live up to the legacy of the man it is trying to capture but it also manages to make him look completely uninteresting.

With the occasional moment managing to hit the right note there is a very real possibility there is an interesting biopic in here somewhere. Certainly the famous shower scene from Psycho is recreated with much love and is the best moment this film has to offer. The film flirts with the idea of Hitchcock being voyeuristic and obsessive but backs off before it gets too controversial.

Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren shine in the central relationship between Hitchcock and Alma Reville. These two strong performances manage to bring the film back from the brink as the production of Psycho strains their marriage. The supporting cast however, fades into the background as if they are aware that the film is not really interested in them at all.

Ultimately there is not much that can rectify the major problem with the film, the fact that it falls flat at every turn. There are many question marks surrounding the authenticity of the film’s plot; the biggest of which must be if you’re going to invent the history of Hitchcock, why make it so boring?


Hitchcock is in UK cinemas now

My First Hitchcock: The Birds

The Birds

As a rule, I don’t like horror films – not because I scare especially easily but more due to the fact that I am both disgusted and bored by gore. However, I recently read about the relationship between director Alfred Hitchcock and star of The Birds and Marnie, Tippi Hedren, a model and actress discovered by Hitchcock in the early 1950s. Hitchcock’s reported unreciprocated obsession with Hedren effectively ruined her career: her contract with him preventing her from working for anyone else. Perhaps most shockingly of all, however, during five days of filming of the penultimate scenes of The Birds, Hedren was in fact pelted with live birds.

the birds hitchcock

This real life romantic obsession/revenge dynamic was fascinating to me. So, while I may claim not to appreciate the genre, I decided there was analysis to be had in The Birds: also known as My First Hitchcock. Of course, the film has been reviewed numerous times over the years, and there is simply one aspect I want to focus on: the female characters, specifically Melanie. I expected little from the female characters in this film: firstly because it was produced by a man in the early 1960s, but more specifically due to Hitchcock’s feelings regarding Hedren. I was thus pleasantly surprised to discover that, for the majority of the film, Melanie is in her own right a fantastic character. She is confident and strong, warmly charming those around her in order to

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achieve her goals. Her relationship with Annie (Suzanne Plechette) is something that I feel modern day film makers could learn a lot from.


(Suzanne Plechette and Tippi Hedren in ‘The Birds’)

Although there is brief animosity between the two invoked by their respective relationships with the male lead, Mitch (Rod Taylor), Melanie and Annie do not treat each other like bitter love rivals, instead respecting each other enough that they even become friends. Perhaps more realistic than the hair pulling cat fights seen frequently in more recent productions. Melanie is also taken seriously throughout the film. For example, when alerting locals in a café to the dangers posed by the gathering birds, she is not dismissed as simply an irrational woman – because she is not. My positive feelings about the film and its female characterisation lasted until the penultimate, bird-chucking scenes. While Mitch and his family sleep in the living room of their house that has been boarded up in order to prevent death-by-beak, Melanie decides it would be a great time to carry out a little exploration upstairs. Naturally, this is when all feathery hell breaks loose. As she slowly climbed the stairs, I felt myself screaming at the screen. Why would a character who has otherwise been so rational and intelligent decide to make this move? Curiosity? Hysteria? Rebellion? It’s fair to say that Melanie’s reputation of rebelliousness precedes her at the beginning of the film, but she adamantly defends herself throughout, both vocally to Mitch, but also in her behaviour. My fear is that she is sent upstairs in order to make Mitch the hero, the stereotypical image of masculinity, carrying Melanie’s limp, injured body back down the stairs and leading the family to safety. I wouldn’t have such a problem with this if that had been the apparent dynamic throughout the movie – but I truly expected more. I did enjoy The Birds. The suspense was fantastic and I appreciated that it resulted from something other than the threat of an axe murderer. I will definitely continue to explore Hitchcock’s work, but my expectations of characterisation have been pared right back once again. It’s a shame, that.

In Session On Tour


In about 6 hours time, Lily and I will be setting foot in Copenhagen, Denmark to embark on a quest to travel across Europe whilst recording sessions with local bands in every major city along the way. By the end of it all, we hope to have created a session map of Europe, showcasing the weird, the wonderful, and the downright cool musicians for whom English is a second language at best.

Our route will take us from Denmark to Germany via Sweden then South towards Croatia with lengthy stopovers in Austria and Slovenia. In true In Session style, the journey and all of its life-saving details have barely been planned from any angle whatsoever. It’s how we like it, okay, we’re purists like that. At least that’s how I’m going to spin it from now until forever.

Throughout the trip, we’re going to keep a daily video diary which will be posted to our Facebook page documenting our whereabouts that day, the mood in the camp, and the artists we’ve been stalking for a session. Whether these snippets will get posted as regularly as we’d like is another thing which will be left to chance. Frankly, I don’t have much faith in Slovakian internet but we shall endeavour to do our very best to deliver the goods. Nevertheless, In Session On Tour 2013 promises to be the blogging event of the willenium.

While you’re waiting for our first update, I present to you a Summery playlist of 20 tunes that Lily and I will be listening to throughout our trip. Whilst squeezing Lily for submissions for the playlist, I was intrigued to discover our differing stance on what constitutes a Summer song. For me, deciding upon whether the Summer tag is appropriate for a song means it has to pass me imagining walking across Edinburgh’s North Bridge on a particularly picturesque day. If I don’t feel added warmth from the song then it is banished to a downright miserable life outside of June-August. For, Lily, however, a Summer song simply has to fit in at a picnic in a field. Nothing too complicated but, given her response to my selections, exuberant synths are about as welcome as wasps.

The playlist itself is awfully lopsided towards my definition of Summer music as it features a greedy 17 picks from myself and a meagre 3 from Lily. A souvenir from our trip will be awarded to anyone who can pluck Lily’s selections from our playlist. Answers in the comments, please. Enjoy!

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Download our free/charity mixtapes which compile every artist featured on In Session 2011 and 2012 here –

Honeyblood In Session

Honeyblood (by Laura Coulson)

As part of a Record Store Day special way back on April 20th, we were absolutely delighted to kick off the show with Stina and Shona from Glasgow-based thrashing girl-duo Honeyblood before their set at Vox Box Records. We were treated to two new songs soaked in surf as well the terrific Super Rat which has been getting regular airtime on both on In Session and my new Scottish music show on Castle FM.

We chatted with the girls about their releases to date (a tape release on CATH Records which is now sold out), composing songs and the role of bad people, good people, and life in general which gives meaning to their songs, and the suitability of their “garage crunch-pop” label.

Before they play the T- Break stage at T In The Park, you can catch Honeyblood performing live in Glasgow on June 28th at The Old Hairdressers.

To keep up to date on all things Honeyblood:
YouTube Channel:
Twitter: @yumhoneyblood

Full Session (including interview)

In Session – Honeyblood by Radioblagger on Mixcloud


1. Bud (Live on In Session)

2. Super Rat (Live on In Session)

3. Kissing On You (Live on In Session)

4. Work Drugs – License To Drive (chosen by Stina and Shona)
note that the audio is different to the one in the podcast; the videos have the guitars turned up whereas the podcast has cleaner vocals. We’ve given you the option, let us know in the comments if you prefer one or the other as one version will appear on the upcoming third mixtape

Honeyblood – Bud (Live on In Session)

Honeyblood – Super Rat (Live on In Session)

Honeyblood – Kissing On You (Live on In Session)

In Session broadcasts live on every Saturday from 6-7pm (currently on Summer hiatus) featuring a plethora of the hottest new music from the Scottish scene, a roundup of recent and upcoming gigs, and, of course, a guest performing live in the studio.

Follow In Session on Twitter

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Download our free/charity mixtapes which compile every artist featured on In Session 2011 and 2012 here –

Admiral Fallow In Session

Admiral Fallow

As part of a Record Store Day special on April 20th, we captured Louis, Kevin, and Sarah of Scottish folk-pop heavyweights Admiral Fallow for a session on the day that the band released a limited run of their acclaimed (longlisted for the 2013 SAY Award) second LP ‘Tree Bursts In Snow’ on vinyl for the first time to commemorate RSD 2013.

We chatted with the band about their formation, having to start the applause themselves at grim open mics, plus the evolution of their writing process and their eclectic assortment of instruments used in the past, present and future.

Admiral Fallow’s SAY Award long-listed LP ‘Tree Bursts In Snow’ is available to purchase from Nettwerk Records via their website.

To keep up to date on all things Admiral Fallow:
YouTube Channel:
Twitter: @AdmiralFallow

Full Session (including interview)

In Session – Admiral Fallow by Radioblagger on Mixcloud


1. Beetle In The Box (Live on In Session)

2. Oh, Oscar (Live on In Session)

3. Guest Of The Government (Live on In Session)

Admiral Fallow – Beetle In The Box (Live on In Session)

Admiral Fallow – Oh, Oscar (Live on In Session)

Admiral Fallow – Guest Of The Government (Live on In Session)
In Session broadcasts live on every Saturday from 6-7pm featuring a plethora of the hottest new music from the Scottish scene, a roundup of recent and upcoming gigs, and, of course, a guest performing live in the studio.

Follow In Session on Twitter

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Download our free/charity mixtapes which compile every artist featured on In Session 2011 and 2012 here –

Music: Meursault @ Liquid Room


It used be that you’d never need to go more than a couple of weeks without seeing Meursault playing in Edinburgh. Now however, it’s turned into a can’t-miss biannual phenomenon where sorely missed backdrops like The Bowery’s are left behind for stages better suited to Neil Pennycook’s ever growing and ever tending towards americana outfit. Well tonight just so happens to be one of those nights, for tonight is the first of series of gigs at Liquid Room orchestrated by local festival-doers Haddowfest. Compered by BBC Radio 1’s Ally McCrae and featuring Withered Hand and FOUND (both hand picked by Meursault themselves) proceedings promise to be a fairly eclectic. An expected mix of classics from 2009’s Good News and new tracks should be a treat from Withered Hand who’ll be in full band formation. They’ll be on early so make sure you get along sharp! Currently a band in flux, losing a member to fatherhood and adding a drummer in recent months, I’m hoping FOUND will make the same jump Meursault did when they swapped electronics for acoustic drums between All Creatures Will Make Merry and Something For The Weakened. And as if you need any persuading as to why you can’t miss Meursault this time around, simply click below. Doors are at 7.

Luke Sital-Singh In Session


As part of our Record Store Day special, of which there is plenty more to come, we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to savour the presence of the phenomenally talented Luke Sital-Singh who was in town for the Edinburgh leg of his headline UK tour to promote his new EP ‘Old Flint’. With Luke’s delicate and beautifully toned voice drawing welcome comparisons to Bon Iver and Damien Rice, this Londoner is performing on another level to his peers around him; having recently secured a support slot on The Rolling Stones’ upcoming concert at Hyde Park.

We chatted with Luke about his preference to work and perform alone, self-reflection, and whether or not one of his (formerly) favourite bands, Slipknot, ever recorded an album in a haunted house.

Luke Sital-Singh’s new EP ‘Old Flint’ is available now on Raygun Music via iTunes.

To keep up to date on all things Luke Sital-Singh:
YouTube Channel:
Twitter: @lukesitalsingh

Full Session (including interview)

In Session – Luke Sital-Singh by Radioblagger on Mixcloud


1. Inaudible Sighs (Live on In Session)

2. Bottled Up Tight (Live on In Session)

3. Fail For You (Live on In Session)

Luke Sital-Singh – Inaudible Sighs (Live on In Session)

Luke Sital-Singh – Bottled Up Tight (Live on In Session)

Luke Sital-Singh – Fail For You (Live on In Session)
In Session broadcasts live on every Saturday from 6-7pm featuring a plethora of the hottest new music from the Scottish scene, a roundup of recent and upcoming gigs, and, of course, a guest performing live in the studio.

Follow In Session on Twitter

Like In Session on Facebook

Download our free/charity mixtapes which compile every artist featured on In Session 2011 and 2012 here –

Record Store Days


I bought my first vinyl record online – to some extent, a terribly ironic sign of the times, but also a sign of Shetland’s remoteness. It was Elle Milano’s ‘Swearing’s for Art Students’ EP, angsty teenage indie obscurity on limited edition red vinyl. I got number 455 of 500.

My first experience of buying vinyl in a shop was in OneUp in Aberdeen, which sadly closed at the end of January this year.  I bought a handful of 7” singles, including some Maxïmo Park and ¡Forward, Russia!, each 99p. I felt very, very cool. If I hadn’t been a 14 year old girl, I might have tried to strike up conversation with the shop owner, and if I hadn’t lived a sea away I would have been back a little more often.

Since moving to Edinburgh, I have had some great finds in record shops across the city, from taking a gamble on saxophonist Illinois Jacques at Record Shak to things I immediately knew I would cherish, such as a lovely gatefold edition of ‘Beggars Banquet’ alongside the Grease soundtrack from VoxBox. My local record shop, however, will always be Clive’s.

I never bought vinyl in Clive’s. By the time I came on the scene it was first cassettes, and then CDs – too early for the record resurgence. I remember getting Marvin and Tamara’s Groove Machine on tape, which I still own. What do you mean you don’t remember them? It was the summer of ’99, baby:

I remember my mum and nan discussing in hushed tones whether it was appropriate for me to spend a record token on Wheatus’ debut album because it had a parental advisory sticker. I never did get any more than the radio edit of Teenage Dirtbag. I remember going in with my first proper boyfriend to pick up a copy of Pulp’s ‘Different Class’ so we could discover it together. Cheesy, but so began a love affair that has spanned years (I am of course referring to myself and Jarvis Cocker et al, not the boyfriend). I also remember going in during my heavy Glasgow indie, Domino Records phase and tentatively asking a cheery shop assistant if they had a copy of Sons and Daughters’ ‘Love the Cup’. They did.


Like OneUp, Clive’s also closed, back in 2011, having served Shetland’s population since the 1970s. Of course I played a part in the closure; we all did, and we all continue to do so. The convenience of online shopping and especially of downloading cannot be understated. As well as this, music services such as Spotify – on which I do have a paid account – mean that you can listen to pretty much anything you’ve ever wanted to, and plenty that you didn’t even know you wanted to, at the touch of a button. I use it as background noise when I’m focusing on other tasks. I download songs from the Top 40 that get stuck in my head so that I can play them to death on my walk to university, and then delete them the next time I reorganise my iPod (limited storage you see! It’s not like a physical shelf where you can just perch case upon case, until one day they all fall down and you think ‘maybe I should get a bigger shelf’).

I would hesitate to say that I treat these downloads as disposable. That seems to be unfair to the artists in question, though to some extent that is always how pop music will be consumed. Possibly more appropriate would be to say that I have no connection to the downloading process. I sit on my bed and I click.

I could count the number of music downloads I can vaguely remember carrying out on one hand. Even fewer online CD purchases. There’s no interaction. There’s no story.

People, righteous vinyl junkies, always point out that in a record shop, you can meet like-minded people. You can take risks based on what they recommend to you, and hopefully you can do the same for them. This is absolutely true, especially if you can get over your fear of looking terribly uncool and uneducated – top tip: throwing yourself in at the deep end and buying the most embarrassing thing you can find will blow that right out of the way.

But it’s also a way to bond with people you already know, discovering music together, sharing your tastes and laughing at each other when you almost accidentally purchase some Scandinavian screamo/thrash/metal ‘cause it had a hilarious picture of a cat on the front. Just goes to show you can never judge a record by its sleeve, or something.


Music sharing services online have tried to incorporate this sharing facility, and to some extent they probably are effective. However, realistically, how many times have you seen via Facebook that a friend was listening to something on Spotify, or seen their top 3 artists of the week published on Twitter and thought “hmm, I must tune into some of that”? The experience of heading to a record shop with a friend is a very difficult one to replicate, just as reading in 140 characters that someone you know thinks a film was fairly good is never going to have the same effect as a drawn out discussion with them about it over a couple of pints.

Record Store Day is a fantastic thing to support because record stores are fantastic things – livelihoods – worth supporting. Vinyl is pretty trendy right now: by all means, scrum on down to your nearest emporium today and scramble with the other hipsters for that special edition release. You’ll certainly have a story to tell, and I hope the rush you get will keep you going back. Record shops are worth supporting, but what’s more, they need supporting. Following the demise of Clive’s, Shetland is lacking a dedicated music outlet – and probably always will. On the other hand, Edinburgh’s independent record shop scene appears to be rather densely populated; something for the city to be proud of. If we continue to frequent and nurture these shops, they will continue to give back – and what’s not to like about that?

Interested in exploring Edinburgh’s independent music shop scene? Check out our Nanu Maps: Record Shops to find out more.

Panda Su In Session

Panda Su by Portis Wasp

In Session: Panda Su

Last Friday, Lily and I welcomed Panda Su, a DIY musician whose dreamy vocals have garnered heaps of critical acclaim and adoration from fans following the release of two EPs ‘Sticks and Stones’ and ‘I Begin’. We managed to catch her before the Edinburgh leg of her Scottish tour where Su is debuting new material ahead of her upcoming debut album. We talked about creative processes, whether you actually need to ‘know’ how to play guitar to be able play it, and why exactly Su loves pandas over all the other bears in the world (even the gummy kind).

Panda Su, with the help of her band-mate Adam Phillips, performed two songs for us, ‘The Alphabet Song’ and ‘Lines’ which, for the first time on In Session, are accompanied by video recordings (scroll down) thanks to the fantastic help of Richard Hanrahan. There would have been a third song to boast, a live rendition of new song ‘Maps’, but, sadly, chaotic hardware issues snafued that plan. However, to close out the podcast, we do have an advance play of ‘Maps’ which is due for release on April 29th on Su’s DIY label, Peterpanda Records.

Panda Su’s next appearance in Edinburgh will be on April 26th at Summerhall for ‘Neu! Reekie!’

To keep up to date on all things Panda Su via her website, Twitter, and Facebook.

In Session – Panda Su by Radioblagger on Mixcloud


1. Panda Su – The Alphabet Song (Live on In Session)

2. Panda Su – Lines (Live on In Session)

3. Holly Wilson – Summer Mind

4. Panda Su – Maps


Panda Su – The Alphabet Song (Live on In Session)

Panda Su – Lines (Live on In Session)

In Session broadcasts live on every Saturday from 6-7pm featuring a plethora of the hottest new music from the Scottish scene, a roundup of recent and upcoming gigs, and, of course, a guest performing live in the studio.

Follow In Session on Twitter

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Download our free/charity mixtapes which compile every artist featured on In Session 2011 and 2012 here –

Music: If You Leave


It’s been 18 months since Daughter’s last EP, The Wild Youth, was released. Since then they have signed to 4AD and produced a fresh sounding album that still remains recognisable to old fans. If You Leave, as a whole, is evidently personal to its writers. However, it is relatable, at least, to anyone who has ever been hurt. Although The Wild Youth and His Young Heart EPs were, to some, depressing, If You Leave is understandable to the point of comfort.

Lyrics aside, If You Leave is simply beautiful to listen to. The fragile guitar layers of the lead single, Smother, are stunning, whilst the reworked Youth somehow manages to be more poignant than its original. Human, unusually for Daughter, is relatively upbeat, and well placed between the calmer

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Tomorrow and Touch.

Following last year’s sold out tour, Daughter are returning to Glasgow’s Old Fruitmarket in October, and you can also catch them at numerous UK festivals, including Field Day and Latitude. Since the album’s release, they’ve done a live session for Zane Lowe in which they covered Bon Iver’s Perth and Hot Chip’s Ready for the Floor. If you’re doubtful about this mix, have a listen (link below), it’s the best cover I’ve heard for a while.

Holly Wilson In Session


Holly Wilson is an unsigned singer-songwriter from Glasgow who first caught our attention as the support for Mike Nisbet at Pivo, Edinburgh, a fortnight ago. With a penchant for writing catchy songs, Holly’s husky toned Scottish accent instantly charms listening ears and it was with great pleasure that we welcomed her into the studio last Saturday to perform a handful of self-penned songs.

With no EPs or albums to her name as of yet, it is still very early in Holly Wilson’s musical career but you can keep an eye on her progress on her website, Twitter, and Facebook for more

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news about upcoming gigs and album recording efforts. Plus, new tracks are posted regularly to Holly’s .

In Session – Holly Wilson by Radioblagger on Mixcloud


1. Rosebuds (Live on In Session)

2. Summer Mind (Live on In Session)

3. Terracotta Pot (Live on In Session)

4. Icebergs (Live on In Session)



In Session broadcasts live on every Saturday from 6-7pm featuring a plethora of the hottest new music from the Scottish scene, a roundup of recent and upcoming gigs, and, of course, a guest performing live in the studio.

Follow In Session on Twitter

Like In Session on Facebook

Download our free/charity mixtapes which compile every artist featured on In Session 2011 and 2012 here –

Review: Conquering Animal Sound – On Floating Bodies

Conquering Animal Sound

Conquering Animal Sound - On Floating Bodies
“Something new with an old shape”

In 2011, Scottish folktronica act and loop pedal enthusiasts Conquering Animal Sound burst into the consciousness of the Scottish music scene with their first LP Kammerspiel, released on Gizeh Records. It was an experimental record to be listened to without distraction, attention focused on Anneke Kampman’s delicate vocals amidst a chaotic symphony of crackles, bells, and synth hums co-created with James Scott.

Kammerspiel was an album that instantly hooked me. It presented something completely different from what I had come to expect from Scottish music and it brought great pleasure to me to see the duo shortlisted for the inaugural Scottish Album of the Year award in 2012.

Off the back of their critical success, the wait for Conquering Animal Sound’s follow-up album has been mercifully short-lived with the release of ‘On Floating Bodies’ on Chemikal Underground Records last week. The duo’s second outing features the familiar clicks and glitchtronica that define the CAS sound, whilst retaining the focus on Anneke’s enchanting Bjork-like vocals – a genuinely unavoidable comparison, sorry, Anneke – at the forefront of every song. However, ‘On Floating Bodies’ is a fuller, more confident record which has broken free from the shackles which kept Kammerspiel so finespun.

Speaking to Stu Lewis about their latest LP on The Tidal Wave of Indifference, James exalts: “We wanted more overtly electronic elements…to create more rhythmic sounds, and that came out in quite a direct fashion.” ‘On Floating Bodies’ certainly achieves this, expanding on their pre-established sound with layers of electronic loops, chirps and chimes which are entirely more striking in comparison to their previous outing. The far-reaching ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’ is rife with 8-bit frills and Super Mario-inspired notations that trick my brain into thinking that I’m listening to the layers of this song converge to a catharsis, inside a busy arcade.

‘On Floating Bodies’ takes a curious though pleasant turn in its second half as CAS’s new found confidence starts exhibiting surprisingly poppy hooks. ‘Gloss’, ‘Treehouse’ and ‘A Noise Remains’ are all evidence of this, the last of these in particular standing out as Anneke repeatedly proclaims the line “move back and back and forth” with authority. The lush melodies on these tracks showcase Anneke’s vocals in a way that will be alien to those who are unaware of her recent solo work as ‘ANAKANAK’ and further demonstrate the influence of Anneke and James’s solo projects on this record. James, of course, is the man behind the swash electronic sounds of

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The Japanese War Effort.

The unique soundscapes that I fell in love with in ‘Kammerspiel’ are still present in ‘On Floating Bodies’ but they have been noticeably altered in accordance with a confidence and enthusiasm for music-making that the band has developed over the past 18 months. Anneke and James have managed to preserve the haunting qualities of CAS’s previous work, but have unfettered the electronic elements to instil more vibrant melodies and textures to their music.

This is by no means a reinvention of Conquering Animal Sound, though; it is a further expression of the qualities they possess which made people sit up and take notice.

On Floating Bodies is out now and available to purchase from Chemikal Underground Records.

Nanu Maps: Beer Gardens


It’s the weekend, it’s 20 degrees and everybody’s having a beautiful time. In this unprecedented summer heat, a beer garden is in high demand so here at Nanu we’ve had a poke around some of the best pubs in Edinburgh and found the finest beer gardens for your al-fresco drinking pleasure.

57 Blackfriars Street
Tues, Wed, Thurs 16:00- late, Fri, Sat: 12:00- late, Sun: 12:30-late.

Formerly known as Bo’s, Blackfriars reopened a couple of months ago with a new lick of paint and new bar snacks. The neon blue Bo’s sign still remains as does one of the most inconspicuous beer gardens in town. To get there you have to pretend you’re going to the toilets, which is odd, but once you get out the back it’s a lovely wee nook to while away a few hours with a cold pint of Tenants. More like your mates’ back garden than a pub, Blackfriars’ beer garden definitely does get sunshine for at least a bit of the day. But maybe pack a cardi just in case.

The Beehive Inn
18-20 Grassmarket
Mon-Sat 9:00- 1:00, Sun: 12:30- 1:00.

The Beehive Inn is a bit of a winter pub on the inside but it manages to hide a lovely beer garden out back as well. It’s one of the bigger ones in the city with loads of tables sat up the sloping garden and there’s a lovely view of Edinburgh Castle too. And if it starts raining in the middle of August, which it inevitably will, the Beehive Inn is also a Fringe venue and hosts a wide programme of (indoor) comedy events throughout the month.

The Peartree
34 West Nicholson Street
Mon- Thur 11:00 – 0:00, Fri- Sat 11:00- 1:00, Sun 12:30- 0:00.

The Peartree is Edinburgh’s go-to al fresco drinking location and will most likely be heaving on a warm summer’s day. Its beer garden is a much loved part of Edinburgh in the summer months as it’s just stumbling distance from the university and often hosts barbeques when the weather demands it. The beer’s not the cheapest in the city but it’s worth a few pennies more on a sunny day.


Nanu also likes…

The Hanging Bat, a fake grassed beer garden for daytime drinking…The Spylaw Tavern, to fit in during a stroll down Colinton way…The Links, not just for loo breaks sitting on the Meadows…and The Flotterstone Inn, in the heart of the beautiful Pentlands.

Nanu Maps: Breakfast


Hi Nanu Friends. Sorry for the hiatus. We’ve been searching the city for the best breakfast joints around and there’s only so many fry ups one can eat all at once. But never fear, Ellie, Elyse and new Nanu Maps contributor, Morgan have found the best places to grab breakfast in Edinburgh when you don’t really fancy an Egg McMuffin.

View Nanu Maps: Breakfast in a larger map


118 Buccleuch Street /15 West Register Street
Mon-Fri 07:00-16:00, Sat 07:00-18:00, Sun 08:00-18:00

Just a stone’s throw away from George Square library, Snax is usually occupied by bleary eyed students soothing their hangovers. And with full breakfasts starting at a mere £2.50 it’s hard not to see the appeal. Snax is a classic greasy spoon with big portions, small prices and actually really good food. Tea comes in big mugs and staff are friendly and fast. Buccleuch Street is much more likely to find you a table, but there’s another small branch just behind Princes Street, perfect for a bacon roll between shopping. Snax is also open really, really early so you can grab some cheap and delicious fuel for the day first thing. The comfort food extends to lunchtime with burgers, chips, baked potatoes and chilli; also very, very cheap and delicious. Snax is probably the only place I can abide which uses a quirky letter ‘x’ in its name.


146 Marchmont Road
Mon-Sat 10:00-22:00, Sun 10:00-17:00

Ideal for a sophisticated Sunday brunch, Toast even makes its own baked beans. It’s a friendly wee café located in the heart of Marchmont, slightly more expensive than your average but it makes up for it in quality and originality. The traditional fry up is given a bit of TLC and its these little differences which make brunch a little bit special. There are good veggie options available, a whole alternative fry up is on offer which includes haggis! And if you don’t fancy the full fry up, there’s filled croissants, French toast and scrambled eggs. Weekend Brunch is also particularly popular as it has a few extras like Eggs Benedict and open sandwiches on offer. A great place to take your mum or meet your pals. If you’re going at the weekend, I’d arrive early or reserve a table. It’s a popular wee establishment and the best in the area.

The Abbey

65 South Clerk Street
Mon-Sat: 10am-1am; Sun 10.30am-1am

Nanu has previously recommended the Abbey as a top location for real beer in Edinburgh, but when you’ve had quite a few ales the night before, the Abbey also functions as one of the best places to go for a cheap and cheerful fry up the morning after. Open from 10am with a cosy atmosphere, welcoming smell and a few locals nursing an early Tenants over the Daily Sport, their prize deal is a cooked “Big Breakfast” with a pot of tea or coffee for just £3.99. Also on offer is a Scottish breakfast – effectively your classic full breakfast with added haggis and white pudding. For those who want a little less grease in the morning, there are also rolls, omelettes and waffles on offer, each with a selection of fillings and toppings. The perfect way to deal with a hangover.

The Haven

8/9 Anchorfield
Mon-Fri 8.00-17.00, Sat-Sun 9.00-17.00

At 8/9 Anchorfield, Edinburgh, you’ll find the Haven. With bright coloured walls and knick-knackery hanging above and sitting on shelves it sounds like somewhere your granny might go but the Haven is not over cluttered or blinding, it just welcomes you in and cheers you up. Offering a simple but substantial breakfast menu it has the regular fry ups and rolls but, importantly, an added delight to the classic breakfast is the colourful and mismatching pretty cups, saucers and plates of Victorian style. If the traditional breakfast isn’t what you’re looking for then the array of delicious cakes might take your fancy even in the morning. A little out the way from Leith Walk and unless you’re a huge walking enthusiast, a bus is definitely necessary from Edinburgh but well worth it – it really is quite the haven from buzz of the city where you can enjoy a long, peaceful breakfast.


126 Nicolson Street
Mon-Fri 7.30-8.30, Sat-Sun 8.00-8.00

Kilimanjaro is situated in the centre of Newington in Edinburgh. At lunchtime Kilimanjaro is heaving with students making the morning a perhaps forgotten alternative when visiting the café. Yet it offers a range of breakfast delights including the fry up and eggs benedict which challenges the lunchtime favourite, the sweet chilli chicken Panini. Milkshakes and fruit juice are also on the menu at price which is keeping with the area. The large glass window brings natural light into the café even on the dreariest Edinburgh day but it also allows you to people watch and relax whilst eating. Open early Kilimanjaro is the perfect meeting place for having breakfast with friends but you would never feel out of place if choosing to visit alone. Kilimanjaro offers a casual atmosphere with friendly staff always on the go and after eating there once it is likely you become a regular.

Nanu Maps: Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate this one

In this week’s Nanu Maps, sweet-toothed duo Fin and Ellie go in search of the best hot chocolates in town. It’s a little bit luxurious, totally delicious and the ultimate way to warm your cockles. Here are the best places to enjoy a mug of hot chocolate, definitely not out of a packet, in Edinburgh.

View Nanu Maps: Hot Chocolate in a larger map

Artisan Roast

57 Broughton Street and 138 Bruntsfield Place

Not that it needed it but Artisan Roast has recently been voted the best café in the UK by Qype. Edinburgh residents already know that it’s one of the best places around for great coffee, but Artisan Roast is less well known for its mean hot chocolates. A more bitter chocolaty taste is complemented by chili, lavender and lemongrass. Not together. The chili hot chocolate, a particular highlight, kicks at the last moment and adds real depth of flavour and heat to the traditional taste. Artisan Roast is also just a great place to be. Low-hanging lights

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and colourful comfy cushions let you slump around the place and sink into the relaxed ambiance.


Centotre Italian Restaurant

103 George Street

There’s good hot chocolate and there’s good hot chocolate. Approach Centotre with caution because once you’ve gone Italian, you won’t go back. Unfortunately, the delicious hot chocolate that you think you know will seem a bit…rubbish in comparison to this. Italian hot chocolate is more like a pudding than a drink, cioccolata calda is rich, thick and silky and Centotre’s comes with a tiny disk of chocolate balancing on its dense surface. Far too decadent for everyday luxury but utter, utter pleasure once in a while. Centotre ruined hot chocolate for me. But I can’t stay mad at it.


The Chocolate Tree

123 Bruntsfield Place

The chocolatiers behind The Chocolate Tree in Bruntsfield started out touring British festivals with their handcrafted luxury delights. Now settled in Edinburgh these handcrafted luxury delights are complemented by a vast menu of hot chocolates. The Basic with cream and marshmallows is indulgent enough but the addition of several single origin options turns the hot chocolate drinking experience into something a-kin to a wine bar. What’s more, the counter stacked with a vast array of cakes, chocolates and ice cream is verging on food porn. Come for the hot chocolate but the cosy atmosphere and the friendly staff make visiting this café a treat on a cold winter evening.


Vin Café

11 Multrees Walk

Another example of that most intense of hot chocolate of experiences, Valvona and Crolla’s Vin Café serves some of the best hot chocolate to be found in Edinburgh. Enjoy your Italian hot chocolate in this wonderful café or after a meal in the upstairs restaurant, though the hot chocolate being a meal in itself this may be a rather decadent option. Those familiar with Valvona and Crolla, either through their food store on Elm Row or at the Castle Street farmers market, will be aware that is more to Vin Café than just hot chocolate. I would highly recommend the pastries on offer in the ground floor café and if Christmas shopping is stressing you out why not have a look at the wine list. Tis the season.

Nanu Maps: Record Shops


Nanu Maps: Record Shops

In this edition of Nanu: Maps, Ellie and Elyse map the best places to pick up a milk crate of vinyl in Edinburgh.

Tune in to Nanu: Live on on Wednesday at 7pm to hear us chat a bit more about our favourite record shops and the vinyl revival.

View Nanu Maps: Record Shops in a larger map

21 St Stephen Street
Wed-Fri: 12.00-17.00, Sat: 10.30-17.00, Sun: 12.00-16.00

VoxBox is a wonderful shop. It looks great, both outside and in: tidy rows of vinyl divided into all sorts of categories (“Bowie/T-Rex/Glam” a favourite). Some of the best records are to be found among the “Just In” selection: there are many reasonably priced classics to be snapped up here before they’ve even been categorised. Delve a little deeper into the back room and flick through a huge assortment of LPs and singles for £1.50 (or seven for £10!). This may, understandably, fill you with dread and expectations of old country B-sides. Thankfully, this is not the case and there are gems to be found in every box. A special mention must be given to VoxBox’s owners, George and Darren (who we interview here). Clearly serious music enthusiasts, both are incredibly helpful and friendly – even approving Ellie’s purchase of “The Best Disco Album in the World”. Now that’s what I call service.

Vinyl Villains
5 Elm Row
Mon-Sat: 10.00- 18.00, Sun: 12.00-16.00

Not too far down Elm Row, Vinyl Villains has an enormous selection of music – particularly CDs, but the vinyl rows are nonetheless tightly packed. This has to be one of the best value record shops in Edinburgh. Although there didn’t seem to be any bulk buy deals, their average record price is far below £10, and often below £5. This is especially relevant here in that Vinyl Villains’ selection of classic records, albums which should be considered essential by any collector, is second to none – and these are often pricey. For new releases, Vinyl Villains probably won’t hit the spot. However, new music enthusiasts need to give themselves a little history lesson now and again, and this shop provides a great resource for that very purpose.

Oxfam Music Shop
64 Raeburn Place
Mon-Wed, Fri-Sat: 10.00- 17.30, Thur: 10.00- 20.00, Sun: 13.00- 17.00

Giving money to charity by buying great music? Everyone’s a winner. Having a branch of Oxfam dedicated solely to music is unusual, and something that Stockbridge should be proud of. It does feel like any other second-hand record shop, with approachable and knowledgeable volunteers staffing its floors. The actual quality of vinyl in here is possibly slightly lower than other shops in the Edinburgh market, but their grading system is sufficient to ensure there are no surprises when you get your purchase home. Cheap and cheerful, the musical selection itself is fairly pop-based, and there will be plenty of things you’ve never heard of (and nor would you want to). However, it’s worth a rake through, all for a good cause, and at prices mainly ranging from £1.99-

£4.99 some of the unfamiliar material could be worth a gamble.

Record Shak
69 Clerk Street
Mon & Thur-Sat: 11.30-18.00, Tues: 14.00-18.00

Record Shak is a great place to go for a browse, with a wide range of music in across many genres. There’s a small selection of CDs available, but it’s the sheer quantity of vinyl that makes Record Shak stand out. Focusing mainly on more specialist material, this isn’t the place to go for new releases or big pop numbers, but it excels in managing to find rarities that the real collectors go for. For this reason, Record Shak’s prices are a little higher than you might find in some of Edinburgh’s other record shops – but once you find that impossible-to-track-down-limited-edition-one-off press, it’s going to be very much worth it.

Elvis Shakespeare
347 Leith Walk
Mon-Sat: 10.00-18.00

It’s all in the name really. Elvis Shakespeare is the place to be if you’re after really great sounds and really great words. Deep drawers line the Leith shop and are chock-a-block full of all kinds of vinyl from punk and indie, to hip hop and dance. It’s a good place to go if you’re looking for inexpensive classics or after something rare and particular. Glance upwards and you’ll find an organised jumble of literature lining the walls. Books mostly range from cheap to very cheap. There’s even a selection of cassettes for the car, comic books, and a box of “reasonably good videos”.

Underground Solu’shn
9 Cockburn Street
Mon-Wed: 10.00-18.00, Thurs: 10.00-19.00, Fri-Sat: 10.00-18.00, Sun: 12.00-18.00

Underground Solu’shn began literally as an underground shop in 1995 and has survived since then as the sole independent record shop in Edinburgh specialising in dance and electronica. As a bit of a serious DJ shop, the predominantly vinyl stock is in top quality condition and a load of top quality stuff to play it on is available in store too. Mixed in with its underground specialities is a healthy collection of disco, classic rock, pop and new indie releases. Prices are top end but perhaps that’s because there isn’t a floppy, scratched vinyl in sight.


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can watch out interview with the store for Record Store Day 2013 over on youtube.


3-15 Rose Street
Mon-Sat: 9.00-21.00, Sun: 11.00-18.00

Owned by HMV, Fopp straddles the gap between high street music retailer and independent music store. Most shop space is taken up by DVDs, CDs and books but there is a steadily increasing vinyl selection upstairs as interest in newly released 180g vinyl grows. Records are shelved rather than boxed with album art on display making a really inviting section to browse in. As well as new releases, re-released classic albums from little known artists The Beatles and The Smiths are available, as are bargain secondhand records for a mere £2.

Avalanche Records
5 Grassmarket
Mon-Sat: 11.00-18.00, Sun: 12.00-18.00

Last week Avalanche Records announced that they will be closing their doors on 6th January next year. In a statement on the website’s blog, the store’s owner explained the reasons behind the closure;

“The biggest loss has been in selling local and Scottish bands. While our reputation has grown, our sales have plummeted.”

Avalanche has been seen as a platform for new Scottish music and unsigned talent but has been the subject of criticism. Perhaps a revised and revitalised shop would work for Avalanche in the future. In the meantime, there are hopes that Avalanche will return as an online presence and keep promoting Scottish talent.

Update: the shop remains open, you can check out an interview we did with store owner Kevin Buckle here.


Nanu Maps: American Goodies

American Candy

This week, Nanu Nanu searches through Edinburgh to find the perfect Yankee-Doodle-Candy. Peanut butter M&Ms are elusive no more, Vanilla Coke is within our reach and delicious American goodies are no longer something of pure imagination. But the question remains…what does one do with marshmallow fluff? View Nanu Maps: American Goodies in a larger map For quality… Jenners Food Hall 48 Princes Street Along with other pricey luxuries, Jenners dedicates a whole freestanding shelf to real American goods. It’s a veritable feast for the eyes with everything from Ranch Sauce and Reese’s Puffs Cereal to Vanilla Coke and Sweet Corn ‘Cream Style’. Products are clearly handpicked for quality and being on the pricey side, would not find their way into many weekly shops. But for treats and gifts, Jenners is the place.   For quantity… Americandy Rose Street Jake and Elwood Blues greet you on arrival to Americandy where pretty much every sweet American thing you could imagine is inside. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing store, a couple of life-size Hollywood figures have been plonked in the middle and there’s a few lost looking claw cranes at the back, but it’s the candy we’re interested in. I wasn’t convinced when I first saw the shop, but this place does have everything. Even Twinkies. And if you decide you really like Vanilla Coke, there’s crates of the stuff ready to go! If you’re nearer Cameron Toll there’s also AmeriKandy. It’s the same as Americandy. But with a K.   For quite close to campus… Festival Stores 72 Grassmarket Festival Stores is just a humble grocery shop on the Grassmarket but unbeknownst to most it’s actually a supplier of Peanut Butter M&Ms and a whole load of other unheard of

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sweets. Tucked next to your Twirls and Twixs are Hershey Bars, Butterfingers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Baby Ruth bars. It’s close enough to campus so if you’re in needs of an extra special candy hit, head over to Festival Stores.

Nanu Maps: Fish and Chips

Fish and Chips

This week, Ellie and Elyse loosen their belts in preparation for a deep fried edition of Nanu Maps. Wooden forks at the ready, the girls follow their noses around the Capital, sampling the best battered suppers Edinburgh has to offer.

View Nanu Maps: Fish and Chips in a larger map
Newington Fish Bar
23 South Clerk Street
Mon-Fri lunchtime 12:30 – 14:30 ; Sun-Thurs evening 16:30 – 01:00 ; Fri-Sat evening 16:30 – 02:00

Living in Newington guarantees no shortage of chip and kebab shops, but Newington Fish Bar has managed to make itself stand out among the crowd. The quality and quantity of food on offer more than makes up for the high pricing at this establishment. Everything is cooked fresh to order, ensuring nothing dries out or gets soggy while sitting under the heat lamps on the counter. As well as your standard haddock, sausage or pie suppers, Newington Fish Bar offers a number of more unusual fish options – including an ever-changing “fish of the week”. Most importantly, their chips are a lovely mix of fluffy and crunchy, served in what could almost be described as a shoebox. Certainly worth a visit if you fancy splashing out on your takeaway.


54a Clerk Street
Mon-Sat 11:30 – 00:00 ; Sun 16:00 – 00:00

Papponi is a relative newcomer, popping up this summer on Clerk Street. It has already gathered a considerable following thanks to its incredibly cheap prices: for example, a large portion of “proper” chips is only £1.80, virtually unheard of in the Edinburgh market. Thankfully, the low prices do not mean a compromise in terms of taste – their chips are delicious. There is a huge range of food available, from standard sausage and haggis suppers to freshly made pastas and pizzas. Meat-eaters also highly rate their selection of pies, both in terms of value and taste. As an added bonus, if you’re feeling lazy or just live a bit far away, Papponi offer home delivery through JustEat – so there’s no excuse to not give it a go.


Bene’s Fish and Chip Shop
162 Canongate
Open for lunchtime daily, Mon–Thur 16.30-00.00 ; Fri–Sat 16:30 – 02:00 ; Sun 16:30 – 00.00

Bene’s on the Royal Mile is so good, it’s Royal recommended. Framed newspaper clippings on the side of the bar tell the story of when the Palace sent a Royal trustee up the road to Bene’s for a fish supper. Prince Edward was apparently very satisfied. The traditional stuff is done really well, usually cooked while you wait. Pizzas are another speciality of Bene’s, always made to order with added TLC. Prices are moderate given the

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quality of the food and there’s a few really cheap lunchtime options on offer too. With praise as high as it can get, enormous portions and friendly staff it’s definitely worth a trip to enjoy the crowning glory of chip shops in Edinburgh.


148 High Street
Mon-Fri 11.00 – 01.00; Sat 11.00-02.30; Sun 11.00 – 01.00

It says Pizzas and Kebabs on the outside but the classic fish supper is one of the best around. The flaky fish and soft yet crunchy chips are simple and delicious. There’s a few seats outside on the Royal Mile which are fantastic in the summer months for enjoying your freshly cooked supper al fresco. There’s also couple of spaces inside too for when it’s a bit chilly. Open until at least 1am everyday and in centre of the city, it’s ideal for a late night takeaway and also caters for the experimental deep fried market. Onion rings, mars bars and ribs are available in batter, to name but a few.


Nanu on Bond: Bond on Booze


Alcohol is unbelievably prevalent across the books and films of James Bond. James has invented a drink, drinks champagne like water and if that weren’t enough his catchphrase is his Martini order.   The Vesper Martini   Invented by James in “Casino Royale” ‘A dry Martini,’ he said. ‘One. In a deep champagne goblet.’ ‘Oui, Monsieur.’ ‘Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large slice of lemon-peel. Got it?’   Martini Shaken not Stirred   Bartlet: ‘Shaken, not stirred, will get you cold water with a dash of gin and dry vermouth. The reason you stir it with a special spoon is so not to chip the ice. James is ordering a weak martini and being snooty about it.’ Normally President Josiah Bartlet’s word is law. End of story, this time I’m not too sure. There has been an awful lot

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of research into the topic, too much I would think. Take “Shaken, not stirred: bio-analytical study of the antioxidant activities of martinis” apparently 0.072% of peroxide control for shaken martini, 0.157% for stirred v 58.3% for gin and 1.90% for vermouth this may or may not explain Cdr. Bond’s lack of cataracts. Genuinely this is a thing. So why shaken not stirred? What it boils down to is Ian Fleming drank his martini this way. There is a question of the gin bruising in the shaker, what this means for flavour I don’t know. Ian Fleming reportedly drank a bottle of Gin a day though so why don’t we trust his judgement? He had more practice drinking Gin than us, maybe a bruised Gin Martini is a tasty Martini. When it comes to a Vodka

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Martini shaken seems to to reduce oiliness, I know I wouldn’t want an oily martini, it also helps to make the Vodka Martini ice cold which is nice. Also its an awesome line.   Vodka Martini (Shaken, Not Stirred)   1 1/2 oz vodka 3/4 oz dry vermouth Shake vodka and vermouth together with several ice cubes in a shaker. Shake until it’s ice cold and garnish with lemon peel   Gin Martini (Shaken, Not Stirred)   2 oz dry gin 1 oz dry vermouth Shake well and garnish with

lemon peel   Eggs Bond Style Now once you have polished this lot off, why not prepare 007’s scrambled eggs for yourself and your lady guest the next morning? As written in Ian Flemings short story “Agent 007 in New York”   For FOUR individualists: 12 fresh eggs Salt and pepper 5-6 oz. of fresh butter   Break the eggs into a bowl. Beat thoroughly with a fork and season well. In a small copper (or heavy-bottomed saucepan) melt four oz. of the butter. When melted, pour in the eggs and cook over a very low heat, whisking continuously with a small egg whisk. While the eggs are slightly more moist than you would wish for eating, remove pan from heat, add rest of butter and continue whisking for half a minute, adding the while finely chopped chives or fines herbes. Serve on hot buttered toast in individual copper dishes (for appearance only) with pink champagne (Taittainger) and low music.  

Nanu Maps: Edinburgh film locations


Ignore the fact that London gets all the premieres, red carpet receptions and star-studded frippery. Disregard Sheffield’s Sean Bean-themed chip shops and rugged sky; snub Derbyshire’s rugged hills (what, like there’s nowhere else to film a Jane Austin adaptation?). The Athens of North has

more than its fair share of movie locations.

One Day

Let’s get the obvious one over with, shall we? One Day has several scenes set in Edinburgh – notably Anne Hathway and Jim Sturgess’ first on-screen kiss – which takes place on Cockburn St in the Old Town.


Princes St features right at the start of the 90’s classic, with Euan McGregor’s Renton and Ewan Bremner’s Spud being chased down the city’s foremost high street. McGregor’s iconic voiceover playing over Lust For Life made this exhilarating opening scene one of the most famous in British cinematic history.

Hallam Foe

A weird, magnetic film, Hallam Foe stars Jamie Bell as an oedipal teenager on the run in Edinburgh. He lives in the clocktower of the Balmoral Hotel and spies into his lover’s apartment on Cockburn Street, and somehow nobody thinks this is strange.

The Illusionist

An enchanting animation from the makers of Belleville Rendesvouz that sees a French magician leave Paris on an impromptu search for work in Edinburgh. Most of the animated scenes of the city are idealised, though Salisbury Crags and the Jenners department store both feature. In one iconic scene, the magician watches a Jacques Tati movie in the main screen of the Cameo cinema on Leven St.

Chariots of Fire

Whilst Salisbury Crags might be an imposing, rugged stage on which to shoot a pivotal scene of your film – the filmmakers got one major thing wrong about this section of the film that sent Hollywood into an Anglophiliac frenzy. Namely, that nobody in their right mind ever goes for a jog in Holyrood Park in the rain. It just doesn’t happen.

Young Adam

Euan McGregor features again in this dark, grimy film about coal miners in the Central Belt. It heavily features the Union Canal (which starts in Edinburgh’s West End and runs all the way to Glasgow), because much of it set on a coal barge.

The Thirty-Nine Steps

The colour remake of Hitchcock’s 1935 adaptation of Buchan’s thriller was mainly shot in a studio, but used footage of the Forth Bridge to recreate Hitchcock’s shots of the bridge for a scene where Richard Hannay climbs out of a train.

Two Weeks In September

You’ve probably never heard of it, but this 1967 film had some profound consequences on the local area; it means that Brigitte Bardot visited Portobello beach. That strip damp of sand just got a lot sexier.

A Perfect Recipe: The Great British Bake Off

Great British Bake Off

This year’s Great British Bake Off has been an unprecedented success. Viewing figures have steadily risen as the competition as gone on, peaking during last week’s French-themed semi-final at a little over five million. Clearly, the show’s producers have stumbled upon a very successful formula – but what is, dare it be said, the secret ingredient?

Of course, the most obvious answer would be that getting to drool over row upon row of mostly beautiful sweet treats – without any of the calories! – is a rather alluring concept. Each week, the contestants produce an

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array of cakes, biscuits, pies and pastries with exceptional technical skill and innovative flavours. It’s undeniably inspiring, and it would be surprising if the amount of baking done in households across the country hadn’t increased since the beginning of August.

The bakers’ masterpieces (as well as their occasional calamities) are certainly reason to tune in. However,

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it’s the subtle nuances of the show that make it such an enjoyable hour. In perfect opposition to the majority of talent competitions today, the Bake Off appears to be truly harmonious. The competition is always friendly; the contestants seem to get on, celebrating with the week’s star baker pokies online or picking someone up after a disastrous bake. There seems to be very little resentment or jealousy: everyone is gracious in both victory and defeat.

As judges, expert bakers Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood are a fantastic pair: politely dishing out criticism when necessary, coupled with a disappointed-yet-not-withering look – especially when some pastry has an unfortunately “soggy bottom”. Conversely, though, they can be kind and complimentary without ever lapsing into meaningless superlatives. All television judges could learn something from this dream team.

Hosts Mel and Sue are the other superb pairing on this show, milling around among the bakers as they work and making typically astute observations. Their short weekly investigations into the history of British baking are educational and break up the show nicely, but where they really stand out is in terms of delivering the results. There’s no scripted deliberation between the judges (at least, not in front of the bakers), drawn out tension, or overly bed music – the announcement is simply made, everyone hugs. Even Paul and Mary get in among it all, truly getting into the spirit of the show.

And it is that, the spirit of the show, which seems to be the key to its success. It’s near impossible to watch The Great British Bake Off without becoming entangled in the hopes and dreams of the amateur bakers, wishing Mary Berry was your own kindly great-aunt, and making plans to attempt your very own choux pastry showstopper. The Great British Bake Off has done incredibly well, and tweaked the recipe until it’s just right – long may it continue.

The Great British Bake Off final is on BBC2 tonight at 8pm.

Nanu Maps: Comic Book Shops

Deadhead Comics

If you are new to the world of comic book collecting then you may be unaware that there are a number of destinations around Edinburgh that cater to this very small market. Well I am here to tell you that you no longer have to put up with the very limited range of graphic novels on sale at your local Waterstones.

View Nanu Maps – Comic Book Shops in a larger map

Forbidden Planet

40 -41 Southbridge

Forbidden Planet is Edinburgh’s comic book superstore. You will find all the latest releases and a huge variety of graphic novels on the shelves. If you are looking for something specific, and current, this is by far your best option. Also on sale are a variety of collectibles

Deadhead Comics

27 Candlemaker Row

Walk into Deadhead and you feel like you are on the set of an American slacker film vertureplica from the 1990s, which is the shop”s biggest draw. This laidback indie feel is embodied in the owner Gav. Deadhead has a very impressive selection of back issues, with long boxes with covering the shop hours could be spent navigating the stock. The shop also stocks all the latest releases and a selection of graphic novel, and anything they don’t have that is currently being published can easily be ordered to arrive with the next week’s shipment.

Oxfam Bookshop

116 Nicolson Street

This charity bookshop is filled with a wonderful changing selection of books. You won’t always find a massive selection of comic books but it is worth checking back regularly for some rare and interesting finds. There are also regular comic book events held in the store.

Elvis Shakespeare

347 Leith Walk

This shop may not specialise in comic books but it has a good selection of second hand comics alongside a vast collection of books and records. For fans of vintage and second hand entertainment this store is a haven.

Heroes & Idols @ Games Hub

101 Lauriston Place and

A new destination for Edinburgh based nerds Games Hub has joined up with Edinburgh based online retailer Heroes & Idols to offer some comic book merchandise. This café and gaming environment is evolving into something quite brilliant for all those interested in table top gaming and now with the addition of comic books and collectibles

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hard core collectors should be checking this place out. Perhaps not the best place if you are just starting out.

Nanu Maps: Pubs


Bored of warm lager and LADS in Teviot? If you want to get under the skin of the city, then trying out some of Edinburgh’s pubs for a taste of real beer is a good place to start.

The city has a hidden trove of watering holes, each with their own character, charm, and unique selection of drinks. Tucked away in the secret parts of town, some can be hard to find, but are always worth the trip.

The best places to go for a pint in Edinburgh are mapped by Sam in the third edition of Nanu Maps.


Brougham Place

Nestled into the old vicarage of St Michael’s church in Tollcross, Cloisters is always busy. Alongside prints of Edinburgh landmarks and old maps of the city, you can pull up a stool and enjoy the finest ale selection in town in a completely unique setting, for a really good price.

You won’t find your normal IPA range here; the bar keeps guest ales that change regularly along with a cast of gorgeous bitters and microbrewery-sourced beers, as well as a fine set of specialist whiskies. The crowning jewel in their collection has to be ‘Holy Grale’, a microbrewery ale that is not served anywhere else in the world – though it’s also worth trying the lighter ‘Trade Winds’. If that’s not enough, the welcoming atmosphere, log fire and homemade food should be temptation enough.

The Abbey

Nicholson Street

There’s not much to do in Newington past seven o’clock, but the Abbey is a good bet. Good solid pub food, a huge selection of local ales and bitters and comfy seats. It’s always packed with locals – a good sign of a healthy establishment – and it’s far enough off the beaten track to avoid the wide-eyed tourists who are always so thrilled to have ‘found the real Edinburgh’.

Additionally, they always show sports – so you can watch the football with a pint and friends, without being annoyed by the boorish crowd that hang around sports bars.

The Blue Blazer

Spittal Street

An oasis amongst the strip clubs and bookies of West Port, the Blue Blazer is on a back street pokies online just off the main road. With a great selection of local ales, their IPAs are some of the best in the city. And being a local’s pub, it has the right mix of bookbinders, football fans and students to make for a friendly atmosphere.

Pull up a pew or barrel and have a pint, or get cosy in the tap room in the back.

The Blind Poet & The Pear Tree

West Nicholson Street

Owned by the same proprietors, these pubs have managed to retain their distinctive senses of character despite being located next door to each other. The Pear Tree shows sports and occasionally live music in its large open air beer garden, serving a selection of pale lagers and the usual selection of local beer (Deuchars, Caledonian you know the drill). It also keeps a guest beer on rotation.

The Blind Poet is smaller and cosier, and with a more niche range of beers. It also plays better music than the Tree, even if it can be hard to get a seat. In the Fringe, both of these pubs act as comedy venues, as does the Counting House upstairs – the third pub in this beery triumvirate, which is usually only open for functions and private events.

The Guildford Arms

Rose Street

One of Edinburgh’s best preserved Victorian public houses, the Guildford hosts a month-long folk festival during the Fringe. With a large gallery bar in addition to the main bar, this place is pretty huge, and the interior is beautiful.

Even with its prime New Town location, the Guildford is surprisingly cheap, and in this part of the city its selection of cask ales is unrivalled – highlights include the Flying Scotsman (a brew named in honour of the famous locomotive) and Merman.


Lauriston Place

Doctors is rarely less than packed; situated on the corner of Lauriston Place it serves a fine range of beers and snacks, amongst idiosyncratic surroundings. On first sight it might look like a normal pub, but delve a little deeper and you’ll find some curious features – for instance, the drawers of old medical documents and the forceps framed on the wall. Doctors is a unique pub, and its handy location near campus makes it perfect for post-class drinks (or pre-class drinks. Or mid-class drinks…).

Sandy Bells

Forest Road

Tucked away on Forest Road, not many people know about Sandy Bells, but it’s an experience that’s hard to forget. Inside it’s a nice pub – good beer, good food and always a friendly atmosphere. In the evening though, there’s live folk music every night, either from guest bands and artists or from the regulars. So if you want some traditional, live folk to go with your pint and chips, this is the place to be.

Cuckoo’s Nest

Leven Street

Located in Tollcross, across the road from the King’s Theatre, The Cuckoo’s Nest is bigger than it looks. Downstairs from the main bar area there is a whole other room to sit and have a pint in, on some really comfy chairs. Alongside the bitters and ales, the bar keeps a pretty good wine selection. Its real advantage though, lies in its location – close to both the arthouse Cameo Cinema and the King’s Theatre, the Nest offers special food deals if you show them a theatre ticket, and stays open late so you don’t have to go far for an after-show pint.

The Brauhaus

Lauriston Road

Between ECA and Tollcross, the Brauhaus has a huge selection of European and international beers and spirits to choose from. Although it’s a way off the main strip, it’s worth the trip, for the huge range of choice, and it’s always comfortingly busy with students, hipster locals and people who just like beer.

Nanu Maps: Tea Rooms


Hello, is it tea you’re looking for?

In this edition of Nanu: Maps, Ellie and Elyse go in search of Edinburgh’s finest tea rooms. From the quaint and traditional to the modern and chic, Edinburgh does tea rooms very well. Unlike coffee shops which adorn the streets of Edinburgh in quantity, tea shops are much more sparse in the city, but uncompromising in variety and quality. Tea is a staple of the British diet and can be enjoyed to the maximum in the following establishments.

View Nanu Maps: Tea Shops in a larger map


Mon – Sat 08:30-16:30; Sun 09:30-16:30

Clarinda’s is a proper tea room. Antique china plates adorn the walls, doilies abound, and there’s a cake trolley laden with the day’s fresh homebakes, made on the premises. The instant you open the door there’s a welcoming whiff of thick soup, and the homely atmosphere continues with the small, “granny’s kitchen” style tables – which you will often find yourself sharing with other customers. Compared to many Royal Mile cafes, Clarinda’s is reasonably priced – only 90p for a cup of tea! There are a few specialist tea options, as well as a wide array of sandwiches (served with a handful of crisps, of course) and baked tatties. A lovely, quaint little establishment, which is popular with tourists and older locals alike – though due to its popularity, don’t expect to be able to hang out long after you’ve finished your cake.

Frederick Street
Mon-Tue 08:00-17:00; Wed-Fri 08:00-19:00; Sat-Sun 10:00-19:00

If you’re looking for a modern, sleek version of the traditional tearoom, head straight to Eteaket. The décor is lovely, with bold pink and blue detailing as well as some kitsch accessories. There’s a substantial sandwich menu and a glorious selection of homebakes (a word of warning – their portions of cake are literally slabs). However, the stars of the show here are certainly the teas: from the classic English and Scottish breakfast teas to an exotic cranberry rose chai tea latte or milkshake, with a whole spectrum of black, green, rooibos, herbal and “speciali-“teas in between. If you prefer your cuppa to be a builder’s brew with a bacon roll for a couple of quid, Eteaket is not for you – but for an elegant afternoon tea, it can’t be faulted.

Loopy Lorna’s Tea House
Mon-Thur, Sun 10:00-18:00; Fri-Sat 9:00-18:00

With a specialty tea menu as long as your arm and a groaning table of homemade cakes, traybakes and cupcakes to ponder, it’s no surprise Loopy Lorna’s has been voted the best tearoom and coffee shop in Edinburgh. Located in Church Hill theatre, it’s a cosy little place with mismatched china, friendly staff and whimsical tea cosies. A wee bit more pricey than your average, but you do get what you pay for in quality and quantity. It’s also well worth the extra stroll into Morningside. You’ll be glad of it after you’ve polished off a slab of Lorna’s chocolate cake. Get onto the website for tea facts, tea essays and tea poems.

Clerk Street
Fri-Sun 11:00-19:00

Walking into Anteaques on Clerk Street is like walking back in time. A mustachioed waiter, clad in 1900s attire, welcomes you into the shop and maneuvers around customers to show you to a tasting table. The tea menu is a comprehensive read, with all kinds of teas on offer, as well as the traditional accompaniments of scones and cakes. Old-fashioned brewing paraphernalia, antiques and curios are squeezed into the tiny space of Anteaques and create a unique and memorable atmosphere, unlike any other tea shop in Edinburgh. The slight snag is that it’s only open three days a week; Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And be prepared for a very polite waiter to ask you back in half an hour when a table is free. It’s worth the wait.