heFront '

News, gossip and opinier’i

Countdown to Venue move

Edinburgh clubbing mainstay given four years’ notice to make way for luxury flats and offices. Words: Ruth Hedges

he Venue is shutting down in four years time following the

sale of the property this month to BL. Developments and

'The List can exclusively reveal their plans in an artist's impression ipictured abover. Edinburgh's historic nightclub that sits beneath the loornrng archway spanning Carlton Road and has played host to Nirvana. Radrohead. the Strokes and cluhnrgnt. Pure. is to become offices alter its lease expires in four years.

Despite press reports implying its closure to he inin‘inent. the Venue's manager. Stuart Mackrnnon. and chief executive of Bl. Developments insist rt has a definite four year life-ex;)ectancy. But then that will be it. 'We're not going to have a Bongo—synrlrome: oh we're shutting. oh no we're not. We'll see it through till the end of the lease. then there'll be a definite endrng.’ says Stuart.

BL has bought lb Waterloo Place. the space adjacent to and above the Venue for re-rlevelopment into luxury flats and the Venue itself at no 15—21 Carlton Road for offices. Phil Myerscough, BL's chief executive. describes Bl 's target market as ‘anyone who likes true. urban living. Carlton Road down in the bottom there has historically got gurte a seedy kind of reputation but with the redevelopment of the GPO building next door. the coming of the parliament down that end. the 0mm Centre and St Andrea-13; Sguare undergoing guite a resurgence of office space. l think over the course of the next four years that will change.'

But then seedrness has always been one of Edinburgh's selling points the dark spaces beyond the elegant facades. Ian Rankin's made a living from rt. Where's Rebus going to roam now that the city's becoming all cleaned up? Where are music fans going to go for a sense of tinderground culture? ‘I will he very sad to see the current Venue move. It's been part of the histoh; and the culture of Edinburgh for such a long illl‘O and has recently had a resurgence of life —- we're back to being the main live music venue in Edinburgh.' says Mackinnon.

But he isn't blaming the developers. 'There's no villains in this; it's Just that the \.'/riting's on the wall] he says. 'We can't compete in that market but they've got no intention of pulling the plug too early. The contractors are sympathetic to the need for a new venue and they're going to help us find a site to build a purpose- huilt space or convert an exrsting building into a live li‘llfSlC venue'

So the Venue isn't over but the Venue's venue is. Edinburgh is changing at such a fast rate and although that is in part to be \.'»./elcorned. the city needs to be careful not to whitewash away all the features that have contributed to the organic development of its cultural life.

Comedy festival cranks up

Glasgow comes up trumps with 2004 line-up. Words: Maureen Ellis


he organisers of Glasgow International Comedy Festival are aiming to fuse the old with the new when they launch the 200:3 programme later today <22 Jan). Showl)usiness veteran Dora Bryan is to perform Hello Dora. and the Carling Academy will be reborn as a multrarts venue. lorrimy Sheppard. director of the Stand Comedy Club, which programmes the festival. believes that the inclusion of the Carling Academy ‘HlH extend the demographic even further. Logistically its presence is exciting. too. ‘llalf of the Academy is seated. so we're hiring in nearly l()()() chairs and we're making it all seated for the shims/sf explains Sheppard. 'It's an experiment on both


sides. but one that they're very keen to participate in.'

Al Murray. Jimmy Carr lprcturedi. Johnny Vegas and Dylan Moran are among those who will tread the boards of the Academy stage. and other highlights from the progran‘n‘e include Jerry Sadowrv. Cary Le Strange. Tommy Tier‘nan. Lucy Porter and Dwight Slade. It's an rinpresswe array of acts. despite the dates o\.'erlapping with the Adelaide and then Melbourne con‘edy festivals. 'Con‘edians icy/ho are going to Australia have written themselves out of Glasgow. so it's a piti. that there were some people not available to ii:;.' says Sheppard. "But I think we've more than made up for it with who we have heei‘ able to get. There are enough good perforii‘er's out there to sustain two good festivals'

I wit/3:1g/asgowconreri’vfr>:;fri./a/.<:<)rn


. ride

I Not Sure how many people care too much for them any more. but Ash will be delighting their fanbase by launching their ‘heaviest album to date' this spring. They've recorded platter number five in Hollywood with Foo Fighters producer Nick Raskulinecz with tracks including ‘Evil Eye'. 'Meltdown' and ‘Detonator' . . . Bill Nighy and Martin Freeman are up for roles in the film versron of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. with Nighy taking on the part of planetary architect Slartrbartfast and Freeman becoming the dressing gown and slippers Earthling . . . Somewhat more seriously. Paul Greengrass is following up the harrowing Bloody Sunday with a film admit the families affected by the 1998 Omagh bombing. Channel 4 is lOllilllg forces with RTE and the Irish Film Board for the no dOubt highly controversial drama . . . Radiohead are back in the studio . . .Hollywood will soon be back sniffing arOund the Highlands and Islands with a movie being dubbed ‘the quintessential Loch Ness Monster story'. The Mask of Zorro producer Davrd Foster is the man with the plan based on Steve AliCll'S horror novel The Loch (or. more likely. The Lock). As long as Ted Danson is nowhere near it. we'll be fine.