I didn’t know at the time who he was as I’m not that much up on the modern day classical musical scene to be honest. But while working the other night at Deans Banks at The Pompadour, I overheard someone in the kitchen saying that there was an eminent violinist sitting at table 2 (I think Benita had googled him).
Curiosity of course got the better of me and I decided to go and have a chat. I told him my story of taking up the violin at the age of forty, remarkably finding that I had a good ear for it and realising my artistic ambition of getting a place in second strings of the The Really Terrible Orchestra, through sending Alexander McCall-Smith a bouquet of flowers.
Hugo had actually heard of the RTO and indeed had played alongside them at the same music festival in Sweden a few years back. Small world. And what a very nice and inspirational chap he is.
This is a lovely facet of the job of course. You really don’t know who will be walking through the restaurant door on any night. It adds a huge interest factor to be honest. Spices it up somewhat. And things develop from these meetings too. I am now going to Hugo’s Scottish Chamber Orchestra concert in the Queen Hall next week and he mentioned to say hello after as well. I may even get back to my violin.
However, I must say that there are some people I wouldn’t want to walk through the restaurant door though. Only a handful mind. To illustrate my point, I will quote my friend Lisa Radford (lovely wife to Andrew who owned and ran The Atrium and now the highly-acclaimed Timberyard) as two of these individuals walked into The Atrium one evening when she was hosting;
‘Oh no! the Elliot’s are here’
These are the clowns who own Montpeliers that tried, along with co-owners David and Ruth Withers, to actually add tips to staff wages to make them up to the minimum wage! Luckily, they were exposed in the Sunday Mail for trying to do so.
To this end I really admire Dean Banks, who mentioned to me the other night that he had stopped taking tips from the restaurant a few years back. Tom Kitchin and wife take note please! Although I believe Mr Kitchin and his missus have at least now been forced into taking ‘an equitable’ share of the tips, ever since they were rather exposed by leaving an excel sheet open one day and the shocking and real truth of their greed got out.
Fortunately though, such nauseating individuals are few and far between and most people that I’m acquainted with in Edinburgh are lovely, good and decent people. I’m very lucky though.
However it’s again been borne out how very small this place is. You really can’t do much here without the whole of the toun knowing about it. And that’s good and bad. But mostly good.
And of course for the real hotbed of all up-to-date gossip get yourselves down to the butchers in Bruntsfield. The boys in Wm Christie will tell you everything with their immense quickfire chat, warts and all. Don’t get Angus started on his jokes though.
I bumped into my pal Chris The Prof the other day and we had a fun time walking around town and shooting the breeze. We got chatting to the lovely owner of Leftfield at the top edge of the Meadows and must pop in for their Oyster Happy Hour one soiree. Edinburgh is so beautiful in the spring up there by the stunning Barclays church with the crosuses peeping through and I think at days-end a happy oyster hour would be a very rum thing indeed. I like happy oysters.