Welcome to Leith – In the year 2173
It’s a big birthday for this venerable organ, so Colin Montgomery marks the moment by getting in his flying car and visiting Leith 150 years on…
God? 150, that went fast! I can’t remember how many of those issues I’ve been indulged for (too many, according to some – but the Editor is a kindly soul). And in that time, I’ve soiled these pages with pound shop futurology on quite a few occasions; usually however, it’s only ever a year ahead. We can best that nae bother. Let’s crack open the decades, nay the century and a half with a trip, in an imaginary De Lorean car, all the way to Leith 2173.
You do realise that this screed is in part inspired by the prodding of the Leither’s punctilious editorial staff. “Please do not make it time-sensitive” is frequently their plaintive cry. Fair dos. Nothing lasts these days. Indeed, every day sees another scared cow, democratic norm, or established truth battered about the head with a lead banjo (is there such a thing? There should be.) “You gotta move fast” as Ferris Bueller quite rightly posited. So, buckle up folks.
One final thing, before I load the trebuchet of satire with the custard pie of snark: if life expectancy climbs incredibly in the wake of these outpourings, and the Methuselah Complex (he lived to 900 plus supposedly) becomes a reality – and not a prog rock band that aged you with their jazz noodlings – then I take no responsibility for the accuracy of the following prognostications. I sincerely hope most of them don’t come true. Keys up ‘n’ that.
Leith 2173: UN peace talks continue over The Banana Flats ‘Split’
UN peacekeepers continue to work to resolve the bitter schism twixt the two halves of the now fully ‘split’ Banana Flats, which sees inhabitants of the iconic landmark rent asunder by factional in-fighting. The North Bananas or Cavendishes believe the aforesaid ‘Cavendish’ is the only valid variety of the sacred yellow fruit. While the South Bananas or Michelians, can’t see past the older ‘Gros Michel’ strain. At stake is the lucrative Banana Plantation now in front of the building – Leith being in a tropical zone due to ongoing global warming.
Leith 2173: The Cryogenic Proclaimers reach mile 499 in their circuit of Leith Links
The recently thawed out Craig and Charlie – aka the Cryogenic Proclaimers – make good on their 21st century death bed pledge to “walk 500 miles” upon their return. Unfortunately, only their heads survived intact, so this astonishing feat was achieved by having local tearaways roll them around Leith Links, while their famous track was played on kazoos by the highly esteemed Leith Jakey Orchestra (themselves just back from a tour of Europe).
Leith 2173: Leith’s last ever traffic cone is finally removed… only for works to start again
In a solemn ceremony, attended by Leith’s high heid yins, the final piece of feral street furniture (a leftover traffic cone, fondly dubbed Cornetto by locals) is removed from the foot of the Walk where it has resided since 2023. But so embedded was it in the fabric of the Kirkgate concrete, its removal resulted in significant subsidence. Thankfully, bollards, barriers and lots of blokes pointing at things were quickly on the scene to restore order. It’s predicted their restoration work will conclude in another 150 years. Maybe. Fingers crossed.
Leith 2173: ‘Tramspotting’ premieres at the new Leith Bowl
Following its eventual completion in 2172, the Leith-bound tram extension proves to be a slow-moving muse for ‘Tramspotting’, a gentle heir to Welsh’s incendiary account of Leith’s grittier side. But in place of the feverish journey into a dark world of narcotic nihilism and despair, ‘Tramspotting’ follows the wholesome escapades of three craft bakers who go in search of a proper pint of IPA, with real alcohol in – Leith having become a dry zone by this time, with pubs replaced by Ker Plunk Parlours, serving only mugs of vegan snail’s tears.
Leith 2173: Hibs hold an open-top hoverbus parade, after winning the World Cup. Again
As Leith is now an independent republic state, with its own laws, currency and – bizarrely – a range of millinery found nowhere else in the world, Hibs now compete as an international team - with great success. The crack team of guys and gals in green and white (yes, they play together now) are greeted by throngs of adoring fans texting them eco-friendly digital confetti in celebration of their glorious victory over Brexitannia. Which is basically England and a few Gammonshire Welsh farmers, as the rest of Scotland and Northern Ireland have buggered off by then. The trophy is to go on show at Mary Moriarty Park in perpetuity.
Some things never change. But Leith shall persevere. As it always does. As it always does…
A Thank You: Con agradecimiento a Carolina Alvarez. Pusiste el tranvia rodando mi amiga. ■
Wardell and McKeeman at Copymade Ltd, Haymarket say it like it is…