The price of popularity

The Shore

by Rob A. Mackenzie

It’s why the tourists arrive and why
Time Out called Leith “one of the world’s
coolest neighbourhoods”; why
the sky is permanently blue and the sun
flaunts the burnished stonework; why
a red light area with two habitations in 1980
had three Michelin restaurants
less than twenty years later; why
the employment exchange where Spud interviews
in Trainspotting is now a renowned
purveyor of luxury cakes; why
gastropubs flood the port in summer
with seats by the waterfront; why
Festival time in August means any blow-up paddling pool
becomes an Air B&B; why
the old men who’d drink pints
from early morning in the Duke’s Head
now drink alone in single rooms; why
the only people buying houses are landlords
and young folk who wear suits in their sleep; why
every third person seems to be an artist
and the shops are full of craft ale; why
the world needs more takeaway coffee,
more chia seeds and acai berries,
more variations on the poshburger; why
the Volunteer Arms, rebranded as The Mousetrap
and tastefully lit, maintains an air of rarefied menace
with every cocktail lifted to lips; why
a night moth’s wing on the other
side of the planet ripples its waters; why
waxwork Queen Victorias float into the Firth of Forth
like upended canoes; why
nine out of ten avocado pizza lovers voted Leith a global
centre of culinary excellence; why
southern consumers demanded
obligatory subtitles for people with accents; why
the path of the destitute is cleared for the president
before they re-elect him; why the locals
are moving to affordable hinterlands halfway
up the Himalayas; why
they’ll never return until the mountains
are levelled as a plain, why
the plains sprout an overwhelming abundance
and those left behind
no longer need to ask why.


This entry was posted in Architecture, Europe, Restaurants, Tourism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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