Edinburgh’s Leith Street is not bad, exactly, but it’s ugly, busy, hard to cross and generally not a great addition to my morning walk to work. Meanwhile on the walk home, it’s generally populated by chuggers and people who will hand you the same leaflet every day for a month, never registering the fact that they see you more often than your flatmates do.
On the other hand, it’s a good place to find out about new fashion trends, which is useful for me as a person who arguably doesn’t put a lot of effort into keeping up. For example, a few weeks ago I saw a girl wearing a shimmery white princess dress, complemented by a red puffa jacket and trainers with lights in the heels. She was only about six, but she totally pulled it off and definitely gave me food for thought re my own tired wardrobe.
Then there are the culinary suggestions you can pick up. I once walked home behind a group of dynamic, go-getting young men who had evidently gone straight out after school (assuming they went to school in the first place) and had not left themselves much time to grab something to eat. Two opted to go hungry, but the third wolfed down an entire box of After Eights in the space between Calton Road and the Omni before scattering the wrappers artistically across the pavement. As they fluttered romantically into the faces of oncoming pedestrians, I was put in mind of the mise en scene of the most beautiful French Arthouse movies.
Furthermore, it turns out that the area is paved with income opportunities.
There’s so much work available here that people advertise on pedestrian crossings, which can only be because there is no space in the local job centres or on notice boards. Leith Street may be aesthetically unattractive and full of idiots, but it is also a through road to fashion, work, culture and all manner of other wondrous things.
For that I am glad.