I’ve lived in Edinburgh since I arrived here in 1976 to go to university. I gained a first in sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll and my teenage years continued until I was 30, when I married a girl from Porty. We moved here in 1993 and I loved the place from the start. It was a bit run down but through the faded glamour I could see it had great potential. I liked that it was part of Edinburgh, yet retained its own identity – a town within a city with a real community.
I loved the beach and the prom and the great mix of architectural styles but I didn’t like the litter that spoiled the High Street so I started a campaign called Keep Porty Tidy. It ran for a year and was supported by the Council, local schools and businesses. That led me to becoming involved in the Community Council and my local residents association. A number of community projects followed. For example, I worked with Ian Maxwell on Safer Routes to School and when we had problems with youths in Rosefield Park I set up a Problem Solving Partnership and established a local Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
Most people know me because of my association with Portobello Online, the community website I set up many years ago and still help to run today. Its discussion forum enjoyed great success, and some notoriety, but moderating it became an onerous task and eventually I passed it on to my friend Lee Kindness, who continues to run it as Talk Porty.
In recent years I have put a lot of time and energy into the campaign for a new high school. The Facebook page that I set up to promote PFANS now has 2591 Likes and helped to galvanise local support. Some people have fallen out over the issue and that is unfortunate but the school will be built on Portobello Park because it’s the only option that makes any sense. I administer a few other pages, including Porty Skillshare and Friends of Portobello’s Parks. Social media gets a bad rep but I believe it has huge potential to help create social cohesion and there’s already some good evidence of that in Portobello.
When I can drag myself away from the computer screen, I love playing football and I try to play a little tennis and badminton as well. I enjoy good food, good wine and walks in the countryside. Mellowed with age, but still a punk at heart.