Day Out

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The Independent Culture
Edinburgh is an ideal place for a day out. Unfortunately it has a certain kind of image, one of prosperity and complacency, but I actually think it is a very diverse place. I live in Leith which is a working-class, multi-racial area. The great thing is that you can walk everywhere. I'm only 10 minutes away from Arthur's Seat, a quite spectacular mountain with a view over the whole of Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth.

There are lots of cafes. I particularly like going to the one in the Museum of Modern Art (031- 556 8921), which has a walled garden at the back. There is a gay cafe called The Blue Moon (031- 556 2788) in Broughton Street run by a collective of lesbians and gay men. It opens at 11am so it has different waves of people coming in for lunch or just to sit around. For food though I'd go to Le Set (031-225 5428), which is a French restaurant off the High Street - the staff there ought to be in Tales of the City. I'd only go to places where I felt okay about being gay, where I felt that I could hold another man's hand without being beaten up or arrested. I think that it's better being gay in the daytime because the clubs aren't great.

Then there are places that I just generally enjoy visiting. The Cameo (031-228 4141) in Lothian Road is a small alternative cinema, good for a winter's afternoon and nearby there's the excellent Traverse theatre (031-228 1404). For music I'd go to the Queen's Hall (031-668 3456), a converted church where you can get Shostakovich one night and Scottish jazz the next. Perhaps there is a danger of Edinburgh becoming twee but I don't think it has fallen into that trap. There are places in the Cotswolds which are very beautiful but they are completely frozen.

Bob Cant is editor of 'Footsteps and Witnesses - Lesbian and Gay Lifestories from Scotland' (published by Polygon, Edinburgh)

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