I only ever got to see Dead Stop twice, once at the Underworld and shortly after at the Verge (?). The epitomised the live and authentic “hardcore” experience to me and it was the first time I felt as if I’d been transported to Boston or D.C. circa ‘84. Sure, sure the Negative Approach re-union in ’06 was fun – but these weren’t old guys rehashing past glories, it was youthful, incendiary and despite its retro take, it had a fresh snottyness about it which a lot of the UK and EU stuff was lacking in at the time. There were a fair few Euro’s in the crowd at the ninjafest show in The Underworld who were more familiar with their set and really ignited the first live performance for me in particular, and I recall Reckless Youth’s vocalist dropped in for a few numbers too, getting knee’d in the head and practically hitting the deck – but fuck me, that old saying that it felt like “a bomb going off” wasn’t far from the truth, I was at ground zero for that set and it just clicked.
Vocalist Lino left quite an impression on me, a little man with a big mouth and a most excellent moustache to compliment it; lyrics were delivered in English but came out in a frantic Flemish derangement which just made it even fucking better in my books. It stuck enough to the American blueprint to keep the testosterone up, but messed with the formula and kept it unsullied. They were incredibly tight too, considering the chaos that ensued on both occasions, and at such close proximity. I must have spun the first 7", "Live For Nothing" LP and the 86 Mentality split for most of my final year in University, which were great but still had me hankering for more live action before their demise, which sadly never came. I don’t go to as many hardcore gigs these days and I’m not going to pretend to make up for lost time, but Dead Stop was and still is the shit.
Here's some reviews of various chip shops around Edinburgh, more to come.
L’Alba Doro, Henderson Row
Posing somewhere between a Peckham’s and a chippie – L’Alba Doro prides itself in being one of the finest takeaways in the country (in the UK, that is!). If you don’t believe them, have a gander on their wall with the stuffed alligator on it; snippets from regional and national papers, alongside endorsements from the likes of ginger rock bint, Shirley Manson; to Cracker fatty, Robbie Coltrane. You can also buy various of types of champagne in L’Alba, fitting, seeing as that’s what people buy when they go to takeaways.
10 years ago this place was actually alright, despite always being a little on the expensive side. The quality was high with healthy sized portions in big boxes, and you’d always be greeted with banter from the head moustache and proprietor, Felipe Crolla. Nowadays, it’s a totally different story, sky high prices that seem to rise on an almost quarterly basis, whilst the contents of said boxes have shrunk by at least a third. As if we wouldn’t notice.
There seems to be a bit of a conveyor belt feel to the place upon entry, that’s if you can squeeze through the doors amidst all of the parked Land Rovers and Taxis. On the plus side, the quality is still above average in regards to chips, onion rings and side orders, but overall it’s certainly dipped from its late 90s heyday (which is ironically the same period that most of the accolades on the alligator wall were mounted!). The fact that their main clientele are Edinburgh taxi drivers is a bit curious; I was under the impression that the credit crunch had affected Lothian taxis for the worse? If they can still afford those astronomical Fish Supper prices on a daily basis then it’s quite clear they’ve also been taking their customers for the proverbial ride.
L’al-be-going-elsewhere, me thinks!
Food - *** out of 5 Overall - **
Franco's Fish Bar, Comely Bank
The food really isn't very good at this place, on the whole. Bad (sometimes green) chips, tasteless fish and quite sarcastic / hostile staff - apart from Franco's daughter, although I'm not sure if she works there anymore? The front of the take away has been changed since this photo due to the infamous chip fryer fire of '02 - which some regulars were calling an insurance scam after a sudden 60 minute-esque makeover and pricing hike. There's one thing that Franco's do right, and that's their Double Cheeseburger in a Bun, otherwise known as the mighty DCIB.
Deep fried, half pound of beef(?), melted cheese in between the patties, which is then slopped onto a big white roll. Admittedly, this is possibly one of the unhealthiest burgers you could buy in Scotland - but it tastes absolutely incredible. The total gush of fat, endorphin rush and euphoric nausea - followed by subsequent meat sweats is worth every penny (3 quid or so?). Just make sure they don't blast the meal with their watered down brown sauce, and be warned, they sometimes have a knack for overcooking it. But when they get it right, phwoar!
I really wouldn't recommend eating more than 1 or 2 of these a month, for the sake of an already strained NHS service in this country - and probably for the greater good. Bring some rennies.