Newhaverin Leith and life


Radio playlist- African spectacular

Yet another smashing night at Leith FM! I drop in to Saturday night's Soul Stream with Clayton P every other week to spice things up and my picks this time were some favourites from Africa. Links to the tunes are below and I defy you to stay still when you're listening.  I've got some heavy festival activity this month so I'll be back to Soul Stream in September. If you have suggestions for the next time I'm on just get in touch!

Afrikan Boy- Lagos Town

Ba Cissoko- Silani

Baloji- Independence Cha Cha

Seun Kuti and Egypt 80- Rise

Oumou Sangare- Seya

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Fat bottom girls make the rockin’ world go round

I'm in full swing as a guest DJ at Leith FM now. I'm having a great time dropping in on Soul Stream every other week to take audiences around the world to discover new jazz, reggae and hip hop. Last week we went to the streets of LA and learned about the Jamaican communities in Puerto Rico and Panama that helped grow Reggae en Español or reggaeton. Have a listen to the podcast. And yes I know I need to sit closer to the microphone.

My next appearance is on Saturday July 30th from 8-10pm on 98.8 FM or listen online at I'm thinking Africa....

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Horn of plenty

First of the balcony cropIt's all go on the gardening front! My balcony is overflowing with big tumbling toms, sweet peppers and cayenne peppers. Last year a neighbour helped our street to establish (officially with a bank account and everything) a garden association and our efforts in planting communal food areas and general decorative planting are really taking off. I started growing food on my balcony a few years ago and I've really made some progress. I'm no longer handling young plants with kid gloves. Get 'em in! So it's gale force winds and horizontal rain? Get everything outside to become hardy! I've got lettuces coming out of my ears and I'm eating things I've only heard of on fancy cookery programmes like lovage and chervil. Keep your eyes peeled here for photos and stories of urban gardening in Newhaven and the wonderful things that come from seed.


Local government, community groups and social media. Do you get it?

Last year I was asked to co-facilitate a break out group about using social media for community engagement at the annual meeting of Edinburgh's Community Councils. My partner for the evening was Martin Gallacher of Queensferry and District Community Council that, at the time, was the first Community Council in the city to use Facebook to communicate with existing members and to attract new members.  It was all so groundbreaking and, despite the usual naysaying about the security of Facebook, people seemed interested in learning more about using social media, and the web generally, to engage people.

A year on and I was back with Martin and my work colleague Graham to the same meeting and the same breakout slot. Martin had a lot of really interesting updates including demographics (some mysterious) and good examples of engagement and sharing information through members posting photos and comments and Martin using Notes to present meeting minutes. Graham, who manages Edinburgh Council's South West Neighbourhood Facebook page, headed up the group with Martin this year (I was on the wings filming what turned out to be a horrible video) and he had a lot of good things to say about local government's place in the social media world- something that is still really hard for some people to get their heads around. Our audience was again mostly interested- there was furious note taking and great questions- with the obligatory cynic striking the balance. I think between Graham and Martin alone there is good practice to reference for Community Councils to get stuck in, however, I think there's a skills gap and I really hope that groups set up to help communities learn about using social media, like Edinbuzz, can be allowed to grow and reach out to share their expertise.

I think social media is ripe for local government and community groups to take advantage of. The benefits are immense and we just need to find and establish a way to get people going.

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A great night at Leith FM

Last night was my first time on the radio. I shadowed Leith FM DJ Clayton P on his fantastic Soul Stream show which airs every Saturday from 8-10pm and gets Leith boogying to soul, funk, disco, raggae and hip hop tunes.

I met with Clayton, Station Manager Momo and a group of new volunteers a couple of months ago to get to know more about the station, say what we as volunteers could offer and to get paired up with someone at the station to get some real practical experience.

If I do say so myself our show was great and the two hours flew by. My friends and family in America listened in online and gave us great feedback through my Facebook page. We also had lots of messages and texts from work colleagues (Clayton and I know each other through our day jobs) and all the correspondence gave us both a real buzz.

Clayton's keen on my having my own show but I don't know if I'm quite ready to make that commitment because I still have so much to learn. I'm meeting Momo again tomorrow to talk about how I can help get their website up to date so for the time being I might be beavering away behind the scenes and not on air. However, Clayton and I agreed last night that I would drop in to the show every other week so tune in again July 16th!

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