Boo Paterson’s AAA Edinburgh

When it comes to arts and media, Boo Paterson has been there, seen it, and virtually done it all. In fact, not only has she worn the T-shirt, she probably designed, produced, and put it on exhibition, too. That’s how talented she is.
Yes, for the past 25 years, Paterson has covered the full gamut of the working-round-the-clock artisan: an editor, journalist, music manager, artist – and that’s just a small selection of the things she’s been successfully involved in.
Fringe-goers, meanwhile, may recognise her as the glamourous, vintage-dressed ringmaster for award-winning circus, La Clique. However, Paterson’s one-of-a-kind paper-cutting artistry has also seen the 44-year-old’s eye-catching works feature in publications all over the world. Indeed, you can view some of her work when it exhibits at the Open Eye Gallery’s On a Small Scale exhibition in December.
Oh, and when she’s not using a knife, she can be found editing online New York arts and culture magazine,

Which all begs the question: is Boo Edinburgh’s Queen of Bohemia?
Read on…

  • Most memorable Capital event?

Hidden Door’s takeover of the railway arches on Market St last year. Each archway was inhabited by a different artist and they had DJs, bands, and other performances in the biggest archway. For a time, Edinburgh felt truly bohemian and exciting. Now the arches are going to be part of the monstrously ugly Caltongate project, which shows a real lack of imagination by the council.

  • Who would you choose to headline Edinburgh’s Hogmanay?
    The Buzzcocks

    The Buzzcocks or Muse.

  • Favourite old-fashioned boozer?

Sandy Bells – incredibly friendly, great live folk music, marvellous array of gins and whiskies, and the most attractive toilet seats you’ll ever see. I’ve had some of the best nights out of my life in that pub.

  • Favourite style bar?

I detest style bars, so I’ll choose a Victorian gin palace, the Cafe Royal, which was undoubtedly the style bar of its day.

  • Favourite restaurant?

Phuket Pavilion in Union St. It does the best massaman in town, and has the most charming, attentive staff.

  • Do you love or loathe the Festival?

A bit of both. I used to work for a circus, so I love seeing my performer and crew friends from all over the world. But I feel very stressed out in crowds, and this year was the first where I felt that the infrastructure of the city couldn’t really cope with the numbers of visitors.

  • Favourite art gallery?

That’s the hardest question for an artist! The National Gallery for the magnificent red Georgian galleries and their Scottish collection, and the Portrait Gallery for the constellations on its ceiling, creepy death-mask casts and the excellent curation and refurbishment of its upper galleries, which have even managed to make royal portraits interesting.

“I’m a sucker

for beautiful


  • Favourite cinema?

I used to go to the Filmhouse so much that I have my own named seat there. But I’m going to choose the Dominion in Morningside because it’s Art Deco, its seats are very comfy and its staff are the friendliest I’ve ever known.

  • Favourite live music venue?

Pathhead Village Hall. The Pathhead Music Collective – which is made up of world-class musicians, such as Karine Polwart, Martin Green, and Sophie Bancroft – programme excellent acts at this little hall. You’re immediately made to feel welcome, and I’ve never had a bad night out here.

  • Favourite walk in or around the city?

The Hermitage of Braid in Morningside. I think of these as the fairytale woods, as they have a magical feel to them, and I’m always reluctant to leave.

  • Favourite shopping area?

I’m a sucker for beautiful things made of felt or paper, so I adore Broughton Street’s independent shops.

  • Favourite piece of architecture?

    St Andrews House

Thomas Tait’s Art Deco masterpiece, St Andrews House. Some of the state rooms inside are stunning.

  • What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the city?

The hideous buildings that the council keeps granting permission for: Caltongate, the Omni Centre, the Marriott Hotel at the base of Calton Hil, the ‘Golden Turd’ planned for Greenside and the potential desecration of the High School. It’s as if they never learned from the God-awful mistake that is the St James Centre.

  • Favourite festival?

The Jazz Festival, particularly the Mardi Gras, which spills over with my favourite New Orleans jazz from the top to the bottom of the Grassmarket.

  • Favourite local hero?

Those who work like dogs doing long hours in unglamorous jobs for low pay during the festivals: the dishwashers, waiters, toilet cleaners, street sweepers and bar staff. Without them, Edinburgh would be a reeking swamp in August.

  • Sell Edinburgh to a tourist in no more than ten words…

Bars to warm your soul, views to melt your heart.