Club tycoon’s hols fire Hell

HeadLine: CLUB TYCOON’S HOLS FIRE HELL

The Mirror, 10/12/2002, p8
by RON MOORE and SHAUN MILNE

THE Scots property mogul who owns the world-famous Gilded Balloon
comedy venue is on holiday in Thailand, the Mirror can reveal.
Lawyer Forbes Leslie was told of the devastation in a a phone call from
Scotland. But yesterday colleagues said Leslie, 48, a Glasgow-based
solicitor and property expert, would not be cutting his trip short.
Leslie, 48, is a director of Cowgate Arts Limited, the firm which owns
the historic venue and rents it out to the club operators.
He is also head of the Commercial Property Unit at Dallas McMillan. A
spokesman said he had been told of the fire but wasn’t “contactable”
and would return to work on Monday.
The famous venue which launched the careers of top comics Eddie Izzard,
Phil Kay and Rhona Cameron could be demolished today.
Last night Karen Koren, director of the Gilded Balloon for 17 years,
said she was “devastated” by the blaze.
Karen, 52, looked over the burned out shell and choked back tears.
She has lost priceless possessions built up from a lifetime working
with some the biggest names in showbiz.
Her priceless collection, including top comedy award trophies, props
and personal mementoes, is not covered by insurance.
Karen said: “I don’t know about the future. I have lost everything.
“Phil Kay, Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey – they have all called me. The
director of the Perrier Awards has phoned. The support of people has
been tremendous.”
She added: “We have lost comedy awards, including Phil Kay’s, as well
as old photographs of people who started out with us before they became
famous. These are the things you can’t replace.”
Karen has set up a temporary club at the students’ union in Teviot
Place.
And she stressed that all the Gilded Balloon’s festival commitments
will go ahead.
Karen said: “The show goes on.”
A team from Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade will carry out the probe
into the cause of the blaze.
It was the first major incident to be handled by Brian Alloway, the new
Lothian and Borders Firemaster, since his appointment on November 30.

**

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Categories: Daily Mirror articles

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