JUST AN OBSERVATION

Friday 2nd December

 

So in a week which saw the biggest strike in a generation it must have been galling for the protesters to have their cause upstaged in the press by a buffoon by the name of Clarkson who made a bad attempt at humour on a trashy early evening show. Whatever your opinions on the strikes-I will come to that later-surely no-one who actually saw his outburst could take it seriously or even seriously consider it offensive. Clarkson is an overpaid, oafish, loudmouthed irritant and his rant about lining the protesters up against a wall before shooting them was deeply unfunny but surely the thousands who phoned into complain need to get over themselves and realise that whingeing about his remarks did their cause no good and exposed them as overly sensitive and humourless whilst shifting the focus of the press attention away from the issues at hand onto him. Well done! I bet David Cameron-who every time I see him resembles, a little more, an ageing rent boy you’d demand a refund from – is grateful for the deflection and the majority of interviews conducted with him on Thursday dwelt on the  subject of his close personal friend and his wayward comments. Apparently Clarkson did not limit his wrath to the strikers-I only saw the opening two minutes- and went onto make other offensive remarks which were apologised for at the end of the programme. At this point it would be appropriate to state where I stand on the subject and I can categorically state there is no way I would normally watch The One Show as I find the fact presenter Matt Baker looks as if he has been dressed by his Granny-Hylda Baker perhaps?-far more offensive than anything which came out of Clarkson’s mouth.

As for the subject of the strikes they seem to have had a divisive effect between those who work in the Public Sector and those who don’t. Whilst I sympathise totally with the pensions issue and am not totally equipped with the full facts I have noticed that the friends I have who work in Public Sector jobs do tend to complain about their lot a hell of a lot more often than many I know in the private sector or badly paid jobs with far less benefits and holidays. They also have a tendency to talk about their work incessantly-in some cases their jobs take up about 90% of their conversation- as if anyone else is really interested. It is good they are taking a stance against the government however as it is about time people did as the pensions issue is only the beginning and if that goes ahead I dread to think what will be next. Anyway allegedly some statistics reveal that 1 in 3 teachers retiring at 60 are dead by 63 due to the stress of the job. From the circle of teachers I know personally this stress mostly manifests itself in heavy drinking and chain smoking so they need to retire early so  they are able to fit in a couple of years of  alcoholism and extreme hedonism before it is too late. Before I place both feet firmly in Clarkson territory let me first of all state teachers, nurses et al do worthwhile jobs which offer little return in the way of gratitude from those they help. The public sector workers that I have more gripe with are the bureaucrats housed mainly in the council offices and in their case I reckon they should raise their IQ’s before worrying about retirement ages.

For anyone with a social conscience a film titled the Black Power Mixtape currently showing at the Filmhouse is essential viewing. Concentrating on the period between 1967 and 1975 when Black Power in America was in the ascendant it is a riveting document comprising of footage compiled by Swedish journalists and shows the unfairness dealt a whole race of people simply for the colour of their skin. The injustices at the crux of the film are heart breaking but some of the interviews including the falsely incarcerated Angela Davis and campaigner Stokeley Carmichael are both heroic and soul stirring. When the plight of black people is considered contextually it certainly puts other problems and complaints into serious perspective. A full review is here.

Also this week the Scottish National Portrait Gallery re-opened after three years and a complete makeover. Much has been made of the new space opened up and the light this permits and previously it did always feel like a dark, enclosed space. Much of the new layout is impressive and the Library Gallery was definitely a high point. The space and the light are definitely there as promised but the collection somehow failed to wholly impress and in some spaces felt incongruous in such modern surroundings. I was particularly confused by a section left of the main entrance dedicated to ‘Hot Scots’ and I could see quite easily how the likes of David Tennant, Karen Gillen and Nicola Benedetti could be termed ‘hot’ but then I saw a picture of Susan Boyle and after the nausea had passed dismay and confusion set in. Hot? Not even if you placed her at the top a bonfire and set it alight. Now there’s an idea!

Talking of placing people on top of a blazing fire this sounds like a reasonable option of dealing with the inhabitants of the island in Shipwrecked. If they ever get a fire lit after unruly tides unfortunately messed up their island paradise causing mayhem but appealed to my warped sense of humour. It was schaudenfreude in extremis. Surely this collection of self obsessed narcissists is among the worst on TV probably even rivalling the mwah! mwah! air kissing followed by backstabbing of I’m a Nonentity Get Me Out Of  Here – I wouldn’t know for sure as I have not seen it- as they fight for ‘survival’ on a desert island. As the antics amount to little more than bitching incessantly about each other-self appointed ‘uber’ couple Bear and Anna are by far the worst at this- and stealing tins of rice pudding it is hardly rewarding television but unfortunately I am hooked. Halfway through the series and it looks like a good idea would be simply to leave them there to fend for themselves indefinitely.

This week we bid adieu to the residents of Laid in Chelsea- this name actually appeared in the closing party games and I am considering suing for plagiarism- which swiftly descended into Jeremy Kyle with plummy vowels. It is hard to imagine how this lot can claim they have it tough as tales of their infidelities sparked talk of holidays in Monaco, Ibiza and France all within a couple of months. My nose bleeds in sympathy for the poor little loves. Much more emotional for me was the end of True Blood as I had come to consider Tuesday night date night and even started dressing up in anticipation of the opening credits. A little sad I know but times are hard.

This weekend sees me attending the Axolotl Xmas party tonight before heading up to Hot Mess at the Wee Red Bar which promises an evening of non-stop dancing to some excellent tunes. On Sunday Gavin Evans is hosting an afternoon into early evening event Electric Café at the Institute featuring Laptop Lounge and a collection of VJ’s and musicians and the promise of an alternative way of whiling away a Sunday. Sounds perfect to me. Of course there are also the dying days of the X-Factor for anyone who still cares and by now I think the judges, contestants and even the press are disinterested. You never know though maybe this week someone will emerge as a true star though I doubt that is likely.

To get in the mood for the weekend this Death In Vegas Track is just the ticket.

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