JUST AN OBSERVATION

Monday January 9th

 

Well the festive festivities have drawn to a close, the family get togethers are dispatched with for another year, the trees have been dismantled, the tinsel discarded (well apart from the remnants I continue to wear) and the reality of 2012 is upon us. The year didn’t so much breeze in but roar in on winds of 102 mph which wreaked havoc and destruction that made last month’s Hurricane Bawbag seem like a welcome summer breeze. Being out of Edinburgh for New Year I missed the hurricane winds but the devastation was apparent even on my return several days later as a walk through the Meadows testified as the sight of trees ripped out by their roots still languished at the side of the footpaths. It is a shame that the New Year party itself was not quite so eventful- about ten years ago the party was cancelled a couple of times due to the severe weather- but these days an Edinburgh New Year is more about the tourists than the city residents. This is one of the main reasons I abandoned ship and got out of town for the years end as even the most simple of excursions on Hogmanay requires expert timing and military precision in it’s undertaking simply in order to avoid the crowds, restrictive barriers and general disruption. Like the festival before it Hogmanay is fast becoming essential to the city’s economic growth but little more than an inconvenience to its residents. Unlike the Festival though the acts on show are generally underwhelming though this year at least Primal Scream were guaranteed to put on a good show and have the authenticity of being Scottish.

Apart from the excessive winds at the beginning of the year the weather over the period has been remarkably clement in contrast to the big freeze of the last two years and this has led to a lot more positivity regarding the ushering in of 2012. Certainly the year is off to a good start in the cinemas with The Artist a French black and white silent film which pays homage to the silent era of Hollywood to great effect and ensures you leave the cinema wrapped in the comforting warm glow of nostalgia. A full review can be found here.

Also out this week is the new film directed by Steve Mc Queen and starring Michael Fassbender-along with Tom Hardy and Ryan Gosling one of the triumvirate of Hollywood’s new breed of leading men- about a shameless hedonist and sex addict which looks more than promising. A film which polarises opinion-even in myself- is The Iron Lady starring Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher and try as I might I do not know whether I can put my personal opinions aside and sit through two hours of the humanisation of this monstrous being whose politics caused so much pains and marginalised so many. Just sitting in the cinema watching Streep’s portrayal would feel a little too much like spending time in her company and I find that simply too much to bear. It is unfortunate as I believe Streep gives a commendable performance but even this concerns me as the worry of empathy toward someone so undeserving of it- and seemingly pretty incapable of said emotion herself- fills me with a cold feeling inside. A much better bet for the cinema this week would be a one off showing of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1932 silent classic Vampyr with a live soundtrack performed by Steve Severin –ex Siouxie and The Banshees- in the third of his trio of musical interpretations. The last one was a performance of Jean Cocteau’s Blood of a Poet which was excellent. Vampyr is on at The Cameo on Thursday 12th Jan at 9.15 pm and is definitely a night worth considering as an effective post festive fallout pick me up. Full details and info can be found here.Vampyr_Steven_Severin_Event

Elsewhere Lana Del Rey has her hotly anticipated debut album out on January 30th.. Entitled Born to Die Del Rey looks like going global this year but much as I wish her success I hope she does not suffer the same fate as Adele did last year. Her 21 album released in March had already suffered from overkill and overexposure by March and this devalued it somewhat. I have a feeling Del Rey may be a little too Lynchian to meet with the same level of success – Adele was so damn ordinary she appeals to a mass audience- and  may remain something of a cult artist. The runaway success of the Video Games single- and the accompanying song Blue Jeans- however suggest the world is going to be very accepting of Miss Del Rey in 2012 and her ethereal beauty will probably not hold her back.

The rock legend that is David Bowie turned 65 yesterday and although a semi recluse since 2004’s reported heart troubles I don’t think he is quite ready to pick up his bus pass yet. Much is made of the fact he has not recorded for nearly ten years now but so what? His legacy stands intact and barring most of the eighties-which he already created and lived through during the creative peaks of the seventies- and the hideous Tin Machine he has little to be ashamed of and even less to prove.

Television over the Festive period was the usual dross unfortunately. The Absolutely Fabulous Xmas day special was amusing enough- a highlight was the zeitgeist appropriate appearance of the Killing’s Sarah Lund- but ultimately disappointed and as for the soaps well treachery, death and all round gloom seem to be the order of the day. The New Year offers up the Dancing on Ice debacle- can’t bring myself to watch it – although Saturday nights have another Danish import in the shape of Borgen which had me hooked after the first two episodes. Any fans of the Killing should watch this-not least because Sarah Lund’s two deceased sidekicks appear- as it maintains the high standards of its predecessor although the action and intrigue centres on politics rather than murder. As no fan of the machinations of political intrigue I was initially wary but must admit I found the programme compelling in both it’s characterizations and plot. That is my Saturday nights taken care of then as that is one night of the week I would ultimately prefer to stay in rather than brave the depravation of the stag and hen party infested streets of Edinburgh. Another interesting programme looks like being the interpretation of Dickens’ unfinished The Mystery of Edwin Drood on BBC2 on Tuesday and Wednesday starring rising star Freddie Fox of the Fox-James, Edward, Emilia- acting dynasty.

Here to welcome us into 2012 is the aforementioned Lana Del Rey with a live performance of the title track of her forthcoming debut album Born to Die.

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