JUST AN OBSERVATION
Friday January 27th
Someone tweeted me this week-an unfortunate side effect brought about by the necessary but reluctant joining of the twittering classes- informing me I should watch Celebrity Big Brother as it was probably one of the best episodes ever, which in hindsight is not much of a recommendation at all. Initially my first thought was to unplug every television but eventually I succumbed and tuned in. What I was then ‘treated’ to was an hour of drunken women behaving like the hen parties that populate Edinburgh streets every Saturday night and have encouraged me to stay in at the weekend and watch television. Therefore the paradox of staying in on a week night and watching these same antics was ironic at best and excruciating at worst. The worst offender in this band of shrieking, hysterical was Denise Welch-the self styled cougar who is an insult to the term and provides the best reason yet for the re-introduction of blood sports- who is a one woman hen party at the best of times and her behaviour here was pitiful and desperate. Not that she was the only offender. I am not sure who the others were but later discovered that a glamour model and two twins who were Playboy models were involved.
The furore started when Welch pulled down the pyjama bottoms of one of the twins during an all girls together party whilst dancing to ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ –oh the irony- before it escalated into a full scale screeching battle about the violation of rights and privacy with the ‘victim’ claiming she was going to sue if the scenes were broadcast. Whilst I agree Welch was foolish and impetuous I do not believe her actions were malicious but instead the actions of a past it, haggard woman who wanted to show she was still able to get down with the kids and messed up big time in the process. Also no-one has the right to pull at another person’s clothes in an attempt to expose them even if they do take their clothes off for a living. The point being if someone chooses to expose their body to make money that is their choice and their choice alone not someone else’s no matter how funny they think they are being.
The most offensive thing about the whole debacle however was the nonentity that is something called a Frankie Cocozza stood up for Welch –and in many eyes older women in general- thus revealing him as some sort of hero. This is annoying as an X- Factor reject with no discernible talent he should have disappeared from our screens forever but now it appears he might win the whole CBB experience therefore cluttering up our screens indefinitely. Apart from this after an hour of watching I could not believe anyone thought watching a bunch of drunken women arguing made good television-the argument was not insightful or intelligent but simply pointless and dull- and concluded that the reality genre has reached a new low.
Much more amusing was the BBC4 drama We’ll Take Manhattan about David Bailey and Jean Shrimpton’s iconic photo shoot in New York in the early sixties which, if the script was to be believed, shaped the whole of the following decade. Whilst these claims are grandiose and inaccurate Bailey was an influential figure alongside such luminaries as The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Dylan and Warhol in recognising the upswing in youthful activity and the necessary changing of the guard. The whole drama was played out as a comedy although I am not sure whether this was the intention. Throughout the battle lines were drawn out in an exaggerated fashion to detail the different attitudes between the warring generations and Bailey was portrayed as a caricature East End boy all ‘Cor Blimey Guvnor’ and ‘Alright Cock’ ‘s which reduced his status as an intelligent influence and rendered him a belligerent thug. The performances by Karen Gillan and Aneurin Barnard were excellent though and they were nearly as gorgeous as their real life counterparts were in their heyday.
The Oscar nominations were announced this week and as I predicted before there are some glaring omissions including Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender and Tilda Swinton. George Clooney and Meryl Streep look dead certs in their categories and The Artist looks like it will have the same sweep of the board The Kings Speech did last year. It seems films which have the feel good factor seem to win the Academy’s vote during times of recession and I hope this does not mean we are going to be inundated with pointless rehashes and homages in the next few years in the hope of being nominated. As for the omissions I can only assume the inclusion of Clooney and Pitt in the male category is more down to their ages rather than their performances and this may be their last chance at taking home an award before their appeal fades and they are reduced-like most of the older generation in Hollywood- to supporting roles. I have not seen Clooney’s film as yet- it is on my agenda for the coming weekend- so will not pass judgment until I have.
Also on this weekend –tonight- is the Neu Reekie double celebration for Robert Burns and the late Paul Reekie. With a heady mix of poetry, music, animation and film-including some rare previously unseen footage of Reekie- this looks like it will be a busy night showcasing a lot of local talent which definitely deserves supporting. Reekie was a local legend and to see him recognised alongside the greatness of Burns is an act he would have appreciated.
Talking of local legends the indefatigable Roxy is hosting one of his legendary parties on Sunday night at the Speak Easy in Cabaret Voltaire from eleven onwards. His bashes are always a hoot – and his party there last summer was one of the best and most talked about in Edinburgh all year not sure what the occasion is this time- unless like our less regal Queen he is now having two birthdays a year although it has often felt that way in the past or alternatively it could be some sort of jubilee- but it doesn’t really matter as it is definitely worth investigating if only as a perfect antidote in banishing the January blues.
For those of a more gentle persuasion-or wanting a relaxed afternoon warm up- Gavin Evans is holding another of his successful ambient Electric Cafe afternoons at the Institute in Roseneath Street Marchmont on Sunday from 2pm onwards. These are an excellent way to unwind after a heady weekend or even as a chill out on a lazy Sunday for a bit of gentle socializing with an interesting arty crowd mixing in a way they usually don’t. It is an interesting cocktail-like Neu Reekie – of the arts and allows the different factions to bind together and exchange thoughts and ideas.
Much controversy has surrounded Lana Del Rey- her hotly anticipated debut is released on Monday- and whether she has reinvented herself in order to attain success. I am not sure how this constitutes a bad thing however as re-invention is stock in trade in the music industry. Imagine if David Bowie had stayed a long haired hippy with crooked teeth and a wonky eye crooning ‘Kooks’ or, even worse, remained an Anthony Newley sound-alike churning out the likes of The Laughing Gnome instead of refashioning himself as a spiky haired androgynous intergalactic rock star who changed the face of rock music forever. Likewise what if Iggy Pop had remained behind the drum kit of his local Detroit band thus depriving us of one of the greatest frontmen ever? Similarly the Beatles could have continued with simplistic pop and Dylan stuck with folkie protest instead of changing and challenging not only the public’s expectations but their capabilities also.
Onward and upward into the weekend then-snow predicted apparently- and talking of re-invention still no time to see the expert in this department, Madonna’s latest celluloid effort which is not being universally trashed as her excursions into this field usually are. Apparently she is going on tour soon to promote her latest album the desperate sounding MDNA- perhaps she has been consulting with Denise Welch on how to get it wrong and how to dress dead carcass up as mutton- claiming she needs to tour to pay the rent. I am not sure whether her latest Latino toyboy appreciates being referred to by that term-it is becoming harder to differentiate between who she is dating and who she has adopted- but perhaps it is easier than trying to remember their names.