Friday March 9th


Much has been made over the last few days about one of the more likeable inhabitants of reality television, Stacey Solomon. and her being caught having a crafty cigarette outside a television studio whilst being seven months pregnant. The following furore has since resulted in her being dropped from her role as the face of Foxy Bingo for setting a bad example in her role as a responsible mother; you know Foxy Bingo it’s the one which encourages women, in particular, to gamble away their housekeeping money. Whilst it is a no-brainer that smoking whilst pregnant is damaging to an unborn child’s health it is however not illegal nor is it the worst thing an expectant mother can do. The stress of the whole debacle has probably caused Solomon will not be doing her any good either- a tearful confession on one television show and a breakdown of sorts during a broadcast telephone call- and will probably have her reaching for a cigarette to soothe her frayed nerves.

I am not sure what good printing such a picture and reporting the story has really done anyone and although I usually have no time for reality ‘stars’ Solomon was an extremely likeable character during her tenure on the X- Factor and also was the outright winner of I’m a Non-entity Get me out of Here and it was her personality which endeared her to viewers. Yes, it was stupid to be smoking at seven months pregnant but I doubt her popularity was attributable to the honours degree we all suspected she was keeping a closely guarded secret. No, it was her stupidity and naiveté which made her popular and these are the very two words that are being used to attack her which smacks of little more than hypocrisy.

Since when did smoking become illegal anyway? Everyone is aware that pregnant women are advised to stop smoking but surely advised means whilst they are under a moral obligation to stop it is by no means compulsory. First of all it was banned from workplaces swiftly followed by restaurants, bars and clubs. I see the point of banning it in a work environment and restaurants and even in bars where food is being served makes sense but I have never understood how banning it from clubs was to anyone’s benefit. Not many folk I know go to clubs to get healthy and any atmosphere that a DJ’s are attempting to engender is generally deflated when a significant proportion of their audience is outside puffing away on their illicit fags. I remember when the ban was first imposed and attending a club in, the at the time named, Ego which housed a large smoking garden outside which was full to capacity whilst inside the dance-floor was less populated than  outer Siberia.

Whilst the smoking ban is not solely responsible for the sorry state of clubbing in Edinburgh at the moment-the problems run a lot deeper- it is still a contributory factor and a sharp decline in the scene occurred around the time of its introduction. The recent closure of venues however seems to have more to do with clearing out a creative and, occasionally, subversive sub culture to replace it with something more commercially visible and mainstream. Unfortunately the shocking state of Edinburgh’s nightlife looks set only to decline even further if the new restrictions being imposed by the council forbidding any free live events after April without a licence are allowed to go ahead. This will basically kill any creative cultural scene at grass roots level as it prevents things such as art openings and poetry readings, amongst others, without a specially issued permit which has to be applied for six weeks in advance of said events. The licence will only be issued if the council sees fit so will be yet another form of censorship. If this continues Edinburgh will soon be hosting little other than Stag and Hen parties and the Festival. Unfortunately any cultural scene of its own will be pretty much non-existent unless it is part of the overground mainstream.

For a city which has always prided itself on its thriving nascent underground scene this is bad news indeed. Whilst Glasgow has always embraced the shinier side of clubbing, Edinburgh clubs always prospered better in makeshift venues and word of mouth. Clubs were always more a hotbed of creativity alongside the full on hedonistic approach which is synonymous with the scene. For this to disappear will be a major drawback for a city which is fast losing its cultural identity and exists mainly for visitors to indulge in behaviour they probably wouldn’t condone if it was happening on their own doorstep. Saturday nights out in the city centre are populated by gangs of girls in very few clothes and L Plates whilst groups of guys maraud menacingly quite often in synchronised themed outfits. Both groups are usually drunk and overly boisterous by the early evening-despite the governments supposed crack down on drinking, numerous trays of shots seem to be de rigueur from early afternoon onwards- and less and less are the residents of the city venturing into the city centre as they are accosted and outnumbered by these visiting revellers.

Returning to the issue of ‘celebrity ‘endorsements apparently since Chloe from TOWIE recommended using Sudocrem as a  moisturiser sales have gone through the  roof. Has anyone actually looked at the state of this woman before following her advice? By using a cream recommended for nappy rash does this mean that even she can’t distinguish her arse from her face? She, for anyone not familiar with this surgically altered creature, is the one who looks like she is made up of the left over bits of Pete Burns- the ones they didn’t use in creating Cher Lloyd- and looks as if she may melt, leak or explode-hopefully all three- if within ten feet of a naked flame. An ideal of beauty? I don’t think so.

Tonight unfortunately sees the last opening at Axolotl at its current premises in Dundas Street. It is a collaborative effort with many different artists contributing individual pieces. Typically it will, no doubt, be an extravagant affair will serve as a reminder that any opposition to the stupidity of the tax on free events is a necessary and worthwhile thing.

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