Friday  June 1st


There seems to be some kind of Jubilee fever in the air at the moment rendering me thankful that my early inoculations have left me unmoved by the whole proceedings. Seems that everywhere I turn Union Jacks have been attached to everything-M&S foodhall is particularly overt in its patriotism and been  gung ho with their adoption of the flag- to such an extent I am almost embarrassed to wear my Alexander McQueen t-shirt featuring a royal portrait which is more anti establishment than pro. Hopefully this time next week the fawning and fond retrospectives will be over after the, paid for by tax payers, celebrations have come to a close. Personally I am unsure why businesses have to pay their staff to have a day off especially when proportionally lower numbers take a day of strike action for a more deserving cause it is decried as damaging to the economy. Also how is the funding of these celebrations down to the tax payers of a struggling economy rather than the multi millionairess who avoided paying taxes for the majority of her life?

At least the BBC4 documentary John Cooper Clarke Evidently redressed the balance somewhat and showed a bit of worship to one who has actually done something to deserve it. Clarke is a living legend-the fact he is still living is almost a legend in itself- who looks much as he did when he first arrived on the scene in the late seventies resembling a pipe cleaner dressed up as Blonde on Blonde era Bob Dylan armed with a gravelly voice so rough it could strip wallpaper from a distance of several yards. I have managed to catch him live several times over the last years and –he is much like Patti Smith in this way- it is always a relief to know these people are still around. Never part of the mainstream-and no desire to be either- he has never disappointed delivering his lines with verve, humour, biting sarcasm,anger and desperation as required. The last time I saw him he delivered a poem called ‘You ain’t nothing but a Hedgehog’ which featured the kiss off line ‘and you ain’t no porcupine’ which captures something of his mischievous wit. Never expected to make it this far- a highly publicised love affair with heroin immobilised his muse for over a decade- it was especially encouraging to see a prim and proper school teacher who had included him in her syllabus claiming if he was taught in schools it would encourage the younger generation to embrace-rather than reject -poetry as his style and delivery are wholly individual and relevant to real peoples lives as opposed to mooning about trying to be deep.

Also this week I attended the Harvey Nichols summer party which if you looked around you would find hard to believe we are living in an age of austerity as we were reminded about a couple of weeks ago by some woman sitting in a throne wearing an ostentatiously bejewelled crown. It was a pleasant evening nonetheless even if this season has seen some of the worst and most disappointing collection of clothes-at ridiculous prices- for nearly as long as I can remember. Neon brights and bad early nineties Versace inspired prints conspire not to create a chic and exciting ensemble but instead the look of someone on their way to a bad taste party.

The Institute in Roseneath Street in Marchmont is an interesting coffee bar for Edinburgh’s new arty elite-but not elitist- run by renowned photographer Gavin Evans. There is always something going on and Evans’ latest project is Called Touch Reveal which features a collection of naked models all reaching out and touching. I attended this weeks session –and posed- but he still needs models to volunteer so if anyone is interested make your way there on a Wednesday evening at 6.30. The evening I went was great with a relaxed atmosphere and I met several interesting people who I hopefully will see again although next time we may remain clothed. Then again maybe not! More info available here 308887539194196

Also over the last week Neu  Reekie turned in another great night last Friday. The whole evening was waywardly cohesive as per usual but a particular stand out was the set turned in by Fiona Soe Paing featuring her haunting vocals over an electronic soundscape and backed by a specially created animation backdrop all to stunning effect. Definitely one to watch for in the future.

Looking forward to catching the new Ridley Scott film-the Alien prequel- Prometheus this weekend although if ever a film doesn’t need a prequel it is probably Alien. It will be interesting to see just what ideas and effects he has put together. The original was impressive partly due to the lack of effects-and of course the Geiger set- and tension levels created by never actually seeing the monster which terrorised the crew of the spaceship. The follow up Aliens was equally impressive although it was much more a product of the action packed eighties and embraced all the effects at director James Cameron’s disposal. After that the franchise continued but with ever diminishing results both artistically and financially so it will be interesting to see how this latest offering fares.

That’s me off then to polish my tiara listen to The Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save the Queen’ and the Smiths’  ‘The Queen is dead’ and get ready for a round of Jubilee parties. Just because I don’t agree with the whole shebang doesn’t mean I will turn down a party whatever the occasion. That would be plain stupid!

Here is John Cooper Clarke with Beasley Street recognised as one of his finest though there are many to choose from.

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