Friday  June 8th


Thank God that is over!

I am referring to the Jubilee-such a shame about the rain-of course and the very visual display of wasting tax payer’s money. I could just as much be referring to the Apprentice which I unfortunately signed up to write a weekly article about. Both things though showed what is inherently wrong about this country-delusional and pompous- but very little about what is right.

The Jubilee,in particular, was an anachronism of the past showing a country supposedly in an austere age with the lower end of the spectrum having their benefits cut and families and individuals struggling to make ends meet whilst meanwhile an overly privileged family-who have avoided paying taxes themselves during their most of their tenure- have their celebrations paid for as a means of showing some patriotic unity. Er,no!  All such events do is highlight the differences between different sections of society and I would have thought that after last years riots that rubbing peoples noses in what others have whilst some are doing without would have been a lesson learnt.

Obviously not, as millions were spent on a water display, concert and pageantry which if we are honest were more than a little embarrassing and do not bode well for what Britain has to offer when it comes to the Olympics, especially considering the efforts of the China in 2008 which were beyond impressive. The water display- I could only bear to watch a short part of what was straight-facedly referred to as ‘highlights’- was a non-starter from the get-go especially in a country where rain is the norm and a national talking point. I almost felt sorry for Her Majesty as the sight of an 85 year old woman under a clear plastic brolly having to endure this travesty was pretty sad. As for the concert well I caught less than ten minutes of that and fortunately in that brief time Grace Jones-a woman in her sixties- hula-hooped impressively whilst singing ‘Slave to the Rhythm’ . You have to love Grace even if she did get confused and wish the Queen a happy birthday.

Gaaaary Baaaaarloooow made a return to our screens and has obviously not had the elocution-though I prefer the sound of electrocution- lessons anyone else would have had having sat through hearing himself during the X-crutiating Factor. I swear he suffers from Irritable Vowel Syndrome. He obviously sees himself in line for a title of some sort as he seemed to be sporting an unsightly colour of chocolate brown lipstick before I realised he has just been kissing so many arses it has left an indelible stain.

The whole concert line-up was enough to make me avoid watching-sir Paul and Sir Elton with their highly flammable hair whilst Sir Cliff and Sir Tom’s dance moves are laughable- but at least McCartney didn’t turn in ‘Hey Jude as a closer as expected. He’ll be saving that for the Olympics but he  chose one of the worst Beatles songs ever ‘Ob –la-bloody di, Ob-la bloody da’ instead minimising the risk of repeating himself, as if that ever usually bothers him. It is interesting that at John Lennon’s last public appearance-with Elton John- that from all the classic songs at his fingertips he chose to finish with the McCartney song ‘I Saw her Standing There’  as a flamboyant gesture, showing the main difference in ego between him and the pomposity that is the naff thumbs up of Macca.

A much more worthy idea would be to go and see a band called Her Royal Highness tonight at one of the few decent venues still left in Edinburgh, the Voodoo Rooms. A glam, electro rocking trio-think Suicide meets T.rex via late night sessions with Prince and Goldfrapp- they have certainly caused a splash at most of their live dates so far so are definitely worth catching. The Voodoo Rooms also has Mark Stewart promoting his new opus on Monday night so that is another gig well worth catching also.

Although the Jubilee has dominated the schedules over the last week Channel 4 had an interesting programme about taste featuring transvestite potter and Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry on Tuesday. A remarkably likeable character and a sympathetic non-judgmental interviewer, Perry, this week explored what defines taste and took a foray into the working classes of Sunderland to see their unique interpretation of it. Taste is a hard thing to define however and he rightfully concluded that as people make their way up the social classes they become more and more embarrassed by the taste they feel they can afford to leave behind without realising that these tastes have already shaped them somewhat. It exposed snobbery-we all know someone who thinks because they listen to certain things or like certain paintings they automatically have taste- and this is perhaps the most distasteful acquisition of them all.

There is a shop called Iconic-which I intend to do a feature on very soon- in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket which deals exclusively in the sort of mass produced paraphernalia which used to litter people’s houses in the 60’s, 70’s and 90’s but just gazing in the window arouses so many fond memories in anyone who grew up in any of these eras.

This week also saw two rock legends-neither invited to attend the Jubilee concert- David Bowie and Patti Smith emerge back into the public consciousness for very different reasons. Bowie-now perhaps he could give Gaaary Baaaarlooow one of the titles he has turned down-celebrated the fortieth release of Ziggy Stardust which is surely more of a cultural landmark to my- as well as previous and subsequent- generations. A full appraisal can be found here.

Smith, on the other hand, turned in a new album ‘Banga’ which is undoubtedly her best since her seventies heyday and probably her most cohesive whole since her groundbreaking debut’ Horses’. Review here. The omens are good for her live gigs in Glasgow in September-Smith is one of the best rock performers of any age and era-so if you fancy catching her live it is probably wise to get tickets now.

The Institute gallery- and café- also has a few interesting things on in the next few weeks. There is a Saturday evening DJ set, the Sunday afternoon ambient experiences and also a ‘Lone Person’ exhibition event on Tuesday. The Wednesday evening Touch sessions are also progressing extremely well though models are still required, so if you fancy baring your outer self get along there.

This Sunday afternoon also sees the Church of High Kicks extravaganza launch itself on the Edinburgh scene. Hosted by the ever lovely and extremely talented Jon Pleased Wimmen this new experience is in the new refurbished and re-launched CC Blooms and looks like being a total hoot. Offering up fabulous tunes, glamour-Sunday afternoons ARE the new Saturday nights you know- and a host of surprises this looks like being a date not to be missed so get yourself along from 4-9 this weekend. Unfortunately I am unable to attend this one but will be making my way down there as soon as I can.

As far as cinema is concerned Prometheus is a worthwhile film-despite all the sniping which surrounds it- although anyone expecting directorRidley Scott to match either Alien or Bladederunner is bound to be disappointed as they are two very high landmarks to try and achieve again.  A full review of Prometheus can be found here. The Edinburgh Film Festival kicks off next week and I will be previewing some of the more interesting choices next week as well as reviewing several films on a daily basis

That is it, off for a weekend round of engagements and trying to stay dry. What month are we in anyway? My calendar says June but my body temperature reveals something more akin to November. At least I don’t have to sit through hours of a naff water pageant under a Perspex see through brolly and a Bubble Betty rain-hat though.

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