JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation Friday August 31st

 

The first post Fringe week in Edinburgh has been highly active with most of the tourists departing and the city recapturing its own particular rhythm. There is still much going on as the Festival proper does not finish until this weekend but even aside from that there is still a lot to check out and do.

Music has been high on the agenda this week with both Mark Lanegan and Grimes putting in an appearance. Both have released outstanding albums-which rank amongst my favourites- this year and seem to have been touring them relentlessly as both artists appeared in Glasgow less than six months ago. I managed to capture Grimes on that occasion and loved her synth-pop excursions which resemble something akin to sound satellites being beamed in from Mars.This must surely make us the winners in the soundrate exchange as the best we can apparently offer in return is the mundane meanderings of Will.I.Am. Surely the best place for his music is Mars and wouldn’t it be suitable to the furthering of mankind’s attempts in embracing alien culture if we sent him on a promotional tour to promote the single. As soon as possible will do!

Mark Lanegan’s show on Wednesday saw the errant whisky soaked, nicotine croaked crooner turn in his own brand of insouciant loucheness. Playing most of his latest album Blues Funeral as well as many older favourites it was an outstanding show and an almost fitting finale to my Fringe experience.

I say almost as this weekend sees two more essential nights which I really can’t afford to miss.

First up is Neu! Reekie 21 tonight which holds emotional significance for being the last one at the Scottish Book Trust before heading for new premises at Summerhall. Tonight’s line up is impressive featuring Teen Canteen, Kid Canaveral, Paul Hullah, Susan Mowatt, Tom Wells and Tim Leonard. It holds to be a great night and the end of a chapter in the Neu! Reekie success story but as this night continues to evolve it will also feel like the start of something else. It is always worrying when things grow and become less personal but I don’t think this night is in danger of that as the ethos at its core is solid enough for them to retain and maintain credibility.

The second not to be missed is the Institute’s end of Festival party featuring my new favourite band Andy and The Prostitutes, who have played there the last two Saturdays and received a rapturous reception especially two weeks ago which was definitely my Fringe highlight of 2012. If you haven’t seen them so far then I insist you do then you too can join in singing the unbelievably catchy and more difficult to shrug off than measles paean to Walt Disney ‘Uncle Walt’s a Paedophile’ or ‘I’m too Pretty for Prison’. The latter actually had the effect of  having one of our companions testing this theory out in record time the other week as inebriated by alcohol found himself spending the rest of the weekend in the cells. This band are therefore guaranteed to send you on the rocky road to ruin and who could ask for anything more?

After the weekend I have a couple of days to recover-believe me I will need it- and midweek I am off to see the legendary and artistically resuscitated Patti Smith. Her latest album Banga is definitely her best since her seventies heyday-1996’S Gone Again aside- and live she is visceral experience like no other.

The last time I saw her live she stood astride the amps wielding her Fender Stratocaster and emitting a howling solo for a ten  minute version of ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Nigger’ whilst one of her band constantly tried to coax her down. It turns out the band member was her son who embarrassed at seeing his mum behaving this way was pleading with her to get down and stop making a fool of herself. So, even if you are as cool as Patti Smith your children will still be embarrassed by you. Apparently Mick Jagger’s kids are similarly mortified when he gets up at parties and does his lips and arse pushed out, in equal measure, strut. If these two can go from corrupters of youth via voices of a generation to embarrassing dad/mum dancers in the blink of an eye what hope then do the rest of us have?.

There are also two extremely worthwhile filns to check out this week. First up is The Imposter a documentary which will have Hollywood scriptwriters scratching their heads in dismay that they could not come up with such a fantastical tale. The second is Shadow Dancer featuring the inestimable talents and acting performance of Andrea Riseborough. Both films are excellent but The Imposter is pretty unmissable.

That is it then, I have a weekend to get through and a recovery programme to administer before my midweek date with Patti. To round off here is a performance of ‘Gloria’ which still resonates now and is a tune which is guaranteed to raise the roof next Wednesday night.

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