Just an Observation Friday September 21st


Not too much happening at the moment with Edinburgh going through its post Festival lull and the onset of winter a harsh reality as temperatures dip. There still seems to be an inordinate amount of rain which those of us living on the east coast are not quite so used to. Generally the west coast and Glasgow in particular are more usually drenched in outbursts of continual rain whilst we battle our days through high winds. The rain and wind combination however is not a good thing and one or the other-preferably neither but how likely is that? – will suffice.

I did spend a wet afternoon wandering round the vast expanse of the Summerhall complex this week and there is certainly enough going on there to keep you interested for several hours. Of particular note is Venus with Severed Leg, a room of photographs of Vivienne Westwood in the Sex shop – also the birthplace of the Sex Pistols-in the seventies. These photos are an impressive document of recent history and the surprising thing is how contemporary the images and styles are. It is all the more impressive as it concerns an industry where seasonal change is a necessity but these photos confirm the traditional maxim that fashion comes and goes but true style is timeless.

Another worthwhile exhibition is the room housing glass cases filled with seemingly random and oblique various artefacts and collectables. Thus posters of Joseph Beuys rub shoulders with Patti Smith badges and bandaged shoes share space with Salvador Dali and Man Ray images as well as items which many would dismiss as trash but closer inspection reveals something a lot more tangible and worthy of inclusion..  Summerhall also houses the controversial OWWO exhibition and now that the fuss surrounding that exhibition has died down it is left to the art to stand on its own and this it does quite successfully.

Next week however sees Neu! Reekie shift to these premises also for their first regular monthly slot after eighteen months at the Scottish Book Trust. This is preceded by an excursion to Glasgow tonight at the Poetry Club in Eastvale Place which looks like being a more than worthwhile excursion westward.

Out in the cinema today is a documentary about the Empress of Fashion and former Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. A centrifugal iconoclastic figure of the social hub of nineteen sixties New York, Vreeland was there to document the changing social strata and the emergence of new ideas as epitomised by the Youthquakers. It is an interesting film but it does not reveal anything too revelatory and insightful and Vreeland comes across as self obsessed and almost clinically cold and detached from real emotion. The claims made about her during the film are predictably overstated and grandiose- as is the case with this sort of films- but then again so was Vreeland as witnessed by the many never seen before interviews included. A full review can be found here.

Despite there being not much going on at the moment I have managed so far not to succumb and watch one episode of the X-crutiating Factor. Seriously I thought after last years dismal run the producers –and TV executives- may have reconsidered polluting out screens with this worthless drivel parading sad hopefuls with fragile egos and an endless supply of hard luck tales. As the nights draw in though it is only a matter of time until I am in on a Saturday night and the unwelcome gravitational pull of televisual slop drags me into its insincere clutches. Until that moment though I will hold my head high and act superior towards anyone who can’t find anything better to do with their weekends but until then only my smugness is keeping me warm until it is an acceptable time of year to put the central heating on.

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