Just an Observation Friday November  16th


 Wandering around town yesterday I felt as if I had been secretly abducted and hurtled, via a time machine, forward into the twenty fourth of December or at the very earliest the twenty third. So entrenched in Christmas was the experience with the incessant musical loops –if I hear Wizzard and Slade once more I will likely kill an innocent bystander thus, no doubt thankfully, shortening someone’s present list- constant references to the festive season wrapped up in inane chat and the frustrated and haunted look on most peoples faces giving away their true feelings toward this season which has lost so much sight of what it once was.

To be honest I enjoy Christmas as much as anyone else-probably more so by the looks on peoples faces yesterday as they apparently already pondered their New Year credit card bills- but the whole thing is out of control. After checking that the date really was only the fifteenth of November the next thing which struck me was the corporate blandness of what was on sale as far as the high street is concerned. As an antidote to this over the next few weeks I am going to feature several shops away from the mainstream which offer imaginative gifts which will act as an alternative to the standard offerings on offer.

Top of my list already are Tippi- a brand new retro emporium just opened in Bruntsfield this very week- and Iconic which has been fulfilling the same criteria but in a wholly different fashion for several years in the Grassmarket. Both shops are run by highly individual characters with unique and different perspectives and the shopping experience encountered on entering is a refreshing cure to the insincere, sycophantic and ultimately false posturing found on the high street which usually has the opposite effect- as far as I am concerned-of making me want to stay on the premises much less buy anything. A full review of Tippi can be found here whilst more info on Iconic can be found here. As stated before I will be exploring other retail outlets over the next few weeks hopefully inspiring more individual choices when embarking on the inevitable Christmas shopping experience.

Mind you my hatred of mainstream shopping will not include turning down an invite to the Harvey Nichols Christmas party next week. However it has become less of a party over the last few years and far more of a shopping experience which is what it was meant to be all along. I still miss the days of picking up a beer on the first floor before excessive amounts of champagne on the second floor then making my wayward way up to the fourth floor where a selection of snacks-including the inevitable and dreaded mince pies- accompanied by free flowing cocktails before making an impulse and completely inappropriate purchase. Actually the latter is more wishful thinking on the part of the retailers after plying us with such vast amounts of alcohol but unfortunately –for them at least- I never buy clothes under the influence as this tends to lend itself to mistakes.

Before that however I have to get this weekend out of the way first and the highlight looks like being the Opium Kitchen gig at the Citrus Club tonight at 7pm. Made up of five talented individuals and stalwarts on the Edinburgh music scene it looks as if it may be one of Edinburgh’s home-grown musical highlights of the year. Promising 1991 prices at the bar is only further incentive as far as I am concerned and favourable reports about  the support acts-The Wrong Boyfriends and The 23’s- are also emerging so it looks like being a memorable night for all concerned. A full preview of what to expect can be found here.

Unfortunately this means I have to miss Envelope 4 at The Institute featuring the amazing violin virtuoso Richard Moore playing alongside two silent movies one of which looks like it may be a selection by Harold Lloyd, although this has yet to be confirmed. These evenings have been a great success so far and this one looks like it will be especially memorable as it will be Moore’s last performance here for a while before decamping back to London for the foreseeable future tomorrow. A full review of Envelope 3 can be found here whilst the opening instalment is appraised here.

That is it then, the weekend starts here and it may well be the last one before Christmas takes over our every waking hour-what we have had to endure so far is only the beginning- so it is probably best to reclaim what is rest of your life before you have to involuntarily succumb to the inevitable.

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