Just An Observation


A relatively quiet week for me thus far this February. My main excursion for me was an outing to a pre-opening-i.e. not fully finished- intriguing new bar Woodland Creatures on Leith Walk which looks set to up the ante of bars in this often neglected and looked down upon area. Opening its doors to the public next week a full review and look into what this new drinking emporium has to offer Edinburgh will appear at the beginning of the week just prior to its official opening. All signs however already indicate that it should be a huge success.

Elsewhere confirmation came through yesterday that HMV are to close all five of their stores in Edinburgh-not sure where this leaves Fopp as they are owned by HMV and probably more likely to be missed that its flagship big brother- thus bringing to an end a very personal era for many. This had been further compounded by the Great British Album Round Up presented by Danny Baker on BBC4 over the last three nights which only furthered the sneaking suspicion that as music has crept further and further into different areas of our lives it has lost some of the potency and impact it used to have, on my generation particularly, and has almost become as much in the air, thus taken for granted, as electricity or running water.

Unfortunately this fact was articulated by none other than the usually odious Jeremy Clarkson when he stated that today’s generational habit of using the shuffle or skip button when listening to music had devalued the importance of the album plus the strange perverse pleasure of having to sit through some tracks you didn’t really like  because you had aligned yourself to a particular artist – and spent valuable money as free music was not an option in those days- your allegiance had to be total.

He was spot on with that as writing this I am listening to ‘L. A. M. F.’ by Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers which notoriously was beset by mixing troubles so profound that drummer Jerry Nolan quit in frustration and actually sounded like listening to a record as you sank into a muddy, murky swamp. None of this mattered however as it featured Johnny Thunders and the aforementioned Nolan whose previous band were the New York Dolls, my very own personal messiahs, and could do no wrong as they walked on water in preposterous high heels. The version I am listening to today thankfully is remastered and remixed into the classic record it should always have been but that still did not stop me from defending the original version to the death despite all its obvious shortcomings.

This kind of fierce loyalty does not seem to exist in today’s fickle world where- Clarkson again unfortunately- people make up two hour playlists to listen to in the background as they do something else. This seriously devalues music as a forceful art form of its own accord which deserves more attention than this considering the work and thought processes which go into producing a piece of music.

I used to spend days listening to an album- rushing home to the private sanctuary of my bedroom at every available opportunity as at that time music was not playing in every shop, bar etc.- until the point every detail had been absorbed and learnt by heart.  This was a point hit home by all guests on this programme-among them Boy George, producer Stephen Street and journalist Grace Dent- who had all spent hours in their bedrooms poring over every cover picture, lyric and guitar break seeing these things as some personal message from their chosen favourite artist to themselves. Even the back sleeves, with details about whomever else apart from the artist involved, and run out grooves with secret and witty messages held some form of interest and importance.

My other TV highlight this week is also my new personal favourite ‘The Hotel’ which lurches into even more ridiculous territory as the weeks roll by. Last weeks episode saw the cretinous owner Mark’s ever growing frustrations with his events manager the beyond camp Christian who seems to use his allotted time every week misguidedly getting into drag for no apparent reason other than the fact he wants to show the nation what an ugly woman he would make.

The last show had him organising a wedding fair to promote the hotel-actually he just made a phone call to a friend who used the forum to promote their own business instead- and decided it would be a good idea to appear in the wedding dress fashion show himself-?- much to Mark’s –and probably a good portion of the viewing public’s – dismay and disgust. I am not sure whether it was this action or his general inefficiency which got him the sack and saw him joining the dole queue. Coming in the week when gay marriage was legalised in England and Wales it could be seen as a highly relevant piece of television although whether it did the cause any good or caused more damage is up for debate.

As for the subject of gay marriage all I can say is ‘About fucking time!’

Surely a nation which advocates equality and fairness to everyone could no longer justifiably still class one section of society below all others for any reasons others than bigotry or ignorance. All those naysayers who claim that gays will make a mockery of their hallowed institution have nothing to worry about as heterosexuals have been doing that for decades. Haven’t they seen the Jeremy Kyle show or read the Daily Hell- formerly Mail- which happily parades marriage failures across our screens and newspaper pages?

Personally I think marriage is an outmoded custom that I cannot ever see myself feeling the need to engage in- never having been proposed to as yet may have something to do with this- but think it is a huge and important leap forward that gay people now have the right to choose whether they want to just like every other section of society. This alone is a given in any equal state. End of!

Out today is ‘Hitchcock’ which stars Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren. Those two alone should make it a great film –as far as performances go- and a full review will be posted as soon as it has been viewed. Elsewhere the opening of Woodland Creatures and its parties will take up the bulk of my time in the coming week although there is the prospect of a private showcase for fledgling superstar Homesick Aldo at the end of the month which I am busy involving myself in. Until then that is it and if anyone wants to send me a marriage proposal just contact my secretary who will compile a shortlist of the most eligible. Thank You!

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