Just An Observation Friday May 17th


 With two and a half –count ‘em- months until the Festival madness kicks into gear and the Royal Mile becomes taken over by tourists and so-called entertainment types the famous street, housing a castle at one end and a palace at the other, has been in receipt of a fair amount of action and attention this week in two very separate incidents taking place only a few yards from each other.

 First, Tuesday evening saw a pharmacy being held up whilst  customers and staff were held hostage for several hours. The drama unfolded early evening after a couple supposedly in search of their latest fix and planning a drug haul- let’s face it there can be little other reason for holding up a pharmacy unless a lifetime supply of haemorrhoid cream is your goal- and the street was cordoned off until the police tasered the aggressors and released the hostages.

 Drama number two occurred only two days later involving Nigel Farage of the obnoxious UKIP party on an ill advised visit to a bar only several yards away. Intolerant of his views the feisty Scots gathered outside a pub he was enjoying a pint in and demanded for his expulsion by gathering and chanting ‘Scum, scum’ until he was forced to retreat. Never one to miss an opportunity Farage referred to the incident as the ugly side of nationalism and typically used the event as a means of comparing the Scots less favourably with our counterparts down south who are far more ‘enlightened’ and voting for him in worryingly ever growing  numbers.

 Whilst I agree totally with the sentiments of the protesters what impressed me was the fact the majority of them seemed to be from what I have recently termed the complacent younger generation. The fact they seemed to have removed their attention from their laptops, phones etc. was perhaps what impressed me the most and shows that maybe there is a bit more hope for them and they do actually have a sense of propriety and principle if the situation occasions it. Maybe they will get around to making some decent music and produce a worthwhile act next!

 What with all this action in a short space and the God-awful weather to go with it – sleet, snow, blazing sunshine, gusting wind, hail and torrential rain all made separate appearances in a two hour time slot on Monday alone- it really felt as if the Festival had come early this year.

 After all this excitement the big disappointment of the week for me though has to have been  the arrival of the new Daft Punk album. The fact it is not released until Monday is neither here nor there as leaks on the internet necessitated an official streaming. The hype which had preceded this had prepared us all for a classic album and a comeback to rival that of Bowie’s who has really shown everyone how it should be done. Again. Instead the resulting album with a host of impressive collaborators- Niles Rodgers, Giorgio Moroder and Julian Casablancas- came over all self consciously funky and, even worse, a ‘try hard’ effort. Overly long , over indulgent and over indulged it is an album housing a series of missed opportunities which could –with severe editing and better programming- have been great. A full, review and chance to listen to the album in its entirety can be found here.

 Tonight sees an interesting gig at the Leith Links Cricket Club- I know it hardly sounds rock and roll and it is reminiscent of Phoenix Nights but give it a chance with local-and QT- favourites the recently dubbed ‘coolest band in Scotland’ HRH headlining. Other acts include The Priscillas , Paul Vickers and Et Tu Brute??? are also on the bill and at only £4 entry and cheap drink all night what is not to like? Starting at 7pm and going on until 1am it is definitely worth checking out.

 Today however I am off to see the Baz Luhrmann interpretation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary classic –and personal favourite- ‘The Great Gatsby’. I approach the film with an open mind but also mixed feelings as it is to me –and a host of others- one of those books which perhaps should  really not be touched. It is particularly poignant at the moment as I attended a party several weeks ago where we danced under the stars with a collection of beautiful and glamorous people whilst live musicians belted out songs for our entertainment as the drink flowed freely against the backdrop of 300 acres of forest and I remember commenting to a young girl who waltzed by in fabulous furs- fake I presume- ‘It’s like being in ‘The Great Gatsby’. The film has a lot to live up to then and hopefully Luhrmann is the man to do it.

 Not been impressed by much on television recently but catch up introduced me to a new drama set in Northern Ireland; ‘The Fall’. All the prerequisites of good modern television are there including Gillian Anderson as visiting police officer out to assist in a baffling case and former Calvin Klein underwear model Jamie Dornan as  the fit, good looking slow burning psychopath. The first episode whetted my appetite for more and occupying the same time slot on a Monday at 9pm –although on BBC2 without the irritation of constant adverts interrupting the dramatic flow- as recent success ‘Broadchurch’,it could become a cult classic.

Mind you if you prefer your drama more realistic you could simply hang around the Royal Mile and wait for lightning- now there is something missing from our weather line up this week so far- to strike thrice!

    • David Findlay
    • May 17th, 2013

    A veritable public relations coup for Nigel Farage! Come to Scotland, get thrown out of a pub, get thrown out of a taxi, get carted off in a police paddywagon, throw a hissy fit on BBC Scotland and slam down the phone – i think he could do with the services of a Max Clifford. Oh but wait a minute…

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