Just An Observation Friday August 31st



 I am not sure what the greatest sense of relief is this week whether it is the end of the Fringe and visibility of pavements without the clutter of tourists or the fact the commons voted against an attack on Syria. The former we know will be an issue again in another eleven months but I fear the latter will be troubling us again long before that.

 Generally I steer away from discussing politics as I don’t feel informed enough to offer a valid-or often constructive- argument but I seriously could not understand how Britain standing ‘shoulder to shoulder’ –as that previous advocate of war Tony Blair put it- with America in an attack on Syria would help a desperate situation. War never really sorts out the real problem but instead usually creates a whole lot of other ones. As I said before despite a defeat in the Commons yesterday I fear we have not heard the last of this subject and the controversy will continue until those in power get their way. In which case does this make us any better than the regimes we are supposed to be opposing?

 As for the Festival yet again we have been informed that it was a record breaking year for ticket sales. Again the question must be raised is this actual sales or has it been translated into income generated. If it is the latter then surely that can be attributed to the price of tickets which generally exceeded the ten pound mark. This would certainly account for a higher turnover at the box office but having been out at the venues over the duration of the Fringe I can honestly say that it is no busier than any previous years. If I am wholly honest I must admit it felt quieter than usual and noticed a strong incline towards drama and theatre with a noticeable swerve away from comedy. I generally avoided comedy as I find it has worn itself out at the Fringe and is generally unfunny. Walking around the streets there seemed to be a lot of free tickets on offer for this genre in a desperate act to put bums on seats and make the venues appear fuller.

 Elsewhere this week Jamie Oliver has been getting up noses again by smugly commenting that the poor spend their money unwisely on ready meals and takeaways. Whilst I am a supporter of healthy eating and home cooked meals not everyone is equipped with the necessary skills whilst many trying to support themselves by working long hours simply don’t have the time or motivation after a long hard day at work. It is condescending of him from his elevated status and more privileged background to suggest otherwise. If he is that concerned about healthy eating at reasonable prices why did he open a restaurant on one of Edinburgh’s most exclusive streets-George Street or Spiegel Terrace as it was renamed for the Fringe!- and charge exorbitant prices for what is basically a bowl of pasta? Do his opinions mean so much to him that he has to pontificate but not enough to affect his own profits?

 This weekend an incongruous pairing sees The Orb perform at Leith Links as the closing act at the Edinburgh Mela. I am seriously looking forward to this despite rumours that they will be accompanied by a group of drummers. I don’t mind this too much as long as it is not Bongos. Living on the Meadows the sound of these being perpetually played by tie dyed trustafarians has quite sickened me of this particular sound. The thought of the mud scares me considerably less and a particularly dry summer-and more amazingly a warm and sunny Festival- I am hoping this will not be too much of an issue. I have always had a soft spot for The Orb and there ‘Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld’ album was a classic as well as a prerequisite at any after party for at least one generation of club-goers. The opening strains of ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’ still brings back memories of halcyon days- or should that be late nights/ early mornings?- so it is quite a coup to have them playing at The Mela.

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