Just An Observation Friday  September 13th


A short break after the Fringe madness and a chance for Edinburgh to settle down, after the departure of the hordes of tourists and the onslaught of incoming students, seems to have been cut short. It would seem that the early start of the Festival-accompanied by an earlier finish also-which for the first time ever began in July didn’t mean that the time in between these two events, when local residents can claim their city back and walk the pavements without being shunted around and talked at in unintelligible and frantic lingoes, was not in fact being extended as the arrival of students back in the second week of September has clearly made clear.

I am wondering whether Halloween is now at the beginning of October and Christmas is sometime in November as everything seems to be arriving earlier and earlier with each passing year. As far as the latter goes I would not be surprised as the last two weeks have seem festive items appearing on the shelves of some of the larger retail outlets and any minute I expect the first festive themed adverts to appear on television. If I see a Chanel No. 5 advert before November however this is when I know the world has gone mad and our calendar has been radically altered without anyone informing us!

 The end of the Festival this year ended with a bit of a whimper rather than a bang and that includes the Fireworks which let’s face it has become a bit played out and predictable. I opted for the Mela experience instead and headlining act, the Orb. Unfortunately so did about 95% of the population of Edinburgh and as I made my way down the thought which crossed my mind was exactly how is this going to work?  Everybody I knew in my extended circle seemed to have a ticket and Leith Links is hardly Wembley Stadium. As it turned out it didn’t work as the event was cancelled due to extreme high winds though in many ways I suspect this was one act of God the organisers were down on their knees praying for.

If the whole thing had gone ahead I have the feeling it would have been an unmitigated disaster with many disgruntled ticket holders unable to gain entry due to it being oversold. This was the crux of the problem as many believed they had purchased tickets to see The Orb rather than realising they had merely bought tickets to the Mela. The high winds therefore were probably more of a convenience than inconvenience for the organisers as I predicted a bigger disaster if the event had gone ahead.

 Last weekend saw the arrival of autumn with a very abrupt end to summer and its soaring temperatures. Actually autumn is probably my favourite season as it is both cleansing and fresh. It has been refreshing to actually have a selection of seasons this year and hopefully it means people will moan a little less about the weather although we all know that is unlikely seeing as it is virtually a national pastime if not an obsession.

 Unfortunately this also means the return of the X- Crutiating factor which I noticed has returned to our screens and, in act which doesn’t reek of desperation in the slightest, has re-installed the so, so –in her deluded surgically altered head at least- the outrageous Sharon Osbourne. Maybe I stand alone in this but I feel the woman is a faker and although her father -Don Arden-was an industry bigwig in the sixties he was also known as a tyrannical bully who was quite happy to use force to get what he wanted. I am sure there wasn’t a wind like the one which necessitated the cancellation of the Mela blowing the day that particular apple- or Sharon fruit- fell from the tree.

 Elsewhere on TV the new BBC series Peaky Blinders –BBC2 Thursdays at 9pm- looks like being a worthwhile effort. Starring Cillian Murphy-he of the ethereal blue eyes and impossible cheekbones- and set in the early 20th century, but including a sound track including Nick Cave and the White Stripes, it looks set to follow ‘The Fall’ as confirmation that the BBC can still produce outstanding dramas when it puts its mind to it.

 One criticism I have though-and this is about TV Dramas in general- is that the format of showing a series such as this in one hour weekly slots feels outmoded. Our culture is now used to box-sets where the viewer can watch multiple episodes in one sitting and this is now how people prefer to watch such things. It would be a brave move if schedulers realised this and then either showed such series’ over several consecutive nights or at the very least extended the hourly slot to two hours. The latter worked well for ‘The Killing’ on BBC4 so why not apply this tactic to our home-grown dramas? Our viewing habits have changed and this is something that needs to be taken into consideration.

 Coming up next month is the long awaited fourth album ‘Reflektor’ from one of my favourite bands, Arcade Fire,’ Always innovative and moving forward the title track shows that once again they are on track and following their own muse. Here is a taster of what to expect before the album’s release on October 29th.

 Picture above Cillian Murphy in ‘Peaky Blinders’

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