Just An Observation Friday  October 18th


Rain, rain and more rain seems to be the topic du jour. With apparently the coldest winter in decades-I thought 2009 and 2010 harsh enough- apparently on the horizon then I suppose a little rainfall is probably merely the hors d’oeuvre in the weather stakes and allows a little time for both preparation and resignation. Perhaps it is time to stock up on the cashmere-it is always time for that- and the fashion show I attended last week unveiling Pringle’s new collaborative archive collection modelled on original designs from Grace Kelly’s wardrobe would be perfect. Beautiful pieces created out of Scottish cashmere they are definitely on my wish list but with my funds more limited than the designs themselves-starting prices are around £500- it is on my wish list that they will be staying.

 It is also around this time of year when the lure of nights in becomes quite appealing. I also stupidly hope for the fact that there may actually be something decent to watch on the television but with every passing year this seems to be a hope even more futile than the year before. The BBC series ‘Peaky Blinders’ finished its run last night and I must admit that both the opening and closing episodes were amazing pieces of television but unfortunately the four episodes in between failed to ignite and I often found my attention wavering. In fact if it had not been for the vertiginously cheek-boned Cillian Murphy I may have given up after that first episode and I feel I am not alone in this.

 What was worthwhile this week however was Stephen Fry’s look into homophobia in different parts of the world; Uganda, America, Brazil and Russia came under the microscope. Usually I find Fry slightly insufferable and unctuous although I respect and recognise his intellect. If only he didn’t feel the need to draw attention to it quite so often himself then I feel I may be more swayed into paying attention to exactly what it is he is saying.

‘Out There’ on BBC2 –once a hinterland but now seemingly a safe haven for anything worthwhile the BBC has to offer- was certainly a brave and necessary endeavour on Fry’s part and was for the most also a successful one. Fry’s insistence of hectoring and talking down his opponents was typical of him and although his indignation was well placed I thought during his sequence interviewing Vitalay Milinov, responsible for introducing a law which bans ‘promoting homosexuality’ and more or less condoning homophobia, was cut short when Fry announced he was going to prevent him from making a fool of himself on camera. Why? Surely this was a perfect opportunity for Milinov to show how ridiculous his ideologies were and Fry rather than arguing with him in the same outraged manner should have allowed him to go on and spout ever more ridiculous bile induced rhetoric. This was one of those occasions where his silence would have been a more effective tool and weapon.

 A particularly heart breaking scene though was when the mother of a Brazilian teenager recounted the events of her son’s death. Telling the tale of her son  she revealed he wasn’t even yet an adult when he was abducted, abused then tortured relentlessly before having the final indignity of spending his last moments on Earth being strangled by his own t-shirt. It was a distressing account and to see the mother’s dismay, lack of comprehension and utter heartbreak spoke more about homophobia than a thousand interviews no matter how well meaning.

 Fry did do a good job here and the subject matter is obviously very close to his heart. Whilst the situation in Russia shows no signs of improving- one in four gay teens attempts suicide- by bringing these issues out into the open and giving them a platform can only be a step in the right direction.  Fry made a poignant observation that out of the twenty four species of animals which display homosexual tendencies there is only one that shows signs of homophobia and that is humans who consider themselves the most evolved of any species. Obviously the opposite is true in certain cases.

 Talking of over opinionated people I have just started reading Autobiography by Morrissey. Just released this week as a Penguin Classic- typically presumptuous and droll Morrissey- the opening passages are filled with descriptions of his childhood Manchester as a land that the swinging sixties and time forgot. Instead they are endless streets to confine and define and the rotting stench of death and fear left by Hindley and Brady leaving Manchester in monochrome greyish blacks and whites as the rest of the world exploded into psychedelic colour.

 Like Fry, Morrissey can occasionally be insufferable but he is also an exceptional artist in his sphere and at times has been a totally necessary one. I personally was aware of him even before the Smiths due to a mutual obsession of the New York Dolls so he has been on my radar for longer than I care to imagine. He has continued to fascinate and exasperate in equal measure ever since but at times if I don’t understand him then I can often console myself that even he doesn’t properly understand himself either. One thing I don’t understand though is how such a devoutly British artist allowed his work to be delivered in Americanese. Thus we have color instead of colour and endeavor rather than endeavour just to mention two examples. Disappointing!

 The big question will be whether he reveals his much discussed and debated sexual orientation; like it even matters. The message has been clear to those in the know from the earliest Smiths days due to the lyrics and the iconography of the cover stars on each newly released record: Joe Dallesandro, Candy Darling, Truman Capote and Jean Marais among them. Many have maligned Morrissey for not being open about his sexuality but personally I thought he was right in this and it was just that he didn’t make it something to define him as artist. He was covering so many other important topics at a time when music had become vacuous, bland pop that his sexuality was of little significance in comparison. It also cleverly allowed him to retain a little of that rarer and rarer commodity known as mystique. I wonder whether bare-all ‘celebrities’ such as the Kardashians will still be of interest thirty years-thirty minutes even- down the line.

The welcome return of several club nights in November give me something to look forward to in the run up to Christmas. First up is Hot Mess on November 1st at the Wee Red Bar after a lengthy sabbatical on the west coast for the past year or so. Also there is the second instalment of the Rammed live music/ club experience at the Voodoo Rooms on November 16th with an appearance by Teen Canteen who are making big waves on the scene at the moment. More about this night in the next few weeks but it is definitely a date to save. There is also the Joy 20th anniversary party at Studio 24 the following week-the 23rd– and for anyone who went clubbing in the nineties and the early years of the noughties this will be one not to be missed.

 I therefore am staying in this weekend in the company of that belligerent Mr. Morriseey and a ten ton bag of Bombay Mix and may take the time spent in to polish up  my many pairs of dancing shoes in preparation for a fun filled November.

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