Just an Observation
Iconic front

Well it would seem that Christmas cheer for lovers of live music in the capital is not on the agenda. The sad news this week that the Picture House on Lothian Road which has hosted many great bands and gigs over the last few years is closing down for refurbishment will have saddened many. If rumours are to be believed then when it does re-open after refurbishment then it will be as part of the Wetherespoons chain. Exactly what Edinburgh needs? Not really!
I bemoaned the fact that gradually any sense of character and individuality was being eradicated from this city several months ago and this news just hammered it home even further. As far as live venues in this town go there is nowhere mid sized for bands to play when they are at that stage when they have graduated out of playing toilet cubicles and before they have hit the Playhouse/ Usher Hall levels of fame. Unless you count the Corn Exchange, Which I don’t!
It is the same situation with cinemas although the Cameo and Filmhouse struggle on valiantly against the corporate sterile blandness of such soul sucking places such as the Omni Centre and Cineworld with their predictable round of Hollywood blockbusters. Mind you persuading people into these independent venues as opposed to the bright shiny new ones is a job in itself and even within my friends I must admit it is often a battle of wills.
Another unfortunate downside to this is that many bands will now boycott Edinburgh in favour of Glasgow which somehow manages to support its thriving live music scene in a way its East Coast sister can’t quite ever seem to manage. Despite it being less than an hour away by train that last train home-which is not always possible to make and sometimes the choice is leaving gigs early or be stranded- is a disheartening and dispiriting experience guaranteed to bring down any euphoric high already attained.
It has not always been this way however and Edinburgh too once had a great live music scene. I had high hopes for the Odeon in South Clerk Street but they all came to nothing and this was yet another wasted opportunity. If things continue in this vein then all Edinburgh is going to be left with is the Fringe and the Christmas Fair neither of which caters to its residents but instead target the tourist industry. It is a sad state of affairs indeed.
Talking of the Winter Wonderland it would seem that this year what most people seem to be wondering is how come everything seems to cost so much more but at the same time is providing so much less. The ice rink is the size of a postage stamp whilst the rides are extortionate-more expensive than London apparently- and don’t even start me on the quality and expense of the tat for sale. Warmed mulled cider and wine are little more than a blatant rip off and from what I can see there is little of the Christmas spirit whatsoever and nothing other than money grabbing commercial opportunism. Mind you from what I can gather perhaps that is actually the Christmas Spirit of the 21st century.
At this juncture I feel it is only right that I point people in the direction of independent shops such as Iconic in the Grassmarket, Tippi in Bruntsfield, Psychomoda in St. Mary Street or White Rabbit and Concrete Wardrobe in Broughton Street if you are looking for that gift which says a little more.
There are now less than two weeks until Christmas and as you can probably tell I have not been overwhelmed with festive cheer. Then again I very rarely am until about the 18th of December and feel this is quite sufficient time for a build up. Mind you matters are complicated even further this year due to the unseasonably clement climes we are experiencing for this time of year.
Several evenings in the last week have seen me turn my central heating off due to it being so warm. So much for the coldest November/ December predicted by the forecasters as early as September; I am not ruling out the fact the worst is yet to come but for the moment I am quite prepared to enjoy the fact it is warmer than we have come to expect during this season, However I also prefer not to go out too much at this time of year as I find the streets are filled with amateur drinkers with their party hats, back to front ties or hitched up skirts whilst drunken declarations of affection are invariably more than adequately counterbalanced by aggressive disagreements and fallouts. I shall therefore remain ensconced at home happy in my humbugging and Scrooging until the 18th.

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