JUST AN OBSERVATION

The_Trama_Dolls_LogoJust An Observation Thursday August 28th

Ahhh, relax and breathe!
That is the Fringe over –the Festival proper continues until the weekend but no-one really pays that much attention anymore- and I can honestly say that I have felt it this year to be particularly strenuous whilst finding it hard to recall when I felt more disengaged with the whole thing. Don’t get me wrong I saw some excellent shows, ‘Silk Road’, ‘Travesti’, ‘Boxman’ and Bianco: No Fit State Circus were obvious highlights, but for some reason I found the whole thing quite insufferable and on occasions thoroughly irritating.
It would seem for Edinburgh residents-of which I am one- there is little consideration at this time of year when profit margins and late night licences are all that matter in what has become a profit making enterprise where the artistic endeavours of its founding principles are forgotten. Of course the Fringe is good business but I fear that Edinburgh Council have little or no regard for its residents who are subjected to having their town invaded and taken over for the best part of a month.
Fair play to the Gilded Balloon however who at least offer some recompense to the city’s inhabitants by offering them discount prices to shows two days a week as a means of encouraging them to feel part of the events surrounding them as opposed to merely finding it an inconvenience; try getting served in your usual local bars and eateries never mind getting a seat in them if you don’t believe the Fringe is an irritant. As for the nightly fireworks well I can only say that whilst I disagree with the Ice Bucket Challenge there were several nights when trying to get some peace at home I would quite happily have doused those fireworks in several balloon loads of iced water to dampen the noise, if not the spirits.
It would also seem that the Fringe seems to be spreading geographically and areas which previously provided a bolthole from the madness are now also getting involved. Therefore Leith and the New Town which in the past provided a safe haven for those who needed to escape the madness after a hard day’s work are now also getting involved and the success of these ventures means that next year many more will attempt to replicate their success.
Unfortunately this is not always a good thing as there seems to be little in the way of a filter system in place and more doesn’t always mean more when it comes to quality. Unfortunately I feel this will only serve to disconnect the Edinburgh people even further with the Fringe when in reality something to make them connect with it as more than an inconvenience would be preferable.
Back to my other gripe of the week then: The Ice Bucket Challenge! Right let me start by saying that charity is important and the fact that people want to contribute is heartening. What isn’t so heartening is that some don’t seem to consider their actions and it becomes closer to coercion and bullying which in my mind is not charitable no matter how you look at it.
Many of the same people who took part in this also took place in many of the marches and demonstrations for Palestine only several weeks ago. The irony that the cause they were marching for was for a population who have very little fresh water at their disposal due to it being deliberately contaminated. How these same people are able to console throwing buckets of water away needlessly then is beyond me. It would seem it is now a matter of charity of the week and even then only if it is a spectator sport.
I was nominated twice for the Ice Bucket challenge and twice I refused not because I disagree with the motives behind it- I am playing a charity gig with The Trama Dolls tonight in the Safari Lounge and have volunteered to work in a charity shop so I give my time as well as money- but because those who nominated me were doing it as a means of ritual humiliation. Yes, very charitable!
Elsewhere it would seem that Kate Bush’s return to the stage after thirty five years has been met with predictably rapturous reviews. I was pleased to note that her set list dispenses with much of her early work –apart form a few notable exceptions, mainly the singles, I found her early repertoire hard to swallow- and concentrates almost exclusively on her later work. For me personally ‘Hounds of Love’ is where her interesting work truly begins-‘The Dreaming’ started her experimental phase but ultimately falls short- and where she started to make sense to me. Very brave of her to adapt the second half of that album, the conceptual piece ‘The Ninth Wave’, and put it in a live setting. I am sure that the start studded audience on the opening night including Grace Jones, Madonna and Bjork, were all taking notes for future reference so expect to see them all upping their game.
Anyway the first weekend after the Fringe is nearly upon us and as I mentioned earlier The Trama Dolls are making an appearance at a benefit gig tonight at The Safari Lounge at 7.45. It is not however a gig proper and they will merely be debuting their own new material as well as a couple of other more familiar tunes. It is worth noting however that the bad weather which plagued the city during tourist season seems to have departed with them, as it arrived with them also it must be said, and apart from the final round of Fireworks this Sunday- Ice Bucket Challenge anybody?- it is all nearly over for a few weeks and Edinburgh belongs to its residents for a few weeks. Well at least until the next round of students arrive.

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