Just an Observation

Whilst it is disappointing that summer seems to be delayed, seemingly in no hurry to get here anytime soon, it is even more frustrating that Simon Cowell and his merry band of annoying Britain’s got Delusions cohorts seem to have moved on from taking over the weekend TV schedules to occupying every night of the week virtually uncontested.
I know it is a pointless question but who actually watches this shit and why is it so popular?
Are we really that vacuous a nation or have we just surrendered ourselves to hours and hours of mundane offerings with little relevance or meaning and why are there so few alternatives? Almost as smug –possibly even more powerful- as David Cameron, Simon Cowell holds court over the proceedings like some latter-day pimped up Nero in Raybans with bog brush hair. Has there ever been anyone more naff and more challenged than challenging?
It really is a sad state of affairs for British television that whole schedules are arranged around this sort of thing simply to find an act for that other TV ‘highlight’ the Royal Variety Show!
A few weekends ago I looked at the TV listings guide and wondered what decade or even century we were living in when I noticed that Sunday night viewing consisted of the sixties stalwart ‘Sunday Night at The Palladium’ on one channel whilst the BBC were showing that bastion of seventies Sunday fare ‘Poldark’ on the other. I managed ten minutes of the latter before realising that French and Saunders weren’t going to suddenly appear and it was a serious attempt at drama.
It is not all bad however and there is a lone piece of genius in the shape of ‘Peter Kay’s Car Share’ which if you haven’t seen then I recommend you catch on BBC iPlayer while you still can. It isn’t often I laugh out loud at comedy but I did to this which although brilliantly observed and well written it was the two main performances and chemistry between Kay and Sian Gibson which really took it to another level.
Things are hotting up-hopefully literally- around this year’s Film Festival which starts on June 17th and runs until the 28th. Attracting most of the interest and attention is a documentary by Grant McPhee Big Gold Dream: Scottish Post Punk and Infiltrating the Mainstream about an especially vibrant and exciting time in Edinburgh’s musical history which precipitated a cultural shift in the city’s landscape which resonates even today. It was a time when many teenage lives, including mine, exploded from drab black and white into vibrant colour even if said colours were more often than not drab black and grey! Rules were broken and rethought about this time and it was probably the first time-in many ways it was also possibly the last- a generation took matters into their own hands and shaped their own futures!
This is a particularly interesting film for me as it is a scene I fell into in my mid-teens and met many of the participants, several of which I am proud to call friends even to this day. From the cast of thousands expect insights, humour mixed with colourful anecdotes and hopefully obligatory bitching from the likes of Davy Henderson, Robert King, Fay Fife. Jo Callis, Edwyn Collins, Allan Campbell and Alan Mc Gee. Also expect some excellent and previously unseen footage from the likes of The Fire Engines and The Scars. It is also good to see the Edinburgh musical scene at last getting the recognition it wholly deserves as usually documentaries focussing on this time and location are more Glasgow-centric. Premiering on the 19th of June at The Filmhouse this is definitely a hot ticket although there is a further showing at the Odeon on Lothian Road the following Saturday 27th.
Other highlights of the festival look to be Amy a documentary about the tragic short life of Amy Winehouse and Imagine Waking up Tomorrow and All Music Has Disappeared which is a fascinating insight into the mind of true musical maverick Bill Drummond. Of course there are bound to be many more films of interest but I will need to study the programme a little closer and give recommendations nearer the time.
This weekend’s highlights include The Design Market at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Market Street which features many talented teams and individuals from the city’s creative hub including the fabulous Tessuti, Workhorse Press, A Pair of Blue Eyes and many others. Tomorrow night sees the Fini Tribe return to Paradise Palms with guests including Scott Ferguson (Robot 84). This a sort of warm up for their big night as part of Neu Reekie’s extravaganza on June the 9th also featuring The Young Fathers, at Central Hall which I am unfortunately going to miss as I am attending Patti Smith’s performance of her seminal album Horses in Glasgow that night. However I will be back in town for the obligatory after party! Can’t miss that now! Can I ?

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