Just an Observation
Well I suppose at the end of a week when our Prime Minister responds to a legitimate question about his party’s systematic dismantling of the NHS with the inane response ‘Put on a proper suit, straighten up your tie and sing the national anthem’ then we can deduce that British politics has reached an all time low. And believe me there have been times over the last year when I did not think that was possible!
That this put down – a personal attack on Jeremy Corbyn who clearly does not measure up to Tory standards of dress codes- was met with loud guffaws, braying cheers and forced laughter usually only heard when a bullying employee is surrounded by obsequious subordinates desperate to curry favour shows not only what a state of disarray our political system is in but also what a bunch of uncaring and downright arrogant individuals the Tory party is made up of.
Meanwhile as the seemingly never-ending laughter went on and David Cameron looked even smugger than usual- hard to imagine I know- the original question about the NHS went unanswered as it does today and will probably remain so.
Meanwhile putting on a proper suit, straightening up your tie and singing the national anthem is about the only hope of survival any of us have in this country at the moment.
Certainly the fight seems to have gone out of most of the populace and whilst some sense of achievement is wrought from sharing articles and signing petitions on social media assuages our guilt and perpetuates our dismay regarding what is happening it very often makes little difference. This was only substantiated over recent weeks when junior doctors took the unprecedented action of going on strike to highlight their cause then had the conditions they were fighting against implemented anyway despite a huge groundswell of public support.
Perhaps if they had all put on proper suits, straightened up their ties and sung the national anthem as they worked all those anti-social hours with scant financial reward then there would be no problem at all!
Some good news for Edinburgh and its decrepit live music scene came with the recent announcement that the former Odeon cinema in South Clerk Street is to re-open as a much needed live music venue. On the downside it is under the auspices of Stefan King and his G1 group who have not so far managed to contribute much in cultural terms to the city’s landscape. It has to however be an improvement in the sorry state of affairs the city’s music scene finds itself in as far as the capital goes.
Apart from that The Odeon is where I cut my very young teeth at a time when the scene was vibrant and very much alive and thus holds very special memories for me personally. Among some of the bands I saw at this venue included The Clash, The Slits, The Buzzcocks, Joy Division, Blondie, Iggy Pop, The Rezillos, The Stranglers, Patti Smith and even The Cramps on their first UK tour when they were the incongruous support act for The Police who were still a relatively new band at this point.
All those bands had a significant part in my growing up experience and who knows maybe if I hadn’t been led astray down that rock and roll path to oblivion I may later have put on a proper suit, straightened up my tie and sung the national anthem.
On a sad note however I am sad to see The Parlour Bar in Duke Street closing down this weekend. One of the main contributory factors has to be the Edinburgh Council’s attitude to live music which prevented this bar from achieving its full potential regarding its original aims. Certainly it has played a major part in the renaissance of Leith and helped it become the cultural hotspot it has become over the last few years now that the centre of town has become a corporate nightmare.
This view regarding the city centre was only propagated when I attended the White gig at the Electric Circus last Friday where after fighting my way through the elements, my only complaint about the weather this week, I was herded into an overcrowded venue, forced to queue at the bar for an inordinate length of time- actually I didn’t do the queuing myself but you follow my drift- to eventually be served a spit of a drink in a plastic glass for just under a fiver.
The band themselves were very tight, professional and good fun for spotting which eighties song they were going to ‘borrow’ from next. At the concert’s denouement the exceptionally well behaved audience who had waved their smart phones around in perfect synchronicity with each other capturing every moment of the experience then filed neatly out into the next corporate venue where they would be overcharged some more as a means of convincing themselves they are having a good time. The singer did have a very nice sequined jacket on though and I was thinking I must get one of those!
However I may opt instead for putting on a proper suit, straightening up my tie and singing the national anthem.
Returning to The Parlour though and I will be very sad to see it go. It was a warm, friendly and interesting bar which attracted a good crowd and appealed to me even though I am not much of a frequenter of bars and pubs as a general rule. At the Parlour however I was always made to feel very welcome and always felt comfortable in its surroundings and by the people who went there. I am glad The Leith Depot has picked up their baton to some extent and Woodland Creatures and The Brass Monkey ensure that Leith is not the cultural wasteland it was many years ago. I will definitely make my way down to The Parlour over the weekend to bid them a fond farewell.
What I most definitely will NOT be doing this weekend is putting on a proper suit, straightening up my tie and singing the national anthem. Nor am I likely to do this on any other day, weekend or otherwise. Ever!

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