Just an Observation
So 2016 really is the year that just keeps on taking!
Yet another legendary individual in the ever mutating form of Pete Burns was the latest victim in this the year of the reaper. Although considering Burns was hardly likely to be in the best of health after 300 cosmetic surgery procedures, something borne out by the most recent pictures of him looking bloated and dishevelled, there seemed something defiantly indestructible about him. However a massive cardiac arrest last Sunday resulted in his death at the premature age of 57, the same age as that of other eighties enigma, Prince, a mere six months ago.
Whilst Burns has nothing like the musical legacy nor the huge influence of Prince he was an influential and always interesting character on the musical and cultural landscape which sits at odds with today’s bland on bland pop confections with their carefully scripted and inoffensive sound-bites and stylist created looks.
Burns was a one-off and pioneering influence in the gender fluidity stakes long before Boy George and the other Blitz Kids emerged on the scene. Certainly I preferred his musical direction in Nightmares in Wax- ‘Black Leather’ was a perennial going out favourite in my younger years- to that of the Stock, Aitken and Waterman produced era.
There is however no denying the genius of ‘You Spin Me Right Round (Like a Record) the record which will always define Burns however as it was perfectly positioned in the mid-eighties capturing that era perfectly; it had the attitude of glam, punk and post punk but also the elements of pop blandness and manufacture which were about to engulf the music industry as personalities were replaced by brands.
Burns never matched this success again and descended into an addiction to cosmetic surgery procedures and appearing on reality TV shows as some sort of cartoon, caustic Cruella DeVille character; always watch-able if seldom likeable. Definitely a one-off individual the world is one more pioneering freak down and a less colourful place for it.
Scarier than Pete Burns and Halloween itself is just how Americanized Halloween has become.
Once a favourite of mine, Halloween has become a fancy dress party which has recycled the same punch-line one time too often and become a bore. I have noticed a grumbling about this on my social media sites with many bemoaning the loss of the traditional Scottish turnip lantern- the tumshie- with the more American pumpkin. It also used to be a much more local affair but now every bar, club and venue, not to mention bland TV Show, has its Halloween themed event.
It does prepare us for Christmas however and with the shops already full of lights, trees and ‘suggested’ presents it makes me realise how unprepared I am yet again for something that only happened five minutes ago! I am also assuming The Dome in George Street already have their decorations up outside!
With The American elections only a few weeks away and for anyone, like myself, who is still baffled by the inexorable rise of Trump I suggest- insist is perhaps a little too strong a word- you watch the Adam Curtis documentary HyperNormalisation on BBC iPlayer.
Looking at the fake and corrupt world the politicians and those in power have created for us to live in it becomes clear how someone like Trump can become a likely candidate for the White House as the lies peddled by various governments to fulfil their own agendas is quite frightening. What is even more frightening is how the public have swallowed those lies and gone along with them. The power axis has shifted however and now it is spiralling out of control hence the rise of the likes of Trump.
Looking forward to the PJ Harvey gig in Glasgow this coming week and although I was initially pretty unimpressed by her latest album ‘The Hope Six Demolition Project’ it has over time revealed itself to be a strong work which ranks alongside Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’ and Anohni’s ‘Hopelessness’ and ‘Ash and Ice’ by The Kills as one of 2016’s finest. Really, really looking forward to this one!
Tonight however sees the final explosive episode of the excellent ‘The Fall’ where the final outcome of the chilling dance between Paul Spector and Stella Gibson is still unclear as both have some pretty nifty and calculate footwork at their disposal. Forget Halloween nothing beats Jamie Dornan’s icy performance in the chills factor for out-and-out scariness!

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