Archive for June 16th, 2017


Just an Observation

Another week and another disaster unfolds and once again it is ordinary people going about their everyday business who have suffered either with the loss of their homes or more tragically their lives.
Whilst it is still unclear how many people actually died in the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in North Kensington earlier this week it is clear that the number seventeen being trotted out by the media at this stage is a gross under-exaggeration which borders on an outright lie. Certainly the unofficial figure being leaked by the fire fighters and police places the death toll around 150 which seems more of a realistic figure and, although I hope I am wrong, this could also be a conservative estimate.
It almost feels as if parts of the mainstream media are part of some conspiracy to cover up and shift the blame- imagine such a thing! – as not only are they willing to underestimate the death toll when usually exaggeration in the other direction is their norm but also they have named and shamed the person they claim responsible for the beginnings of the blaze due to a faulty fridge.
For me personally this is shameful behaviour when there had been many concerns from the residents regarding electrical power surges along with numerous requests for more stringent safety measures. Unfortunately the latter were met with a ten million pound refurbishment which involved plastic cladding outside the building to improve the building’s outer appearance to appease the views of the rich neighbours, no money set aside for sprinkler systems or smoke alarms or anything else which might actually, you know, save lives however. People were actually advised and therefore encouraged to stay in their homes in the event of fire so this is negligence on a huge scale.
The cladding seems to have actually acted as some kind of accelerant in the fire so serious questions need to be asked whole families have been wiped out in this ultimately avoidable tragedy.
In other sad news this week the original rock chick and carefree adventurous free spirit Anita Pallenberg passed away at 73. Although her actual musical contribution to rock and roll is a mere footnote her influence, impact and legacy is huge. Let us not forget that before she, alongside Marianne Faithfull, first hooked up with the Rolling Stones there was no such thing as a rock star girlfriend and in fact such a thing was actively discouraged by management and bands themselves.
Anita Pallenberg changed all this by entering the misogynistic and very male world of the Stones and lending them so much of her exotic appeal enabling them to escape the confines of their rivals, taking them to new and previously unimagined places with an added touch of exotic glamour bestowed on them by their association with Pallenberg.
Unfortunately she paid a high price for this relationship as she never escaped the limitations of her role as Rolling Stones girlfriend- she had affairs with three of their members- at least not in the eyes of the public.
In reality however she was so much more: a muse, confidante, artistic director, sounding board, wardrobe advisor and a huge influence whose input can’t ever be over-estimated. She created the rock chick look-long before even Marianne Faithfull- and she wore it magnificently into her latter years, never allowing age or the loss of her looks to humble her or extinguish that incandescent spirit.
Went to an amazing gig by Chrysta Bell at the Voodoo Rooms the other night and was blown away not just by the music but also the stage craft and the simple but hugely effective visuals. It was a stupendous gig and although it was busy enough it still should have been busier. It brough home to me how stagnant and insular the music scene is in Edinburgh and that its residents who always seem to be complaining about the lack of good artists and venues rarely venture out of anything not in their comfort zone.
I had mentioned this gig beforehand to several people who I knew would love it but was not surprised that not one of them bothered to show up. It seems that in Edinburgh people mainly go and see bands if they know the people in them and are reluctant to step outside of this mindset. I too am guilty of this but recently more and more I am finding that I want more nights out where I am not going out simply to support someone or something or even just to merely show face but because it is actually some thing I want to do: fun rather than duty in other words. It is the way forward!