Archive for July, 2017

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation

Well less than a week to go until the Fringe kicks off officially and already the streets are busying up.However to add to the chaos of all the road works, especially around the Leith Street area where the demolition of the St. James Centre has been causing problems before this busy season, there is the added prospect of the new security barriers/gates stationed in the Royal Mile and its surrounding areas to add to the confusion and frustration.
Whilst I think it is admirable that the council are at least implementing safety measures and can now be seen to be doing something, I do question whether this is the wisest decision. Apparently they are in place to prevent terror attacks such as the one on London Bridge where a vehicle ram-raided several victims injuring many and killing eight. However as the congested traffic of the Fringe rarely moves at little more than two miles per hour- a slight exaggeration maybe- if at all then the likelihood of anyone gaining enough speed in their vehicle to cause any serious harm is highly unlikely. My attentions run more to the Manchester Arena attack wherein a suicide bomber had his targets inside a venue and struck there. These security gates may slow down entry to the busiest area of the town at its peak time of the year but they will also slow down any escape if something tragic was to occur in this designated area. I am sure the council have considered this and have safety measures in place but if not these gates pose more of a risk than anything else.
As for the Fringe itself, as said before the streets are hotting up and yesterday the Royal Mile was in full flow. I can only imagine it is a matter of time before I am shouting at dithering tourists to get out my way; a matter only made worse if it is raining and judging by summer 2017 so far I think this is already an inevitability. Then again we may have used up our rain supplies for this year already. I certainly hope so.
Elsewhere the BBC and Channel 4 have been celebrating 50 years of gay rights and the repeal of anti-homosexual laws in 1967. Watching some of these documentaries, films etc. has brought it hom to me how far we have come in the last fifty years and how much society has changed its attitudes with each successive generation. It is quite bewildering to think of the fear the gay community lived in before these changes in the law were made. Now being gay has been subsumed by mainstream media and culture not that the work is ever done as there is always someone trying to inflict their bigoted and harmful views and opinions on any impressionable minds willing to listen. In the main though the last fifty years are definitely something to celebrate and reflect upon.
In complete contrast over in the Trumpton States of America Trump has announced that transgendered people can no longer serve in the military. Whether this is legal or not has still to be confirmed but it does beg the question who is actually pulling his strings behind the scenes. Certainly his tweets reveal am impetuous, irresponsible and irrational egotist but the systematic removal of the heads of significant departments in a manner of months shows a calculated mind I honestly don’t think he possesses. His outbursts and tantrums are merely a front to distract from the evil going on behind the scenes.
Out today is the long-awaited new Arcade Fire album and on first listens mighty impressive it is too. Less sprawling than their last offering and its lead off single- and title track- Everything Now would have been the perfect summer anthem if we had had any kind of summer at all.
Oh well, at least we have the Fringe to look forward to!

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JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation

So it transpires the British Biased Corporation are a little bit sexist in the way they decide what rate of pay to pay their ‘stars’. It would seem that if you are of the male persuasion then it is highly likely that you will be paid considerably-quite considerably- more than if you are female. It makes me wonder whether the recent appointment of Jodie Whittaker as the long overdue first female Dr. Who is simply a money-saving exercise disguised as a step into the more gender fluid and equality based 21st Century, but we will come back to that later.
It wasn’t just the gender based pay gap which was shocking however but the actual levels of pay themselves were quite astounding: Chris Evans on over 2 million basic, Gary Lineker on 1.5 million, Graham Norton on 850, 000 and trailing behind the highest paid female Claudia Winkleman on 500, 000.
It would seem that the more irritating you are the higher you get paid- Gary Lineker is probably the least irritating out of this bunch although his Twitter response was regarded as smug but was really just a misjudged attempt at irony- and why anyone would want to pay Vanessa Feltz £350,000 for anything other than to just go away permanently is beyond me.
There has been talk since the pay gap was revealed that perhaps by lowering the male salaries to bring them onto line with those of the females is a solution but somehow I can’t really see that happening. Can you?
Meanwhile whilst this debacle was raging its way through the headlines and stealing the limelight the government very sneakily brought in an earlier start to new legislation raising the retirement age to 68. Funny there was no mention of this in their manifesto before the election. It is almost like they thought it might lose them votes and therefore best not to position it alongside such sure-fire election winners such as Fox Hunting and the Dementia Tax. I mean Really!
Back to the other BBC scandal this week which was the appointment of the first female Dr. Who, Jodie Whittaker. Personally I can’t see what the fuss is about as the idea of a time travelling alien with two hearts who can regenerate almost at will whilst flying around in a blue 1960’s style police box is hardly grounded in reality itself. It could certainly introduce a new slant on the ‘it’s bigger on the inside’ line frequently used in the programme.
I feel similar to how I felt when John Barrowman played Captain Jack Harkness –in both Dr. Who and its anagram spin-off Torchwood- that it was a huge and positive step forward for gay role models on television. I mean a gay man who is not only immortal with special powers but also on the right side of good-looking was a new thing on television.
The fact that Barrowman went onto blow it by going all musical theatre on us is irrelevant; it was the fact that gay men could be shown in a positive light that was new. What was important was the belief that he was virtually indestructible which meant that he didn’t have to die or suffer too much for his perceived sins which was both innovative and refreshing. Somewhere out there teenage boys struggling with their sexuality had a positive role model that could make them feel better about themselves as opposed to troubled gay men on TV who came beset with a whole set of issues merely to make them appear interesting and give them a raison d’etre. The other TV stereotype was the mincing queen which was generally stripped of any sexuality at all. Barrowman ushered in a new breed of desirable gay men.
I am hoping Whittaker has the same impact on young girls and helps to break down the socially constructed binary gender rules which have been stifling western growth for generations. Hopefully this is a step forward in smashing those restrictive walls. On a personal level she is lovely as I met her during last year’s film festival when she was promoting her film Adult Life Skills and we even danced at a cailidh –Kim Cattrall also joined us- so I can now say I have actually danced with Dr. Who. And she was a FEMALE! Bonus!
Now let’s hope she is paid accordingly and at the same rate as previous Doctors.
Still struggling with the upcoming Fringe and have ‘narrowed down’ my possible shows to a slightly impossible sixty-six so a bit more streamlining is needed. It doesn’t help that it still all seems so far away-even though it is only two weeks- as the weather still feels like it is late winter/early spring. I wish it would hurry up and catch up before the summer is over and it hasn’t even started!