Archive for the ‘ JUST AN OBSERVATION ’ Category

JUST AN OBSERVATION


As far as UK politics goes this really is Panto season!
It would seem that after two and a half years of Brexit negotiations, corruption, lies and sheer effrontery the UK government in the hands of the Tories has turned the whole shambles into a shit-show that is the laughing stock of the world.
I mean who seriously after this week of Tory backstabbing, leadership challenges and camncelled votes on the most important issue in recent history can in all truth stand up and say they are proud to be British. If anything the term ‘British’ has become more of a concept than at any time since it first enterd into the national vocabulary. In effect the whole thing is a shambles which puts any panto to shame.
Watching Theresa May cling onto what little power she still has is a sorry sight that surely even she,entrenched in her delusional arrogance, must see is a humiliation too far.
Then again when you consider what is waiting in the wings to audition for the lead role for the next scene of the panto- Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, David Davis or the eternal buffoon that is Boris Johnson-then as much as it pains me to say this May might just be the best option yet; you know when I am actually saying this that things are really bad but the only thing the Tory party can truly be relied on is to provide us with a leader that is even worse than the one we already have. It is like they are trying to outdo any dystopian fictions by George Orwell or any other noted alarmist authors; however they are messing around with real people’s lives with scant regard for the implications of their actions’
It is totally shocking that any government would put its party infighting before the needs of its country but that is what we are witnessing on a daily basis.
Of course the reaction here is as frustrating as it merely incurs a shaking of the head, a little tut-tutting and then busying ourselves about on our daily business. Compare and contrast with the rioting in France over the last two weeks and it becomes clear a revolution on the street will never happen here when there are celebrities going through ‘tough times’ in a jungle or the final of the X- Factor has to be rushed home to.
In other words the reserve of the British simply doesn’t match its frustrations, anger and arrogance- the whole Brexit farce was a matter of arrogance that has resulted in Britain being shown exactly its position in the world and it is not quite what people expected nor is it what they wanted to believe.
At the moment I am simply glad that Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP are looking after the interests of Scotland in the face of treacherous behaviour from the rest of Westminster and providing the only real opposition to this rapidly collapsing government.
Elsewhere Christmas is in full swing but I have noticed the uncertainty of the country’s fate has tainted even that as the atmosphere out there on the high street is as challenging and angry as is to be expected when people are unsure about their futures. There is definitely a sense of hostility every time I have ventured into town- it is always rather stressed around this time of year but this feels as if there is an underlying difference I can’t quite get my head around- as nobody really knows what is going to happen or where they stand.
The deterioration of the high street doesn’t really help there and as for the Christmas Markets which basically just sell overpriced tat, alcohol and burgers I avoid them like the plague as they are a major part of the problem and offer no solution to the problem our retail industry faces. Local businesses which pay rent and rates throughout the year and keep an essential part of our heritage alive are what should be supported not some fly-by-night operation which swoops in adding little to our already beautiful landscape and culture replacing it with flashing lights and cheap,shoddy goods. Not that I am averse to a little festive cheer but the Princes Street decorations simply look tacky in my opinion. They are simply not in keeping with their surroundings.
Lots of good music coming up over the next few weeks before the New Year arrives. I suppose the big one is The Filthy Tongues, The Trama Dolls and The Countess of Fife all sharing a bill together at The Liquid Rooms on December 29th. Having been present at gigs by all three this year I am certain this is definitely the gig of the season and one not to be missed.
Bring on Christmas I am more than ready for you this year!

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JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just An Observation

So let’s begin with Theresa May dancing into the abyss…
What a pleasant moment that was for a second and so much more appealing than the image forever burnt into my retinas as she ‘danced’ onto the stage to the strains of Abba’s Dancing Queen for her speech at the Conservative Party Conference. Luckily I was never a particularly huge fan of Abba so that song hasn’t been ruined for me the way it must now surely be for so many others; Abba themselves have said they are displeased with the song being used in a political context and without permission but how unlike the Tories is it to pilfer whatever they want for their own gain with scant regard for anyone else?
The last question was purely rhetorical by the way.
I think worse than the dancing-yes there is worse than the dancing as that is merely a distraction and a failed attempt at self-deprecation- is the fact that May took to the stage like some conquering hero who has something to celebrate rather than admitting that she has ballsed up just about everything she has touched since taking office; on a gargantuan scale to boot. Therefore the faux bravado was as insincere as everything else that emanates forth from her.
Aside from half-arsed dancing, insincere posturing and pathetic sniping at each other not much else came out of the Tory party conference other than the fact that austerity is over –or nearly over it wasn’t very clear- which I am sure will come as a relief to the many still languishing in poverty and an uncertain future with Brexit hanging over their heads which, incidentally, is supposed to bring in its stead at least fifty more years of austerity.
Confused?
Me too!
I suppose as always things are worse over in America where this week Trump saw fit to mock a female rape victim and claim that it is a worrying time for young men in the USA when they can be accused of such heinous crimes. I’m sure the backward logic works to those of a backward nature and ultimately they don’t come more backward than Trump.
On a more positive note there is a huge independence march in Edinburgh this weekend which at least offers those living in Scotland a glimmer of hope of extricating themselves from the mess that is the UK at this moment in time. Apparently upwards of 30,000 are expected to attend and even the attempts to ban a rally in Holyrood Park has been overcome and replaced by traditional and legitimate events such as picnicking, performing the Highland Fling, tossing the caber and folding the flaps-something to do with potato scones I am reliably informed- so if an afternoon of folding your flaps next to someone tossing their caber appeals then this is the place to be this Saturday afternoon.
Not much happening on the music scene this weekend after last weekend’s highlights which included the Nightingales and the Shamanic experience. The latter featuring such luminaries as Fay Fife, Martin Metcalfe and Kid Congo Powers accompanied by the real-time painting of artist Maria Rud projected onto the amazing backdrop of the Old College Quads building ranks as one of the most impressive events I have attended for years. Even the chill of an outdoor September evening could not detract from the artistry and talent on show here.

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation

So that is the Fringe and festival departed for yet another year and it feels as if the city is actually inhaling then physically exhaling with a huge sigh of relief. Of course the inevitable claims about it being the busiest year yet have already emerged although I am more of the belief that what they really mean is has been the most profitable year yet as money rather than art or culture seems to be at the very crux of the whole event with each passing year.
It certainly was busy though as I witnessed last weekend when I made a misguided attempt to head into the centre of town and lasted less than half an hour as trying to negotiate my way through congested pavements which periodically spilled onto traffic filled roads just proved too much to bear.
The council in their infinite wisdom have proposed that more pedestrian thoroughfares are the answer-banning traffic from city centre routes- forgetting that actual residents, many of whom have to work in the fringe and Festival, still have to get to their work and the existing delays are bad enough without exacerbating them any further.
Then again when did the council ever pay any attention to its residents when there are tourists and students to cater to?
At least the weather has improved which it seems to do every year as soon as the whole shebang concludes; still not sure why this is but the skies clouded over and the rain poured down as I was on my way to the opening parties and remained for most of the days and nights as I was out.
I must admit I lost interest in the whole thing and stopped reviewing shows about two weeks in as I could not bear the forced atmosphere, the awful weather, the overcrowded streets and the general feeling of commercialism overruling culture. There was also a general feeling that no-one actually seemed to be enjoying themselves and the ever expanding reliance on alcohol and pop up bars has rendered the whole thing into one long over-extended stag and hen party!
Very cultural!
I was saddened to see the Sikh temple in Leith was attacked this week as bigotry is not the sort of thing usually associated with integrated Leith which is generally very welcoming to all types. The community hit back and showed solidarity and support however and this is heart-warming.
Likewise the Save Leith Walk campaign seems to go from strength to strength despite opposition and disinterest from the Council, who seriously need to start listening to their populace I believe.
The hot topic on everyone’s lips this week has been Theresa May’s totally inept attempts at dancing on a tour of Africa. Not really sure what to say about this as the two videos already out there are hilarious and cringe worthy in equal measure and if dancing comes from the soul then it is quite obvious that. just as many already suspected, she is not in possession of one; the videos recall the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz meets Mr. Burns from The Simpsons.
It really seems as if she is dancing for a trade deal to try and sort out the Brexit mess but her dance moves are not going to convince anyone of anything other than the fact that she is incompetent at absolutely everything she turns her hand-hips and feet also in this case- to. She really is a national embarrassment.
It is now of course safe for the locals to go out now that the Fringe is over and a good place to begin would be with Run Into The Night a great Glasgow two piece band who are playing at Leith Depot this evening as part of a tour to promote their debut single. Well worth catching this band and support from The Raptors ensures a great night all round. Next week also sees Matt Johnson bring The The to Glasgow’s Barrowlands and Royal Concert Hall on two consecutive nights which is also essential viewing. There is also Fresh Produce who are back next Thursday 6th September at Sneaky Pete’s with a great line up.
For nights in The Bodyguard by Jed Mercurio who also wrote the fantastic Line Of Duty is essential viewing and a great way to round off any weekend as we make our way into Autumn.
All this and the weather has definitely improved. Bring on the Autumn!

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation

I don’t think anyone can say its been an uneventful week: the collapse of the British Cabinet, Donald Trump’s arrival in the UK, the rescue of twelve young boys and their coach from Thai caves and last but not least the fact that England didn’t after all bring football home.
With all these distractions it is often easy to forget that we are living in a state of permanent freefall so it is good that Theresa May and her shambolic government are there to constantly remind us that this is indeed the case.
The week got off to a bad start with David Davis resigning as Brexit secretary and only got worse when within the next twenty-four hours the buffoon that is Boris Johnson also resigned his post as Foreign Minister. The official reason is they did not agree with her Brexit proposals but whenever Boris Johnson is involved rest assured another agenda will be obvious very soon.
If it wasn’t for the fact that I don’t think any politician in Westminster covets the Prime Minister role- I mean it really is, more than ever before, a thankless and impossible task- I would say he had his eye on that position but I doubt his ego could cope with the unpopularity that goes with it. The thing is no matter how bad it gets with the Tories there is always the likelihood that it is about to get even worse.
May has been truly stitched up by those closest to her but it is hard to feel any sympathy for her as she is as incompetent in her job as they were in theirs. It really is a mess beyond comprehension now and it is hard to belief that it is each and every one of our futures they are playing their childish games around. Seriously I think a stronger cabinet could be found in IKEA.
Then there is the arrival of Donald Trump who seems to think that constantly repeating a lie makes it a truth; he claims the people of the UK like him ‘a lot’ a fact which is negated by the number of very obvious and large demonstrations all over the country, each and every one protesting his arrival on our shores. This man is a threat to our very civilisation and the fact that he seems to be unstoppable signals scary times ahead. He makes no pretence regarding his racism, bigotry, sexism or even his disregard for the disabled or weak.
Somehow this doesn’t seem to matter to his supporters who are deluded into thinking that he is some sort of beacon of hope. It is like living in a nightmare you can’t wake up from and the purpose of his visit here is to set up trade deals for after Britain leaves the EU. What May hasn’t quite grasped is that there is always a loser in any deal with Trump as negotiating is not in his vocabulary and he is already denigrating her before the talks even start- he also thinks Boris would make a great PM so there you go-so I can’t imagine this is going to go well.
Perhaps if the England team hadn’t been beaten by Croatia on Wednesday night and therefore out of the World Cup final then perhaps this would have been a distraction to keep the population down south happy as the country unravelled.
However as they will now have to content themselves with either third or fourth place the dream of football coming home anytime soon is on hold for the moment. Unfortunately the media already had them in possession of the trophy and I suppose Theresa May has an empty cabinet for them to store it in but it is this swaggering arrogance and the behaviour of many of their fans which disappoints more than the efforts of the team which were outstanding and took everyone by surprise. Better luck next time guys!
Away from all this and in some good news the twelve young boys who were stranded in a cave in Thailand after their football coach lost his way have all been rescued-unfortunately one of their rescuers didn’t survive and I think it is important that he is remembered- and it is a story that has cheered the whole world. Whether I am ready for the already discussed movie is another matter.
In a bid to distract from all these tribulations why not get along to see Fur Dixon- ex- Cramps- who is playing at Opium tomorrow Saturday 14th July supported by The Trama Dolls. This looks like being a total belter of a gig and one definitely not to be missed.
Go on treat yourselves…
you know you want to:
Be There or. Be Nowhere!

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation

In a week that the news has seen Donald Trump rip families apart and imprison children in cages it is hard to imagine that there is anything good in the world as this personification of evil grabs the headlines. The fact that he backtracked in the face of such adverse publicity shows not a concern for these distraught children or their heartbroken parents but merely an eye on his poll ratings which let’s face it is the only thing Donald Trump actually cares about.
Even his wife Melania spoke out at the inhumane treatment of these families then blew any notion that she may actually be human by wearing a jacket emblazoned with ‘I Really Don’t Care’ emblazoned on the back, whilst visiting said immigrant children at their detention centre, then insisting it was not a message but merely a jacket. Seriously, are these people for real?
It would seem that any form of outrage or sadness at these situations in the US- although we are playing catch up and not far behind them here- is fruitless as there seems little way to get through to these people and their bigotry, hatred and outright contempt for human beings except themselves and their appointed sycophants,
Trying to stay positive there has been a huge support for Scottish independence in the last week and even small sections of the media are opening up to the possibility that it may be more likely even though-excepting the National- they stop short of any real support. Hopefully the smug arrogance of The Tories, ably assisted by Labour, which precipitated last week’s SNP walkout at Westminster will be a lesson they deservedly live to regret.
Out and about in the capital this weekend there is more than plenty to see and do to distract from the abstract reality we seem to inhabit these days- ironically going out seems to provide a reality more real than the supposed real one we live in on a daily basis. How and when did that actually happen?
First up is the Refugee benefit at Leith Depot this evening which has a great line up including The Primevals, Johnny and The Deadbeats and The Normans all for the great price of £7.50. Doors open at 7.30 so get there early as all the acts are worth catching.
Also on at the National Museum of Scotland in Chamber Street is ‘Rip It Up’ a look back at Scotland’s contribution to pop and rock music over the last sixty years. Included are memorabilia, rarities and artefacts by artists such as Lulu, The Rezillos, Midge Ure, Simple Minds, The Skids, Big Country, Garbage, Franz Ferdinand and Young Fathers.
However the big one this weekend is The Rezillos at Summerhall on Sunday at 7pm which is the grand closing gig from a series at the venue over the last week which included The Skids and Big Country on a double bill. The Rezillos however will be a mighty show and with The Trama Dolls opening for them it is bound to be a night to remember.
Oh and if anyone is still interested the Edinburgh International Film Festival is also on, although I must admit I have found my appetite for this waning over the last few years but this year must admit I have lost interest completely.
There is also the matter of some football tournament that is called, I do believe, The World Cup. I must admit that I have found myself quite taken with it much against my natural instincts. Admittedly I am unable to distinguish which team is which as their strips confuse me; however that doesn’t matter as it is quite aesthetically pleasing to watch!

Just An Observation

Just An Observation

As the results filter in from the English local elections there are no great surprises as the Tories manage to hold onto vulnerable seats and make gains in others whilst Labour-in the wake of anti-Semitism smears and unfounded Russian collusion sympathies- struggled somewhat not making the progress many expected and hoped for. Then again we are living in an abstract reality created by a power-hungry media who seem to be driving the feeling of the country further and further to the right; which is so very , very wrong.
Admittedly I have given up any hope in expecting any truth from the mainstream media and have totally abandoned any belief in the BBC news which seems to be feeding propaganda with such a clear intention that I am amazed how many- and it is a growing number judging by these latest results- are actually taken in by it. I suppose however that people only believe what they want to and if they are comfortably off then they adapt the rhetoric to what they want to be hearing rather than what is actually being said.
It used to be that a week in politics was a long time now it seems that opinions are changed on a daily basis as has been proven yet again this week after Amber Rudd resigned as Home Secretary –actually to claim she was a human shield and sacrifice for the hugely incompetent and cowardly Theresa may would be closer to the truth- to be replaced by Sajid Javid in the wake of the Windrush scandal.
After adopting the Tory meets Blackadder power stance, in an unfortunate but highly amusing photo shoot which saw the window behind him clearly feature the word ‘asshole’, Javid declared after accepting the role to get to the bottom of the debacle which has seen many long-time UK citizens deported from their home country and hold those responsible accountable.However only forty-eight hours later, in a total volte-face, he voted against any of the details of the enquiry into the scandal being made public. It would seem it is now completely acceptable to blatantly lie and get away with it. And still people vote for them!
Meanwhile over in Trump’s America the ridiculous Kanye West is claiming that slavery must have been a lifestyle choice.
Seriously?
His reckoning that as it went on for over four hundred years must mean that people went into it voluntarily beggars belief but what is really amazing is that this overpaid, pampered musician- married to a reality star who actually has fat injected into her arse to make it bigger- and is obviously on the lowest end of the intelligence scale is given a platform to spout this nonsense. It is insulting beyond almost anything I have heard in recent times and an indictment of just exactly is wrong with our world today.
Closer to home it would seem things are no better with the release this week of the plans showing the monstrosity that is planned for Stead’s Place in Leith Walk thereby seeing the demolition of Leith Depot, Punjabi Junction and several other essential local businesses as well as replacing the aesthetically pleasing existing frontage. The plans when they were revealed were totally incongruous and far worse than anyone could actually have imagined. Totally hideous!
If any locals haven’t already signed the Save Leith Walk petition or attended any meetings then I urge you do so as this is more than just the loss of local businesses, community and a much needed live music venue it is the destruction of Leith’s history.
It is not all doom and gloom on the capital however as May 17th sees the return of the fantastic The Trama Dolls to live performance at a gig presented by exciting new music company Fresh Produce aiming to showcase new bands in a double bill line up. The first Fresh Produce production sees The Trama Dolls alongside Glasgow two piece Run Into The Night. Anyone who has seen The Trama Dolls in the past is no doubt aware they were always an exciting proposition but having undergone some personnel changes they are looking forward to an even brighter future. Certainly not a gig to be missed and tickets are already selling fast. Looks like Sneaky Pete’s is the place to be come May 17th.
As if this wasn’t enough on the Edinburgh musical front the following evening- May 18TH- the intriguing Voicex led by ex-Scar Paul Mackie make their debut at The Voodoo Rooms.
Two great gigs on two successive nights:
Edinburgh what are you thinking?
Edinburgh get off your arses and get out there!

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just An Observation

This week the British Government decided to partake in a Carry On style Bond film giving rise to the fact that perhaps Ken Dodd had scripted it before his death last Sunday. ‘To Russia with a Yah, Boo, Sucks’ has a slightly implausible plot wherein a Russian double agent was poisoned by a highly traceable nerve agent that could have been administered by anyone but, according to that ever reliable source of truth Theresa May, was apparently the doing of the Kremlin.
Rushing to put the super power in its place was her weedy Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, obviously taking diplomacy lessons under the tutelage of Boris Johnson, who stated ‘Russia should go away and should shut up’ despite having the look of a man who finds it hard to fight sleep never mind the Russians.
The whole situation seems to be embedded in a tissue of lies, mis-truths and clouded facts that seem to point anywhere other than Russia and this comes from one who has little sympathy for the nation which houses gay concentration camps where homosexuals are beaten, tortured and even killed for their sexual orientation.
It would seem that the only person who seemed to offer up any reason in the face of all these claims and accusations was Jeremy Corbyn and for simply demanding proof and clarification was branded ‘Putin’s Puppet –courtesy that bastion of truth and righteousness The Sun although the Daily Hail also attacked him- despite merely asking that some evidence should be shown before action was taken.
Of course by this point Theresa May, sick of being called weak and unstable, had ordered the removal of Russian diplomats from the UK opening up the possibility of further unrest; probably following her Thatcher rulebook she has decided that what she needs to rescue her plummeting popularity is a war of somewhat and we all know how the Tories love a war especially if it distracts from their own incompetence.
As a sub plot in this far-fetched movie we have the aforementioned Theresa May removing free school meals from the most impoverished children in England and Wales-not Northern Ireland funnily enough as the DUP were required a sweetener in order to secure their support in this abominable action- but at least the rise in food banks her government has kindly necessitated means they may not actually starve completely.
Seriously I ask myself what sort of country is the UK becoming and why does what feels like being in a bad movie turn out to be real life?
All the while we laugh and sneer at the US and their bumbling buffoon of a President- I feel the Russian situation is in someway a point scoring exercise with him- while our own country lurches towards perilous disaster on a daily basis.
On a more local matter I was saddened this week that it seems that Leith Depot and its surrounding businesses on Leith Walk is now more than likely to close down within the next year and a half to make way for student accommodation. Of course the prerequisite Starbucks and Sainsbury’s will appear soon after as students can’t possibly be expected to survive without these two essentials and they especially need to be housed right next to each other otherwise disorientation sets in.
I personally will be sad to see Leith Depot go as it provides the necessary community requirement of live music- alongside great atmosphere and fantastic food- in an area which is starved of it. Unfortunately Edinburgh Council seems only interested in students and tourists whilst its residents and their requirements always seem to come pretty far down the list of priorities. I see it no small coincidence that talk of the trams being extended is suddenly news again; I mean after all what more pleasant way is there to starting your day than picking up your meal deal, popping next door for a skinny soy latte then taking a tram into town up to the university.
Meanwhile the locals lose an array of local small businesses in an area which until recently has been resistant to the gentrification which the student population automatically engenders. Leith has been a student free zone until the last few years and one of the reasons I left Marchmont to move here was that Marchmont was essentially a student area and I know what living amidst that entails. By the way I have nothing against students it is just that I don’t feel Leith needs to be populated by them.
Anyway I wonder what the next week will bring in the worst scripted Bond movie of all time: perhaps Theresa May will reveal spiked poison tips in her leopard print kitten heels a la Rosa Klebb or we will discover Boris Johnson is in fact Ernst Stavros Blofeld with his worst ever makeover. Who Knows? As long as it doesn’t involve any of its players emerging from the sea in a pair of tight blue Speedos as that is box office poison by anyone’s standards. Fantasy seems to have overtaken reality anyway but unfortunately that is nowhere as good as it seemed when it remained a mere concept.

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