Archive for the ‘ JUST AN OBSERVATION ’ Category

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!

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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.

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation

In a time when so much of the news is disheartening, depressing or downright tragic I admit to feeling slightly warmed by the sight of hundreds of teenagers lying down outside The White House earlier this week in protest at the Trump administration doing nothing to curb gun laws in the light of last week’s tragic mass shooting at a school in Florida.
In spite of the tragic circumstances which prompted this impromptu ‘lie in’ it is encouraging to see youngsters actually considering their future- and the fact they are still lucky enough to have one as several of their contemporaries have been so harshly robbed of theirs- and taking some action to draw attention to their plight and their very serious concerns.
This brief feeling of hope was eradicated almost instantly by their President’s response that perhaps the solution is to start arming teachers and to actually award the armed teachers with some kind of financial bonus. It is almost as if he misses the point entirely; I am aware he generally does but this time he has veered even further into ridiculous terrain even for him. The fact that he is already thinking about the next time rather than trying to find a solution to prevent a next time shows a fundamental flaw in his reasoning. The attitude that it will take a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun- another ridiculous statement form the orange cretin- does not recognise the problem at all never mind trying to solve it. More guns never lead to less death. Fact!
If I hear one more statement from those claiming that it is about honouring the second amendment then I must admit that I will be tempted to go against all my natural beliefs and instincts and purchase a gun to take out these buffoons myself. The second amendment was drafted before the invention of the electric light-bulb or the motor car so its relevance in today’s society should be drawn into question to begin with.
It seems this issue will never be resolved as long as the NRA has the support of the government and I can’t see that changing anytime soon.
Good on these kids who are actually taking a stance as it is their future that is being dictated to and put at risk. They are also the voters of the future so it would be an unwise President who chooses to ignore them. Enough said really!
Over here in the not so United Kingdom it looks as is Brexit is still on its collision course so no change there although it still baffles me how incompetent Theresa May is and how she can get out of bed or even gaze in a mirror without knowing that every day she will face another round of humiliation. It does however amuse me to some extent but that is soon replaced with the reality of the disaster that lies ahead that she is doing nothing to avert.
How we arrived at her and Trump is a question I frequently ask. Surely neither country deserves either of these two as their leaders.
I was interested to observe this week that there is some concern that we are rapidly becoming a nation of mobile phone addicts; Texts, Messenger, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are apparently taking over our lives and we are forgetting how to interact on a one to one basis.
This is no news to me personally as I have witnessed this worrying behaviour for some time now. May times I have felt irritation as I arrive to meet a friend and they immediately take their phone and place it in front of them, then generally refer to it continuously and more attentively than they do the person sitting opposite them. In my opinion it is beyond rude and reminds me of the oft quoted Princess Di line about their being three people in her marriage. Conversations are cut short and interrupted to answer a call or text or upload a photo so that everyone they are not spending any actual real time with knows exactly what they are up to.
The art of conversation leading to healthy debate has also been decimated as Google is drawn into the conversation and revered as if it were some kind of God; I find nothing more annoying than talking to someone as they type into Google to check what I am saying is correct. It is as if they are forgetting that it is not always the being right that matters it is the conversation and differing opinions and ideologies which keep a conversation alive and sparkling. This idea that Google is God just infuriates me and I would rather spend time with someone who is factually incorrect but able to put up a convincing and arresting argument in their defence rather than someone who types into Google and repeats their findings in a smug and diffident manner.
It seems as if the winter is in respite at the moment, longer days and even a bit of sunshine has emerged over the last week and although it is very welcome it also seems very overdue. It is only February however and apparently there is still a bit of wintry weather ahead in the next few weeks but if nothing else the break from what must be the longest winter in history has provided a little hope and if nothing else that is very welcome at the moment.

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation

Well 2018 has got off to quite an unassuming start so far although that is no gauge as to things remaining that way. Across the Atlantic we still have Trump boasting about the size of his nuclear button via Twitter rants and telling blatant lies on a daily basis but this no longer surprises nor shocks us –it does still infuriate however. Over on this side of the water we still have Theresa May providing us with her daily set of lies-apparently the NHS is in crisis because of a particularly virulent strain of flu- and her vision of a strong and stable government consists of her Cabinet Ministers refusing to allow her to dismiss or demote them and announcing the wrong party chairman proving yet gain just how much she is in control, i.e. not at all.
How such bullshit being peddled to us on almost daily basis has become an accepted part of our lives is probably the most worrying aspect of all this as it in some way normalizes it all and reduces it to an almost humorous status, even though it is far from funny on any level.
Are we seriously expected to believe that flu is the major cause of the problems the NHS is suffering and not the cuts and attempts at privatisation the government is imposing. Surely the seasonal habit of excessive drinking must carry some of the burden that the NHS is suffering as by all accounts A&E departments on weekend nights are full of people with alcohol related ‘illnessses’ and accidents, This must put a strain on services and as people drink far more excessively over the Christmas and New Year period then this also must have a knock on effect. In the past I have had nothing but amazing treatment by the NHS and I do remember being rushed to A&E twice in the same week and the difference between being there during the week and then at the weekend was staggering and it was totally down to the ‘altered’ states of the patients which put not only the resources and staff under pressure but also the other patients.
Admittedly things seem much worse down south than they are in Scotland but it is only a matter of time before things start to slide here as well if things don’t change soon.
As an aside I find it hard to take anything seriously that Theresa May says when the woman seems to have a set of anal love-beads permanently draped around her neck. I know where I would love to shove them then watch how long it would take the overstretched NHS to remove them. She’d probably just call it flu anyway!
As usual this time of year goes on a little too long for my liking; was Christmas really only two and a half weeks ago?
Time to stock up on reading books, binge watch Netflix shows and discover new and old music to listen to; far too cold and miserable to go out of an evening. If going out is on the cards then January is always good for new cinema releases.
This year is no exception and top picks are Ridley Scott’s ‘All the Money on the World’ about Paul Getty’s kidnapping in the early seventies which resulted in the brutal removal of his ear after his Grandfather-the then richest man in the history of the world- refused to pay the ransom. Outstanding performances especially by Christopher Plummer who was a very last-minute replacement for Kevin Spacey after the recent Hollywood sex scandals and taut drama make this film a worthwhile viewing experience. Also Three Billboards Outside Hebbing Missouri starring Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson looks excellent. Apparently a black comedy of the highest and most twisted calibre only increases this film’s appeal to me. Hope to catch it today so a review will follow shortly.
Anyway it’s almost the middle of the month already so only February to get out the way and we can start thinking of Spring again. Here’s hoping!

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation


Well with Christmas only a few days away and just over a week until the end of the year it was inevitable that after the tumultuous events of 2016 that this year was never going to be a settled one.
In many ways the impact of 2016 has only really hit home this year as Brexit negotiations remain in deadlock moving backwards and sideways rather than forward- basically this is all Brexit can ever be- and Trump edges us closer to the next World War seemingly on a daily basis.
Nothing and no-one is secure.
Not that 2017 hasn’t had its own trials and tribulations and everything from the Weinstein sex scandals in Hollywood, Catalonia’s bid for independence-a snap election there only yesterday indicates this is still far from resolved-, Theresa May’s ever imploding government and Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is the recognized capital of Israel are only several festering wounds sure to erupt come 2018.
Meanwhile homelessness and poverty increase while the nation ‘celebrates’ and pays for a royal wedding and makeover for Buckingham Palace to the tune of £350 million when mere months ago seventy-one people died in the Grenfell Tower tragedy because the local Borough of Kensington Council couldn’t ‘afford’ the five grand for cladding which could have saved many of those lives.
There is something very rotten at the core of our existence and it needs rooted out.
Unfortunately despite all this and the fact that the cost of living grows noticeably daily people will still vote for those who are implementing these decisions. It is almost as if people have forgotten that the Tory Party is one long vanity project after another; first the EU Referendum then May’s snap election in June where she lost her majority but found £1Billion to prop up her loss by slipping into bed with the DUP in a desperate bid to cling onto power. Party before country seems to be the Tory mantra. It always was though.
Away from politics and doom and gloom though and 2017 has been a more satisfying year in other quarters.
Although the Edinburgh Fringe was as tired and unimpressive as it has been over the last few years other areas of art, music and literature have all had a good year.
At the cinema Call Me By Your Name, T2 Trainspotting and Bladerunner 2049 were all impressive contenders, even if two of those mentioned were sequels to established classics.
The music front has been even more impressive with great albums from LCD Soundsystem, Lorde, –Bowie was right to proclaim her the future of music- Mark Lanegan, Chrysta Bell, Blondie, Fever Ray, Gorillaz and Moonlandingz just to name a few.
On the local Edinburgh scene too things are hotting up in a way I haven’t seen for years. Loving the new sounds emanating from Voicex the band led by ex-Scar Paul Mackie alongside several other legends of the local scene and their debut single Never is already out and available to buy on iTunes.
Boots for Dancing meanwhile keep the funk flag flying high while The Trama Dolls having augmented a couple of great new members are looking and sounding better than ever; better than they could ever have imagined previously to be honest. More on this early next year.
So things are looking up on Edinburgh music front for the first time in a long time so at least that is one thing to look forward to in 2018.
On the live music subject tonight –Dec 22nd-is the last Syrian Refugee benefit of the year at great venue Leith Depot. Not only does it feature the great Fay Fife’s Countess of Fife project but it also has the added bonus of a raffle featuring amazing prizes from several impressive local businesses. Other bands on the line up are Temple of the Dead Moth and Irresistible Urges. Doors open at 7.30 and it is advisable to get there early as Countess of Fife is on at 8pm as she has then to hot-foot it to Dundee for a gig with The Rezillos; what a super trouper!
So that is it for 2017 and it has been yet another year of change, indecision and good times mixed with bad. Christmas is a time to reflect and although I am not its biggest fan I must admit to feeling certain warmth, comfort and inner resolve at this time of year. For that I am always grateful as I realise I am one of the lucky ones!
The Trama Dolls artwork by Bernie Reid.

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