Posts Tagged ‘ Donald Trump ’

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation

It has been hard to escape the awful events in Manchester this week and certainly my thoughts have never been far from the victims or their distraught families. For myself it has even had a personal slant as it is the sort of gig close family members of mine living in the area would be likely attend and very probably at the very same venue; they were actually going to a Take That gig there scheduled for this very evening.
My personal upset however dissipates with what the people of Manchester must be feeling at the moment and it would appear the city is remaining strong and pulling together in the spirit of the northerners they are, even if things will never be the same again for so many of them.
It certainly has raised so many questions as to what sort of world we are living in where a family event such as this becomes the target of a terror attack. Of course the media and social media have been ablaze with accusations, conspiracy theories and theorising all of which offers reasons-or lack of them- but nothing is really any clearer other than the fact that the world at the moment is in total freefall.
Naming the individual offender offers some form of clarity as to who is behind it but it also affords them their place in history, and this is probably made clear to the perpetrators during their radicalisation, but it is the instilled hatred and anger which really motivates them.
However this works both ways and I caught Piers Morgan-he of the noble hacking of a dead girl’s phone and arbiter of taste on ‘talent’ shows- trying to instil some of those feelings as a reaction mere hours after the news broke and emotions were still of a raw, confused and sensitive nature. This does not help at all.
I sometimes think I am going to wake up one morning soon and find the tumultuous events of the last couple of years have all been a bad dream. Certainly things have gone so far off track that the twenty first century is already beginning to shape up very differently to the twentieth which in turn took a very different perspective to the three centuries before it where there was little change in social norms.
However I don’t see progress, only regression and a step back. Sure technology is moving forward at a pace it is hard to keep up with but as humans we are struggling to move forward at a comparable pace.
Watching Donald Trump this week meet the Pope and later at a Nato meeting literally and unabashedly push his way past the Montenegro President to position himself stage front and centre indicates a total lack of respect and basic courtesy which just indicates how unsuitable he is for such a role. He doesn’t even try to hide his arrogance and disdain for anyone else and unfortunately with each passing day he remains in office it normalises this atrocious behaviour as others see it as a gateway to success.
Here we have Theresa May-Tresemme- who doesn’t even feel she has to explain herself to the public or anyone other than a few handpicked journalists in an election campaign to re-instate her as Prime Minister; a role she schemed her way into in the first place.
Mind you it would appear that her strategy is failing somewhat and what little she does reveal shows her as a complete incompetent. Strong and Stable U-Turns really don’t cut it. I also find her claiming Monday’s tragedy by declaring a ‘critical’ security risk and placing armed soldiers at train stations around the country a little suspect. Considering in her role as Home Secretary it was her who made such drastic cuts to the police force in the guise of austerity it feels a little like a strategy rather than a concern. She does have form after all.
I also keep being told the Tories are on the rise in Scotland which is definitely an interesting concept. Led by the ebullient bulldog chewing a wasp Ruth Davidson, who resembles nothing more than a one woman rugby-scrum who seems to be a distant relation to President Trumpton in the pushy stakes, claiming a victory even though her support even if it does increase as much as she claims is a mere drop in the ocean compared to support for the SNP. It is this kind of delusional arrogance which is so dangerous.
Anyway it looks as if summer has actually arrived here and one thing we deserve and need at the moment is a little sunshine. Tonight also sees the Countess of Fife- Fay Fife’s insurgent country based side-project- return to the Leith Depot at benefit gig for refugees along with a stellar supporting cast so this should be well worth checking out. Enjoy the sunshine!
Top photo of Fay Fife by Liz Tainsh ©

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation
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As 2016 draws towards its final months it would be unwise to assume that the tumultuous, sad and turbulent happenings of this ever eventful year are quite over. If anything this past year has taught us to expect the unexpected and never underestimate anyone or anything.
A year ago the thought that Donald Trump would be President Elect of the United States would have met with a scornful and disdainful scoff followed by a sarcy ‘As if’ then a dismissive laugh. However as 2017 looms ahead of us and Trump’s entry into the White House a scary eventuality it seems the punch line to what initially felt like a joke has delivered instead a knock out blow.
Mind you things aren’t faring much better this side of the Atlantic with the promise of our most right wing government in living memory and while at least the Americans voted for their absurdist President Elect-therefore having no-one to blame but themselves- us Brits have somehow managed to wangle ourselves a Prime Minister no-one actually voted for. Not even her own party!
It would seem that Theresa May –the name itself reeks of indecision- has earned herself the most important job in the country simply as no-one else was prepared to take it, or at least put up a fight for it.
Let us not even think about the disaster of Brexit and what lies ahead following the shock result in June which saw a rise in blatant xenophobia and discrimination which can only get worse.
How and when did things get this bad?
Meanwhile a whole load of people are getting their tartan bum-flaps in a twist over Joe Corre-the son of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood- burning £5million worth of punk memorabilia as a reaction to punk becoming part of the establishment. I am not entirely sure what his protest is however as the minute The Sex Pistols signed a deal with EMI- and later very briefly A&M- then punk had become part of the establishment.
McLaren had always had his eye on mainstream success anyway seeing the Pistols as some sort of boyband-let us not forget that Midge Ure, at the time singer with boyband Slik, was his original choice for a lead singer- so for his son to complain about the life of privilege his heritage afforded him seems more than a little whiny especially with those people punk originally appealed to, such as the disaffected and impoverished, have probably never felt as disaffected and abandoned as they do by the recent shift to the far right in Britain and America.
Perhaps the money could have been used to help those people and donated to charity or at least a good cause. Then again by Corre’s thinking even charities are part of the establishment and filled with the establishment elites that rankle him so. The establishment elites who are the only ones who can realistically afford his over priced knickers from his underwear brand Agent Provocateur!
It has been a year of sad loss as well. Starting with David Bowie-didn’t everything though- at the year’s beginning, the reaper has since swung his scythe far and wide taking in the likes of Alan Rickman, Prince, Muhammed Ali, Leonard Cohen, Pete Burns, Caroline Aherne and Victoria Wood to name but a few. With so many important and influential figures passing away in such a short time it really has felt like the passing of an era, the end of one particular golden age.
I suppose at least we still have the music to carry us through and this weekend sees a couple of very worthwhile gigs in the capital.
Friday night sees the wonderful The Trama Dolls support The Valves at the Wee Red Bar at 7pm for an evening unparalleled entertainment which should kick the festive month into gear with a riot of sound and an explosion of glamour.
Saturday sees The Filthy Tongues show at the Liquid Rooms and their album Jacob’s Ladder can hold its head high among the very best of the year- and it has been an exceptionally good year for music if nothing else- supported by the brilliant Boots For Dancing and Birdhead.
As we approach the final month of the year I think that we are all now prepared for whatever is thrown at us. If nothing else that should be the great lesson learnt from 2016!
Photo of The Trama Dolls courtesy of Gavin Fraser.

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation
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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!

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation
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Having had a few weeks off writing this column and watching as the world slips further and further into chaos, hatred and meaningless mayhem without comment it is now time to step into the breech once more and ponder as to how we have arrived at such a tortuous and desperate state.
Personally my theory that the fabric of the universe was torn with David Bowie’s passing in January- it still feels as if we have lost some crucial element, almost like there is a colour missing-makes as much sense as anything that has happened since: Brexit, an unelected Prime Minister, not even voted for by her own party, a rise in hate crimes and the horrifying rise of Donald Trump across the Atlantic.
Meanwhile the pound is at its lowest level in living memory- I purchased something online recently and the cost was almost the same in pounds as it was in dollars and was aware there was a time this would have been unimaginable- and the cost of basic living about to rise inexorably. Somehow the government insists nothing major has changed while the media focus on Tesco unable to stock Marmite due to a fall out with Unilever and the arrival of fourteen children from Calais and whether they are actually children at all whips up more frenzied xenophobia
However it turns out that racism was not the main cause for the Brexit vote after all but the austerity measures the Tories –along with the Lib-Dems it must be said- imposed on the nation for five gruelling years harbouring resentment deep in the under-classes whose only means of protest was voting against the establishment imposing them. Well done David Cameron if anyone ever made a pig’s ear-why do pigs always come into it when discussing Cameron- out of being a Prime Minister then it was you.
Meanwhile Theresa May shakes her head and says no more money for the NHS and meets with little opposition or argument.
However what is happening here is nothing compared to the rise of The Trump in America. Unfortunately like Boris Johnson and Brexit before him I have a sincerely bad feeling about this one. The only thing I can say about this Presidential campaign is that it resembles a hate campaign more than a political one. Hillary Clinton would normally not be anyone’s choice as President- in many ways she is as loathsome as Trump- but in this election she is definitely the preferred winner. The whole thing has descended into cheap mudslinging barely worthy of the playground while common courtesies and good manners have been abandoned wholesale.
How did things get this bad?
Meanwhile the dark nights continue to get darker as does BBC2’s excellent crime thriller The Fall with Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan.
Constantly understated and underplayed the tension builds weekly until as viewers we become absorbed in the chilling two-step the lead characters are dancing around each other. Often it feels as if little has happened at the end of an episode until the complexities hit home and you realise how sinuous and compelling the writing and acting both are. Last night Dornan’s character, Paul Spector, basically handed his defence team his get out of jail card whilst still not revealing whether he is faking the amnesia at the core of his defence. By far and away the best thing on TV at the moment- not particularly hard to be honest- The Fall is a lesson in how it should be done.
Certainly the lack of any decent TV has necessitated mpre nights out and tonight is no exception as The Fini Tribe unveil new material at the Neu Reekie Sullivan’s Ascent show in Leith St. Andrew’s Church tonight. This is a fine way to kick off any weekend.
There are also the upcoming PJ Harvey and Primal Scream gigs which promise to give a usually barren and dark filled November some much needed colour and light.
Something else which certainly needs some light shed on it is the reason Inverleith House, deep in the heart of the Botanic Gardens, is being forced to close as an art gallery.
I have been going here for decades and seen many impressive exhibitions including a recent retrospective pop art guru Richard Hamilton. As much a feature of any visit as looking at foliage, plants or flowers to lose this would be a major blow for both the gardens and the art community. I am unclear what will arise in its stead but the last thing needed is yet another café or bric a brac shop. I am doing something I normally never do but adding a link to a petition against its closure that I would kindly ask you to peruse and sign if you agree.
https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/prevent-the-closure-of-inverleith-house-edinburgh-as-a-public-art-space
Thank you!

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just An Observation
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With just under two weeks until the EU referendum it would seem there is at the present time no clear winner according to any opinion poll. I actually missed the big debate last night and my Twitter and Facebook both sent mixed messages as to who had actually come out of it the victor although the Remain campaign seemingly had the ethical edge.
It is a sign of the modern times that people such as Boris Johnson and his American counterpart and lookalike Donald Trump – I think their hairpieces have more than a dry cleaner in common- have gone from being joke figures to very serious threats. It would have seemed improbable five years ago that the possibility of Johnson as Prime Minister could ever be a reality, yet here we are with a referendum looming and if the result swings in his favour then it could very possibly secure him that very role.
It goes to prove you should never underestimate the wolf in sheep’s clothing or in Boris’s case the calculated fascist with egocentric ideologies dressed up as buffoon. It is this very buffoonery which I find the most chilling aspect of Johnson as it is misleading in that the jokey caricature masks just how dangerous a man he really is. What is even more concerning is that his façade has taken in a vast section of the public who cannot fathom how such a ‘lovable’ and shambolic character could ever harbour malicious intent. Unfortunately it does!
Like Trump across the pond- another candidate for the most politically powerful role in his country- Johnson has moved very swiftly from sidelined caricature to very dangerous person with consummate ease and it would be farcical if he was allowed to realise his ambitions fully but as disappointment follows disappointment in British politics it is perhaps best to fear the worst and at least be prepared for it.
On a lighter note the Edinburgh International Film Festival rolls into town next week and although I haven’t had a chance yet to have an in-depth look at the programme I have a few interesting films already earmarked for viewing and review so watch out for any must see- or even possibly must avoid- recommendations.
A very definite must see at the moment is the Surreal Encounters exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art. From Dali to Magritte to Duchamp to Mae West Lips as Sofa and Lobster Telephones this very extensive look at this particular tableau of art is probably the most complete this gallery has yet put on. It runs until September 11th so there is no excuse for missing it during its duration.
This weekend is also the Leith Gala day down on the Links and it looks like the weather may actually hold up for it. A definite highlight will definitely be the re-energised Boots For Dancing who are taking to the stage at around 4pm and along with The Shebang gals dancing outdoors in actual and natural daylight may become a viable option.
Last night saw the Peaky Blinders phenomenon reach its series 3 finale climax with a tense ending which paves the way for series 4 opening up a whole new set of possibilities for the now legendary Shelby clan.
I must admit it has been with some trepidation that I have watched the bandwagon surrounding this programme grow as the latest series progressed with new converts announcing their newly acquired devotion on social media as if it is their own personal discovery and achievement. Yes it is exceptional TV but let’s keep things in perspective and think about how many people will actually suit that shaved haircut the male members of the gang sport and also remember that tweed is by and large for landed gentry on their country estates and spinsters of the Miss Marple ilk.
However I suspect we should prepare ourselves for the fact that the streets will soon be crowded out with hipster types sporting this very garb without the cheekbones, eyes, lips or even a tenth of the charisma Cillian Murphy sports. Helen McCrory as Polly Shelby has been this season’s winning icon in the fashion stakes anyway!
And if any of you are considering the Peaky Blinders look as your next fashion statement just remember the tweeds and cloth cap look are very likely what Boris Johnson wears on his country estates. If that doesn’t make you reconsider this as a fashion look then you have been lost in a fashion and style void!

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation
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Do they know it’s Christmas?
Well maybe ‘they’ do but with only two weeks to go I have managed for the second or third year running-I’ve lost count really- to totally avoid the whole debacle so far. This year however it has been entirely unintentional and despite every advert on TV proclaiming the event, every shop in town marketing itself towards it and even the return of the farcical and totally commercial vehicle Winter Wonderland blighting our cityscape I was still genuinely surprised when someone mentioned it was virtually days away.
I must admit my head had been bothered by other more important things recently including our government’s decision to go to war by sanctioning air-strikes on an already destructed and war-torn Syria. Confusion about what good this is actually going to do added to further confusion that MPs cheered this decision in the House of Commons when it was announced, especially as only a few months ago the SNP were admonished for cheering a speech which set out objectives to help the poor, vulnerable and needy. Perhaps cheering is only acceptable when poor, vulnerable and needy people in other countries who have already had their lives ripped apart are being bombed.
There was something particularly disheartening about watching this boorish display of macho bravado which confirmed to me that those making such important decisions are little more than overgrown schoolboys who have little compassion for civilian lives.
On top of this Donald Trump, who is intending to run for government in the US, thought it wise to announce that all Muslims should be banned from entering the country as they are a danger to Americans. It is beyond belief that such outright xenophobia still exists in a supposedly evolved culture but apparently it does and apparently it has support, cue that Hopkins woman leaping onto that bandwagon in her usual ungainly way.
A petition gaining over five hundred thousand signatures- the highest ever handed to this government- banning Trump from entering the UK has been doing the rounds and he has been decried by Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and been stripped off an honorary degree by the Robert Gordon University. Personally I don’t think this in any way goes far enough at all and every dry-cleaner globally should ban him from entering and having his hair cleaned.
Elsewhere although I have been moaning about the rain for weeks wondering just when and if it will ever end I must admit most of our grievances were not so bad when I saw what the poor inhabitants of Cumbria have been going through. My heart went out to them when I saw how their community had been wrecked by flooding but was heartened by their spirit in fighting back by banding together in an attempt to salvage what they could and plan for the future only for a second round of floods destroy all their valiant efforts and my heart sank again.
It makes my whingeing about getting wet every time I leave the house seem slightly irrelevant. It looks pleasant and dry enough out there today however but on recent form I don’t expect it to last and still think this is one of the most miserable winters in recent memory; discounting the snow deep ones of 2009 and 2010 of course.
In a vague attempt to try to raise some of my missing Christmas spirit- raising the Titanic would likely be less of gargantuan task- I am going to go along to Christmas Markets in St. Margaret’s House- London Road- and Summerhall over the weekend. On top of this there is also Neu Reekie’s XmasKracker at Central Hall on the 18th featuring with a bumper festive line up including Irvine Welsh, Liz Lochhead, White, Withered Hand and many others in what promises to be a night not to be missed. On top of all that I am also going to the camp piece of froth that is ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ starring Jason Donovan at the Playhouse next Friday which, by the way, is the real Black Friday and has been for years.I may also take a look at the ‘Street of Light’ on the Royal Mile which looks so impressive every time I pass, although less impressive is the brightest and most prominent lights of all declaring ‘Virgin Money’ which detracts more than a little from the spirit of the whole thing. If that lot doesn’t make me realise that Christmas is here then nothing will!