Posts Tagged ‘ Donald Trump ’

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation

So this week the news was announced that there is a Royal Wedding between Prince Harry and American Actress Meghan Markle next spring which will distract us from the sheer shambolic state of the country, the abject poverty, the ever increasing problem of homelessness or even the fact that the country is perilously close to driving itself over a cliff with the ongoing Brexit catastrophe.
Or not!
I really think the last thing this country needs at the moment is a Royal Wedding as a means of distraction and an extra expense. I have nothing personally against either Harry –both he and his brother William seem relatively grounded and aware that they are privileged and do seem like a new generation of royals even if William has somehow morphed into his grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh in recent sightings- or Meghan but the truth is they both have enough money at their disposal to pay for their own wedding.
It just isn’t appropriate that with the state of this country at the moment that it should be expected to pick up the bill especially as they are already funding the renovation of Buckingham Palace to the tune of £350 million.
Also you would have thought there was no other news on Tuesday the day it was announced with it taking up sixty-five percent of news coverage-conservative estimate- whilst the Government’s benefit freeze didn’t warrant a solitary mention. Instead there was a five minute analysis of how relaxed Meghan Markle was in her interview with the media and how natural she seemed in front of the cameras; meanwhile I was screaming at my television ‘She’s a fucking actress it’s her job!’
Moving onto the other impending disaster, Brexit, it would seem that there has been an amazing breakthrough this week with the Government confirming that it has struck a deal and reached a financial agreement for the ‘divorce’ settlement.
Yes, it seems that paying £50 Billion for a lesser deal than the one we already have is what the last eighteen months of negotiations have been all about and now we can move forward. Or backwards whichever way you look at it. In fact it is backwards every way you look at it. When is someone going to actually pull the brakes on this charade before we crash land with little chance of recovery?
By this point Donald Trump will probably have ignited even more racial hatred as he is allowed to incite xenophobia and support the far right hate group Britain First unchecked on Twitter.
I would like to think this is as low as he can get but every week he debunks that myth by slipping even further into his very own snake pit. Wonder if he will get an invite to the Royal Wedding as it looks like the State Visit may be on hold for the foreseeable future.
It may be an idea to make as much as you can of this Christmas as who knows what will have happened by this time next year. That is if you can afford the Christmas dinner of course as even the price of that has increased significantly since last year.
At least we have music.
There are a couple of unmissable gigs in Edinburgh coming up over the next week.
First up is the excellent Filthy Tongues at the Liquid Rooms on Saturday 2nd December. If last years show was anything to go by you really wouldn’t want to miss this one.
Also on Wednesday the 6th December Kid Congo Powers- ex Gun Club. The Cramps and Bad Seed- and the Pink Monkey Birds are at Opium in the Cowgate, This too looks like being a gig not to be missed as this band never fails to deliver.
Think of it as Christmas come early as two gigs of this calibre in a week is a very beautiful thing.
There have been quite few musical stirrings in the capital of late and it feels as if a few musical projects bubbling away in the background are about to rise up to the surface. More details on this to follow but 2018 looks like being quite an interesting year for Edinburgh musically and it is not before time.
Let us also not forget that today is also World Aids Day and spare a thought for so many people lost along the way. It is refreshing that so much of the stigma surrounding this disease has dissipated over the years along with the ignorance and misinformation; this week even saw First Minister Nicola Sturgeon take a very public HIV test as a means of removing the stigma even further.
Whilst it still remains a problem at least things have moved on from the early horror stories we were fed by the media in the nascent stages of the disease where confusion was outranked by fuelled terror. So glad we have moved on from that initial situation and would like to think that some of the positivity,empathy and kindness which removed the stigma can be applied to the mess we find ourselves in today.

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JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation

This past week has certainly confirmed the fact that the world is in a bit of a mess at the moment and shows no signs of pulling itself together anytime soon.
Things started off badly with disgusting scenes at polling stations in Spain as Catalonians made a bid for independence and met with brutal force from authorities who are generally there to protect people. The scenes were quite horrific to watch and even though the vote was in favour of independence it is regarded as an illegal referendum by the Spanish government. The EU has since upheld this view and the violent altercations that were seen around the world have been dismissed as the authorities using ‘reasonable’ force.
Really?
On what planet exactly does kicking a middle-aged woman down a flight of stairs and dragging her by her hair constitute ‘reasonable force’?
Meanwhile over in Trump Land –every day I hate Donald Trump a little more and every day I wonder how that is even possible but he never fails to deliver- the most ridiculous President in history told the people of Puerto Rico that they should feel blessed at being struck by a natural disaster as its death toll was not as great as one that the US had several years ago. I am not sure when a death count of human lives became a competition but it seems to endear this orange faced buffoon to enough people to keep him in office.
Once again how is this even possible?
Not that over here in the (not so) United Kingdom we have any real right to sneer and snigger as our own political system is also an international joke.
First up we have our own straw-haired buffoon in the unsightly shape of Boris Johnson; the Foreign Secretary who thinks that a war-shattered Libya could become a worthwhile tourist resort in the manner of Dubai as soon as the dead bodies are cleared away. I seriously cannot comprehend how this man holds onto his job and further dismay engulfs me every time I hear a member of his party refer to him as some sort of ‘rock star’ figure.
Again I ask myself, on what planet?
He was however superseded in the idiot stakes as Teresa May took the stage at the Conservative Party Comedy Farce in Manchester this week.
Struggling to talk through a coughing fit- as if her own body was rejecting the bile coming out of her mouth- a member of the audience then handed her a P45. We are supposed to believe somehow that this party is in charge of our national security when they can’t even control the security at their own conference. Then the set behind her began to disassemble itself until it was like the opening credits of a Fawlty Towers episode. It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragically frightening.
This will surely go down as the worst Prime Minister’s speech ever and I doubt that even her smug arrogance can save her from the wolves in her party. With Boris waiting in the wings however I fear that things will get a lot worse long before they ever get better.
If you need something to take you away from all this mayhem then I suggest maybe going to see the new Bladerunner 2049 film out today.
Although it is not exactly a barrel of laughs it does have the bonus of having Ryan Gosling, Jared Leto, Robin Wright, Harrison Ford and Ana de Armas to look at. Any fans of the original film will not be disappointed. Set, like the original, in a near future dystopia it is a master-class in film-making; the music and cinematography are simply stunning and the cast is top-notch.
A full review –with no plot spoilers- can be found here.
To make some sense of a crazy week in world affairs I am heading off to a Grace Jones themed club night at the Wee Red Bar in the Art College- the culmination of a two day symposium of the celebrated Ms. Jones- as at least her form of (un) reality and artifice is one I can actually relate to and stomach!
Maybe Grace can save us all. There but for the God of Grace go I!

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!