Posts Tagged ‘ Fini Tribe ’

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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I think someone forgot to send the weather the memo that it is now summer!
With the yearly Meadows Festival taking place tomorrow it has almost become tradition that rain and grey skies are obligatory. Although it is always a blessing when the Bongo Players are rained off- this won’t bother me so much personally this year as I am no longer a resident in the area- it is unfortunate that such an event is nearly always marred by the weather. Hopefully the weather forecasts are all proved wrong and it is a glorious day with beaming glorious sunshine and we are all complaining of heatstroke and sunburn but at the moment that seems unlikely. There are some good stalls however among them the Iconic stall which is making an appearance before its Grassmarket base closes down later in the year.
This may be a final chance to see Iconic’s wares in such an informal environment as it is moving into online sales due to problems many shops in the Grassmarket are having at the moment so it would seem it is not just our high streets which are suffering at the moment. It is a shame to see such a great shop go-it will remain open until year’s end- but it would seem Edinburgh Council are not too interested in helping out small creative businesses in their endeavours when it is more profitable to them to encourage stag and hen parties to drunkenly commandeer areas such the Grassmarket with little regard for residents or shop-owners. This is progress apparently.
Tuesday night, of all nights, sees a flurry of activity in the social strata with two major events on opposing sides of the Scottish coastlines. Edinburgh will be alive to the sound of the Fini Tribe, Young Fathers and a myriad cast of others including Andrew Weatherall at Central Hall as part of Neu Reekie’s summer extravaganza. Meanwhile over in Glasgow Patti Smith is performing her seminal debut and all time classic, as well as perennially personal favourite, album ‘Horses’ in its splendiferous entirety. Who would ever have thought boring old Tuesdays could throw up such delights and temptations? Now this really is progress.
The Neu Reekie night looks like being a major Edinburgh event which it would seem anyone who is anyone is attending. Nights of this standard don’t come around very often and it would be a shame to miss it which unfortunately I will as I shall be in Glasgow watching Patti Smith strut her very impressive stuff!
It is unfortunate a choice had to be made but for me it was no choice at all really as seeing her perform this record, which was among a handful which assisted in refashioning rock and roll from its bloated corpulent state in the mid seventies, is a must see. It always never ceases to amaze me the amount of passion, adrenaline and sheer electricity Smith manages to draw from within herself and transmit to her audience. I am expecting big things of this night and don’t expect to be disappointed!
Less than a month on from the General Election it would seem the Tories are only just beginning to show how awful the next five years will be under their rule. Plans to censor all media broadcasts containing all ‘extremist’ views are already afoot despite arguments that this contravenes the freedom of speech act.
Taking away any freedom of expression seems to be a major part of their manifesto and somehow the irony that this is in itself extremist is lost on them. Or perhaps it isn’t at all. Certainly the fact that George Osborne plans to sell off RBS to his city pals at a loss of £13 billion to the tax payers who paid to save it is beyond despicable. In many ways he and David Cameron are worse to me than Margaret Thatcher who although misguided, slightly insane and unhinged seemed to actually believe that she was actually right in what she was doing. These two however are fully aware that what they are doing is wrong and corrupt but don’t seem to care. It is almost as if they are laughing in our faces!
At least Scotland has the voice of 56 SNP MP’s to oppose them at every turn but whether even that is enough to make a whole lot of difference is unfortunately debateable.
Off now to find myself some suitable rainwear for the Meadows Festival although I am also looking out t-shirts and flip flops in case there is a total turnaround in the weather. Here’s hoping!

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation
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Whilst it is disappointing that summer seems to be delayed, seemingly in no hurry to get here anytime soon, it is even more frustrating that Simon Cowell and his merry band of annoying Britain’s got Delusions cohorts seem to have moved on from taking over the weekend TV schedules to occupying every night of the week virtually uncontested.
I know it is a pointless question but who actually watches this shit and why is it so popular?
Are we really that vacuous a nation or have we just surrendered ourselves to hours and hours of mundane offerings with little relevance or meaning and why are there so few alternatives? Almost as smug –possibly even more powerful- as David Cameron, Simon Cowell holds court over the proceedings like some latter-day pimped up Nero in Raybans with bog brush hair. Has there ever been anyone more naff and more challenged than challenging?
It really is a sad state of affairs for British television that whole schedules are arranged around this sort of thing simply to find an act for that other TV ‘highlight’ the Royal Variety Show!
A few weekends ago I looked at the TV listings guide and wondered what decade or even century we were living in when I noticed that Sunday night viewing consisted of the sixties stalwart ‘Sunday Night at The Palladium’ on one channel whilst the BBC were showing that bastion of seventies Sunday fare ‘Poldark’ on the other. I managed ten minutes of the latter before realising that French and Saunders weren’t going to suddenly appear and it was a serious attempt at drama.
It is not all bad however and there is a lone piece of genius in the shape of ‘Peter Kay’s Car Share’ which if you haven’t seen then I recommend you catch on BBC iPlayer while you still can. It isn’t often I laugh out loud at comedy but I did to this which although brilliantly observed and well written it was the two main performances and chemistry between Kay and Sian Gibson which really took it to another level.
Things are hotting up-hopefully literally- around this year’s Film Festival which starts on June 17th and runs until the 28th. Attracting most of the interest and attention is a documentary by Grant McPhee Big Gold Dream: Scottish Post Punk and Infiltrating the Mainstream about an especially vibrant and exciting time in Edinburgh’s musical history which precipitated a cultural shift in the city’s landscape which resonates even today. It was a time when many teenage lives, including mine, exploded from drab black and white into vibrant colour even if said colours were more often than not drab black and grey! Rules were broken and rethought about this time and it was probably the first time-in many ways it was also possibly the last- a generation took matters into their own hands and shaped their own futures!
This is a particularly interesting film for me as it is a scene I fell into in my mid-teens and met many of the participants, several of which I am proud to call friends even to this day. From the cast of thousands expect insights, humour mixed with colourful anecdotes and hopefully obligatory bitching from the likes of Davy Henderson, Robert King, Fay Fife. Jo Callis, Edwyn Collins, Allan Campbell and Alan Mc Gee. Also expect some excellent and previously unseen footage from the likes of The Fire Engines and The Scars. It is also good to see the Edinburgh musical scene at last getting the recognition it wholly deserves as usually documentaries focussing on this time and location are more Glasgow-centric. Premiering on the 19th of June at The Filmhouse this is definitely a hot ticket although there is a further showing at the Odeon on Lothian Road the following Saturday 27th.
Other highlights of the festival look to be Amy a documentary about the tragic short life of Amy Winehouse and Imagine Waking up Tomorrow and All Music Has Disappeared which is a fascinating insight into the mind of true musical maverick Bill Drummond. Of course there are bound to be many more films of interest but I will need to study the programme a little closer and give recommendations nearer the time.
This weekend’s highlights include The Design Market at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Market Street which features many talented teams and individuals from the city’s creative hub including the fabulous Tessuti, Workhorse Press, A Pair of Blue Eyes and many others. Tomorrow night sees the Fini Tribe return to Paradise Palms with guests including Scott Ferguson (Robot 84). This a sort of warm up for their big night as part of Neu Reekie’s extravaganza on June the 9th also featuring The Young Fathers, at Central Hall which I am unfortunately going to miss as I am attending Patti Smith’s performance of her seminal album Horses in Glasgow that night. However I will be back in town for the obligatory after party! Can’t miss that now! Can I ?

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just An Observation
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With a hint of spring in the air-just a whispered hint as north of the border hasn’t been basking in the same heat-wave as the one down south- it is time to pack the winter blues away. This weekend sees Record Store Day which has been growing in stature and popularity over the least few years make its biggest dent in our consciousness yet. Events all over the country remind us just how important these musical emporiums are to our heritage and why, despite all the devaluation of music by subsequent generations, music is still a valid and potent force to so many.
Having grown up in an era where the record store was more than just another shop but a destination where a cornucopia of delights might just be waiting it is encouraging to see so much effort being put into this year’s event. It is even more encouraging to see so many people actually interested in it .
To me it is not even about the snobbery of vinyl versus CD’S or downloading versus streaming, what really counts is the music and the value it has in any form. Unfortunately in recent years this is something which has been declining probably faster than the amount of record shops in our cities. It has become akin to electricity just hanging in the air and in our environment without us even noticing. Every shop or mall we enter has piped music and it has become so relevant to our every day experiences it has almost become irrelevant in the process thus devaluing its real currency.
This is an extremely depressing state of affairs as music is one of the most emotionally explicit of the art forms and it is tragic that it has become something people are less and less willing to pay for as they feel they don’t have to. Similarly many artists feel they have to give it away free online just so it can simply be heard. The chances of becoming successful and making money out of a musical career become more and more slender and unlikely as big business takes over and moguls such as Simon Cowell dominate an industry by taking over our TV screens for a large section of the year, cornering a younger market at home with their families. Don’t even start me on the content of these musical market places as the soundtrack served up is usually beyond drivel!
It is good then to see Record Store Day standing up for itself and reminding us of a time when a visit to a record store actually meant something; the days when a feverish hand clutched money, either saved, earned or given as a gift and a decision made as to what would actually be purchased. Then there was always the next object of desire which caught your eye, wooing you as you perused and the whole seduction routine was set off into motion again. I would often find myself gazing longingly at a record sleeve losing myself in the universe I thought it might just inhabit; a universe very different from my day to day reality.
Along with the actual record purchased there was also the whole social element to the process. The checking out of the various styles of other record shop habitués and how their style defined them- splitting us into tribes or creating a sense of camaraderie- was almost as important as buying the music.
On my agenda for the event are The Cathode Ray album launch at Elvis Shakespeare on Leith Walk then a wander up to Undrground Solu’shn In Cockburn Street where The Fini Tribe are celebrating the re-release, in a variety of new mixes, of their classic ‘101’ track. It is a busy day for The Fini boys as they are also in Glasgow at Love Music early doors-about 1pm- and then later on holding a party at Paradise Palms.
At the cinema the Kurt Cobain documentary Montage of Heck is showing at the moment. Checking it out later today and it fits in with the rest of the weekend’s schedule as Nirvana were probably the last band to galvanise a generation and remind them of the potent poignancy, danger and relevance that music actually holds. It would seem the machinations of the industry and its corporate nature were always at odds with Cobain’s sensibilities and this is what is assumed to have contributed to his suicide although other factors were also apparent. A full review will be posted after viewing.
Also the final cut of one of my all time favourite films ‘Blade Runner’ is out this weekend and if anyone hasn’t seen this on the big screen then I strongly suggest you do. It is an experience very worth experiencing!
On the election trail last night’s debate once again showed that Nicola Sturgeon really can kick some ass. Challenging Ed Milliband to join forces to lock the Tories out of Downing Street she made an open and truthful offer which, as she correctly surmised, if he turns his back on then the public will never forgive him. She also brought Nigel Farage to heel-this man is actually becoming a caricature of what was a caricature in the first place and would be funny if it wasn’t so frightening that people are falling for it- after he yet again blamed everything on immigration before he actually went ahead and insulted the audience present.
It is certainly an interesting time in British politics and it is fascinating to see the whole political landscape changing visibly before our eyes. Whilst it will still be the case of a Tory or Labour Prime Minister it is also apparent that neither will be able to win outright so collaborations, of whatever nature, are the real important issue here. On that note the Lib-Dems were not present last night-along with David Cameron and this is a decision which may have backfired on him- and they didn’t even warrant a mention throughout the whole debate. That in itself should be a lesson to anyone thinking of jumping into bed with the Tories.
At the moment there are no clear cut winners and this in itself is highly unusual at this late stage so there is still everything to play for. It was touching and encouraging however to see the three women leaders-Sturgeon along with Natale Bennett and Leanne Wood- give each other a group hug at the end of the debate as this is a side of politics we have never seen before.

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation
lOU RAMMED

Anyone who tells you there is nothing going on in Edinburgh obviously doesn’t have my invites list and is just as obviously not even bothering to look. Tonight is a perfect example of this with two very different events taking place and overlapping neatly with each other so that a select and well co-ordinated few are able to attend both. First up is that bastion of literary delights and exquisite musical outings that is Neu Reekie at its regular Summerhall base which tonight features, amongst notable others, Momus and The Band of Holy Joy.
At roughly the same time in the town centre-The Voodoo Rooms in West Register Street-the Fini Tribe Soudsystem will be kicking up a storm on the flashing dancefloor in the venue’s French Quarter in the latest instalment of Rammed. A lot of talk has surrounded this event and it will be followed up by a live date to be announced very soon. A fabulous collaboration between several creative types with musical style chopping and changing almost randomly but somehow all sewn together seamlessly, Rammed aims to drag clubbing from its past and into the future.
Certainly not a night to be staying in re-arranging your wardrobe, washing your hair or praying for something decent on the television as it would be more than a shame to miss either or both of these events. Go on treat yourselves!
Not that great nights out are exclusive to the weekend. Tuesday night saw a great solo performance and gig by Sterling Roswell-formerly of legendary space rockers Spaceman 3- at the Parlour Bar in Leith. A totally outstanding performance which the only criticism I have is that it did not go on for longer. The extremely pleasurable and charming Mr. Roswell also gave me a vinyl copy of his band Rosco’s album ‘The Call of the Cosmos’ to review which I shall endeavour to do over the weekend post Rammed and in recovery mode. Certainly the tracks I have heard online seem like just the ticket to assuage my Friday night debauchery as an aural decompression chamber complete with massage.
This coming Tuesday March 4th- Tuesdays are the new Saturdays it would seem- sees a one night showing of a film inspired by Goldfrapp’s beautiful new album ‘Tales of Us’ at the Cameo. This film is followed by a satellite link up to a live show which will be shown simultaneously around the world. This is a worthwhile night not just for fans of the group but for anyone who recognises how important they were for diverting their own, as well as that of others, musical direction in the first ten years of this century, even if their influence has diminished slightly since those halcyon days. ‘Tales of Us’ does see a return to form, of sorts, after their first disappointing album 2010’s ‘Head First’, so seeing how this band who has one of the most strikingly visual performers in the business will interpret their new music visually will be very interesting.
Elsewhere whilst there is serious carnage in the Ukraine there is also carnage here as big businesses, politicians and the like -this week the BBC and Standard Life are the main culprits- all keep throwing their toys out the pram every time the Yes vote for Independence seems to take an upward swing. What none of them seem to realise is that this upward swing is directly related to all the threats, bullying and scaremongering tactics of the naysayers as the Scots are quite rightly sick and tired of these sort of tactics and underhand practices which really only galvanise them into seeing Independence as their only means of escaping them.
Right it is never too early to start getting ready to go out-mentally prepared I mean, although the physical act will not be too far behind- so am off to get ready for a night of mayhem and dancing. Let the weekend begin!
The below link is the visual Rammed Fini Tribe flyer.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwBPslg0nHw

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation
lOU RAMMED

Whilst much of the country has been battered senseless by storms, rain and flood the east coast of Scotland has remained relatively unscathed until this last week when we were battered senseless not by the weather but by February’s never ending round of award ceremonies. Both the Baftas and the Brits had their embarrassing moments. The former had the future King high-fiving the rapper Tinie Tempah and the latter had James Corden and his particularly unfunny and irritating style of presenting not to mention a revered rock star unnecessarily intervening in the Independence Debate by exhorting us to vote No via a speech delivered in absentia by model Kate Moss in an outfit which dated from the last time he actually lived in the UK: that would be forty years ago.
Whilst it is fair to say the issue of who looked better in said outfit from Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust era was never up for debate- David won it hands down- or whether it was one of his better outfits in the first place-definitely not- it is fair to debate whether Bowie was right to offer his opinion from such a platform on a matter which many agree is none of his business. It is not as if he is going to looking for Fife on Mars is it? It certainly felt unnecessary from someone who, apart from a cocaine induced flirtation with fascism in the seventies, has remained apolitical throughout his career.
Whilst there are those who claim he is entitled to his opinion this is always something I contest. Entitlement can never just be assumed and coming from a man who fled this island as soon as the coffers started rolling in and has never returned to live here ever since I feel his sense of entitlement is something he has awarded himself. It is also one which comes from a lifetime of high living-admittedly hard worked for- in comfortable surroundings with the day to day rigours of mundane problems more than likely taken care of by staff and employees.
Perhaps from his Manhattan penthouse it seemed like a relevant bandwagon to jump on and matters were certainly fuelled by his son Duncan Jones, who has a very Scottish sounding name and did actually attend Gordonstoun so can claim his slice of entitlement, who took it upon himself to launch an aggravated attack on Alex Salmond via Twitter. Very good at pontificating and opinion offering form a distance both father and son it would seem. Perhaps he, like so many others, believes that a vote for independence is a vote for Alex Salmond: it isn’t.
Whatever the reasons for Bowie’s misplaced instructions-instructions and being told what to do by others is one thing the Scots have certainly had enough of- he somehow contrived to appear on several front pages the next day which may have been the point all along.
Despite all this I am hardly likely to start burning all my Bowie albums in a misguided form of protest and will continue to enjoy his great works as much as ever and put it down to a misinformed, misguided and indulged rock star overstretching his credibility and importance. He is hardly the first to do that now is he?
Quite a quiet weekend this week but next weekend sees Friday night host two outstanding nights which actually overlap each other. There is the latest Neu Reekie instalment with Momus and the Band of Holy Joy at Summerhall whilst down at the Voodooo Rooms the third instalment of Rammed takes place with the Fini Tribe Soundsystem guesting in what looks like will be an absolute belter of a night.
Already a buzz surrounding the event it also acts as the launch of a variety of remixes of the Fini’s ‘De Testimony’ single with a very limited edition available for purchase on the night itself. Advisable to get there early for this one-it starts at 8- as it looks like living up to its name and being totally Rammed from early doors. Here to whet your appetites is the full length video flyer for Rammed and new mix of the aforementioned Fini Tribe single for the night.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/zvi7eydsywvxqzk/RAMMED%20FINI.mov

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation
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For those who indulge in such frivolity I would just like to say ‘Happy Valentines Day’ and to the rest of you I simply say ‘Welcome to the weekend’. For those who want to combine both Valentines day and the weekend then I can think of no better place to start than Lux Lives at Henry’s Cellar Bar in Edinburgh tonight and at McChuills in Glasgow tomorrow. Certainly I will be there swinging my carcass around to the primal beats of the various Cramps celebratory acts on show and if this doesn’t make your weekend swing then probably your weekend ain’t got no swing!
Also happening tonight is Woodland Creatures first birthday party from 7pm onwards. In a week that an article appeared claiming Leith Walk as the best high street in Scotland-even though technically it isn’t a high street- it is fitting that this bar situated halfway down is celebrated as part of that achievement as it has done a lot in providing a bar with integrity and style for those who are seeking these things. Especially in an area which has not always been renowned for such qualities. Although I am not an ardent pub goer I have found myself in Woodland Creatures on several occasions since it opened- every time has been a most pleasurable experience- and I don’t even live in the locale.
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It is not alone in the renaissance of Leith Walk however as it would appear that quite a burgeoning underground scene is occurring in the area whilst the city centre is busy pandering to tourists and stag and hen parties. It certainly says something about uptown when I body swerve the mundane offerings there and head down to Leith to catch up with some really interesting folk and worthwhile events.
Another venue which is well worth checking out this week is Summerhall and its Spring shows. Lat week saw the opening of this event and Colin Jarvie’s In Praise of Shadows retrospective which turned out to be a great night where anyone who was anyone involved in creating a youthful vibrant scene in Edinburgh, so many years ago, turned out in force looking more glamorous and healthy than many of us deserved to.
Another highlight-there are many so give yourselves a good few hours and get along there to check them all out- was definitely Kevin Williamson’s Love to Love You Baby installation which is a Donna Summer tribute and also the best dance you will have in a disco complete with strobes and flashing lights. I certainly spent the best Tuesday afternoon I have had in years there this week and I have the photos and videos to prove it. I did wonder however if there was a secret camera filming each person’s reaction whilst they were in there but I didn’t let this stop or trouble me too much. Obviously!
Things are even looking up on the television front this week with the return of ‘Line of Duty’ for a second series. I know it is yet another police drama but the interesting thing about this one is the fact it is police investigating themselves, or at least the corruption that exists in the force. From the opening sequence the tension was ratcheted up to full whilst the drama never let up and at the denouement of the first episode I was on the edge of my seat, literally gagging for more.
It is reassuring to see the BBC provide some decent drama for a change-last years ‘The Fall’ was another series of note-and something to fill the void left by the departure of Nordic Noir-such as ‘The Bridge’ and ‘The Killing’- though I still feel they need to rethink their scheduling as one hour every week is simply an outdated mode of showing dramas such as these especially in a culture of box sets. The BBC are probably the only station who have not recognised this –even ITV with its two hour ‘Midsomer Murders’ have cottoned onto this although I feel that these are often at least one hour fifty nine minutes too long- and also seem to consign their highest quality dramas to BBC2. Again, I feel they underestimate their audience and this is always a grave mistake.
Out at the cinema Dallas Buyers Club is yet another great film released so far in the early stages of 2014. Both Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto are up for nominations for their performances and, alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street, I think they are the most deserving of all the contenders in their categories. A full review of the film can be found here.
There has been a lot of healthy-and some not so- debating concerning the Scottish independence vote over the last week. A supposed major cog in the wheel reared its head concerning the currency debate with the three major Westminster parties saying that if Scotland does vote for independence then it will no longer allowed to use the pound as its chosen currency.
Whilst I am not in possession of the full details of the issue I must admit that it does sound suspiciously like the bullying and intimidating tactics of those who are running scared. That it comes in the week after it was announced that the ‘Yes’ vote is gaining momentum faster than the ‘No’ vote is even more suspect to me. Surely even if Scotland does vote for independence it is in the best interests of the rest of the UK to allow them to continue to use the pound as this will preserve at least some of the union they insist is so important to them. Or is it only important to them on their terms alone?
Right, if this weekend is beginning then I better make a move and try and locate that dark heart of mine in time to get Cramped later. It is also the two week countdown to the next Rammed featuring the Fini Tribe Soundsytem and this is another night which promises to be something special so clear a date for February 28th in your diaries and there will be more details about this next week.

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation Friday February 7th
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Now that the January blues have passed and we are already one week into the-mercifully- shortest month of the year a slight glimpse of spring in the form of longer days and milder temperatures signify the end of what has been not too bad a winter. At least as far as Scotland is concerned although an inhabitant of the country’s waterlogged and battered coast lines may beg to differ. It is also around this time of year when the social calendar starts to ramp itself up and the next few weeks certainly promise a lot worth going out for.
The first of these events is tonight at Summerhall where as part of the venue’s spring visual display offerings is a well deserved tribute to photographer Colin Jarvie. As an instigator of the Edinburgh scene in its nascent years before defecting to London and a successful career Colin established a lot of friendships which endured right through until his untimely death at the very beginning of 2013.
This exhibition is brought to the public courtesy of Neu Reekie and as part of the private view there will also be a performance by the Sexual Objects as well as a toast to the man with their very own Neu Reekie brand of whisky which I sampled-quite extensively according to all reports although I have little memory of the occasion- a couple of weeks ago at their celebratory Burns bash.
Proving it is hard to keep those pesky Neu Reekie guys down, founder Kevin Williamson also has a Donna Summer themed exhibition-Love to Love You Baby- of eight short films which I am reliably assured will do the Queen of Disco proud and it is whispered that sequins and hot-pants are essential and prerequisite items for maximum enjoyment to be attained.
There are of course other artists on display and the whole thing is open to the public as from Saturday so it is definitely worth checking out as this arts complex seems to be going from strength to strength.
I am being dragged out of town this weekend to the fair climes of Falkirk to view the Kelpies by a friend who has become obsessed with these equine sculptures which stand 100 feet high. Must admit I am looking forward to this as I had never heard of them until recently.
Also this weekend the release of yet another film loaded with Oscar nominations and based on yet another true story, ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ gets an official release. Starring Matthew McConaughey, who in his re-invention from hot torso hunk to serious actor rendered himself almost unrecognisable by losing over three and a half stone to attain the right look of someone suffering from AIDS, has received as much attention for weight loss as he has done for his performance. It was initially hard for me to take McConaughey seriously when he first embarked on more serious roles –previously he was more famous for his ripped torso than for any great acting achievements- but this film combined with his smaller but still memorable role in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ is certainly doing what is required in his renaissance as a credible and gifted actor.
It would seem that Facebook is awash with different tests to find out where you should be living, what breed of dog you are, which pop star you are- I got Elvis, Courtney Love and Kylie so work that out- and even what sex toy you should be. There have been IQ tests- I managed genius level in one solely based on numerology and equations and I know nothing of these things- and I now know that I am 100% middle class and at the same time 100% leftie and have revealed the twelve records which have meant something to me through the years. To cap it all there is now a link to a collage/film detailing your time on Facebook and at this juncture I wish to say enough is enough although this morning I couldn’t resist finding out which David Bowie character I was; Ziggy Stardust as it happens although this is probably no great surprise to anyone who knows me. I now know more about myself than I will ever need to know so I can only imagine how others must feel; apart from baffled which I suppose suits me somewhat, disclosing that I am even more wilfully perverse than any of these so called ‘tests’ could ever manage to reveal.
Hard as it is for me I am attempting to stay out of the Winter Olympics debate. Boycotting seems like such a good idea but gay people in Russia and protesting sympathisers need as much support as they can get being up against a regime which is ignorant, misinformed and in some cases quite insane and therefore wildly dangerous. The situation is diabolical and totally primitive. Russia needs to get in touch with the 21st century before the world leaves it and its prejudices behind.
In contrast gays in Scotland were granted the right to marry this week in a huge step forward in equality.Whilst i AM All for equality and happy that those who feel they need it now are one step closer to attaining it I am confused as to why the church after centuries of excluding gays are now so willing to accept them and also why those who have been excluded feel the need to be so grateful for what is basically a human right. Perhaps heterosexuals and the church realise there is something fundamentally flawed in the whole concept of marriage and are looking for a bit of gay input to put a bit of glittering sparkle into a dull and outmoded form of commitment.Either that or they are looking for someone to blame for it all going wrong as is the case in most marriages!
Other upcoming events include the Lux Lives nights –in both Edinburgh and Glasgow- next weekend-more details to follow as soon as I have them-and the first of two Rammed nights with the Fini Tribe on the 28th. February may be a short month but this year there is certainly plenty to pack in during that four week time frame.
Here to finish off this week is the one of the two new Opium Kitchen single tracks-‘We Will Be’- coupled with a sleazy video which more than captures hthe dark dramtic flourishes of this excellent number. The other track ‘Hommagination’ is just as –if not more so- powerful and talks are underway for the band to do alive set at Rammed in the late spring/ early summer. If this comes off it will be yet another night not to be missed.
First though we have to get this socially packed February out the way and tonight at Summerhall is as good a place to start as any!

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation
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Already more than half way through the first month of 2014 and whilst certain parts of the country are suffering terrible rains followed by destructive flooding Scotland emerges relatively unscathed. Without wishing to jinx things it hasn’t even been that cold yet. I know, I know, I keep being told winter doesn’t really kick in until February but there is no denying that thus far we have been extremely lucky as regards the weather both temperature wise and in just about every other way too. After writing this I am sure we will suddenly be treated to extreme weather conditions and if this happens then feel free to blame me.
This week saw the iconic Kate Moss turn forty and typical of the Daily Mail who feel the need to attack any form of individuality or lack of conformity, like some kind of avenging and pious rottweiler , the accusations flew thick and fast that she may have committed the unforgivable sin of actually looking her actual age. As Moss herself has stated in the past, why shouldn’t she? Surely someone who has been working since she was fourteen and been at the top of her game since she was sixteen has earned the right to live her life any way she chooses to. Personally the fact she has not succumbed to our society’s obsession with remaining ever youthful but is seemingly comfortable in her own skin and body is something to be commended not scorned.
Having met Kate at a Kills gig at the Liquid Rooms I can confirm that in person she is gorgeous but more than that she is actually down to earth and on the night in question she was merely out as a girl supporting her boyfriend- Jamie Hince now her husband- and was simply out to have a good night. She appeared to be unaffected by the fuss that went on around her and I spent the bulk of the night in her company finding her entertaining, informed and in possession of the elusive qualities of charisma and instinct.
Instinct, along with hard work, is probably the quality which has afforded her longevity in a business notoriously fickle and for someone whose career involves being dressed by others in their designs it is when she appears in clothes of her own choosing that she really hits the mark. It is those outfits that others slavishly follow and adapt rather than the high fashion spreads in which she also shines. Some may argue that as she has access to such clothes then how can she possibly go wrong? The answer to that is simply very easily as so many others with the same access fail miserably.
Having lived her life thus far exactly as she wanted to is inspiring in our bland world of uniformity. In a position to choose who she hangs out with, goes out with and even who she marries these may all be fiercely debated and commented on but make no mistake at the end of the day the final decision has always rested with her. Even after she was pilloried in the press for taking drugs- model on cocaine whatever next?- she played the contrite game and came back bigger than ever even managing to secure the contracts which had dropped her in the light of the so called scandal at a higher rate than before.
Happy Birthday Kate, just keep on doing what you are doing and after your Playboy shoot I predict there will even be a resurgence in pubic hair growth. Waxing to a prepubescent state is all so outdated now. Fashion needs you and you are proof that style and verve will always outweigh fashion and its dictates.
Out at the cinema this weekend are two excellent films, American Hustle and 12 Years A Slave, both worthy of all the accolades they are collecting. Of the two I think American Hustle has the edge as the superb seventies styling and soundtrack are excellent and although I don’t usually advocate award ceremonies finding them to represent industry insider wheeling and dealings rather than artistic enterprise in the case of these two films I think they may have actually nailed it. Despite this the battle between these two could be thrown into disarray with the arrival of the new Coen Brothers film ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’, a veiled look at a fledgling Bob Dylan type, which looks like it could be another award contender and if not the only reason will be its release date in the schedules.
Out on Monday January 20th is the Fini Tribe classic Balearic anthem ‘De Testimony’ with a surfeit of remixes from the likes of Justin Robertson and Robot 84. Coming with a seal of approval from Irvine Welsh who rates them as highly influential on a scene which inspired him the single is available in an extremely limited edition-only 350 copies- 12” EP on the FFFt label although a digital download will be available a month later with a further remix by 808 State.
In support of this release The Fini Tribe crew are joining up with Rammed, a live music club experience, for two separate and different nights at the Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh. The single launch night will take place on February 28th where the Fini Tribe Sound System will rock the night out alongside regular Rammed DJ’s The Baron and Oli Findlay in the French Quarter boasting a dance floor with flashing lights. The second outing is on April 26th in The Speakeasy which will feature a rare live appearance by the band. Both nights are not to be missed and further details will be announced nearer the time although spaces are bound to be limited due to the carefully selected intimacy of the venues’
As if to confirm that maybe Edinburgh does have a burgeoning underground music scene a pre-release copy of Opium Kitchen’s two track single ‘Hommagination’ and ‘We Will Be’ found its way into my inbox then swiftly into my heart this week. Due out on February 18th the former track is a louche piece of verbal and insistent, incessant guitar riffing played out over a solid rhythm section. The second track resembles Iggy Pop’s ‘Fall in Love with Me’ filtered through Joy Division-in a very good way- with some rumbling bass and nu-glam handclaps powered along with Robert King’s dark vocal stylings all adding up to heady mix and bubbling cauldron of dark mysterious cacophony. Sterling stuff indeed! Definitely something to look out for and there will be a full review nearer the time of release.
Here to round off today is the original mix of The Fini Tribe’s ‘De Testimony’ and remember to clear the dates 28th February and April 26th for those Rammed outings. Best clear the next days too!

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation
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Well that is the festivities well and truly over and normal-or abnormal if you prefer- life can resume. It is interesting to hear conflicting views about Edinburgh’s New Year Street Party as the mainstream press are heralding it as the most successful ever with profits exceeding what they expected. However the story from residents and others on the street as well as my first hand experience is a tale coloured from a different palette.
It would seem Edinburgh Council are only interested in promoting financial gain as this is the only way they can assuage their guilt over the crippling losses the whole tram debacle has raised. There was no mention in their report of the river of piss or the mountain of bottles and broken glass which littered the streets at only 9pm-three hours before the bells even rang-I encountered as I made my way across the city. There was no mention again of the bloodied, battered, aggressive and staggeringly drunk groups of people I also encountered at this early time either. That a young girl was sexually assaulted in the Canongate a few yards away from drunken revellers is shocking but it is hardly surprising considering the lack of a police presence which was noticeable passing through the city centre. It was however, according to the Evening News headlines, a great success and plans are afoot to make it even more ‘successful’ next year.
By successful I take it they are talking about profit yet again but only profit which benefits those closest to their own ideologies. I wonder how many small independent businesses actually prosper at this time and how many others simply dread the carnage which accompanies this party which in my opinion has ruined Edinburgh’s Hogmanays which used to be about its populous and not simply tourists.
It would seem that this once historic city which is considered one of the top places in the UK to live is fast becoming a tourist only destination and whilst the Festival and Fringe are essential cultural endeavours I also feel that the Stag and Hen parties which dominate the streets and bars every weekend are not but for some reason something the council are not only hell-bent on encouraging but actively pursuing.
With the January blues in full downward swing I thought I would try my luck with the television schedules and was pleased to see ‘Swedish /Danish drama ‘The Bridge’ is back and its main character Saga Noren still socially inept although she is trying to modify her behaviour with often hilarious results. As far as TV detectives she is possibly the best creation ever with the possible exception of ‘The Killing’s’ Sarah Lund.
The most interesting programme of the past week however has to have been Channel 4’s‘The Secret of the Living Dolls’ wherein a previously little known counterculture was brought to a mainstream audience for the very first time. Described variously as creepy and weird it certainly is a cult that seems to be growing and with botox and surgery part of the mainstream these days it seems new taboos keep having to be created.
This one in particular involves the wearing of a second skin- a rubber like substance referred to as Femskin- a wig and female clothing. At one point one of the ‘dolls’ said this was the closest they would ever get to being one of the beautiful people and I had to laugh as minutes before I had spotted one of them wearing crocs which are not exactly renowned for taking you down that road to the beautiful people. Personally for someone who grew up with icons such as Leigh Bowery this is perhaps a natural step forward and for those who find it creepy and weird well I can only counter that I don’t find it as creepy or weird as those who favour stereotypical uniformity and shopping in Primark. Some may look at these Living Dolls and ask why whereas my initial reaction is why not?
The Living Dolls however may not split opinion quite as much as Channel 4’s other offering this week ‘Benefits Street’ which in a week which saw the Tories plan to slash benefits to pay the deficit –incurred mainly by bankers- whilst allowing the more privileged to remain virtually untouched came across as little more than propaganda. Channel 4 should be ashamed of themselves as the media is always quick to attack those on benefits or from the poorer sections of society and programmes like this only fuel the bias. A more reasoned approach is required showing how difficult life on benefits can be in a society which encourages consumerism and ever increasing household expenses.
Out at the cinema this weekend is the new Steve Mc Queen movie ’12 Years a Slave’ starring Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Eijofor which has been garnering a lot of attention prior to its release. A review will be posted on these pages over the weekend.
Although January is traditionally a quiet month it would already appear that February is shaping up to be something quite special. There are already two nights which promise not to be missed and they are ‘Lux Lives’- The Cramps based tribute night with various acts- on the 14th in Henry’s Cellar Bar and a Fini Tribe sound system experience in conjunction with the Rammed crew at the Voodoo Rooms, as part of their new single launch, on the 28th. More details about both of these events nearer the time but for now definitely two dates to save in the diary.