Posts Tagged ‘ The X-Factor ’


Just an Observation
The gunfire and explosions of last Friday’s tragic events in Paris had hardly quieted down before there was a massive outpouring of grief, anger, accusations and opinions all over social media. I spent most of Saturday avoiding Facebook due to this but on Sunday when I logged in again I was faced with some genuinely moving tributes, intelligent observations and researched information.
However there was even more accusations that people showing support by using the French tricolour on their profile pictures were somehow not being supportive enough to issues elsewhere in the world alongside the unfortunately inevitable arguments about migration being the root of all evil- most of the latter escaped my news feed as I try not to knowingly harbour such sentiments among my friends, even the cyber ones- which was swiftly followed by unfriendings, deletions and blockings.
Knee jerk reactions yes, but also the root of even more festering wounds and divisions.
This is exactly what the perpetrators and organisers of these atrocities were wanting; alongside instilling fear, hatred, mistrust and anger into everyone of course. Surely turning on people for actively showing their support for France is unfair and if they are unaware of other atrocities in the world surely then surely this is the time to make them aware of them instead of hurling accusations and un-friending them.
Certainly Donald Trump’s suggestions that all Muslims carry identity cards so they can be clearly identified is one of the most preposterous and genuinely frightening suggestions I have heard from anyone never mind a supposedly serious political figure who is running for office. A return to World War Two values is no step forward and neither is laying the blame at large percentage of the world’s population simply because of their religious beliefs.
Mind you such ridiculous suggestions can only be made by a man who advertises the fact he is a dickhead by appearing in public looking like low flying squirrel has landed on his head.
Anyway in some good news it would appear that the X-Factor’s reign of terror for about one quarter of the year’s viewing schedules is coming to a close. Personally I thought it was well past its sell by date nearly five years ago-I am being kind here- and has been limping along to its faltering demise ever since. The news that Simon Cowell’s franchise is not being renewed for another series after this one was strangely inevitable but the fact that it is to be replaced by the BBC’s attempts to replicate it, ‘The Voice’, is also inevitable but not quite so welcome.
Anyway who cares about such trivialities when a new season of ‘The Bridge’ starts this Saturday at 9pm on BBC4. Its leading character Saga Noren, a well chilled icy blonde in leather trousers excellently portrayed by Sofia Helin, is definitely the most interesting detective character developed in years- she is up against stiff competition such as Sara Lund from ‘The Killing’- and one of my favourite TV characters ever! If you haven’t seen this series so far then I seriously recommend you do.
Elsewhere David Bowie has this week released a taster for his new album’ Blackstar’ due out in January-his 68th birthday to be precise- with an enigmatic if slightly disturbing new video to accompany it. After a couple of missteps last year- sticking his nose into the Scottish Referendum debate where it was neither wanted nor relevant then releasing an almost unlistenable single of some weird drum and bass hybrid you immediately wanted to unhear- he seems to have regained his footing on the album’s title track. Whatever anyone’s opinion of it there is no denying the man still stretches himself visually and musically when so many of his contemporaries have settled into complacency and predictability. What is more just about everything he does is still newsworthy to some degree and still gets people talking. This is perhaps his greatest art of all!Check it out below.

Photo at top: Sofia Helin as Saga Noren


Just An Observation Friday  September 13th


A short break after the Fringe madness and a chance for Edinburgh to settle down, after the departure of the hordes of tourists and the onslaught of incoming students, seems to have been cut short. It would seem that the early start of the Festival-accompanied by an earlier finish also-which for the first time ever began in July didn’t mean that the time in between these two events, when local residents can claim their city back and walk the pavements without being shunted around and talked at in unintelligible and frantic lingoes, was not in fact being extended as the arrival of students back in the second week of September has clearly made clear.

I am wondering whether Halloween is now at the beginning of October and Christmas is sometime in November as everything seems to be arriving earlier and earlier with each passing year. As far as the latter goes I would not be surprised as the last two weeks have seem festive items appearing on the shelves of some of the larger retail outlets and any minute I expect the first festive themed adverts to appear on television. If I see a Chanel No. 5 advert before November however this is when I know the world has gone mad and our calendar has been radically altered without anyone informing us!

 The end of the Festival this year ended with a bit of a whimper rather than a bang and that includes the Fireworks which let’s face it has become a bit played out and predictable. I opted for the Mela experience instead and headlining act, the Orb. Unfortunately so did about 95% of the population of Edinburgh and as I made my way down the thought which crossed my mind was exactly how is this going to work?  Everybody I knew in my extended circle seemed to have a ticket and Leith Links is hardly Wembley Stadium. As it turned out it didn’t work as the event was cancelled due to extreme high winds though in many ways I suspect this was one act of God the organisers were down on their knees praying for.

If the whole thing had gone ahead I have the feeling it would have been an unmitigated disaster with many disgruntled ticket holders unable to gain entry due to it being oversold. This was the crux of the problem as many believed they had purchased tickets to see The Orb rather than realising they had merely bought tickets to the Mela. The high winds therefore were probably more of a convenience than inconvenience for the organisers as I predicted a bigger disaster if the event had gone ahead.

 Last weekend saw the arrival of autumn with a very abrupt end to summer and its soaring temperatures. Actually autumn is probably my favourite season as it is both cleansing and fresh. It has been refreshing to actually have a selection of seasons this year and hopefully it means people will moan a little less about the weather although we all know that is unlikely seeing as it is virtually a national pastime if not an obsession.

 Unfortunately this also means the return of the X- Crutiating factor which I noticed has returned to our screens and, in act which doesn’t reek of desperation in the slightest, has re-installed the so, so –in her deluded surgically altered head at least- the outrageous Sharon Osbourne. Maybe I stand alone in this but I feel the woman is a faker and although her father -Don Arden-was an industry bigwig in the sixties he was also known as a tyrannical bully who was quite happy to use force to get what he wanted. I am sure there wasn’t a wind like the one which necessitated the cancellation of the Mela blowing the day that particular apple- or Sharon fruit- fell from the tree.

 Elsewhere on TV the new BBC series Peaky Blinders –BBC2 Thursdays at 9pm- looks like being a worthwhile effort. Starring Cillian Murphy-he of the ethereal blue eyes and impossible cheekbones- and set in the early 20th century, but including a sound track including Nick Cave and the White Stripes, it looks set to follow ‘The Fall’ as confirmation that the BBC can still produce outstanding dramas when it puts its mind to it.

 One criticism I have though-and this is about TV Dramas in general- is that the format of showing a series such as this in one hour weekly slots feels outmoded. Our culture is now used to box-sets where the viewer can watch multiple episodes in one sitting and this is now how people prefer to watch such things. It would be a brave move if schedulers realised this and then either showed such series’ over several consecutive nights or at the very least extended the hourly slot to two hours. The latter worked well for ‘The Killing’ on BBC4 so why not apply this tactic to our home-grown dramas? Our viewing habits have changed and this is something that needs to be taken into consideration.

 Coming up next month is the long awaited fourth album ‘Reflektor’ from one of my favourite bands, Arcade Fire,’ Always innovative and moving forward the title track shows that once again they are on track and following their own muse. Here is a taster of what to expect before the album’s release on October 29th.

 Picture above Cillian Murphy in ‘Peaky Blinders’