Posts Tagged ‘ UKIP ’


Just An Observation
It would seem that during my extended sabbatical from writing this column that the world has shifted from making me feel as if I live in a parallel universe to believing it has gone quite insane.
In a few short weeks that paragon of everything which is wrong with our society and its attitude to people, Katie Hopkins, has gone from pariah to social necessity and that a vote in the upcoming General Election for SNP actually translates as a vote for UKIP-eh?-, The Baftas occurred without me even knowing caring or even being aware of most of the films nominated whilst over in B&Q the staff, along with those of the emergency services, are primed for a weekend rush coinciding with the soft porn antics of the screen adaptation of the pile of junk ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. Meanwhile, in other sad news, the original ‘Fades to Grey’ icon, Steve Strange, has departed this world at the relatively young age of fifty five. How much greyer can we get?
First up though is the disbelief I feel that Katie Hopkins can come second in anything voted for by the public that validates her thinking or methods of spouting it. I had no intentions of watching this year’s Celebrity Big Brother but having heard so much about it via social media my interest was piqued and tuned in only to discover that it was essentially a battle of wills between her and the other megalomaniac egotist, Perez Hilton.
Seriously it was hard to decipher which of these two was the more obnoxious although for me Hopkins won that one; however irritating and worthy of disapproval Hilton was his irrationality usually occurred after he felt attacked and generally the attack had been engendered by Hopkins’ actions or agenda. Aside from this I felt he was merely being himself however despicable that was but Hopkins was just as bad-worse even- but played a more underhand game.
Although I had no sympathy for either of these vile creatures I was always glad that he never backed down when she savaged him so brutally. Personally I feel her nastiness and problems-even if she doesn’t consider nastiness a problem- all arise from the fact she is ugly. Not ugly in the ‘she is not quite pretty enough’ way but ugly in the true sense; when the bile inside actually shows on the face and no matter how many gesticulations and girly shaking around of hair she adopts in a misguided attempt at femininity nothing can hide the fact she is the ugly face of our culture which breeds such people.
Apparently her straight talking has endeared her to certain parts of the nation although there is a difference between straight talking and rudeness and bullying. Even in losing she was ungracious and attacked the person who beat her-Katie Price who for the first time ever I was glad to see beat someone- as an unworthy winner who didn’t deserve her victory. Whether she did or didn’t is irrelevant but the sour grapes were unnecessary.
The personification of this sort of bullying can be found in a character in the Bafta award winning film ‘Whiplash’ in the guise of music teacher Terrence Fletcher played by JK Simmons. Admittedly I was unaware of this film until I saw it mentioned in a Bafta round-up on Monday and decided to give it a chance. Actually I am embarrassed to say that I was actually unaware the Baftas had even taken place until Monday but this is probably due to my being underwhelmed by the majority of the last year’s film output and my boredom with the self-congratulatory nature of awards ceremonies in general.
Set in the fictional Schaffer music school in New York the film deals with talented musicians who are ‘encouraged’ in their craft by Fletcher who constantly belittles, humiliates and bullies them to get exactly what he wants with no regard for the psychological impact his actions actually engender. Despite this noxious character the film is actually okay-one of the higher recommendations I can give this season’s films so far- although be warned it does come with an extended drum solo at its finale but for once this is something endurable and quite necessary to the story.
In politics I read somewhere this week that voting for the SNP actually translates as voting for UKIP in some weird tactical voting sort of way. I am unclear how this actually pans out and I think after 2010’s election when so many of those who voted for the Lib Dems-they will get a fraction of that support this time I believe- realised they had actually voted the Tories into power that this is just scare tactics by a system and media who are constantly being exposed as corrupt. In the long run a vote for UKIP is always going to be a vote for UKIP, with all that represents, but a vote for The SNP or the Greens is a vote for integrity and a society which needs serious positive change for everyone.
After much brouhaha ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ hits the screen this weekend and in expectation of a rush on rope and other ‘DIY’ accessories B&Q have instructed their staff to read up on such practices so they can advise customers on what would best suit their requirements in their soft bondage experiments. The emergency services have also been told to expect several cal outs dealing with people getting themselves into situations-ahem- they can’t get out of. I must admit I find this all highly amusing and it is a shame the film looks like a steaming heap of trash and that Jamie Dornan who was excellent as psychopathic serial killer, Paul Spector, in the BBC2 drama ‘The Fall’ has chosen this as his next career move, as although it will launch him into the stratosphere it sort of undoes all the good work he had done as a credible actor. I also find it amusing that it takes a piece of mainstream Hollywood soft porn to encourage people to explore their sexuality in this way.
On a sadder note the news came through last night that Steve Strange, pop star, singer in Visage and leading light of the early eighties New Romantic movement had passed away at the age of fifty-five although the irony of shades of grey and fades to grey both being headline news on the same day would probably not have been lost on him.
‘Fade to Grey’ will always be his signature tune- the video alone taught a generation how to pose moodily and look vaguely exotic and interesting even when they weren’t- but there were other hits, notably ‘Night Train’, which also stand the test of time. Although there is no secret that he had his troubles and his addictions I do remember meeting him when he put on his club Kick in Edinburgh in the late eighties –I think but if you remember the eighties you weren’t really there- and he was a pleasant and charming character but you were always aware he was a canny hustler underneath this outward charm. Therefore to get in the mood for weekend I am going to sign out with the ‘Fade to Grey’ video to set the tone for the weekend which I hope, despite all signs indicating the opposite, is not a grey one.



Just An Observation Friday May 17th


 With two and a half –count ‘em- months until the Festival madness kicks into gear and the Royal Mile becomes taken over by tourists and so-called entertainment types the famous street, housing a castle at one end and a palace at the other, has been in receipt of a fair amount of action and attention this week in two very separate incidents taking place only a few yards from each other.

 First, Tuesday evening saw a pharmacy being held up whilst  customers and staff were held hostage for several hours. The drama unfolded early evening after a couple supposedly in search of their latest fix and planning a drug haul- let’s face it there can be little other reason for holding up a pharmacy unless a lifetime supply of haemorrhoid cream is your goal- and the street was cordoned off until the police tasered the aggressors and released the hostages.

 Drama number two occurred only two days later involving Nigel Farage of the obnoxious UKIP party on an ill advised visit to a bar only several yards away. Intolerant of his views the feisty Scots gathered outside a pub he was enjoying a pint in and demanded for his expulsion by gathering and chanting ‘Scum, scum’ until he was forced to retreat. Never one to miss an opportunity Farage referred to the incident as the ugly side of nationalism and typically used the event as a means of comparing the Scots less favourably with our counterparts down south who are far more ‘enlightened’ and voting for him in worryingly ever growing  numbers.

 Whilst I agree totally with the sentiments of the protesters what impressed me was the fact the majority of them seemed to be from what I have recently termed the complacent younger generation. The fact they seemed to have removed their attention from their laptops, phones etc. was perhaps what impressed me the most and shows that maybe there is a bit more hope for them and they do actually have a sense of propriety and principle if the situation occasions it. Maybe they will get around to making some decent music and produce a worthwhile act next!

 What with all this action in a short space and the God-awful weather to go with it – sleet, snow, blazing sunshine, gusting wind, hail and torrential rain all made separate appearances in a two hour time slot on Monday alone- it really felt as if the Festival had come early this year.

 After all this excitement the big disappointment of the week for me though has to have been  the arrival of the new Daft Punk album. The fact it is not released until Monday is neither here nor there as leaks on the internet necessitated an official streaming. The hype which had preceded this had prepared us all for a classic album and a comeback to rival that of Bowie’s who has really shown everyone how it should be done. Again. Instead the resulting album with a host of impressive collaborators- Niles Rodgers, Giorgio Moroder and Julian Casablancas- came over all self consciously funky and, even worse, a ‘try hard’ effort. Overly long , over indulgent and over indulged it is an album housing a series of missed opportunities which could –with severe editing and better programming- have been great. A full, review and chance to listen to the album in its entirety can be found here.

 Tonight sees an interesting gig at the Leith Links Cricket Club- I know it hardly sounds rock and roll and it is reminiscent of Phoenix Nights but give it a chance with local-and QT- favourites the recently dubbed ‘coolest band in Scotland’ HRH headlining. Other acts include The Priscillas , Paul Vickers and Et Tu Brute??? are also on the bill and at only £4 entry and cheap drink all night what is not to like? Starting at 7pm and going on until 1am it is definitely worth checking out.

 Today however I am off to see the Baz Luhrmann interpretation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary classic –and personal favourite- ‘The Great Gatsby’. I approach the film with an open mind but also mixed feelings as it is to me –and a host of others- one of those books which perhaps should  really not be touched. It is particularly poignant at the moment as I attended a party several weeks ago where we danced under the stars with a collection of beautiful and glamorous people whilst live musicians belted out songs for our entertainment as the drink flowed freely against the backdrop of 300 acres of forest and I remember commenting to a young girl who waltzed by in fabulous furs- fake I presume- ‘It’s like being in ‘The Great Gatsby’. The film has a lot to live up to then and hopefully Luhrmann is the man to do it.

 Not been impressed by much on television recently but catch up introduced me to a new drama set in Northern Ireland; ‘The Fall’. All the prerequisites of good modern television are there including Gillian Anderson as visiting police officer out to assist in a baffling case and former Calvin Klein underwear model Jamie Dornan as  the fit, good looking slow burning psychopath. The first episode whetted my appetite for more and occupying the same time slot on a Monday at 9pm –although on BBC2 without the irritation of constant adverts interrupting the dramatic flow- as recent success ‘Broadchurch’,it could become a cult classic.

Mind you if you prefer your drama more realistic you could simply hang around the Royal Mile and wait for lightning- now there is something missing from our weather line up this week so far- to strike thrice!


Just An Observation Friday May 3rd


And on and on the list keeps growing! Yet more leading figures from the entertainment industry caught up in sexual scandals which may-or may not-be linked to the whole Savile debacle, which is the scandal which seems to keep on giving. This week has seen Stuart Hall admit charges of sexual abuse taking place over a considerable period of time whilst Coronation Street actor Bill Roache-the longest standing member of any soap opera in the world playing slow but steady Ken Barlow whose marriage to Dreary, her of the specs and the wrinkly neck, has seen some ups and downs of its own-has been arrested in connection with rape charges against an underage girl dating from 1967.

With both these latest figures  now in their eighties  it now means I will be eyeing any unassuming octogenarian with a suspicious eye in the coming days. It certainly brings new emphasis to that immortal line uttered by Harold Steptoe to his lecherous father Albert, in one of that era’s better sitcoms Steptoe and Son, ‘You dirty old man’. I am beginning to wonder whether they should just arrest the whole of the nineteen sixties and seventies or perhaps my whole childhood televisual experience.

 What with Rolf Harris, Max Clifford-I would like to see his obnoxious press team attempt to get him out of this one- and Michael Levell (yet another Coronation Street regular begging the question who next? Norris Cole?) among recent public figures arrested for sexual offences on under-agers it just confirms what many have presumed for years; that the entertainment industry is full of rampant egos who believe they can make up their own rules and normal laws don’t apply to them.

 Not that the whole of the industry can be tainted in this way and paedophilia exists in many other spheres apart from this. It would just appear from evidence already presented that some form of collusion and agreement seems to have existed amongst the participants who being in the public eye were rightly or wrongly considered figures to be looked for to moral guidance.

 Therefore whilst my parents may have worried about the effects David Bowie was having on my almost pubescent self-their reaction when I waltzed in with the first New York Dolls album cover clutched lovingly in my black nail varnish adorned hands eclipsed this obsession and had them wondering what could possibly be next and, fair to say, I never disappointed- but in hindsight he may have been the safer option. Attending an episode of ‘Jim’ll Fix it’ would probably have been fraught with more sleaze and unwanted sexual corruption than a Ziggy Stardust concert could ever have conjured up. Likewise Rolf Harris’s catch phrase ‘Can you see what it is yet?’, as he seemingly haphazardly applied daubs of paint to a large canvas now seems inextricably linked to something more sinister in my psyche. What is more disturbing is how overt all this was with the main perpetrators playing out their twisted fantasies- Gary Glitter’s child catcher movements during ‘Leader of the gang’ spring to mind here- very blatantly  before our eyes.   Perhaps the best advice that anyone could have given any young person visiting the BBC centre in the sixties and seventies would have been ‘Run!’ Followed by ‘Fast!’

 And as the country’s top rated show Coronation Street has to rewrite scripts and has lost two of its stalwart characters in as many months – if this continues pretty soon we will be left with a show consisting of Rita singing wartime favourites to Emily Bishop- the whole industry is tarnished and obviously needs looked at and with its archangel publicist, Clifford, at the centre of the maelstrom then at least there may be less places for those who seek to abuse their positions of fame, wealth and success to hide.

 News has emerged this morning concerning by elections in England and Wales showing that the Tories are rapidly losing their vice like grip whilst the Lib Dem’s are no longer a party with any credibility –securing a place within a coalition with party whose parties policies are anathema to most of their supporters has placed them in a place that is almost impossible to came back from- but showing the rise of the dubious UKIP party. This has actually worried me and whilst I usually stray away from politics it would appear that things may actually get worse rather than better. A lot of disillusionment has set in and unfortunately the UKIP policies focus on this and are playing on people’s ignorance and frustrations. Unfortunately their manifesto is very clear-if not wholly revealing- and in a world blighted by mistrust and lies this may go someway in securing them even more votes. This however is not a good thing.

 On a lighter note one of my favourite film makers Pedro Almodovar returns to our screens this weekend with a piece of over the top camp outrage called I’m So Excited And guess what? I so actually am! Moving away from the serious nature of his more recent works this is a return to the style of movie which first drew so much attention and gained him so many plaudits in the nineteen eighties when his star was very much in the ascendant. I will be seeing the film later today and a review will be posted not long after.

Elsewhere the arrival of May did not usher in any summertime weather and I still have to consider whether I will be warm enough every time I leave the house. At least I have managed to lose at one layer and have not made the foolhardy- and tempting fate- mistake of investing in a summer wardrobe. Over the last few years it has proved itself a waste of money and last year’s still hangs in my wardrobe largely unworn so the least I can hope for is it may actually get an airing this year at some point.