The Girl with the Edinburgh Tattoo

Enjoy yourself – it's later than you think!

Archive for the month “April, 2013”

Vive la meme chose!

ImageHow ironic that I chose to end my last post – all about hatred, intolerance and distrust of people ‘not like ourselves’ – with the French phrase: Vive la difference! Because what happened the very next day in the land – and in particular the city – of Jean Genet and where Oscar Wilde fled from homophobic persecution? Ridiculous scenes playing out with the worst examples of knuckle-dragging, drool-dribbling, Jurassic-Park-like creatures seen since – well – last week at Thatcher’s funeral… Protests about same-sex marriage? Get with it, guys! I know, I know the majority of French people are up to speed with such modern day concepts… but you have to do something about those dinosaurs… comprenez?

Who is the Enemy Within?

ImageI suppose you can’t blame Boston residents taking to the streets to celebrate the capture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (the sense of relief that the culprits weren’t white supremacists/anti-govt patriots after all was palpable) what is less than edifying however are the triumphal chants of ‘USA! USA!’ Surely that’s what causes awful scenes of carnage in the first place – nationalism, partisanship, sectarianism – call it what you like, it’s all hatred and a case of ‘well, they started it…’ It doesn’t really matter what it’s done in the name of either, whether it’s national boundaries, ethnic determination, religion – ah yes, religion – that old excuse. Look what’s happening in Burma for example: Buddhism – the ultimate laissez faire religion of choice for those who don’t do guilt – advocating the burning of fellow human beings (Muslims in this case). Vile… especially when spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, can’t actually bring himself to utter a few words of condemnation… However I’m getting sidetracked again with the whole religion thing which I should know by now is just a fig-leaf for human greed, expansionism and subsequent retaliation.

So what’s the answer? As the song says: ‘Imagine no… etc’ or the gospel: ‘Turn the other cheek’ – well maybe when everyone’s had a couple bottles of wine and are in ‘I love you man’ mode, but I’m too much of a realist to believe that’s an option. I have an idea though – just when you start thinking in terms of ‘them’ and ‘us’, or national boundaries or that raising a flag might be a good idea – look at the people you share a country or a nationality with, even people in your own family, do you necessarily feel more connected to them than – say – someone you’ve been communicating with on the other side of the world? It ain’t necessarily so – because there are good people and there are dicks of every nationality and in every walk of life, and it would seem unlikely that all the good people are in your own backyard. That’s why I’m uneasy about the whole independent Scotland thing – at best, I refuse to believe that we can confine all our woes to one side of a land border and live in a Brigadoon-type idyll – and at worst, buy into a ‘them and us’ mentality. Vive la difference!

Back to the Eighties!

ImageI was just saying the other day – before THAT story gripped the nation – how apathetic people had become. Gone were the days of public protest, demonstration, standing toe to toe on picket lines, nailing political colours to the mast – it seems that we’ve cosied down with our Sky packages and tablets (of both kinds). What do we have to be angry about? Then, suddenly we were all transported back to the eighties.

It’s strange because when I first heard the news and friends around me were whooping and breaking open the Barolo I felt quite detached from it all. After all it was the demise of an elderly woman who cut a rather pathetic figure towards the end. It wasn’t until all the retrospectives it all started coming back to me and I realised I had been living in denial. It was a bit like those people who are abused in childhood and then bury the experience deep within their psyche and it’s only later when encouraged to regress that they realise the full and lasting effect it has had on their lives. So – for me – this is how it goes: Thatcher was the wicked stepmother or governess who indelibly marked my upbringing but it was such a long time ago and other monsters in evangelist’s clothing have come and gone. Ah, yes – I mean you: Tony Blair. Surely he is a worse monster than Thatcher? He’s certainly responsible for more deaths. But then again, Thatcher beget Blair… (Keeping up the analogy – Blair is like the down-with-the-kids vicar who starts off with a bit of abuse and then goes on to napalm the whole village)

So, at the end of the day, with the countless words that have been – and will continue to be – offered up about the woman’s legacy, does it all matter? Of course! She transformed the UK but that’s not to say that it wouldn’t have changed without her. A lot has been made about the way she kicked the shambling old duffers of the old boy network up the arse but to replace them with (new) money obsessed barrow boys made good – was that really progress? And besides, what do we have today? Privileged rich boys masquerading as the barrow boys they desperately want to woo. Another ‘positive’ trundled out by her fans is that she paved the way for women in politics when in actual fact she has probably made it impossible for any woman to hold the office of British PM ever again, such is the – if not out and out hatred – deep rooted distrust. But then, she was a woman who didn’t seem to like other women – and didn’t seem to like great swathes of the population either… her legacy is all about ‘her’ and not about people ‘like her’.

So – as a working-class woman, a Scot, a European, citizen of the world, an environmentalist, an artist, someone with a conscience – can I think of anything positive to say about the whole Thatcher legacy thing? (I refrain from making comment about ‘Thatcher the woman’ or ‘Thatcher the person’ as I have no experience in that field, plus I find the ‘heart-warming’ tales of her personal kindness on a par with hearing Hitler was kind to his pet dogs). Yes! I think I have finally found something – the way that she has brought together sectors of the country to protest and proclaim – ‘Yes! There is such a thing as society and we haven’t forgotten. And you noncey boys who are no better than Thatcher in a suit – you can shut up your hypocritical traps too!’

There, that does feel a lot better! So however you feel about the whole thing – take something positive from it all – raise a glass, shout and scream – but don’t let it drag you down, don’t let it make you less of a person. We’ve had enough of that already.

Margaret Thatcher is dead.

Regarding the main news story of the moment – I can’t put it any more eloquently than my friends at Lone Head Records have already done.

A Grand Day Out or National Shame?

ImageWhat is it about this time of year when our thoughts on one hand are turning to green shoots, rebirth and celebration of life in general but on the other hand there is the inevitable bit of wanton cruelty and sacrificial killing. Don’t get me wrong, a bit of memento mori is always a good thing but not when this involves the goading or slaughter of some poor unfortunate animal. Now, as far as we in the UK were concerned this was always quite straightforward as it was always ‘those filthy foreigners’ who had a penchant for publicly torturing a donkey or pushing a goat off a tower. Oh yes, we Brits could sit back quite smugly and tut tut at the latest red-top headline presenting single cases of animal cruelty for our prurient pleasure whilst dismissing the whole area of fox-hunting and field sports as ‘something for the toffs’. But where would we Brits be without our staggering sense of hypocrisy?

Which brings me to the Grand National – the annual gore-fest masquerading as a cute and cuddly national treasure whereby ‘ordinary people’ are encouraged to have a flutter. Actually most people in this country have seen sense and have no interest in it, so it’s been left to the ‘I’m-worth-it’ brigade: women teetering on Jimmy Choo copies, with Asda fascinators, sipping prosecco; the blokes tanking up on over-priced lager and moronically betting on anything that moves. A little bit of the toffs’ lifestyle packaged up in digestible chunks for the working classes. Because that’s what it’s all about, eh? The ‘lifestyle’ as presented by the media.

But who would want to promote this tawdry and increasingly unpopular spectacle? Step forward Channel 4, giving themselves a break from showing programmes about diseased body parts with titles that would have been rejected by the Sunday Sport. My god, I didn’t think they could sink any further but they certainly have with their incessant and tasteless-in-extreme trailers for not only the event itself but a series of ‘specials’ that make the Carry On films look like Ibsen! And what glittering roster of talent do they have on these ‘special’ programmes? Well, it looks like a round-up of the current usual suspects hoping to showcase their latest book/TV show/contents of their handkerchief… Most bizarrely of those – or maybe not – is ‘vegetarian and Buddhist Russell Brand’. Hmmm… well it’s not for nothing that they say Buddhism is the perfect pick ‘n’ mix religion for showbiz folks… It’s like when they hastily erect a screen round the latest equine casualty and the focus shifts to another part of the ‘grand day out’ as a distraction – but do Channel 4 really think this shoddy piece of tinsel is enough to take our minds off a cruel event that if it played out on the streets of an Italian town would have our own tabloid hacks going into xenophobic overdrive instead of offering a free bet? Tell them to stuff it and support the anti-National petition or support Animal Aid in their campaign.

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