The Girl with the Edinburgh Tattoo

Enjoy yourself – it's later than you think!

Archive for the month “November, 2014”

Muppets and Mammon

Black FridayI must admit I felt pretty good about myself yesterday as I schlepped back from Asda, not with a flat-screen telly under each arm, but instead with bags full of cabbage, broccoli, carrots, okra, lemons and other cancer and diabetes busting items. Yes, they were still trying to peddle the whole greed-is-good-on-Black-Friday thing so my little corner of the store away from the electrical goods was deserted. I did have a sneaky peek at what once-in-a-lifetime deals they were offering up and saw they had knocked forty quid off a flat-screen which meant you only had to shell out a mere three hundred. Wow! Sale of the Century indeed! People, on average, were snapping up two at a time. I guess that means they would have £80 to spend instead on multipacks of fizzy drinks, cheap burgers and oven chips to be consumed as they watch ‘I’m a Celebrity… ‘ in vomit-inducing HD, maybe avoiding the local food bank for a day or two – well, they try and palm you off with ‘healthy’ food these days, don’t they?

A bit harsh? A bit Andrew Mitchell / Emily Thornberry / David Mellor? The thing is though – I can slag off the feckless working-class because while I am the latter I refuse to be the former.

Meanwhile on the other side of the pond, on actual Black Friday just there, groups of African-Americans made a brave stand to dissuade other African-Americans from worshiping at the altar of Mammon on the holiest of consumer days, in some way hopefully highlighting the inequality of the US judicial system if you have non-white face. Maybe not surprisingly they didn’t have much luck. Most of the people they targeted failed – or refused – to see the connection between consumerism and basic human rights. And while it’s a particularly potent subject for black Americans – with the whole pimped up bling cultcha of ‘replacing the chains of slavery with 24 carat ones’ representing some kind of freedom – it’s a similar thing for working-class Brits. However instead of Beverly Hills Bling it’s more Aldi Aspiration with us over here exercising our inalienable right to purchase cheap(er) electronic goods that give us potential to access a world of knowledge but you just know will be used to watch cat videos and Jeremy Kyle.

But whatever colour you are or whichever side of the pond you find yourself – if you weren’t born ‘to the purple’ or with a silver spoon in your gob – things will be tough and not fair, rest assured. However if you think splurging on overpriced tat and getting into debt will improve your life in the long term – think again. Who was ever inspired or spiritually fulfilled by a trip to the shops? So don’t be a consumer muppet – read a book, write a book, speak to friends, make some new friends, cook yourself a decent meal, go for a run – there are a million things that are cheap or free and will make you feel so much better about yourself. For inspiration follow this link to find out about the brilliant Karen Washington and her Garden of Happiness in the Bronx.

http://civileats.com/2014/08/20/faces-and-visions-of-the-food-movement-karen-washington-queen-of-urban-gardening/

Karen speaks movingly about being considered ‘trash’ before she started her garden because she was judged by her urban environment – a dumping ground for rubbish. She’s a marvelous example of having the courage to transcend her surroundings – no tat or flat screen tellies involved!

Karen-Washington-photo-1-e1408385197228-680x424

The Divine Miss D

daphna_baram

I’m gutted that I can’t get along to see the inimitable Daphna Baram at The Stand in Edinburgh tomorrow night (17 Nov). But if you’re in the area and want a reminder of those heady, laughter-filled days of last August’s Fringe (see below). Get yourself along…  I believe it’s only a measly two quid (with other acts as well!) Whatcha waiting for?

Caught the marvellous Miss D (aka Daphna Baram) ‘s show at Cowgatehead 3 (20.30) the other night. Ballsy, bold, bolshy – it’s a brilliant show with tales of serving in the Israeli army to having a heart attack at age 39. There’s the reliable Jewish schtick of constantly disappointing her mother – for example not marrying the doctor that treated her or just not marrying at all. Daphna moves with ease between the political and personal in a riotously funny show. Be quick though – she finishes up on the 16th. Go see!

Earlier review (from Austerity Pleasures): Another woman who could most probably wipe the floor with some of the autocue-numpties from Mock the Week is the force of nature that is Daphna Baram. The tiny Kasbar space on a Sunday lunch-time did well to contain Miss D’s huge personality and her rich and ripe collection of (mainly) one-liners which veered from the political (serving in the Israeli army) to the sexual (‘how many of you guys lost your erection when you heard my accent?’). Stunning – like a politically aware, pre-Hollywood Bette Midler.

Lighten Up!

SalmondeffigyI hope the Sussex Police didn’t have any serious crimes to investigate yesterday when they found themselves to be the latest cast members in the never-ending soap opera known as ‘We Wuz Robbed!’

Seemingly the papier-mache versions of Alex Salmond were thought – by some – to be disrespectful and insulting. Personally speaking – I thought it was fitting that the English had a turn of putting up with the giant Bawheid for a change when we’ve had to suffer the real thing for the last few years.

Some commented that ‘how would people feel if it had been an effigy of David Cameron?’ Well, I guess the vast majority would have been quite happy and even the minority – who count themselves as fans (are there such people…?) – would understand it’s joke, it’s a laugh. And what’s probably worse than not having a sense of humour is not having a grasp of basic facts or news stories that happen beyond the end of your road – David Cameron (along with a mini Nick Clegg) was the Lewes Guy of choice back in 2010… FYI.

Here’s a funny thing though – if those strange people who’ve got nothing better to do than make crank calls to the emergency services had managed to get along to sample some of the many shows on the Edinburgh Fringe back in August – they would have heard joke after joke being made about Alex Salmond – from both sides of the debate. One of the funniest routines was centered on the notion that Big ‘Eck should ‘take one for the team’ and die before the referendum thus ensuring a victory for the Yes campaign. And yes, this was from a Yes supporter!

So please, please – lighten up (I don’t mean that literally – don’t call the Fire Service – I’m sure they have enough to do with their time…) and get out more. There’s nothing worse than being a parochial small-mind – apart from not having a sense of humour… but I guess that goes with the territory.

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