The Girl with the Edinburgh Tattoo

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Archive for the tag “Brigadoon”

Letter from America / World Watch Out

I’ll say one thing about that Donald Trump. He’s going to be good for artistic creation. As you may have read in my last post I had the germ of an idea for a Twilight Zone type story which had elements of Back to the Future and Brigadoon (I admit, a bit of an obsession for me!) Well, here’s the finished article.

Hopefully people will find it humorous and a little chilling but I felt incredibly sad when writing it (and not for the obvious reasons of looking ahead to the next four years!). The whole idea of people having to leave a land they love for whatever reason – to make money, chase a dream or perhaps because their own land isn’t fit to live in anymore. So it is anti – Trump but it’s also an early valentine to immigrants, the LGBT community, all those who stand up to bullies – in the past and in the future… and of course the beautiful Western Isles.

Apologies to The Proclaimers for pinching their title – although they pinched it from Alistair Cooke first! (I’ll square it with them if I bump into Charlie or Craig down in Colinton Woods anytime soon!)

Talking of Scottish music legends. Rev Mulvey from Lone Head Records tempted me out of musical retirement to collaborate on this track. Could be a creative four years – if we survive, that is!



Just Another Dream?

BrigadoonIn my half-awake state this morning I heard Justin Webb report on increased food prices, decreased supply and general hardship due to newly erected border controls. By Christ! I can’t have slept that long, can I? But I was quickly assured it was Africa – and its ebola restricting measures – he was talking about and not Scotland. As I allowed myself a bit of a lie-in (I have until 22.00 to vote after all) so many surreal images and events started to creep into my head. Did I really witness the following – Alan Cumming expounding political theory; Vivienne Westwood wearing an unfashionably large ‘yes’ badge; David Cameron looking like a dead man walking; Brian Cox (actor) spending so long over here you have to wonder if he’ll ever get back into the US; revitalised careers from Ricky Ross to Franz Ferdinand, George Galloway to Tommy Sheridan? All these things and more have appeared in my referendum-waking-dream-bubble. 

Knowing the only way to banish these images was to get up out of bed and get on with it – I did just that. But what about tomorrow, eh? Whatever is decided, all of us who live here are going to have to get on with it day after day after day…

I live near a polling station and the guy across the road has bedecked his home with an orgiastic flurry of ‘yes’s while his neighbour has a simple ‘no, thanks’. Does Mr Yes think he can influence voters Derren-Brown-like or will his enthusiasm look like hectoring? We Scots don’t like being told what to do, remember!

Who knows what influences people? The Ad-men used to think they had it all sewn up but these days they are finding themselves increasingly emasculated with soshul meedja taking their place. But is that way of coercing any better than what the Mad Men in sharp suits used to do? In so many ways it’s worse with no form of regulation and the huge potential for bullying on a grand scale.

Grassroots campaigns can be great – they’re passionate, they’re exhilarating, they’re furrapeepol! If maybe not for all the people, right? So in the cold light of day when the prating slebs have headed home to Hollywood and people and communities over here have to carry on living and working together – maybe the great party won’t seem worth the almighty hangover.

Another news report I heard in my half-sleep this morning was about the increasing radicalisation of the disillusioned and dispossessed via social media. It may have been radical Islam they were talking about but I can’t be sure…

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!

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