Huge thanks to JP for all of this. I’ve seen a lot of great shows at this venue, from Brendan Benson to Xiu Xiu with Twilight Sad and Toy in between, so this is a really big deal to me, and if you all came it would mean a lot.
Advance tickets are a mere £5 from Ticketweb, and at Tickets Scotland and Ripping Records.
It’s misty as hell out there, like the city’s natural way of telling everyone to fuck off. The Biggest Arts Festival In The World - Choice, Everywhere, Niche, Energy, Vibrancy, Buzz!
Except it isn’t that - it’s groups of eight walking abreast down Mark E. Smith’s bridges home, clunking into each other; it’s shit and rubbish everywhere, it’s a braying, obnoxious overwrought mass of humanity which doesn’t create art; it creates a cumulative dissonance, a hum, a bleurgh.
Much like New York, you can get anything you want, but the price for this is absurd, attritional. It grinds the soul. Now this is all over (for another eleven months anyway), can we have a bit of personality back, please - on a tiny scale, quietly, and without there being a seemingly abritrary requirement to clog narrow streets because you’re shufling down them with your elbows out and your eyes religiously on your smartphone?
All this must be fine if you’re dislocated from place, and can act accordingly, without any consequence. If this is your place, then it’s just tiresome, and most people who create the thoughtlesslness that contributes to that state are inevitably tiresome too.
Don’t give a toss about private wealth And history just repeats itself Keep me away from the Festival.
Edinburgh does a certain kind of chalky, milky afternoon sunlight better than anywhere else I’ve seen yet. It’s a different consistency of illumination; it’s fragile, frail, it isn’t warm but it’s still warming.
Getting out and underneath this kind of light is as much a jog on my memory as smell, or taste. It’s an inverted sponge for recollection, a watery trigger. I might as well be back in the summer of mbv, 08, just inside the door of a sweltering Clock Café in Leith as Rob St.John plays a stifling set (Paper Ships), sleeping every morning well after dawn, pound pints, badly pretending that I still enjoyed clubbing, sitting in a back garden ten minutes’ walk from my house with bits of my hair lying around on the porch, baking away.
It took me a long time to realise it, but I got that summer all wrong, when things reached a level of short-lived perfection that my life hasn’t managed to see again (Camden, Roundhouse, June.), and then started to fall apart so starkly quickly that it might have been taken for a joke. I see it now, I see it as clearly as the light is meekly blinding that I was dealing in opposites, totals, and I was wilfully looking in the wrong places. It was the people that I thought were perfection that were dreadful, and the times themselves that appeared torturous that were the right, pure, whole bits.