Took a turn past Fopp in Cockburn Street for my usual browse. Recently it has had more cheap books and DVD's than the CD's it started off selling. Strangely the shop was barred and padlocked.
Turns out all the branches have closed, with the staff going unpaid, the latest victims of music sales going online, it would appear.
I have seen other stores in Edinburgh close with one turning into a warehouse for an Ebay store, another (Avalanche) shutting one branch and saying its online store did more trade.
I myself still buy about half of my music in CD, with the rest bought online. Teenagers, I am reliably informed, are mostly MP3 all the way.
The end of an era. I knew I should have bought that cheap Adam and the Ants CD last time I was in.
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:: Monday, June 25, 2007 ::
This picture is from the scrapbook a friend of mine put together when she was a 13 year old punk in 1977. I think they are incredibly cool.
A couple more here.
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:: Friday, June 22, 2007 ::
Hands off our cock!
The plans to 'redevelop' the old town, i.e. tear down community resources and social housing and build 5 star hotels, seemed to have suffered a welcome setback when the New Labour council were ousted from Edinburgh last month. But you can't keep evil down for long, like Dracula in a cheesy Hammer sequel they just keep coming back and back.
And this time they are after our cock.
"Yesterday, Tuesday the of 19th June 2007 criminal damage was committed to a Listed Victorian Building in Edinburgh`s Old Town.
The Victorian bell tower and weather vein were removed from The Canongate Venture building which is earmarked for demolition by Caltongate Developers, Mountgrange Plc. They insist it be demolished to make way for their planned 5 star hotel and conference centre."The whereabouts of the weather vein, affectionately called “Jock the Weathercock” are not known, the wooden bell tower was found in pieces in a skip.
Unplanned work on a Listed building is a criminal offence, the Planning Department is directly opposite the Canongate Venture.
SOOT (Save Our Old Town) campaigners believe that the council are removing architectural features in order to get a smooth decision to demolish the building.
Questions need to be asked about whether the council are doing the dirty work for the developers in order to demolish a building that is in good order and still in use."
Good luck to the Save our Old Town campaigners!
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:: Thursday, June 21, 2007 ::
It's the longest day, and I still can't be arsed blogging. Here is Half Man Half Biscuit with Bad Review. Got tickets for Dinosaur Jr. too, hurray!
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:: Saturday, June 09, 2007 ::
Camera Obscura play ABBA
Camera Obscura live at Edinburgh Liquid Rooms Tuesday 27th March 2007
Another youtube posting. This time Glasgow's finest Camera Obscura which I reviewed here. They play ABBA's Super Trouper in fine style.
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:: Friday, June 08, 2007 ::
Mark Eitzel performs 'Heart and Soul'
Live at Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, Thursday 19th April 2007.
I promised to upload this a while ago and have finally got 'round to it. Mark Eitzel, formerly of American Music Club, performing Joy Division's 'Heart and Soul' live at Edinburgh Cabaret Voltaire.
You can find the original review here.
Should be a few more of my clips on the way too.
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Sicko it all
Michael Moore is using YouTube to get true life stories from the US healthcare system in connection with his film 'Sicko'. Many people in the US seem to have a blind spot regarding this, whilst their streets fill up with the infirm and mentally ill to an extent you would never see in Western Europe.
A good initiative and proof of the power of the web for campaigning.
(The whole thing about his movie being seized by the authorities because of his trip to Cuba was a publicity stunt though IMHO, quite an effective one.)
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:: Monday, June 04, 2007 ::
You know you're getting on a bit when the next 4 gig tickets you have are all old band reforming. From the 70's...we have the Skids. From the 80's...we have The Wedding Present and Buffalo Tom. From the 90's...we have Slint. What's more the weddoes and slint are doing the old 'play the whole of classic album' thing.
I will kid myself on that I am at the cutting edge by pointing to the recent addition of some of my pictures at this very nice Guillemots site.
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:: Sunday, June 03, 2007 ::
The provision of free and healthy school meals for all children is something the SSP campaigned on for years, presenting bills to the parliament twice. The measure has been proven to make a significant difference to health and to children's behaviour in the classroom. It has been a success where it has been introduced in Scandinavia and closer to home by Hull City Council (though the new lib-dem administration has scrapped it on financial grounds.)
So it is welcome that the SNP administration are introducing a pilot scheme in Scotland. Ironic too, given that they opposed the SSP measures and could have got the scheme through years ago if they had cared about more than short term political advantage. They obviously feel that the coast is clear now with no danger of the reds getting the credit.
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:: Friday, June 01, 2007 ::
Rebuilding the Left
John McAllion, respected former Labour MP and MSP and current SSP member, had an interesting article in the Morning Star this week.
Among other points he states:
"Yet, welcome as these policies are, they cannot disguise the dire defeat inflicted on the Scottish socialist left by this election. The forward march of 1999 and 2003 has been brought to a shuddering halt in 2007 with all six SSP/Solidarity members wiped out and the Greens reduced to just two seats.
Yes, the socialist vote was squeezed in a tight election where left voters wanted to maximise the chance of the SNP inflicting an historic defeat on new Labour. Yes, the media coverage and comment was unfair and slanted in favour of the mainstream parties. Yes, they had money to burn where we had little or nothing.
But the reality remains that no candidate standing on a socialist ticket was elected and, between Solidarity and the SSP, we registered just over 2 per cent of the list vote.
It is simply fatuous to pretend that the now infamous infighting that led to the disastrous split into two opposing socialist camps did not contribute to this electoral rout.
The wrecking of socialist unity and the spectacle of comrades opposing each other while standing on exactly similar manifestos guaranteed that voters would not see us a serious political force. In truth, we got the vote that we deserved.
In the course of this campaign, I read an account of a Solidarity meeting at which Tommy Sheridan and George Galloway addressed a wildly enthusiastic crowd of 250 supporters packed into a church in Edinburgh. It reminded me of a similar meeting which I had read about where Jim Sillars had addressed an equally large and enthusiastic group of SNP supporters on the eve of the 1987 general election before going down to a glorious defeat in the following day's election to Tam Dayell, who was elected MP for Linlithgow.
I am sure that everyone at both meetings had a great time. But we are not in politics to indulge our taste for rhetoric or to attend packed political meetings because they make us feel good.
We are in politics to challenge the big business parties' grip on political power and to get socialists elected into positions where they can begin to make a difference on behalf of working people.
This election result has made that an infinitely harder task for socialists across Scotland. There was nothing glorious about Solidarity/SSP defeat in this election.
If we can face up to that bitter lesson and begin the task of putting the Scottish left together again, then maybe there is light at the end of the dark tunnel that we now find ourselves in."
There is no doubt that the division in the left was a huge factor in the collapse of the left vote. All the left parties put together got around a third of what they polled in the previous Scottish parliamentary election. Is unity possible or even desirable? Well in the long term it is unavoidable, there is simply no room for multiple parties standing with similar programs (SSP, SLP, Solidarity...). All it leads to is mutually assured destruction.
But exactly how to overcome division is another questions.
The SSP/Solidarity split was bitter, the worst I have experienced in 25 years, and I've experienced a few. Sheridan has more court cases to come, which will re-open all those wounds. But solidarity faces an uncertain future. They were set up as a project to get Sheridan elected. Having failed to do that, and with his lies unravelling day by day, his fair-weather friends are keeping their distance. One of the biggest components of Solidarity is the SWP, whose English project is Respect. Respect at their last national council meeting voted to set up a committee to explore the possibility of organising in Scotland. The proposal came directly from George Galloway, so the result is virtually a foregone conclusion. In addition the previously friendly press and media types are notably more hostile to Tommy.
If Solidarity still exists in a years time it will look very different to the way it does now and could face yet another rival in the form of Respect Scotland (which most of Solidarity will want nothing to do with.)
The Greens also have to face up to a relative failure. But what is more their party has a few years of their relationship with the neo-liberal SNP to come. It could be a sobering experience for radical Greens.
Rebuilding the Scottish left will be a process that will take years and not months. It will be impacted by the tussle between Holyrood and Westminster and the evolving constitutional crisis, which could include a tory Cameron government in Westminster. It will be blown by the unpredictable winds of struggle and the challenges that will pose all of those organisations.
But with dedicated and painstaking engagement with local communities, trade unions and struggles there is still hope for the left in Scotland. It may have to take the form of a 'unity list' giving different organisations priority in different regions. But that is a long way off.
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