P&J Column 13.7.17

Bellahouston, we have a problem

J. Fergus Lamont, Arts and Theatre Critic and author of ‘Chordless Wonder – The Guitar Wifie Story’

We continue to live in halcyon days for art. Last week, as I read a review of this very special event, I was sad indeed not to be amongst the lucky attendees of the Glasgow art installation staged by the popular beat combo ‘Green Day’ who advertised, and then cancelled, a concert.  At the appointed hour in Bellahouston Park, all was silence, all was darkness, the gates of the venue remained locked. This was, of course, a powerful metaphor for the barren artistic wasteland of modern music, and is quite the most thought provoking work that this particular band have undertaken.

Having missed this magnificent non-event, I resolved to stage my own in Aberdeen.  So, as the ‘Opera InThe Park’ performance of Verdi’s La Traviata commenced in Aberdeen’s Duthie Park, I spread out my travelling rug in Seaton Park, cracked open a bottle of Prosecco, and allowed the complete absence of music to wash over me.  By the time I imagined Act Three to be underway, I was three bottles down and on my feet, crying “Bravo” at some particularly intricate passages of silence.  It ended not with the death of the heroine, but with two junkies stealing my picnic basket and shoving me into a hedge. The gritty realism of contemporary art!

This week also saw the remarkable ‘vlog’ of one ‘Korean Billy’ and his guide to the demotic local Doric dialect. This stunning work has been quite the hit on social media in the last few days and has caused a mass outbreak of people shouting ‘Your breeks are fine’ to each other in slightly stilted accents. In response, I quickly recorded my own video in reply to Mr. Billy, thanking him for his efforts.  In order to properly do this, of course, I spoke only in the Hangul dialect of South Korea. I will concede, however, that my dialect may not have been 100% authentic, as ‘Korean Billy’ has since sent me a rather peeved reply, asking why I had told him to go stick his head in a fridge.

I wept.

Ron Cluny, Official Council Spokesman

Local politics having shut down for the Trades, I have been allowing myself the pleasure of following events in the USA.  With the release of emails detailing his Russian connections, Donald Trump Junior has proven himself to be something of a chip off the old blockhead.  Trump junior’s cover story has unravelled as quickly as a Primark jumper snagged on a bramble bush.  Previously it had been claimed that he had not met with any Russian representatives; then that he had, but not in a campaigning capacity; then that, OK, he had, but only to discuss a humanitarian scheme allowing Russian orphans to come and eat apple pie in the Good Old US of A.  Now the emails show the truth: he did meet Russians, in the hope that they would support his Dad by putting the boot into Hillary Clinton.  Still, he has decided to tough it out by claiming that he has done nothing wrong, a tactic strangely reminiscent of one used by my old classmate Big Hayzer after he was caught smoking behind the bike sheds.  Instead of accepting his punishment, Big Hayzer stuffed a lit fag into his trouser pocket and strenuously denied ever having smoked a cigarette in his life.  So convincing was he that the headmaster – and later the paramedics and firemen – all agreed that they might have believed  him, had his pants not actually caught fire.

Even in the modern political age, where the relationship between politicians and the truth is about as stable as a coupling on Love Island, Trump Junior’s behaviour represents a real low and demands serious sanction.  Surely there is only one punishment appropriate for someone who is so cluelessly and shamelessly willing to try to lie his way out of trouble.  He must come to Britain, and head up our Brexit negotiations.

Davinia Smythe-Barratt, Ordinary Mum

Like most ordinary mums, I dread facing an ethical conundrum.  Like when I discovered Emmeline was lactose-intolerant, almost immediately after buying a state of the art milk expressing pump.  Well I couldn’t return it and I hate waste.  Hence the invention of my legendary breast milk panna cottas that have enlivened my dinner parties ever after!  But when Milo flew in from the Cayman Islands for a long weekend, I hadn’t realised that my moral compass would be so disoriented.

Milo’s business contacts offer him freebies all the time. Whilst I am opposed to bribery and inducements of any kind, I do think it’s only right that my husband’s efforts are rewarded beyond his paltry 7-figure tax-exempt salary. So when he arrived home with 2 tickets to see Radiohead at the TRNSMT festival in Glasgow, I felt it only right I should go with him.

Imagine my horror when I found some of my fellow Amnesty International members staging a protest outside! You see, Radiohead had gone and played a gig in Israel, which is considered as tacit approval of atrocities against Palestinians by my comrades. I was at a loss. Do I ditch my husband to join my activist sisters? Or do I enjoy corporate hospitality and my fave band? I shan’t confess which option I chose, but the canapes were to die for!