Sorry about this but it’s time for a rant.
The bloody festival is here and once again murder is in the air. To truly hate the Edinburgh Festival try driving a truck across town at four in the afternoon. The other day I nearly had to physically assault an American tourist on Waverly Bridge. Had to. He started screaming at me, swearing at the top of his lungs, because I had parked and blocked the tour bus he was waiting on for about a minute. Obviously he thought he was back in Noo Yawk and could behave in this highly inappropriate manner. However what he failed to realise is that no one can create verbal abuse in the English language like the Scots, especially smart arsed ones so he got it tight for about a full minute, not to mention the promise of actual violence. A little bit of awe and shock as they say. As a parting shot as I jumped back in my cab, I shouted, “Next time, try firing a few rounds in the air, ya stupid Canadian fuck”, oh, he didn’t like that. It’s a shame that a few bad apples spoil the lot, because most Americans I have met in my life have been sound.
On the other hand I have noticed one thing in the news from the States recently. Protesters have been turning up to Obama speeches and other town hall political debates, with guns, in some cases assault weapons. Quite frankly it’s astonishing. It’s the sort of thing that you might expect in Somalia or Iraq. Of course they say it’s their right to carry guns because, you know, George the Third could send a detachment of Red Coats any minute, presumably on a frigate of some kind. It’s been a few hundred years but you never know with those tricky Brits. You read between the lines though; right wing, pro gun nuts turning up to the speeches of the United States’ first black president; I’m no expert, but haven’t you guys got a long history of political figures getting shot by angry lone nuts, with legally registered firearms and a grudge. Bringing assault weapons to political rallies, for me, is a little bit like sticking your dick into a pumpkin; just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
And what are they protesting about? Is it to stop the war, or protest the economic disaster? No, they are protesting about health care reform. Protesting about introducing some kind of fairly modest public health plan similar to, but nowhere near as good as, our NHS. Because it’s socialism, you see. Socialism is rilly, rilly, bad, m’kay. Now it seems to me that of all the things to protest about in America, being dragged into the twentieth century, not even the twenty first century, wouldn’t be it. Every other civilised country in the world has a public healthcare system of some sort, but not America who have this Randian nightmare of a free market private health system, which forty million Americans don’t have access to. It’s always best to entrust programs that serve the public good to unregulated profit-driven mega-corporations apparently. Imagine having to fork out five hundred quid to see a doctor because you’ve got a chest infection.
The worst thing though is that in the hullabaloo, these free market obsessive, anti health reform morons have been suggesting the public plan will introduce euthanasia for old people, ration health care, and worse, create a system like the Brits have in the UK. In all the shouting, they slandered our health system the bastards. One publication said, “people such as Stephen Hawking wouldn’t stand a chance in the UK, where the NHS would say the life of this brilliant man is essentially worthless because of his physical handicaps”. Of course, Stephen Hawking is British, lives in Britain and was treated by the NHS for over forty years, free of charge (through taxes) and rebutted the remark himself by saying he pretty much owed everything to the NHS, but hey, don’t let the facts get in the way of your cognitive dissonance. It then occurred to me that they think Stephen Hawking is American because of his voice synthesiser, which has that weird disembodied American accent. Yes, it’s a festival of ignorance over there. The right wing nuts are a minority it should be noted. It’s the same crowd that think that Hurricane Katrina was caused by gayness.
Rant over, and I feel much better. I’ll try and avoid American tourists for the next week or two, but it’s going to be tough, fucking festival! Here are some shots of our recent gig at the Renfrew Ferry with Esperanza and The Heptones, courtesy of our pal Andrew Moore.