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Apparently, Raquel Welch recently wrote a rather negative opinion piece in the Telegraph about the oral contraceptive, which is 50 years old this week. I'll leave it to a a couple of readers of the Guardian to explain what the pill actually meant (and means) for women:

"It was worth it! Reproductive choice, the power to say no in a relationship, the right to choose. An end to the shame and lifelong burden of an unwanted pregnancy, including poverty, secret adoptions, abortions, unnecessary early deaths. I will never forget my mother, born in 1925, tell of her anguish every month of her married life waiting to find out it she had made it through another 28 days unscathed. She had four children that she did not want. For those who want children, the possibility of timing them. The family of choice, not necessity."

The fantasy of moral decline is just that. One cannot deny human nature. What the pill brought about was a measure of equality that has been missing for the duration of history.

"There was always promiscuity - but it was the men who had all the fun. Now women, for the first time in human history, get to call the shots."
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From a New Statesman article someone linked to:

'"The university admissions system", he writes, "is biased in favour of private education and against the state schools." If students were admitted strictly on A-level grades, the top universities would take in about 30 per cent more poor students than they do and about 30 per cent fewer from the private schools.'

Okay, so why is this the case? Is it that the Universities are, in the case of two applicants with equal grades, using the applicant's school as the deciding factor? Surely the answer then, is simply to make it illegal to use this in the consideration and to have it blanked out on the UCAS form received by the admissions staff. (After all, whether someone went to a state or private school tells you little other than how well off the parents are). Or am I missing something?
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I went to the Stop the War march on Saturday. And somehow I got roped into stewarding. That turned out to be not as difficult as I'd expected. What the task consisted of was walking five metres in front of the main demonstration, as part of a line of people linking arms.

I'm not sure of the exact numbers, but I think I heard three to five thousand being thrown about. Certainly, it was enough people to fill Middle Meadow Walk, where it started.

The route of the march took us down Forest Road, then onto Chamber Street and across the Bridges. At Princes Street, we turned right and marched to the American Consulate. There, a delegation from Lebanon left some effects of victims of the bombings, and we observed a one minute silence. After snaking back on itself, the march proceeded back to Princes Street, then finally onto the Mound, where several speakers addressed the crowd.

It made me happy to see people waving the Palestinian flags I'd brought along to the march. About half-way through, a gentleman near the front of the march handed me a big Palestinian flag to hold alongside the Lebanese and Hezbollah flags being carried by other people in the line.

The crowd was angry, but the demonstration went peacefully as best as I could tell. I hope that the march in someway helped to change the mind of someone who makes decisions.

Club Noir

The march left me feeling pretty damn knackered. I guess I'm not such a young thing anymore. I'd paid for a ticket for Club Noir, so I went along, though I'd rather have been on better form.

Club Noir is, according to the announcer, the world's biggest burlesque club. He's not entirely sure what that means either, but it's good to know. For the first hour and a half, the club takes the form of a social, with music ranging from rock and roll to big band to punk being played. The most amusing thing had to be the big band cover of White Wedding.

I just had a wonder around, doing my best to look cool in my Jed Phoenix gear, and admiring the get-up. As you can imagine, the rubber dresses and corsets were out in force. As I'd also guessed, a good number of blokes arrived dressed in pin-striped suits with white ties and handkerchiefs. I have to give the proprietors of Electric Caberet top marks for their pirate outfits.

Eventually, a woman took pity on my standing by the stage on my own, and asked my over to join her friends. We exchanged some polite natter about swing dancing, but I didn't want to impose, so I made my excuses after the first act.

Yes, the acts. These consisted of, among other things, striptease, softcore S&M performances, bawdy dances, stand-up, and lots of tassels. My favourites were the pathos filled story of a fire swallowing clown couple, who found love in the end, and the young lady who takes an angle grinder to her chastity belt, resulting in a shower of sparks.

The performers of club noir blend their eroticism with artistry and talent, meaning their acts raise smiles as much as entice. Two of the performances that had me laughing the most were m/m acts, which goes a fair way towards explaining the universal appeal of the night.

"I share this office with my partner Jack. I keep my gun loaded, and Jack keeps me loaded." -- Film Noir
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Feel like having a good moan at Tony Blair regarding his rather cowardly lack of action over what's happening in the middle east right now?

Oxfam have very kindly provided an opportunity to do just that.
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I'm a little sad that I wasn't able to persuade any of my friends to go to the reading of Perdition today. Simply put, the performance was amazing. Seven actors and actresses, using nothing more in the way of props than a few tables, transformed the hall into a court room, and had us all on the edge of our seats. When the complainant's lawyer and defendant hit their stride, with charged verbal attacks flying back and forth like a tennis rally, we really were the jury in a 1967 libel trial.

The play rendered a thorough and damning indictment of Zionism, but it also drove home the real sadness and despair wrought by the betrayals that happened during the holocaust. At so many moments in the proceedings, the bitter taste of "if only" lingered on the tip of the tongue, and when the complainant, at last broken, admits defeat a tangible sense of disappointment at the failings of humanity descended upon those present.

Juliano Mer Kamis, the director of The Freedom Theatre in Jenin, for whom the event was raising funds, spoke after a screening of his film. He spoke warmly, but also with concern. Palestine is, he believes, in the beginnings of a third Intifada. The election of Hamas was a spontaneous rejection by the Palestinian people of the peace process that has marginalized them, whilst painting a whitewash of legitimacy in the eyes of the international community over Israel's actions.

It wouldn't surprise me to be honest. In fact, I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner. The recent abductions by the Palistinian groups were wrong, but with the continued shellings, shootings, demolitions, detentions, disruption and degradation that the people have to endure, you'd have to be ignorant not to expect a reaction of some kind. And Olmert believes he can get away with dishing out collective punishment. (Leaving 70% of Gaza without power is collective punishment, no argument.) The trouble is, he can get away with it, thanks to the complicity of the British and American media. This has to change.

It interested me to hear from Juliano, an Israeli Jew, why so few Israelis oppose their government's actions. The state run channels repeatedly relay exaggerated threats of suicide bombers to the populace. When the threat becomes commonplace, it is escalated even further. This leaves the people terified. Julian himself even admitted to taking his child out of school on account of fear. A terrified population will let its government get away with murder. I wonder if this is where the US got the idea for their terror levels.

Okay, that's enough of that.

I hope my attempts at promotion did in some way help the event. We'd probably have had a little bit more success if it hadn't fallen upon the 1st anniversary of Make Poverty History, but that couldn't be helped, as the events were to coincide with Juliano's visit. One thing I've got to learn is how to get a listing placed in Metro. We made it into the List, but I think that was mainly down to Tam Dean Burns talking to them.

That aside, I enjoyed the day, and I enjoyed helping out.
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I went sailing today, as part of a taster course at Port Edgar in South Queensferry. The days instructions covered setting up the dinghy, steering, tacking and sailing into the wind. I've been sailing before, with Compsoc, and before that, with the New Deal programme. Having a whole day's tuition, in a smaller group and with far more explanation of the theory helps a lot in understanding what is going on. I still haven't quite grokked how sailing into the wind actually works, but at least now I know how it's done.

The sailing was done in a Wayfarer, with two other students and an instructor. Sailing under the bridges is quite breathtaking at times. I also got to fulfill wone of my lifelong dreams of taking a close up look at Inchgarvie, when we got carried too far east by the tide. A rather gruff supervisor came along in a motor launch and towed us back, to our tutor's dismay.


I've been very busy these past two weeks.

A good deal of that time has, as you'd imagine, been spent looking for a job. And of course, I haven't found one yet, but I didn't really expect to either. My current plan is to spend my first week of unemployment searching for temporary work. Hopefully something along the lines of the team secretary job I had before starting with the bank, but I'll most likely have to take whatever comes along.

So, what else happened?

Ho-Il has left for South Korea now. I'm sorry to see him go, and I wish him luck with the rest of his studies. He'll be back in a year to finish his degree at Edinburgh. We've had a good deal of fun playing videogames and cooking for each other. I hope I can someday cook as well as he does. I doubt I'll ever be as good at Tekken 5, but playing against him has been inspirational.

I played my first proper evening of Big Eyes Small Mouth on Wednesday. Not only did Stephen turn me into a Dryad, but he dropped me straight into a love triangle! Quite a mindfuck. We've already had the obligatory bathhouse scene, so it looks like things can only go downhill from here.

I left my job on Friday, and my colleagues gave me an envelope stuffed full of cash as a parting gift. It actually surprised me to see some of the signatures on the card, since I can never really tell what kind of effect I have on people. I can't say that I will miss the job, but I will miss many of the people I worked beside. Just about everyone there was a character (in a good way).

After work, I went to a demonstration held by the PSC outside of the Edinburgh office of the European Commission, in protest against the EU's sanctions on Palestine. For a four pm start, we got an impressive attendance, in fact, more people than were at the demonstration outside of the Disney Store. Several passers-by even joined in the protest. A representative from the Commission met with the demo's organizer, and they discussed things in a very civilized and erudite manner, before agreeing to pass on the PSC's message to his superiors.
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I may or may not be finishing my work for the bank on 9th June. I'll know for certain next week. The one agency I called today said it was too soon anyway.


Todays PSC meeting opened with a very informative talk looking at the Israeli peace movement. Cut for politics... )

This Saturday, a national day of action against Disney is being organized throughout Scotland. This is being done as part of the boycott philosophy on account of Disney's support of and investment in Israel. From noon, there will be a stall, lots of leafletting and hopefully speakers. It should be a good laugh.

This and other upcoming events received much planning to everyone's satisfaction. Then for some unknown reason they nominated me as secretary.

This will be fun. A fair bit of work too, I imagine. But given my forthcoming unemployed status, I think having stuff like this to keep me busy is a good idea. I also finally get to learn what this kind of job actually entails.

Outdoorsy Stuff

I shall hopefully get to go on one final outing with the bank's hill walking club. This is the one aspect of my current job that I really will miss. So I will need to find a hillwalking club in the outside world. Looking at the options, there are several clubs geared towards Edinburgh residents. Either that, or I can continue pretending to be a student and join the EUHWC.

Much as I don't mind the pretending part, or students for that matter, I feel that I should really be trying to join life outside of the university. This is a risky option however. On one hand, I found the bank's hillwalking club to be full of people I get on well with. On the other, it was a long time before I met anyone at kendo who seemed really approachable.

Still, since University term has just finished and there is a long summer ahead, it makes most sense to try one or two of these clubs and see how it goes.
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Coke and Cake playing at the Blue Blazer. Coke's the one on the right, but apparently they take turns. Apart from their own stuff, which is fantastic, they played a few top notch Radiohead covers. Listening Room aside, the rest of the night was rather naff. Especially the part where I got kicked out of two nightclubs for falling asleep.

West Wing == Crack

I did mean to go to the Dean Gallery today, but after watching an episode of the West Wing Season 4 over lunch, I thought "just one more." Of course, I didn't make it out of the house until five. And that was only because I realized that I had eaten the flat's last remaining item of "food" for lunch.

My search for food took me to the Whisky Society where I enjoyed a fantastic pre-theatre dinner of smoked salmon mousse followed by roast pork and mustard mashed potatoes. You can't honestly take me to a place with "whisky" in its name and expect me not to have a few. Actually, I spent more on whisky than on food. Although I got one dram on the house when I managed to snarf the last drop of 36.31 ("Speyside of the gods" -- Leynos).

There's a thought. Save for those sensible enough to buy a bottle of the stuff, I am among the last people to drink this particular creation. And there will never be another exactly like it.

Following dinner, I watched Paradise Now, a fictional account of the final forty-eight hours of two Palistinian suicide bombers, at the Cameo.

Paradise Now

My impression of Paradise Now is that it offers something of a discussion between those who have grown up under occupation and those who are seeing it from the outside. The filmmakers are clearly against the idea of suicide bombing, but rather than offer a damning condemnation, they explore what it means to both the bombers themselves and to people still holding some modicum of faith in a non-violent solution.

I have seen the case for suicide bombing put forward before, most notably in 11"09'01. I can see why, in a situation of desperation, it would make sense, but I can't agree with it. Aside from the obvious reason, it is, as Lubna in Paradise Now explains, just offering a continued excuse for the mistreatment of the bombers own people. By offering these perspectives, the film is the most complete exploration of the subject that I have seen to date.

I want to write a proper review of the film, but right now, I'm not quite ready to do it justice. Right now, I'll just mention that I thought it pretty funny that the Hamas Minister of Culture thought he might have to take issue with the film.
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The world didn't end. Damn. I've been kept busy so far this week by social commitments, that, and I've been bloody knackered. I spent tonight assembling Palestinian flags for the May Day Rally on Saturday. Seventy-five so far.


I didn't have very high hopes for Neon this week. I kind of figured that everyone would be away on account of the exams. As it turns out, most of the people I know at the night were in attendance. Seeing [livejournal.com profile] spacelem there the night before his exam had to be the biggest shock. Once again, the DJs played a lot of metal, although it pleased me that they put on some goth stuff that hasn't been overplayed. Getting to dance to Spellbound and Bigmouth Strikes Again was fun. It also came as a nice surprise to hear Come to Daddy by Aphex Twin.

Another nice surprise came about when I actually got chatted up, albeit briefly, by a pair of cute goth girls, whom I guessed to be about nineteen. I say briefly, because they soon left when they found out how boring I am. I also discovered the value, on a couple of occasions, of remembering peoples' names. Addressing people by their names is something I seem to have a problem with, and I am working on. It's not so much the remembering part, as just having the confidence to say their name out loud.

PSC Meeting

The "Introduction to Palestine" talk proved to be informative as expected, with some eye-opening moments. I don't mean to lecture, as I'm sure everyone reading this knows far more about it than me. I just want to record what I learned and how it affected me.

Cut for politics... )


As with Neon, AASoc turned out rather quiet. Highlights of this weeks series night came in the form of Macross Zero and Guu Final.

Macross Final sports a very contemporary aesthetic, featuring gaunt chara designs and making heavy use of CG in the flight sequences. For someone who's watched and enjoyed a good deal of the original Macross and its derivations, Zero proved to be a satisfying experience.

Roy Focker from the first TV series features heavily, and has so far become a much more fleshed out character. The mecha sequences are pure porn for anyone who grew up dreaming of valkyries. The detail and motion here is stunning, filling in all the gaps present in past iterations of Macross. And of course, there's singing, although it took a full two episodes to put in an appearance, and so far it hasn't been of the poppy variety.

Guu Final is something of an anomaly. It's as clever as ever, and it's funny, but the laughs just aren't there in the same volume any more. I used to come away from Guu with my jaw hurting from laughing so much. Final gets the chuckles, but it has yet to incapacitate me. Still, it's Guu, with all the morally ambiguous silliness that that entails. In amongst all that, the genuinely sweet tale of friendship told in the as few Illusions unfolded into something very moving. Maybe that's the problem. Guu was never moving. It was too busy being silly for that kind of nonsense.

Somethings never change. I arrived ten minutes late, on account of falling asleep on the bus, and wouldn't you know it, the door was locked. Merciful President Andrew let Bjorn and I in though. Being so exhausted, I took a hint and didn't go to the pub that night.
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Just incase anyone in interested, the PSC are running a talk tonight entitled "An Introduction to Palestine." The event will be held in the Communication Workers Union, 15 Brunswick Street at 7:30 tonight.
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I have some film reviews to post, but I'm too drunk to finish them right now. The great thing about alcohol is that it erases everything that happens before. It's like you get two days for the price of one.

Ho-Il is visiting tomorrow. I will try and cook chicken gaeng phed for him, since I owe him a nice meal. I was a little surprised to learn that he'd purchased Kill Zone for the PS2, until I remembered that the bad guys in it bear a striking resemblance to the Wolf Brigade troops in Jin Roh, which he has a major obsession with.

Anyway, I found a recipe for Thai Red Curry on E2 (where else), so I'll give it a go.

I was also surprised, and a little happy to find that cigar smoke doesn't set off the fire alarms in my flat. I think I may have to visit the Cigar Box and pick up a Monte Cristo No. 2 to celebrate. Although I'm a little worried that I may have become addicted to nicotine now.

Fun goings on at the 'Blazer:

All pints £2.20

Tasting notes

Cacique 500 (Venezuelan Rum) - Very spirity nose. Cadbury's chocolate buttons with a hint of cinnamon on the palate. A little dull in flavour, but very warm. No smokiness. By the time I finished the glass I was hooked.


The day started at two pm. Well, kind of earlier, since I needed to get dressed, have a shower, etc. But at two, more or less, I showed up at the PSC stall on Princes Street and offered to help. Leafletting turned out to be surprisingly easy. I had expected plenty of heckling and cold shoulders. In fact, most people are quite happy to accept the material when offered.

As before, the friendliness of the other PSC members I worked beside impressed me. As did their technique with passers by. They excelled at identifying interested passers by and building rapport with them. One guy in particular seemed to have a good way with multiculturalism, greeting people in Arabic and Polish, among other languages and presenting the leaflets to them with a flourish. Personally, I found that a friendly smile worked best, but I'm sure I'll have plenty of time to work on technique. As it stands, I learned how to say "welcome" in Arabic.

On Monday at 7:30, there is a screening of Arna's Children, a film about refugees in Jenin, at the CWU, 15 Brunswick Street (off London Road).

When the stall wound up, I headed to Nicholson Square for tea. For a change, I decided to give Kebab Mahal a go, where I was treated to a pleasingly delicate lamb and fenugreek curry followed by gulab jamin.

Remaining plans for the evening consisted of Junebug at Cineworld and Pierrepoint at the Filmhouse.

Er... Speaking of Junebug, I'm really angry that I can't watch a film about romance or listen to music about people fucking without getting upset. I really like Arab Strap too, and it annoys me that it now hurts to listen to their songs.


There are two Bluetooth devices in range of my PC that aren't mine. My flatemates? The downstairs neighbours? Who knows?
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This evening, I went along with a bunch of Palistinian Solidarity Campaign members to assist in er... disseminating information. In a very conspicuous manner, it would seem. We got about an hour and a half's work done, and I'm happy that I was able to help. The people from the campaign that I have met so far are all very friendly, and brought me up to speed on how it's done. Most likely, there'll be more to be done later in the week.

I worked along side a nice chap who seems to know a lot about George Galloway, and despite being only of school leaving age, has already attended a conference in Cairo, and is going to the European Social Forum in Greece this year. The credentials and dedication of these people never ceases to amaze me.

On Friday, the PSC is holding a demonstration outside of the EU Commission Office on Alva Street between 16:00 and 18:00. The reasoning behind this being that the EU has ceased sending aid to Palestine, whilst continuing to offer favoured trading status to Israel. This is what we were publicizing tonight, whilst drawing attention to yesterday's court judgement. I'm sorry to say that I won't actually be able to make it to this picket, but there are other demonstrations and presences later in the coming weeks that I have committed to attending.

Easter Road

Something I forgot to mention on Monday is a pair of very lovely shops I visited on the corner of Easter Road and London Road. Next door to each other is a fantastically well stocked off-licence that specializes in bottled beer, and a patisserie selling lovingly crafted wares. The offy sells just about every beer I've heard of and a fair few I haven't. The variety on display is impressive indeed, including at least six different Heffeweißens, for example.

I know where to go for purposes of exploration now.

Last night, Ho-Il was kind enough to get the tab when I met him in Palmyra to exchange DVDs. I'll have to cook him something nice next time he visits. Well, I'll try. Sometimes my cooking can be more like punishment. But at least now I have a motivation to lay on something a little more lavish than chicken and steamed vegetables.

Sleep Patterns

I've done it now. Four hours on Sunday and five last night. I have to be up at six tomorrow on account of a dentist appointment, and Wednesday will be another late night. I guess I'd better get to bed now.
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Neon went well. Although the music was of a very metal bent, but the DJs played enough industrial to keep me happy. They also laid on a fair bit of 80s synthpop cheese, which was a good laugh. So there was plenty for me to be dancing around like a loon to. Amusingly, a couple of girls would start dancing with me for a few minutes every so often, before running off again. Yeah, I know what that means, but I was having fun anyway.

[livejournal.com profile] spacelem and [livejournal.com profile] figg looked like they were having fun too.

Most of the Neon regulars I know were in attendance, so I didn't feel lonely. Mostly I talked about music, and I was happy to receive an ongoing education in industrial. On the other hand, I didn't really make any attempt at talking to strangers, except, bizarrely, the two invader women who no one had told not to expect top 40 on a Sunday. I like the feeling of familiarity that comes with regular attendance. Three times isn't regular, but becoming a regular is a nice goal to work towards.

It's a constant worry of mine that I am being an unwelcome intrusion into these people's lives. I really hope that this isn't true, as I find I get a lot out of Neon. The last thing I want is to be a nuisance to the denizens a place that means so much to me right now. It's the only opportunity I feel right now to truly escape from the concerns of life.

Daily Life

At work today, I learned of the US government's consideration of a tactical nuclear strike on Iran. Cut for politics... )

Back to Life

I used Windows XP for the first time today. In practical terms, for the work I do, there is little difference to NT4. The interface is slightly flashier, slightly sharper. There is drag and drop in more places where it should be. It tries to be clever, and sometimes succeeds. The giant Start menu makes sense in a Windows way. I do like that the IT staff didn't disable the Windows-D shortcut. Not that I browse porn at work. As soon as I could, I reverted to the Windows 2000 appearance. I wonder if that will confuse my workmates.

In a fortnight's time, I will be accompanying the hill walking club for a climb of a double Munro. I'm really looking forward to the challenge that this entails, although I was a little put off by the fact that we will have to wade across a river to get there. First bikes, now paddling. What next, camels?


Although the speaker for the evening did not materialize, the meeting, as you might expect, had a rather full agenda. Cut for politics and naive idealism on my part... )
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I'm of the opinion that Saturday was a very productive day. In the morning I visited the Palestinian Free Trade shop on Shandwick Place. I couldn't buy any produce that day, as I would be traveling to Kinross later to see my parents, but I purchased enough reading material as seemed reasonable.

The woman in the shop asked if I was considering travelling to Palestine, and I said that I was thinking about it. She suggested going in October for the olive harvest. I'm not sure if she meant as a tourist or to work. Right now however, my holiday plans for this year are already made, but it is something to consider for next year.

Before leaving for Kinross, I also got my hair cut in Haymarket and hassled the guy in Games and Movies about selling some of my PSP games. I'd get £12 each for PQ and Tales of Eternia. I might try flogging ToE at AASoc. It is getting better, but it still doesn't really feel like my thing. On the other hand, the Nippon Ichi published Generations of Chaos is now out in the US.


I arrived at my parents house in the early afternoon, where the leftovers from last night's curry were offered to me as lunch. Yummy, curried spinach and chicken tika.

I couldn't cut the grass, on account of the heavy rain showers that had made their presence known earlier that day, but I gave the raspberry canes a good run for their money. Five years of unattended growth had left them as a rather heavy thicket behind the greenhouse. A pair of loppers and good heavy gloves sorted that lot out however, and now that part of the garden looks reasonably presentable.

In shades of my life in Glenrothes, the spent fireworks from November still protruded from the lawn. I felt kind of embarrassed about this, as I should have dealt with these long ago. They're in the bin now.

My sister had asked me to speak to my Dad about the possibility of getting my Mum put into psychiatric care. My Mum is ill, and she needs to be treated under observation. Unfortunately, none of us know exactly how to go about this. My sister is making enquiries, and I was to persuade my Dad to go along with this. I'm not sure if I did this well enough. He agreed that it was a good idea, but he is fearful of my Mum's reaction to it.

For dinner, I cooked steak diane under my Dad's supervision, and it turned out rather well. I got my Dad's steak perfect, though mine was a little on the well-done side of medium. I couldn't get enough of the sauce, which was a shame, as we all finished it in one sitting. This was followed by some heavenly vanilla icecream with maple syrup.


Back in Edinburgh, I got changed and left for the Venue, where Fuk-Nut and Sekonz were spinning the hardtek and the schranz. I'm always a little apprehensive about the top floor of the Venue, as it's a small environment with no quiet spots. This means that it's rare that I get to talk to people there. JakN also feels like a rather cliquey night, where the other attendees seem unwilling to talk to strangers.

Still, I love the music that they play there, offering the kind of driving beats that I crave and unpredictable transitions that challenge and entice.

I didn't stay for the whole thing, partly because I was feeling knackered, and partly out of fear that I would again damage my ankle. It's still healing from the last time I went dancing two weeks ago and managed to mess it up big time. Never the less, two hours of dancing was enough to bring a satisfying end to the day.

I did run into an acquaintance from Dogma at the night. We talked about the current state of Edinburgh clubbing, and the story sounded bleak. The Venue is to close next month. With the Honeycomb also closed, that really only leaves only Ego and the Studios as the last big venues. There is another establishment by the name of The Caves on South Nidrie Street that has opened recently. I will have to take a look at that one, as a promising sounding electro night runs there monthly.

Apparently a lot of people are down now that Dogma is gone. I know I definitely feel like something is missing from my life. It was one of the few places where I really felt like I could fit in and be the person I wanted to be.
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Further to last week's Noam Chomsky lecture, I went along to a meeting of the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign tonight. The event for this evening was a screening of the John Pilger film, Palestine Is Still The Issue. What I saw and heard opened my eyes. I knew a little of the wrongs committed in Palestine, of the arbitrary abuses at the checkpoints and the callous disregard for civilian life in Israeli military actions. A lot in the film left me horrified.

Cut for politics... )
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This evening's escapades took me to the Royal Infirmary at Little France to watch a telecasted talk given by Noam Chomsky. The evening was hosted by the Palistinian Solidarity Campaign for Scotland, and linked a number of Universities, with Professor Chomsky delivering the talk from MIT. The audience in attendance lived up to expectations, being composed of a good mixture of hippes, little old ladies, punks and academicky looking people. My acquaintance from work sadly did not put in an appearance.

The talk itself proved to be an eloquently delivered exercise in "join the dots," presenting an holistic overview, as seen by Chomsky of US foreign policy as it pertains to emerging democracies. His interpretation centred on a running thread in America's treatment of democracy that has been followed for the past forty years. Basically, that democracy is only supported by the US when it is in the in their interests and is actively opposed when the "wrong" government is elected.

It's definitely not news, but the way he presented this assessment, drawing from historical examples and the current situation in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palistine, was both comprehensive and convincing. He was careful to point out the myths as he saw them in the common conception of the "lobby" (largely a vote winning exercise, whose influence is dwarfed by the energy companies, who are more or less part of the government). The evening gave me a lot to think about, and it definitely altered my perception of the situation in a subtle, yet perceptible way.


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