FOUND and Kimho Ip

Artists mixing tunes, live, while Dim-sum is cooked

The artists/musicians from FOUND remix some of the melodies created by Kimho Ip’s Yang-chin, a traditional chinese instrument.

We were at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall in Leith for a content gathering event, watching a chef prepare some Dim Sum (which we then ate). FOUND will use the audio and video they captured for a new composition, to be performed at the end of the Fringe Festival.

In the meantime, they will be launching their Ettiquette project at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop this Saturday. I can’t make the event, but it will apparently feature an entirely new set of music. Its always fun to see what these aimiable and slightly hairy “pop chancers” come up with…

One interesting (although highly incidental) aspect of FOUND’s various projects is their use of a blog to document their activities. The advantage of this is that they do not need to write a lengthy essay at the end of each project, justifying their activities to their funders and sponsors. The blog acts as this documentation.
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Cool for Cats

Close up of the note about the cat

Dear Owner,

Yesterday my cat fell out of the window and ran up to your car where it proceeded to climb into your engine. It is a new cat and is very timid and nervous of people. I beg you not to start your car before you open the bonnet or before you open the bonnet please could you phone me at my work which is just around the corner… The cat may have already disappeared but it is better to be safe than sorry.

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I’ve never done any ‘Live-blogging’ on this site, primarily because I’ve never been in a situation where I thought my presence at a computer provided anything new to an event or news story in progress.

Anyway, I happen to be sitting in the Qupi Café on Leith Walk, and it seems a carnival procession is passing me by. I have my camera-phone, and I have a Bluetooth internet connection. Allow me to present The Great Leith Festival Carnival Procession LivePhotoBlog!

First up: A big yellow bus promoting Corona Beer.

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An Idle Sunday With The Papers


Ah, Edinburgh! This Athens of the North, this home of the Enlightenment. What perfect Sundays you provide for its denizens. Snuggled beneath a warm blanket of idleness, a shroud of irresponsibility, I am free to sit in the re-vamped Cameo Cinema Bar and take advantage of their gratis wireless, and complimentary newspapers.

And for a blogger, a 21st Century gentleman-pamphleteer, what could be a more perfect afternoon than this? I scythe through The Observer, and the myriad possibilities for unsolicited opinion leap out at me. I am spoilt for choice. I could muse on Scottish Independence, perhaps? Or comment on the USA’s relentless march towards totalitarianism? It is, in a way, surprising that Blogistan becomes so quiet at weekends. Isn’t everyone else making electronic notations on the Sunday papers?

Jasper Gerard caught my eye, with a short piece on the Countryside Alliance:

And while I opposed banning hunting as I oppose banning anything without overwhelming reason, I also suspected those who enjoyed killing for its own sake were tossers. Like deposed dictators, perhaps foxes need to be killed, but huntsmen seem to snuff out life with all the tearful regret of the Iraqi prison service.

This precisely captures my feeling. I don’t care particularly for the fox, which is a pest. But killing things for fun seems an affront to nature, and if one is going to do it then you should have the decency to eat what you have killed. This is possible when you shoot game birds, deer, or when you go fishing. But since the hounds rip up the prey beyond what is edible, I do think “hunting with dogs” is a sensible distinction to make.

Should we have banned it though? Reconciling this “illiberal liberalism” (as Gerard has it) will no doubt occupy my thoughts for the rest of the afternoon (I suspect my answer would have something to do with our laws on animal cruelty and bear-baiting). With my back to the window and the outside world, I sink deeper into this leather armchair, and philosophize.

Ritual egg-laying: Scotland 15 – 44 Australia


Scotland win this particular line-out, but were outclassed overall by the Aussies.

I don’t know what other residents of Edinburgh think of rugby weekends, but I’ve always enjoyed the flash floods of kilts and colour down Corstophine Road and Dalry Road. I the atmosphere which surrounds rugby matches is of course more festive and friendlier than football. This is probably because the football matches in Edinburgh are usually at club level, where the rivalries art local and more acute. Rugby matches, on the other hand, are internationals, meaning the visiting fans treat the match as an excuse for a holiday. Inside the ground, home and away supporters are not segregated, and we saw Australian flags waving alongside the Saltire.
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Turbans and Tam o'shanters

A few days ago, a fifteen-year old Sikh boy was assaulted by a gang in Pilrig Park, Edinburgh. During the attack, the gang took a knife, and cut off the boy’s hair. Sikhs, of course, believe that hair (“Kes” or “Kesh”) is a gift from God and a source of spiritual power and faith. So the crime was a violation not only of the body, but of the soul too. It was in effect an attack upon all Sikhs, an entire section of our Edinburgh community. I am ashamed it happened.

Tam O' Shanters and Turbans, standing firm against racism

This is a photo of a vigil held this afternoon, Sunday 19th November, at the site of the attack. Plenty of tam o’ shanters and turbans in attendance. You can also see Labour MP Mark Lazarowicz at the centre of the picture.


Sikh teen lied about hair attack

Lothian and Borders Police confirmed the attack had not taken place and said the boy had expressed remorse. They said no further action would be taken.

The teenager is believed to have had personal problems and was also having cultural identity issues brought about by differences between his Sikh upbringing and Western society.

This is one of the overlooked aspects of multiculturalism. The different and conflicting identities that exist within an individual are as important as the different groups that exist within the country.

Edinburgh events

Two ‘New Media’ events in Edinburgh in the next seven days:

First, I’m going to try and get along to an event this Saturday 18th called Cathay House Blend, curated by ‘Intercultural Artist’ Kimho Ip. He’ll be collaborating with Scotland’s electro-pop chancers FOUND, who’ve just returned from gigging in London at the BBC Electric Proms. It is at the National Museums of Scotland.

Second, New Media Scotland are invoking the Scottish Enlightenment, and giving away free glasses of anCnoc whisky at the Poker Club, next Thursday 23rd November at the Beehive Inn on the Grassmarket.

Meanwhile, Devil’s Kitchen hints that he may be starring in some kind of epic drinking theatrical extravaganza, This Lime Tree Bower, in late November. He hasnae publicised the date and location details yet.

Cost-cutting at NHS Lothian

NHS ‘moles’ are like the Malawian Orphans of the British blogosphere.

Doctor Crippen and Devil’s Kitchen think they are soooo clever with their inside information, don’t they? The Doc reports on the persecution of junior doctors, by revoking their right to prescribe drugs; while the Devil has a bizarre story about nurses secretly performing medicals on asylum seekers.

Well, I’ve got one too (actually, I have five or six, but let’s not be boastful). I’ve been forwarded a particularly amusing letter from Mr Mike Grieve, University Hospitals Division, NHS Lothian. He is leading a financial recovery team to reduce over-spending, which is currently running at £1 million per month.

Our immediate task is to return to a position of month-on-month income and expenditure balance … Much of this is incurred in four areas of expenditure namely, the cost of doctors in training, bank and particularly agency nursing costs, clinical supplies and some medicines.

So, they need to cut costs in the areas of: doctors, nurses, medical supplies, and medicine! Is that not, like, everything that goes into making a hospital a hospital!?

To be fair, at least they are on the case, and trying to get back on budget. My source is not impressed:

Without bank and agency nursing staff the service would collapse. There is a high level of sick leave amongst nurses, due to high levels of stress, low morale, poor pay, shift working etc.. A ward not well staffed by nurses is not safe.

What is interesting is there is no mention of managers, the ones who clearly fucked up in the first place.

That’s fine, but I can’t shake the worry that this would be not so different if the running of hospitals were sub-contracted out to private companies. What’s to stop them cutting the same costs and services to maintain profit margins?

NHS lothian logo