Part 9 Edinburgh – Scotland

Finally, I’m in Edinburgh. A lovely city spread with an array of smart shop fronts and Georgian street frontages. Elegant clothes stores abound, where cutting up your credit card is a consideration before walking into any of these places.  (This may-be a little drastic.) Better to freeze the card instead and then pollute the environment by revving up the hairdryer for hours on end to re-melt the card for use. Using a microwave is probably easier and quicker, but why keep life simple.

I’m met now by my sister-in law’s step mother, who has come to meet me at Waverly station, and before I know it we are driving off to Portobello.  I can’t believe my luck.  I’m finally staying in a miniature Georgian terrace and even better I have a grave yard next door to visit.  (I’ve always wanted to live next door to a grave yard.) I consider visiting it at night, so that I can be deliciously scared. I resist, because I don’t want Morag to consider me mad. It’s important to act with a degree of decorum in these situations.

As I’ve been extraordinarily indolent, Morag has made suggestions of art galleries, and various historical monuments to visit.  I take her up on all suggestions.  Our first visit is to a modern exhibition by Louise Bourgeois at the National Gallery of modern art, titled:  ‘A women without secrets’.  An entire three floors of modernist sketches, drawings and writings that took place over an 8 month period whilst she suffered insomnia over her husband’s supposed infidelity, (I don’t think I blame the guy, actually!) all on public display for us to ponder over.  I’ve got a few short sharp comments on this:-

  • All my drawings from pre-school should be resurrected and emblazoned with the initials ‘LB’.
  • You should all dig out your childhood drawings as well, and mimic me.
  • I know a little girl called Louise.  Reminding me, that I must write to her parents and instruct them, to have her to now sign everything ‘LB’ instead of ‘LP’. Instant price increase from ZERO to thousands of dollars. They will be happy.
  • Louise Bourgeois should have kept her secrets to herself.

Louise Bourgeois, was obviously a very angry, frustrated and upset woman.  I mean, why all of this constant scribbling in red pen?  I wonder if red pen, was the only pen stocked by the general store, or the only colour she liked. Looking at all these scribbles is giving me insomnia.

And then we have pages upon pages of extraordinary note taking:-

  • I am
  • Unloved
  • I want
  • Wretched
  • Beautiful
  • Ugly
  • To be
  • Wanted
  • Not to be
  • Awake
  • Asleep

And on and on, and on it goes. Seriously, get a grip on it!  You’re either ugly or beautiful, there is no in-between!

Then we come to the paintings.  Again, I hope my mother and father have horded all paintings and art work completed by me since the age of say, 3.  Because Louise’s paintings kind of look like a rat that has had too much whiskey and dipped the brush into a jar of paint and then scrabbled up and down, and around the canvas with an array of long lines, wide lines, thin lines, in pinks, red, purples, blues, whilst it’s searching for that prized piece of cheese. As if that wasn’t enough the brush has then been whacked oh, say, a 1000 or so times in the air so that little droplets of paint fall haphazardly onto the paper.

Downstairs as we walk out of the gallery, I see the following and leave gobsmacked that someone could possibly consider paying £399 pounds for one white frame, which is attached to one piece of canvass, one paint roll worth of deep sky blue painted horizontally onto the canvas and the next line a single paint roll worth of bright daisy yellow.  And I assure you that when my beautiful niece eventually draws me such a painting, and I have it proudly displayed at home, and I’m asked who painted it, my response is going to be, “No, that’s by an artist called ‘Simon Coom’, can’t remember the exact pronunciation of his name. I picked it up last year at the Edinburgh Gallery, I thought it excellent value at £399.”  I can’t believe that anyone would consider paying money for this and consider it art.  If they do, I want to be the one standing there, to give them a short sharp whack with a piece of four by two to knock some sense into them, as they stand at the register to pay. Notwithstanding that, I’ll have the opportunity to grab £399 from their claws to go and spend it on something worthy of spending money on.

Raised eyebrows from both Morag and me, as we dispense with modern art and scuttle on over to the Portrait gallery, hoping for improved offerings.   At last, canvas adorned with – Art.  Most of our time is spent looking at a collection of etchings and drawings by Scottish artist, Walter Gelkie.

Gelkie, spent most of his later years drawing, and has left the world, a detailed visual history of Edinburgh life in the early 19th Century.  Unlike Bourgeois who seemed to spend a lot of time doodling senselessly onto a page, while cocooned in a state of everlasting self-pity. (A short sharp slap may have woken her up from her misery.)  No man wants to be in the company of a woman, who runs around permanently absorbed by her own world, and needing endless endearments whispered into her ear, to provide her with an air of self-worth.

If anyone should have been feeling sorry for themselves, (with a right to do so) it was probably Gelkie.  Gelkie, left deaf at the age of two from a childhood illness and unable to speak, poured his energy into communicating through his drawings, which endure 200 years later.  At least Gelkie’s attempt to deforest the world of trees was for a worthy cause!

As I lay in bed pondering the day’s outing, I’m now considering whether I should try and offer myself up to Morag for adoption as well. I’m getting more favourite meals, lasagne, home-made and utterly delicious, instant feelings of warmth and comfort, permeate my being.    And I’m quite taken with this lovely Viognier, a little French number from the local co-op, being served up each night.

I also wonder quietly, that if I take up doodling stick men, flowers and round circles at this time of my life, onto the pages of scrappy exercise books, if I too can muster some loony art director’s attention to sell my scribbling for a small fortune and display the collection for the world to see.


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