Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday, May 25/08

Phoned home at 8am, back to bed to snooze till 10:30, breakfast, write a Province column, which you may or may not ever see in The Province, then out to town.

In London, Venice and wherever else I've travelled, someone always stops and asks me for directions, usually a day or two after I've first set foot in the place. Why should the Edniburgh Exerience be any different?

Working my way from Hope Street (Shouldn't every city and village have a Hope Street?) through Charlotte Square, I was immediately asked for the location of number 46. I guessed right and wasn't he a happy camper? Speaking of things every town aught to have, the "Square" is a wonderful construct that I would love to see in Vancouver. Row houses on four sides, all facing an interior public park. Lovely.

In the National Portrait Gallery, the doscent informed me at once that a) this was the first purpose-built portrait gallery in the world, and b) that she'd just returned from a marvelous trip to the Three Vees - Vancouver, Victoria and Vernon! She just about flipped out of her shetland sweater when I told her where I was from. Later, after I'd toured the great red brick building, I made her an official Canadian by pinning her with a Red Maple Leaf flag. She was suitably thrilled.

The top floors have paintings dating back many hundreds of years. The common and surprising theme seemed to be NOSES. I mean serious Probiscus Land. Wow! Even the women were sporting serious honkers.

To me, the most fascinating of these showed large groups of families or villagers, no only in Scotland, but often abroad, especially in Rome and Naples. One painting taking place in a salon in someone's fabulous house in Naples, included the owner, the painter, a famous violinist of the day...and ON HARPSICHORD, FOLKS...a warm welcome for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his equally talented dad!

On the middle floor, many rich paintings, photos and montages in different media of people still alive and well and in the news today. One haunting large canvas portrays three reknowned doctors of oncology, blue gowns and latex gloves bloodied from surgery, looking back over their shoulders at the artist. There is a ghostly nimbus around them, fading into a deep, funk of dark blue, giving the whole wrestling match with death a suitably frightening aura.

1 comment:

PelaLusa said...

Perhaps the Main & Hastings section of one of those streets should be renamed "Hope Street" ?