I love the odd day in Glasgow. As familiarity grows, I’m beginning to link the city up with maps, memories, family folklore and reference points in the past, present and future. I like the break from Edinburgh’s tourism too, when I’m off west. Interactions with people and the pavement feel markedly more real and more easily connected in a context where showmanship’s less prevalent. I trust myself and my reading of stories I’m collecting better without a backdrop of pressure on a place. I’ve always been easily influenced; mood is infectious, too.
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My nephew moved in with us a few months ago, all the way from a Pyrenean idyll in the south of France. It’s really interesting seeing someone discover Edinburgh, it reminds me of all the compromises we’ve made along the way as well as the rewards of the move. It’s also interesting living with a ‘new’ person full-time. It holds a mirror up to everyone’s personalities and quirks and asks whether you’ll each change or grow the things about yourself that are suddenly more visible. Mostly, it feels like an excellent challenge.
I’ve been working on a new project called The Grantidote. Last week it took me west, to where I come from.
The Grantidote’s centering women, pausing to understand how a woman’s wholeness is made up of fragments big and small, some chosen, others delivered by circumstance.
The Grantidote’s about acknowledging the marks women leave on our world. I believe by fully registering women’s impact we begin to rectify an error that’s made how we organise, experience and understand humanity feel ill-fitting and wrong.
Toxic masculinity needn’t control the whole narrative, after all.
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A friend took me to The Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh recently. As an art academic and fellow ardent avoider of bullshit, she’s a joy to exhibition with; nips off at speed, buzzing back intermittently with jewels of information about whatever’s caught my eye; non-plussed about my mistaking statues of all short-haired blokes holding scrolls for another Burns.
As well as my pal, my favourites on the day were Jessica Harrison’s Painted Ladies; the movement in those skirts whisked me back to making an ornament of my Granny’s dance on a windowsill.
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Things I didn’t know last month;
- There are jellyfish all round the coast of Denmark – my husband got stung every other summer as a kid playing in the viking sea.
- The Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art was originally built as a mansion for William Cunninghame in 1778, for £10,000. Cunninghame was a Tobacco Lord who benefited hugely from trade winds, the hideousness of the triangular slave trade and the connections of his prosperous merchant family.
- For the worse or better, it only takes two people to start a movement.
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Everyone’s a tourist, up Calton Hill. You can see in all directions and take in the various curiosities providing perfect photography props.
You can grab coffee and cake then wander through art.
I was reminded of Berlin, up Calton Hill. Different accents, space for everyone; no tension between worker bees and butterflies. The National Monument, our memorial to lives lost in the Napoleonic Wars, stands in its long since abandoned state of grace as people climb up it to smile and laugh for iconic photos and memories.
History & modernity at a peace.
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