Despite feeling like I'd been run over by a steam roller (i.e. sore throat and general flu-like grogginess) such is my dedication to culture, I looked forward to spending a day in Edinburgh with Debra. The purpose of our visit was to see an exhibition of work by painter Gerhard Richter. Oh, and visit FOPP. The thought of scoping the Richter and scooping up whatever FOPP had to offer was enough to send the fug of illness into retreat.
It's a long established tradition that whenever we visit Newcastle's Central Station, Debra always visits Costa Coffee and we endure the sub-arctic conditions, which are a feature of the station no matter what the time of year, as we pretend to be part of the cafe society.
Our train rolled in the appointed time and we boarded finding our seats, settling back and letting the train take the strain. Only it wasn't our train as as a bemused but very pleasant conductor called Dave informed us twenty minutes later. It seems there were two different trains going to Edinburgh leaving within five minutes of each other.
It also seems that we weren't the only ones to make the same mistake, evidenced by the now hugely over-crowded train with punters filling up the vestibules, ailses, and if they could have squeezed into them, the luggage racks. So we spent the rest of the journey wobbling about from left to right like extras in Voyage To The Bottom of the Sea but enjoying ourselves nevertheless.
Edinburgh was bright and nippy. As we left Waverly Station we spied the Balmoral Hotel where Debra and I once spent an indecently luxurious evening way back when in our courting days.
We walked the short distance along a busy and apparently recession-proof Princes Street (past my favourite Thunderbird 3 look-alike monument) toward the National Gallery.
We were here to see this exhibition by Gerhard Richter, and thanks to this link sent to me by Mr.CBQ, you can too!
I hadn't realised just how epic some of his abstract paintings are, huge things occupying an entire wall. Like this one, my favourite of the entire show.
Close up, you really can see the way in which the paint is layered and scraped back- lots of collisions and mixed messages clammering for attention. Stunning stuff.
Moving from room to room, the stylistic leaps Richter covers are huge. This was Debra's favourite and about as far away from the above picture as its possible to get.
As Debra observed afterwards, Richter's paintings "take some peering at." She's not wrong. Musing in the shop afterwards, I couldn't make up my mind as to which Richter book to get and so we decided to come back later after our next foray.
Our destination was none other than FOPP in Rose Street. It's long been a cause of much chagrin in the Smith household that a branch of this outlet isn't a bit nearer to home. Mind you, Debra said this lack of local FOPPery gives us an excuse to visit Edinburgh more often and that can't be a bad thing can it?
By the time we emerged dusk was descending on the city. The view along Rose Street was stunning...
as was the view along Princes Street...
Back to the Gallery where I picked up a copy of Richter's Atlas.