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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Retail Therapy In Edinburgh

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.


David said...

Just love the photos of rose street and princess street. I must admit I have added them to my photo album, but of course I will not be passing thm off on Flickr as my own work.

No, honest - not at all.

If I did, it would be understanable. They are stunning photos

Sid Smith said...

Hi there Mr.CBQ,
How odd that we both took pictures from nearly the same spot on Princes Street - albeit at different times of the day.

Debra has decided that she and I should move up to Edinburgh!

We'll be back there in March or April I expect.

CBQ said...

Hi Mr Sid

Your Prices St pics are eminently better than mine - love the sunsetscapes!

11:10am, when your pic of what used to be the North British Hotel was taken, I was just setting off into town.

I was probably in FOPP when you were in the gallery.

I have a couple of days off now and have promised myself to get along to the Richter before it closes in early January.

Happy New Year!

ps Hope you picked up some bargains in FOPP.

Sid Smith said...

I was very happy with the trip to FOPP. I nabbed the Live and Unreleased album by Weather Report and Death of a Ladies man by Cohen which is insufferable but the completist in me had to have as there was a gap in that part of the collection. Dreadful album as I say but I couldn't argue at three quid a pop.

steven said...

hey sid, i'd heard of richter but never really looked at his work. amazing!! and the span of form and content is truly incredible - my faves would have to be his overpainted photographs and the photo paintings of seascapes.
so the weather report album - i really love their work up to about 1976. would you advise me to cough up some bucks and buy, or pick up a bottle of red?!!!!!
cheers, steven

CBQ said...

Agreed re Leonard - I have that album and is indeed pants - I keep walking round with "New Skin for the Old Ceremony" and "Live Songs" in my hand and then putting them back. Thought you might partake of the Weather Report set...


Sid Smith said...

Hi there Steven,
I must be honest and say that I only bought the Live And Unreleased WR album because it gave me access to the band with Alphonso Johnson on bass - I adore the pre-Pastorius line-up. For me, it was worth picking up because of the three or so tracks featuring this line-up.

If ever there was a band that would benefit from having whole concerts released (as with the KC collectors Club) then WR is it.
As it is the album offers a good cross-section and is less of a greatest hits album which was my complaint about 8.30.

Ah, Mr.CBQ - New Skin is a great album despite the oddities of the production. Mind you, which Laughing Len album doesn't have production oddities on it?


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