Weekly Photo Challenge: Room – I have used a similar image to this once before but regardless of the repetition, when I get an idea in my head, I find it hard to dislodge. These heads hang in the East Court, a magnificent exhibition space within the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum in Glasgow. There is maximum head room as East Court is open to the ceiling, the atrium space being surrounded by the Picture Promenade, the gallery where this image was taken.
These heads and this space reminded me of something, and suddenly it came to me – Max Headroom – the World’s first computer-generated TV host.
(click on the image to enlarge)
There is a community up there, there must be; estimates suggest in the region of fifty thousand, the majority unmarked. The residents of the Necropolis look down on Glasgow, even its cathedral. This is no quiet wall and tree-sheltered enclosed cemetery, it stands high and proud, approached from St Mungo’s by a single-arched bridge that flies over Wishart Street, as though crossing the Styx; no pennies for the ferryman.
I had not done my research so this was a random visit; no appointments, no calling cards, just passing by to see who might be there. It started gently enough with William Miller hugging the side of the pathway, the ‘Laureate of the Nursery’ – author of Wee Willie Winkie. From there on it became a little more worrisome:
And then I came across this plain but elegant tomb:
My eyes were adjusted to the bright winter light so it was difficult to see inside the iron railings. I pushed up the iso setting on the camera, held it against an upright and let the sensor do its work on a long exposure. The white highlights are dust that has settled over the centuries, most dramatically on her face such that she appears to be staring, eyes wide open towards something we dare not see. I am not fond of the results:
Thanks to my dad, raised on scientific certainties, I am a fully paid up member of Cynics Incorporated but these dead communities give me the creeps – I keep thinking that a hand could have grabbed my arm from within the iron railings; I would have joined this closed community on the spot. A Daily Telegraph article by Hannah Betts has done nothing to improve my equilibrium: “My grandmother bedded down there next, innocent of that summer’s events, then refused to ever again. My mother braved it to prove her wrong. Next morning, the room was locked. When we quizzed her, she refused to divulge what had happened, saying only that it was “something to do with time”. Somehow this was – and remains – the most horrifying thing I had ever heard”. I recommend you read the full article here – a wonderfully composed ‘ghost’ story, just right for Christmas.
Sweet dreams everyone.
We had gone to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to see the Jack Vettriano Retrospective. He has his critics but I love his paintings – they are accessible, instantly recognisable and memorable. Some of his images have suffered from over-exposure and in the way that popular music can lose its edge after the 500th time of placing the needle on the record (metaphorically), the same can apply to the visual arts. The great thing about this exhibition was that there was so much I had not seen before, so much to appreciate for the first time. By helpful symmetry, many of his paintings take their inspiration from song lyrics and titles.
Fifty years ago the album With the Beatles was released, by dreadful coincidence, on the same day as JFK’s assassination; that 1963 Christmas, the album was under the tree. I played it endlessly and despite the mono sound and the monochrome album cover, the coloured lights came on and have stayed on ever since; as an exception to prove the rule, the tracks remain as fresh as they ever were – “the same as it ever was”.
David Byrne was born twenty miles west of Glasgow in Dumbarton; a boy of a similar age, I imagine him listening to the same music that long ago December (although by then he was living in Maryland):
(click on the image to enlarge)
(The Kelvingrove installation is better known as the Hanging Heads but I will conveniently ignore that).
I guess this could be an entry in this week’s Travel Theme: Symbol, but I am not certain what Elvis symbolises – I prefer to call it The Good Lady in Bad Company.
We escaped to Glasgow for a couple of days with the prime purpose of getting the sensor on my D600 cleaned, this being our nearest Nikon Service Centre. It would have been easier to put it in the post but then we would have missed out on an excuse for a few days in this grand city. I have never spent any time here before, just quick business trips in and out, mostly on the same day. It is a wonderful place where we made some delightful discoveries – more posts will follow: