Scotland’s Art Deco Heritage 35: Peterculter

After Banchory we headed for Aberdeen and passed through Peterculter.

I spotted this former cinema, now a Chinese Restaurant:-

The ridging in the stonework is good as is the curved stepping.

Across the road and up a bit there was the building below, which may once have been a bank but is now a funeral director’s. Strong horizontals and verticals and a hint of a canopy:-

Then there was Café Bombay:-

Not a bad haul of Deco for what is effectively a village.

Dumbarton 0-3 Falkirk

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 20/12/14.

I wasn’t at the game but witnessed it via BBC Alba.

I needn’t have bothered. We didn’t turn up for the first half and should have been down by more than one goal at half time. With Mark Gilhaney and Chris Turner missing from the starting line-up we were short in midfield. The only spark at all was, as usual, Chris Kane – and we won’t have him in the New Year.

Once Chris Turner replaced Steven McDougall for the second half things improved but we never really tested their keeper. When the second went in and David van Zanten was taken off for Archie Campbell I knew Falkirk would score again… and they did.

And…. Did Scotty Linton even get a kick of the ball after coming on for Mitch Megginson? I don’t think Archie touched it either and he was on the pitch for longer.

I hope things are better at Central Park next Saturday.

Banchory War Memorial

At the end of October we had a trip up north and stopped at Banchory for an hour or so.

The Banchory War Memorial is very unusual in shape yet extremely elegant with a square cross-section but edge-on to the main road rather than side-on, flaring out a little at the base and surmounted by a pyramidal top with a samll cross. The lower portions contain names for WW2. The main columns commemorate WW1.

This view from the other side shows the memorial gardens and the cross a bit better:-

Friday on my Mind 111: I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman

What a piece of one-hit wondery this is. The ultimate in novelty tunes. Not only the peculiar title (only beaten in the what-on-Earth-is-that-all-about? stakes by They’re Coming to Take me Away Ha-haaa!) but the fact that the tune is never sung but only whistled.

The “performer” in the clip isn’t Whistling Jack Smith, whose identity some say is unknown, but according to Wiki was a member of the Mike Sammes singers. Instead the guy prancing around is an actor, who the Wiki article says is one Billy Moeller.

Whistling Jack Smith: I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman

Until I looked the tune up I hadn’t known Pat Boone covered it!

Scotland’s Art Deco Heritage 13 (iii): Perth Once More

We were in Perth at the back end of October and I took the chance to photograph this shop in South Methven Street – mainly for the lettering on the tobacconist’s shop though the upper portion of the building may be deco too, or perhaps a bit later. The windows have been poked out, whatever.

Round the corner in South Street is this next building. Good columning here, lovely curve on the roof line and the upward tweaks at the edge of the roof are nice touches.

Edinburgh’s Art Deco Heritage 14: Queensferry Road

This first one is directly on Queensferry Road.

A strange mixtue of styles but that rounded corner element is very deco:-

This one is back from the road. This photo was taken over the front wall:-

View showing bay window. Pity the windows have been replaced.

West side view:-

Rear window. Great stained glass here which must be original. Difficult to photograph from the access road through the foliage:-

West side view.:-

Detail of ladder leading up to roof:-

Front entrance and bay window.:-

Front entrance. Delightful square windows here:-

My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk

Faber and Faber, 2002, 508 p. Translated from the Turkish Benim Adim Kirmizi by Erdağ M Göknar.

My Name is Red cover

Well, this is an interesting concoction. The events take place in Istanbul in the time of Sultan Murat III. The first chapter is entitled I am a Corpse and is narrated by a murder victim. This sets up the novel as a whodunnit but Pamuk is far too subtle a writer for that to be his sole concern. The remainder of the book is narrated from a wide variety of viewpoints; several manuscript illustrators, the effectively widowed daughter of one of them, her son, her suitor, their go-between, the corpse, a dog, a tree, a counterfeit gold coin, death, the colour red, a horse, Satan – and two dervishes. In various of these the reader is occasionally addressed directly. The non-human narrators turn out to be parts of a manuscript illustration designed to show the splendour, magnificence and power of the Sultan, to impress Westerners, especially Venetians. Not a simple read then, by any means. Add to this the fact that three corpses undertake narration duties since during two of the relevant chapters the particular narrator is also killed – and describes the experience – and the artistry becomes evident.

In ways this reminded me of The Name of the Rose as it is the manuscript that is at the heart of things. So we have passages dealing with the philosophy of illustration and miniaturism, its place in the Islamic traditions, on whether or not it is blasphemy to ape the Venetian/Frankish form of realistic painting and use perspective, to show Allah’s view of the world, or the world as it is. The murders are direct consequences of this conflict. Plus there is a meditation on the acceptance of blindness as Allah’s reward to the miniaturist for his years of devotion to his art and frequent references to the Persian tales of Hüsrev and Shirin, and of Sohrab and Rüstem. There are, too, several instances of characters telling stories from the perspectives of folk named Alif, Ba and Djim. Some of these interpolations verge on the tedious but perhaps to Turkish readers they have more resonance.

The above may make it sound as if the book is difficult, but it isn’t if you are prepared to go with the flow as I was. I certainly will be reading more Pamuk, who clearly has considerable self-confidence. In what has been a feature of all his novels I have read so far there is a character named Orhan. This time it is not “Orhan Pamuk” though, but the Orhan within is eventually revealed to be the overall “author” of the book we are reading.

In the background but providing some impetus to the plot at times a preacher from Erzurum is blaming apostates and infidels for the supposed catastrophes of the last ten years and stirring up the mob. Casting blame on the other. Does this sound familiar to anybody?

Among Pamuk’s bon mots here are, “Only imbeciles are innocent,” “A letter doesn’t communicate by words alone. A letter, just like a book, can be read by smelling it, touching it and fondling it” and “Painting is the silence of thought and the music of sight.” He has the old miniaturist Osman say, “Painting is the act of seeking out Allah’s memories and seeing the world as He sees the world.” The book’s main love interest, the illustrator’s daughter, Shekure, tells us, “Marriage douses love’s flame, leaving nothing but a barren and melancholy blackness,” but, “The truth is contentment. Love and marriage are but a means to attaining it,” and that painters “substitute the joy of seeing for the joy of life.”

The translation is into USian and there were several curiosities or infelicities within it. Iron smiths may be a direct translation from Turkish but the English word is blacksmiths. Then we had, “your sympathy and understanding are much obliged,” “ the both of you,” “artists who are discontent with,” “a superior element as all of you are familiar,” “would’ve hid that picture,” a use of “plenty” where “greatly” made more sense plus the misspellings “guilded,” “descendents,” “practice” as a verb, the “pitfulls” of love and women, “imposter,” “quandries.”

Edinburgh’s Art Deco Heritage 13: Edinburgh Sports Club

This is a mainly 1930s sports club building situated just beside the Water of Leith off Belford Road near the Gallery of Modern Art. That newer entrance spoils it somewhat. The photo is a stitch to get it all in.

Far end view:-


Strong horizontals and verticals here. The canopy is good, and the blue highlighting. The windows have that “eyes poked out” look though.

Side view:-


The detailing on the main wall is good. That extension is a bit bland though.

Montgomery Scott

There is a plaque in Linlithgow which commemorates the birth of Starfleet Master Engineer Montgomery Scott, aka Scotty from Star Trek.

Here’s a photo of it.

You’ll note he was born in 2222.

Gregory’s Meridian, St Andrews

I was in St Andrews at the back end of September and spotted this on the pavement in south South Street. I don’t think I’d noticed it before. Is it relatively new?

It is Gregory’s Meridian line.

A plaque on the wall gives more information.

James Gregory looks to have been one of the 17th century’s greatest scientists. A meridian, Calculus, the diffraction grating and a type of telescope?

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