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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sneaky Peeky


Aha! It still smells the same. Seriously, I was worried. I had a little sneaky preview of the newly refurbished and deeply swanky Kelvingrove Art Gallery yesterday. You see, I was concerned that with all its new bangles and baubles, it would have lost that smell. The slightly indefinable musty smell, that museum smell. But all is well - it's still there.

Both the interior and exterior of the building are looking good - all buffed and polished and gleaming like new. I was particularly taken with the new light-fittings they have in the two halls of to either side of the main foyer. I'm not sure who designed them, or if they are indeed new, but I found them rather lovely and slightly reminiscent of Lalique.

Oh, I suppose I should mention the art itself, too. Well, the museum appears, both in the displays and the decor, to be eclectic, but from what I could gather (having to peer around lots of milling people) it seems to work. For example, next to the aforementioned light-fittings, there are an array of 'floating' heads, each with a different facial expression, which, in my humble opinion, juxtapose each other nicely. These I liked very much. Quirky, unusual and ever so slightly deranged. My kinda art. I was also extremely tickled to see the much loved Elvis statue hadn't been ditched to make way for some new fangled exhibit - although it was still wearing its protective, and I'm sure very snuggly, bubble wrap coat.

While it was exciting to get a glimpse at the museum, even with its unfinished air, it will be even nicer to be able to wander around at a more relaxed pace, without crowds gathered in every corner and fighting for the last toasted teacake in the cafe. Because, for me, that was always the joy of the museum - the peace and solitude. Disappearing inside its solid stone walls to a world of stuffed mammoths and Victorian jewellery, pre-Raphaelite paintings and Japanese swords, far removed from the noise and pollution outside. It'll be nice to have the museum back with us.

So, after my day of cultured sophistication, I went out for an evening of deeply uncultured drinking. Nikki and I went for a mini pub-crawl (one drink in each - the west end is so expensive) and a good blether. The atmosphere was good, no doubt due in equal parts to the sunny weather and the football. And it just goes to show what a cosmopolitan city Glasgow really is - there was a troop of Portuguese guys wandering down Byres Road singing merrily after their success in the quarter-finals. It would have been more pleasant to behold if only they had been singing in tune.

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