Archived entries for architecture

tea at the midland : David Constantine

Winner of the BBC4 2010 short story award, this story by David Constantine is predicated on a frieze by Eric Gill, in the Midland Hotel, Morecambe.

The Midland name is from London Midland Scottish – LMS – a long-defunct UK railway company that opened the hotel in 1933.

As a graphic designer, the ubiquity of Gill Sans (and less kneejerk-choiced typefaces like Joanna and Perpetua) took on a whole different interpretation when Fiona MacCarthy published her disturbing and yet not totally surprising biography of Gill in 1989.

I’ve just finished the excellent A Wild Sheep Chase by Murakami. It borrows heavily in minor parts from the tropes of Kings’/Kubricks’ The Shining. The building that is exploded (like the Overlook Hotel in Kings’ novel) is not an hotel but might as well be.

The transient and the devious and the untruthful and the hidden are all components of hotels that have seen the transit of teeming souls over an extended period. Perhaps this inevitable consequence of infusion is why great hotels endure – some kind of moral rogues gallery – like the recently renovated St Pancras Hotel London, Central Station Hotel Glasgow, The Balmoral Edinburgh… the stones and foundations and sculptural misfits, out of sight of casual consciousness, remain – like “the pilgrim-worshipped flag-stone in Canterbury Cathedral where Beckett bled” (Moby Dick).

robinson in ruins : patrick keiller

Excited by the trailer, although on first listen not keen at all on Vanessa Redgrave’s workwomanlike narrative voice… sounds like a first take, read on a day when she would rather be somewhere else… not convincing at all – really hammy. However there must surely be merit in the choice of Redgrave slipping on the shoes of the deceased Paul Scofield, once the full film is seen.

Visually looks wonderful though. No real impression of where the film is going from the trailer, which is just fine. More when I’ve had a chance to see it… Commented here at the Brian Dillon article/overview.

An intelligent review at Reverseshot.


Richard Ashcroft

Rut Blees Luxemburg her new site

Also on the Ashcroft blog, the piece by Jarvis Cocker on outsider art is interesting

BBC4 : Rosslyn + Norman MacCaig

Rosslyn Chapel: A Treasure in Stone is narrated by the academic Helen Rosslyn – well she should know this one. Looks like she’s also doing a series on the Normans which makes sense as there is a strong connection with the french in the rosslyn/St Clar family. BBC4 60min film here

I’ll be doing something about the Glasgow Cathedral connection she mentions shortly – impressed by a new visit recently, with a quick recce round the Necropolis for auld time’s sake. (person who dropped the Fuji Neopan Acros 35mm film canister near the John Knox column – contact me here)

Norman MacCaig is the subject of a Billy Connolly biopic, upcoming soon on BBC4. I usually bypass these filet-o-cunningham “macho pertyck guys with sandy bell beer paunches wi’ fiddles an’ greying ponytails” big-up their mates, but this one might be OK seeing as it’s about the normal for a scottish poet MacCaig – the presenters go in search of Norm’s not-quite-hemingway marlin-del-scota in a wester-coaster shangri-la lochan in a hanging valley.

image below bbc4 screen shot : Rosslyn chapel roof couple

Borealis by Héctor Serrano Studio

No borealis in Scotland this weeknight but this is nice from last year.

…and Burns’ bit on the lights, from Tam O’Shanter

Or like the snow falls in the river;
A moment white – then melts for ever

Or like the Borealis race
That flit before you can point their place

And a clip from Daisysaint’s superb YouTube channel A Dream LogicTam Lin with Stephanie Beacham and Ian McShane (lovejoy).

The opening sequence here is lovely if you like fresh-minted brutalism seen from quiet motorway via Jensen, Aston and Corniche… (not too sure what the gold droptop is – Wolseley? )

from Z to A is a scotland-based psychogeography and urban topography magazine featuring creative, critical, playful urban journeys

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