Wednesday 1st Nov 2006
I came back home this afternoon. A long drive in the dark night, the half moon lighting the way. Deep Winter mauve twilight backdrops the golden hills, as the sun set. Then clear starry French blue sky.
The price for this beauty, freezing cold. I love to drive in the dark.
I love to get home too.
I fumble to open the flat door in the dark. Forgot to leave the stair light on. Am still getting used to the missed tick retreat of Winter time. It says it's 4 but it's 5 really. Wee reminders, lazy long lie in on my first week off and it's still only 9am, light going faster than feels right, hunger taking me by surprise, remember to switch on the stair light on the way out.
I find the mortice keyhole by the cold blast of air whistling through it. As it strokes my hand, I remember, the living room window is open. I can see myself deciding to leave it like that. Worrying the three wee geraniums might not survive if there was another storm like last week. I turn the key and shiver at the thought, wishing I had a butler to phone and say 'Put the fire on, would you?'
The door opens and I dump my purchases on the hall floor, I don't take off my jacket, I'll do that when the fire is on.
For some reason, I never switch on a light in the hall. I always wait until I'm in the living room. The front door is right next to the living room door, I'm in there before I think, light switch. I rarely use the main lights in the flat, even in the kitchen, I have lamps or strings of fairy lights. So as I turn into the living room in the freezing dark, I'm welcomed by a pulse of scent. The paperwhite have enjoyed the cold, it seems, and are in full bloom. I don't put the light on for a few moments. The curtains open, the scented blooms luminous in the shaft of moonlight streaming through the window, and all of it upside down in the crystal ball. It is breathtaking.
Moonlight steals the colour from everything, but gives a glow to white petals. They were loving it, moon-bathing, pulsing scent as if giggling, 'More, More. Fill us up with moonbeams'.
It was too cold to stand for long though. Too overwhelming, all the dark lit beauty.
I put on the rose quartz lamp and lit the fire.
Who needs a butler anyway.
On Hallowe'en I was in my old haunts in Glasgow's West End. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and park. The walk by the Kelvin, in the glorious trees. Every shade of yellow, orange and red. The beech leaves shimmering like doubloons. It was too early for my favourite shops and stalls so I go for breakfast. Croissant, coffee and people watching. Doing morning pages in the buzz of Byres Rd. I want to live in a big city again. The variety of it. The buzz of it. The inspiration of it. I've made up my mind.
I walk up the orange and black Hallowe'en street, full of students changing class, plunking off class, eating on the hoof. They are so young. They don't dress like students. Not like when I was at Uni. Top shop and smart gear, peridot and apple green are big this year. Plus a scarf tied in the American manner, threaded through itself, is THE thing. No jacket. Layered sweaters and huge scarf. It's a glorious day though, I have my jacket off, sitting watching them all while waiting for my mum to meet me at the Huntarian Gallery. All of them have mobile phones, designer bags, not a rucksack or mirrored bag in sight. No dessie boots or Indian prints. No individuality actually. The only one is a semi-Goth gal and that's so, well passÃ©, even on Hallowe'en. This is the Brittany generation. They don't have individuality, they have loans.
There are three people in sky blue tee shirts on which there is a photo of the girl who wants to be president or some such bossy boots, good for the CV role. There are always people like this. They had yellow sweatshirts in my fresher year. Years of Echo and the Bunnymen, Thomson Twins and The Cure 'Walk In A Forest'. I loved that and Genesis 'The Carpet Crawlers'. I wonder what they play in the student Union nowadays?
Not that I'd recognise any of it I suppose.
Looking at them, I wonder why they are doing this. I never understood why anyone would spend their afternoon trying to get in votes for someone else. I still don't. I don't understand the media madness of spending weeks of predicting how people will vote. Take a big breath, go to sleep and you'll find out in the morning.
What a waste of time.
I find myself wondering what 'types' they'll be when they're middle aged. What this activity actually sets them up for in later years. Coffee mornings and bring and buy. Bridge? Coz they always have to go round in gangs of four? I am not a team player.
So I've been told.
Probably by people who collected the votes at Uni.
Walking up to the Huntarian, I pass the Geology building, onto which someone has spray-painted 'I love it here'. It makes me smile. I know just how they feel.
The Huntarian is one of the jewels of Glasgow. For two quid you can see Charles Rennie MacIntosh and Margaret McDonald MacIntosh's home rebuilt as it was - from a few streets to the East of the gallery. All their furniture, from donkey brown dining room to brilliant white bedroom, was dismantled and saved before their house was demolished. Sometimes progress gets it right.
This month there is a collection of Margaret MacDonald's work too. A woman who's work exhibited in Vienna in 1900 influenced Klimt. Marginalised by her marriage to an architect and because it was men who wrote history of Art. Plus any other kind as well. But then, would we have heard of her at all if she'd been single back then. Would any of her interiors have survived, without that marriage of creative souls. He said "Margaret has genius, I have only talent¦"
There is a painting of hers there, The Choice. It's of a bride. The choice is marriage. It reminded me of later Chagall's. Except his brides are happy and exalted by love. This bride is bound, garlands of roses, but still, she is bound. Marriage is different for men and women. How could it not be? Or at least it was, when Margaret MacDonald was a gal. Perhaps it's not changed. The more I see of couples, the more I love being single.
For Â£3.50 you can buy a book of MacIntosh's flower paintings. Plate upon plate of glorious watercolours, the plants that so influenced his design. Nothing like the tacky ripoff rose jewellery available everywhere. He'd be spinning in his grave if he saw it.
In perfect purple ellipses.
In the afternoon I drove to the House of an Art Lover. Glasgow does do some fantastic projects. The house MacIntosh never built, made real. I arrived so late, I had it all to myself. The dark raven-headed hallway, opening up to the white music room. A glade of trees, so stylised you'd never guess it. It's little wonder his commissions were so rare even in late Victorian, early Edwardian Scotland. They must have been shocking. People not knowing how to read them. No room for a coal scuttle or the pieces of grannies furniture. I imagine the shock seeing it would have been. Even in Milan, a writing room for a lady, so divine, but inspired no commissions. Before their time. IKEA would snap them up nowadays.
The Autumn trees outside reflecting the source. The new moon came out as I was on the balcony.