October 20, 2021

walking pneumonics

I set off, oh! how I utterly did. From Lothian road with the destination of the national gallery, Princes Street clear in my mind. A chest infection having plagued me lately, my naturally spritely, youthful pace became too much for my poor respiratory system to keep up with and so I slowed to an old-lady like shuffle. When I got to Princes Street, just by the gardens, I looked in the direction of the modern gallery down Queens-ferry street. I could see the tops of trees in the distance lit in autumnal shades by the crepuscular light. My feet made up their minds (for they have one) before my brain and they turning left (I guess) meant that I had opted out for the emotionally frantic Christian roller coaster of classical art for something a bit more vague and rebellious. I did not however, know the way. I had glanced at its location on a map on the national gallery’s website and so had a vague pictorial idea of where it stood in relation to the Princes Street building. The walking was bringing on a feverish sweat and me and my legs continued shakily. My shoes were too big for me and several times I tripped over uneven surfaces however, to no availing sense of embarrassment. Little food and the fever sweats had my mind in a delirious anticipatory, light-hearted sense of impending aesthetic pleasure that blocked out all negative emotion.

A traffic attendant (of no discerning friendliness but she was definitively informative and existent)  pointed me in the precise direction. I found myself having escaped the shade of the old town and descending in to the warm dusk of Belford road with its view of the almost painfully poetic architecture of Dean village. I passed a small architects office on Belford road from where (and the door being ajar) some summery piano music emanated. You could not make this shit up. I paused and moved on when the piece had finished and when the eyebrow of a suspicious looking gentleman on the street had been raised in the direction of my loitering.  I continued stroll and gaze admiringly at what seems to me to be the epitome of whimsical Edinburgian architecture when, looking ahead, my eyes met the disappointing sight of the travelodge. It stood there almost in quiet glee. Landmark of unfeeling, capitalist reality of superficial existences and as a very wise man once remarked, masturbating business men.

I then strolled on up the hedged path and around the bend to view Coley’s ‘no miracles will happen here.’ Agreed Coley. Though the Travelodge had made the impact of Coley’s message somewhat anti-climatic.

The path to the gallery entrance from Belford road being slighted sloped, I of course in my frail condition, had to pause to catch my breath. Later when I viewed my full reflection in the gallery toilets, I would see that my skin looked yellow and my legs jutted out of my bulkily clothed torso like a stick insect’s. I had not been eating properly and my chest felt tight. I was not well. My new flat did not have a mirror and so deprived of the novelty, I stared at my reflection perhaps slightly longer than was appropriate for a public setting and a girl emerging from the toilets giggled quietly at me.

The Dadists and surrealists were the first of two rooms in museum 2 that I managed to view. Magritte’s ball in a tree had me quite breathless as I read of the commands of the blood. My heart palpitated in response. The increasingly formulaic forms of surrealist art depressed me compared to the free flowing hallucinatory thought experiments of the Dadaists. The Dadaists seemed to destroy and escape, whereas the surrealists were trying to twist it in to something with an definitive end, without escape. How depressing. I saw the British and Japanese wood etchings that remind me of Japanese anime on the television, Paolozzi’s studio, by the time I got to the secret of the skirt, or the cape, I can’t recall but there was a fucking lobster climbing up the topless (no body) mannequin’s thigh, I had to sit down immediately on the ground before I passed out.

I came outside again, viewed the graveyard and saw a squirrel doing something adorable underneath a sycamore tree. a couple lay flopped over one another on the lawn and two adults of both sexes standing at either side of the entrance stared at me. I took my glasses off and stared back. No words were exchanged. the female of the couple on the lawn giggled and muttered something to her partner. Time to go, I was running out of energy and would have to be wheeled or driven home if I did not make it back soon. As I walked up Palmerston Place I viewed the historical opulence and saw an ambitious wheelchair ramp that had been placed over an incredibly steep stairwell. I passed by a wedding in St Mary’s cathedral and a young and pretty woman stood in an elaborate white dress with obscure pointed angles in the skirt. A man disproportionately unattractive stood with his arm around her waist, I thought for a second that he might be her father but the intimacy of their embrace made me hope that I was instead viewing an ill-matched couple. They were purely superficially ill-matched but I am shallow and judgemental so it remains ill. A youngish girl in a fancy dress ran around barefooted and energetic in the gardens behind the church as I walked by. That is the only age when weddings can truly be enjoyed. your youth and ignorance absenting you from the sincere participation in tedious tradition, and all usually in a fairly picturesque location.

Felt dizzy. Legs grew more tired. Nearly got hit by a cyclist ‘oi!’ he cried in London monosyllable.

At my flat. My flatmate’s mother whom I had never met sat on our sofa. She was very attractive. I described my journey then went to the cupboard to chug cough syrup, went to my bedroom, lay down on my bed and passed out.

Awaking in the hospital with a hazy memory of fever and delirium which had apparently lasted three days I thankfully  made a full recovery from my Edinburgh experience of modern art.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.