|The Wendell Berry stone in the walled garden of Blair Castle|
Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Sunday, 28 April 2013
|Richard Demarco on the road|
To begin with, 12 of us sat in the sun at the picnic table in the beautiful Moffat Gallery garden, planted by Sherpa Dawa of Craigieburn Garden, Moffat, gathered round the great man (13 when my grandson Zac joined us). We were: John Martin (co-founder of the Demarco Gallery, founder of Forth Studios); Sheila Martin; Helen and Graham Duncan, Trustees of the Demarco archive; Edith Reyntiens of Dumfries, whose father Patrick - the famous stained glass window artist Coventry Cathedral, Westminster Hall etc - was a contemporary of Richard's at Edinburgh School of Art; Richard's wife Anne; Terry Newman, assistant to RD; Viola a Croatian photographer; Janet Wheatcroft of Girton College Cambridge and Craigieburn garden, Moffat; Eryl Shields, photographer and writer of Moffat; Jill Hollis of Cameron & Hollis, Moffat-based publisher currently working with Andy Goldsworthy; my sister Jenny Gough-Cooper sometime administrator of the Demarco gallery , graduate of Camberwell and Hornsey schools of art, biographer of Duchamp, now a professional photographer, and myself.
Talk continued inside the gallery surrounded by the pictures Richard has been making since 1960, under the rubric 'The Road to Meikle Seggie', on the theme of 'the road' or 'the journey', through rural Scotland contrasted with, and leading to and from, the city of Edinburgh. We were joined by a couple from Dalkeith, an artist and a singer/songwriter who happened to be passing.
We brainstormed some Creative Place/Day of the Region ideas, the importance of art etc.
Richard also brought with him, and we discussed, details of the 'Room 13' initiative http://room13international.org which seemed to those present a perfect activity (among others) for Old Moffat Academy.
Richard will be holding another seminar at 21 Well Road on Sat June 15th 2-4pm, this time with the focus on Moffat's Creative Place/Day of the Region plans.
Thursday, 25 April 2013
Monday, 22 April 2013
Today is the birthday of Vladimir Nabokov, born in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1899. He was the first of five children; his father was a lawyer and politician and the family were well-to-do members of the minor nobility. He grew up with access to a lavish library, and was trilingual, fluent in English and French, as well as his native Russian, from an early age. When he was 17, he inherited an estate from his uncle, but he lost it the following year in the Bolshevik Revolution, and he was never to own a house again. The family fled St. Petersburg during the revolution, and in 1919 they settled in western Europe: first England, where Nabokov attended Cambridge, and then Berlin, where his father was shot and killed at a political rally in 1922.
Nabokov left Berlin in 1936 with his wife, Vera, who was Jewish, and their son; they moved to Paris but left again in 1940 to escape the Nazi advance. They settled in the United States, where he wrote and pursued the life of the academic nomad, moving from rented house to rented house and teaching at a series of colleges. In 1961, the success of his famously controversial novel Lolita (1953), and its subsequent film adaptation, enabled him to retire and write full time, and the Nabokovs moved to a hotel in Switzerland, where they lived until his death in 1977.
It is of particular interest to Moffat Book Events, looking ahead to our international conference on translation here 20-22 Sept 2013, that he wrote his first nine novels in Russian, and then began writing in English, although he mourned the loss of his native language. He wrote in the afterword to Lolita: "My private tragedy, which cannot, and indeed should not, be anybody's concern, is that I had to abandon my natural idiom, my untrammeled, rich, and infinitely docile Russian tongue for a second-rate brand of English."
He was also a passionate and methodical collector of butterflies. He wrote, "From the age of seven, everything I felt in connection with a rectangle of framed sunlight was dominated by a single passion. If my first glance of the morning was for the sun, my first thought was for the butterflies it would engender," and he claimed that he would have become a lepidopterist, had it not been for the interruption of the Bolshevik Revolution. His knowledge, though self-taught, was so great that he was appointed curator for the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology's butterfly collection. In 1945, he came up with a theory that the Polyommatus Blue species had come to North America from Asia in a series of waves, and though professional lepidopterists scoffed at him at the time, recent DNA research has proven him right.
In his memoir, Speak, Memory (1951), he wrote, "The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness."
And, "A sense of security, of well-being, of summer warmth pervades my memory. That robust reality makes a ghost of the present. The mirror brims with brightness; a bumblebee has entered the room and bumps against the ceiling. Everything is as it should be, nothing will ever change, nobody will ever die." (from today's online The Writer's Almanac)
|My table - my life|
Above the book is the programme for a couple of days tree-gazing in Perthshire with the RSFS. To the left of the programme is a box lid containing a plastic saw, property of my youngest grandson Olly (and potentially I suppose a murder weapon). Under the saw is a flyer for an exhibition of Far Eastern art. Next to the saw is Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair that MBE will be giving away tomorrow evening Tuesday April 23rd on World Book Night. Left and slightly under The Eyre Affair is a page torn out of a clothes catalogue. It will sit there for a few days while I decide if the rather bright orange print dress is suitable for a series of summer events including a book launch at 21 Well Road, The Moffat Gallery on Saturday June 1st or Richard Demarco's 'Meet the Artist' on Saturday June 15th. Other objects, if you wish to play Kim's Game include a wriggly green plastic creature. a blue biro, a half eaten oatcake , a pack of red dental flossers teepees, cup of Rooibos tea (cold) and a small screwtop bottle that contained the single dose of Ciproxin Alan Thomson and I were both prescribed after our MBE chairman was (wrongly) diagnosed with bacterial meningitis last Wednesday in London.
Wednesday, 17 April 2013
Friday, 12 April 2013
At the Fresh Start for the Arts meeting yesterday at Moffat's Old Well theatre, talk turned to the need to rebrand Dumfries and Galloway as a five star arts and culture destination. My suggestion was to market ourselves as 'a constellation' of destinations. We are a big, dispersed region geographically, and this link with the stars would chime well with the Star of Caledonia monument to James Clark Maxwell to be built at the border beside the A74(M) at Gretna.
|Star of Caledonia|
Sunday, 7 April 2013
|True or false?|
Правда или ложь?
Как Дамфрис и Галлоуэй ежегодный фестиваль науки http://www.dgsciencefestival.org.uk/approaches, стоит напомнить самим себе, что тест каких-либо претензий в науках о жизни опирается на статистику - другими словами, вероятность того, что что-то не так.Догадка как, например, левшей, необычайно высокой успеваемостью или, что люди с красными волосами вспыльчивый может быть проверена путем сбора данных и подвергая эти данные тщательно подобранных тестов из широкого репертуара, который покажет уровень вероятности того, что предложение истинно . В более широком смысле, то получается, что математика, и, в частности ветви математики которая статистики, лежит в основе таких разнообразных явлений, как лучшее соотношение цены и качества для руководителей выборе игроков для профессиональных бейсбольных команд, используя их средний уровень (как изложено в фильме Moneyball ), преобразование инвестиционной индустрии, вызванные куртки склонились над компьютерами с помощью сложных математических формул - и успех Google Translate. Google Translate использует статистические вероятности в качестве основы для выбора которого слово, вероятно, будет правильным в переводе. Это отнюдь не идеально, но она дарит неоценимую пользу позволяющие передать суть того, что человек хочет сказать другому, не носителем английского языка. Я могу говорить и писать на русском, но переход в короткий срок между двумя языками (свой первый язык, и тех, кто приобрел позже хранятся в разных частях мозга) является трудоемким и мозг rackingly утомительным процессом. Чтобы проиллюстрировать, что делает Google Translate при нажатии кнопки: Ниже показано выше на русском языке. Я буду просить родного русского языка, чтобы прочитать его и дай мне более грамотным версию с указанием их коррекции.PS Как иллюстрация напоминает нам: любое поведение, если опираться на ген, - будь то для вспыльчивость или необычного интеллекта - должно, по определению даровал селективное преимущество на физические лица, имеющие этот ген, потому что они выжили, чтобы пройти его.
Saturday, 6 April 2013
According to Alexander Warrack's The Scots Dialect Dictionary, the definition he gives for deil’s beef-tub (n) is a roaring linn.
I put it to you that the Devil’s Beef Tub is a roaring linn. It is a place where a devil may take his bath. Moffat the local spa town with its sulphurous spring would reinforce this demonic theme. It is nothing to do with reivers or beef. It is a corruption of bath tub.
“Town in a lather over…..” “Rubba, dub, dub in the Devil’s Beef Tub”?