Thursday, November 29, 2012

Leonardo da Vinci in Hull

Back in 1985, when I lived in Aberdeen, I went to the exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci drawings from the Codex Hammer. I was too young, then, to think about how surprising it was that such a piece of art should end up in a place like Aberdeen.

Cycle forward 27 years, and there is a Leonardo exhibition in my local gallery, the Ferens in Hull. And it's proving amazingly successful. People are queuing around the gallery and out the door and up the street to get in. For a small, provincial gallery like the Ferens, this is a tremendous success.

If you're up this way, it's well worth a look. There are only ten drawings, and they are all small, but the detail in them is simply extraordinary. How he could even see the detail, let alone draw it is remarkable. And that he did so with quills and home-made implements is even more remarkable.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


You may have noticed I've been rather quiet of late. I'm heavily involved in the writing up of my thesis at present - about 30,000 words of 100,000 written to date - and it means I have no time at all for pleasure reading. Haven't read a novel for pleasure since my last review on here, Boneland, and I'm really missing it. Every moment is spent working on the thesis, alas.

However, as a bit of light relief, I've collected together some of the reviews from here, tidied them up a bit, and put them into a collection which is available through Lulu Press here. There's nothing that isn't already published on this blog, but it's all neatly gathered together. The price is a bit steep, but that's pretty much what it costs to produce.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Michael Marra

Just heard tonight that Michael Marra died last week. Michael was a brilliant singer-songwriter from Dundee. His songs were witty, wise, literate, joyful. He was a fine humanist. I only got to see him play live once, at a very eccentric festival in Whitby. It seemed a highly appropriate occasion for such an individualistic singer. He did what he wanted, he followed no fashions, he just wrote and sang beautiful songs.

Here's an example of his eccentric brilliance: