In Edinburgh

In Copenhagen, the Nørrebro neighbourhood is my favourite. It is bohemian, multicultural and vibrant. The streets are filled with small 'ethnic' eateries catering for small immigrant groups and niche culinary interests. My taste buds really came off age when I lived there. Today we went to Edinburgh and visited Jo Jo's Danish Bakery & Cafe. As I sat there munching my tebirkes (think a croissant filled with a marzipan/butter concoction and topped with poppy seeds), it struck me: now I'm the ethnic minority with niche culinary interests.

If you are in Edinburgh or thereabouts, I thoroughly recommend Jo Jo's place. Jo's got the recipes just right and she's a lovely person too.

And then that big exhibition on Alasdair Gray and his images for his books: Gray Stuff was good stuff.

I was particular taken with the process shown in-between the works: the process of taking complete control over every little aspect of his Book.

Gray's need to take control over the visual impact shows up early (with Lanark, of course) but he gets more and more confident about his level of control as each book is published. I was sadly sad that the exhibition was not arranged strictly chronological (and I would have loved to have known how much say Gray had), but I was fascinated.

I particularly liked the collages making up the frontispieces in Lanark with marginalia written in Gray's distinct handwriting pointing out how the images should fit on the page. And, oh, the notes written about the colour scheme of The Book of Prefaces (or The Anthology of Prefaces - the mystery of its real title has not been solved nor has the 'is it/isn't it' mystery about the comma in 1982 Janine.. forgive me, I have been geeking out all day)!!

How I wish I had had access to some of this material back when I was an aspiring academic. Oh, the joy! the rapture!

Just along the street from the Alasdair Gray exhibition, the National Museum of Scotland. Neither of us had ever been, cough, and we arrived too late to see more than the first two floors (we only had three hours and we like to take our time).

The basement was particularly interesting: the pre-history and early settlements in Scotland. I'm a sucker for anything relating to the Picts.

Whilst in the basement I thought fondly of Erika and Lori who both recently referenced Andy Goldsworthy. Goldsworthy is a contemporary British artist who makes .. some call it 'land art' because his pieces tend to be site-specific and employs exclusive natural materials .. I think of his art as being peculiarly ritualistic: fire, circles, traces and marks. The National Museum has commissioned him to create installations playing with and off archaeological finds and instead of detracting from the objects, I think his works added to them. It was a pleasant surprise.

Next time we are through, we'll work our way through the second and the third floors. It's a labyrinthine museum and that is awfully appealing in its own right.

Tomorrow: another trip to Edinburgh (it's work-related) and Friday: another trip to Edinburgh (it's flight-related). Today was all about indulgence.