I love you, you’re perfect, now keep the change

J. FERGUS LAMONT, arts critic and author of “Pigs, Sprees and the Dramaturgical Muse  – A Post-Brechtian Analysis of the Bothy Ballad”, attended the Degree Show at Gray’s School of Art.

This week saw your humble correspondent precipitously evacuated from his comfort zone within the performing arts and transported to the realm of the visual.  Gray’s School of Art, a Garthdee-located salon fit to match the finest in Paris, has this year organized a showing of its graduands’ work.  The show opened to the masses on Saturday, although I was fortunate enough, 3 days earlier, to secure a private viewing.  I hadn’t been invited and was apparently not expected, as I could not initially enter the premises.  Thankfully, a fellow critic came to my aid.  He had obtained a set of keys – doubtless he had called ahead – that permitted ingress.  A taciturn man dressed in a humble workman’s blue (no doubt a reminder that, however lofty our insights, we critics remain the servants of the people) he did not say for whom he writes, though his name badge – Jan Itor – suggests Dutch ancestry.

Once inside the space, I was treated to a minimalist’s nirvana: each wall a bare, brilliant white.  Amidst the void, almost lost in the brightness, a solitary, modern installation drew one closer with its stark red outline.  Further inspection revealed an invitation at once whimsical and profound: “In case of emergency, break glass”.  The artist‘s work was so utterly compelling that your correspondent felt that destiny required him to deal the suggested blow.  No sooner had the glass fissured than one was literally immersed in the artist’s ruse – an interactive multimedia experience!  Water gushed forth in a shocking, life-affirming deluge from a phalanx of previously unnoticed nozzles in the ceiling!  Crazed with joy, I tipped back my head, ripped open my shirt and bellowed my appreciation! Before long, Mr Itor was bellowing too.

I wept.

KEVIN CASH – Wedding special: money-saving expert and king of the grips offers some tips on budgeting for the big day.

I love a wedding, me – fa dizna?  (Weel, my pal big Alan, obviously, efter Sandra’s faither threatened him wi a double-barreled lead transfusion if he didna get her doon that aisle quick-smart.  Nae fine.)  But weddings is expensive an expensive business, wi even the simplest een likely to set you back a fair whack.  Or so you thought!  Follow my simple money saving tips and not only will you keep costs doon, you could even turn over a handsome profit.  Noo that’s fit I call a special day!

Mind, major breakdowns of civil order apart, this is the greatest chance you will get to get a free houseful of electrical goods.  Da faff aboot wi’ ony “the greatest gift will be your presence on the day” crap.  Be mercenary.  Hae a list, and pit nothing less than £50 on it.  Tell yer pals that whoever gies maist gets to dunce wi the drunkest bridesmaid, and that whoever gies least will be sat next to your Uncle Eddie, fa his been instructed to tell them in graphic detail about his maist recent operation.

The dress can also be a costly item.  Silk is crazy expensive, and it’s made fae stuff that comes oot o beasties!  Gads min!  White polycotton is available for peanuts and shimmers awa bonny fan smeared wi Vaseline.  Pit the mailbag-sewing skills of ony o yer jailbird friends to good use by hiring them as your dressmaker.  And mind, a bonny veil can be made fae the net curtain in your doonstairs cludgie.  Fan ye draw it back and see the tears in her eyes, ye’ll ken ye did the right thing.

Fan it comes to gentleman’s attire, it his to be the kilt.  But that’s £60 to hire.  (That means you hiv to gie it back efterwards, unless Mick the Pill set you up wi a false identity beforehand.)  So mak yer ain.  Tartan swatches can be borrowed fae ony kiltshop.  Stitch twa hunner thegither to mak yer ain patchwork kilt.  Stapling a rubber band to a piece of roadkill gies you a magic sporran.

Obviously, ye hiv to hae the big day somewye.  And obviously, it his to be special.  Hotels see you coming though, don’t they?  And castles is worse!  Hire charges can be avoided, though by staking oot the big mansions on the North Deeside Road, and using a millionaire’s gairden as your venue fan he’s away on his holidays.  But if you absolutely must use a hotel, use yer noggin and a’.  Een o my pals got taen for £10 a head for stovies!  That’s a lot of wedge for tatties, ingin and gravy.  My pal Billy The Fish runs a fry van.  He will happily park on the public road nearest to your venue and dae you twa hunner cones o chips for a pound a pop.

Finally, photies.  I ken you’ll wint a permanent record o the day but this cost can be avoided altogether by startin a rumour that you are a drug dealer getting merried under an alias.  This will guarantee the attendance of a large number of police surveillance photographers.  Memories of the indignity of undergoing a full body search in front of your guests will fade.  The high-quality reportage-style photographs will last a lifetime.

Until next time – keep smiling, and keep saving!