P&J Column 26.4.18

“This remarkable work of art  comments on the unequalled quantity of wind to be found in the North-East”

Fergus Lamont, Arts correspondent and author of ‘The Man Who Would Be Kingsford  – The Angus Jamieson Story.

Aberdeen continues to be a bounteous mecca for art of all types! This week I took advantage of the warmer weather by walking the city on the trail of exciting new Nuart festival. You won’t have heard of it; it has received little, if any, publicity, but the City Council should be commended for having the foresight to delay the re-opening of the Art Gallery, thus requiring us to engage our aesthetic senses in the open air for the second year running. Cultural enthusiasts will recall last spring when various unloved and decrepit parts of Aberdeen were painted over with magnificent works of public art, instead of having to be renovated. This year’s event is bigger and, arguably, better than before – extending as it does into what might get be described as the ‘nice bits’ of town, such as Union Plaza and Holburn Junction. I must say, the appreciation of these works is greatly enhanced by easy access to a reasonable decaf skinny latte and not having to trachle around the back of Aberdeen Market, with its unsettling aroma of uncooked meat. However, the most monumental of all the NuArt works does not, inexplicably, appear on the festival’s map at all. Indeed, had I not wandered down to the beach for a vanilla slider from la Café Du Inversnecky, my eyes would never have beheld, a mile from the shore, a series of windmill-shaped structures, over 600 feet tall and gleaming white. I realised immediately that this gigantic art installation was paying homage to the importance of agrarian farming techniques, as well as the bounty of the sea in the historical nurturing of the north-east of Scotland.  Further, the unknown sculptors of this remarkable work of art are clearly passing comment on the unequalled quantity of wind to be found in the North-East. The finished installation will be truly memorable and iconic, and not something any Aberdonian will ever be able to ignore. In fact, so vast will the completed sculpture be that I wouldn’t be surprised if it were visible from Donald Trump’s Golf Course at Mennie. It struck me that even he, not famed for his appreciation of the arts, could not fail to be overcome by the magnitude of the project. We can but hope. With that in mind, I ran pell-mell to the water’s edge in order to shout my approval, my cries mingling with those of the gulls carried by the biting wind over the majestic, unforgiving waters of the North-Sea as they swooped to peck the slider from my very hands. I wept.

Shelley Shingles, showbiz correspondent and Miss Fetteresso 1985

M. Actual. G!  She’s only gone and done it!  Kate, the Duchess with the mostess, has popped her third royal sprog and the nation has gone baby prince crazy!  And it all happened so fast!  The baby was born at 11 in the morning and Kate and Wills were heading home at 6 in the evening.  That’s what I call express delivery!

As I write this, there’s no name yet for Prince George and Princess Charlotte’s little brother.  The bookies are saying that the smart money is on Arthur, Philip or James.  It’s always nice to back an outsider though, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed they display the common touch we all love and choose what many of their subjects tend to cry their third born child; ‘You’.

It will be tough for them, though, looking after 3 kids; with Harry’s big wedding coming up.  Wills is busy enough that day as it is, with being best man and dashing off to Wembley to present the FA cup.  He’ll hardly have time to neck some Asti Spumante, never mind change one of baby’s dirty nappies!  Mind you, my Royal sources say they’ve got people to help them with that kind of thing. I don’t think it’s Grandpa Charles though! No, in royal circles its an open secret that only person of the older generation who knows their way around a packet of wet wipes and a nappy sack is Camilla.

Of course, me and Camilla go way back.  I first met her at the Braemar Gathering in 2005.  She was making her debut as Prince Charles’ new squeeze and I was there dressed as a mealie pudding, as a spokesmodel for Sheridan’s of Ballater.  I’ll never forget what she said to me: ‘Would you mind awfully moving? I can’t see chaps tossing their cabers.’

Wise words from a great lady.