P&J Column 6.10.16


Sure, Raphael’s a great painter, but he’s no Kynoch & Robertson.

 View from the Midden – rural affairs with Jock Alexander

It’s been an asthetic wik in the village.  Artistic passions have been stirred by the news that a previously lost masterpiece by Raphael has been uncovered at Haddo Hoose. Michty! I wis impressed fan the Teenage Mutant turtles could just spik and dae Kung fu. Raphael is considered a genius o’ the Renaisance, and een o’ the finest pinters fa iver lived, and the portrait fit is noo being cried ‘The Haddo Madonna’ is a bonny picter, richt eneuch. Though between you and me, I dinna think it looks onything like her.

Fit wiz truly eye-opening wis seeing the great heap o’ stuff sifted through by a team o’ highly trained posh nosey folk on BBC4’s ‘Britain’s Lost Masterpeices’  last nicht on the TV. it wis like a car boot sale at Downton Abbey. Clearly, this is a highly prestigious production, as it wiznae on during the day like a’ the ither antiques shows I sleep through.

Here at MTV (Meikle Wartle Television, your local community station) we’re ayewis on the look oot for new formats tae inspire oor ain efforts, so we wasted nae time at a’ in ripping aff this een.

Of course, Feel Moira got affa excited, and wid have been awa doon the road tae Haddo wi her lump hammer if I hidnae stopped her and gently pointed oot that they’ve been daen a’ready. Instead, we stairted oor ain treasure hunt somewye nearer tae hame, so we’ve been tracking doon valuable heirlooms at Tommy Benzies’ bothie. Twa reasons for stairting there; firstly, Tommy niver throws nithin awa, so if he’s iver hid a priceless work of art, there’s a good chunce it’ll still be here somewye in ameen the hunners o’ bars o’ Imperial Leather and the auld copies o’ ‘Look In’. Secondly, he’s awa his hol’days for the next fortnight, sunning himsel’ in the exotic climes o’ Cairnbulg, so we’ve got a clear run.

For speed, Moira’s still using the lump hammer. She jist winna be telt. Onywye, despite the irreversible structural damage, within twa hours she wiz duncing wi’ joy efter discovering fit we think is something very exciting.  It seems that Tommy’s taste in art tends tae the modren, as Moira his found a piece of sculpture in metal and paper that looks very much like Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell’s Soup Tin. It wiz hidden jist ahind a box of ruskoline in Tommy’s kitchen cupboard. Easily missed by the casual observer, but obvious to Moira, eence she had knocked siven shades o’ sharn oot o’ the cupboard wi’ her lump hammer.  Exciting times are ahead for sure, fan Tommy gets back his holidays. I canna wait tae see his face! Let’s jist hope that Moira disna get peckish files we’re waiting.


Hector Schlenk, Senior Research Fellow, Bogton Institute for Public Engagement with Science

As a scientist, people are forever asking me questions.  Questions like ‘I’m a Sagittarius, what effect will the inclusion of the constellation of Ophiuchus in the zodiac have on my horoscope” To which I answer, ‘Astromomer. AstroNOMer.” But one question I am now bound to be asked is if I know Nobel Prize winning physicist J. Michael Kosterlitz. As can be deduced from his traditional Aberdeenshire surname (I believe he is descended from the Kosterlitz’s of Oldmeldrum), Michael was indeed born and brought up in the Granite City. He can therefore take his place in the roll call of Aberdeen’s greatest scientific minds; R.V. Jones, Hugh Pennington and Jim McColl from the Beechgrove Garden.

Kosterlitz, who now teaches at the famous Brown University in Providence Rhode Island, has been awarded the prize for his work on the strange phases of matter. Put simply, the phases of matter with which we are all familiar, (namely when things change from solid to liquid to gas) are only part of the story. When matter is in extreme conditions, such as when it’s very cold or very flat, scientists start to see unusual behaviour.

Now, correlation is not causation, but it seems to me it’s highly likely that Prof. Kosterlitz’s first experience of witnessing unusual behavior in exceptionally cold and flat conditions came as a child being taken to winter fixtures at Pittodrie.

Of course, the most impressive thing about Prof. Kosterlitz is not his Nobel prize, but the fact that at an early age he did as all truly successful Aberdonians have done; got the hell out of here to somewhere with better weather!