Issue 215
Winter 2020/2021

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Mar 1, 2021

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Editorial Comment

Artwork PO Box 3 Ellon AB41 ::

Good news … and bad

GOOD NEWS in the arts is all too rare in these difficult times, so the highly encouraging results we report elsewhere in this paper from a number of galleries in the less populous parts of the country is doubly heartening.

Once the initial shock of the first lockdown had passed sales showed an impressive bound forward. One gallery contacted reported results that well surpassed those of previous years.

A canny mixture of online prompting, carefully scheduled real visits (and, it has to be said, advertising in these pages) have produced for some outlets truly extraordinary figures, with sales of higher ticket items featuring prominently.

Along with this phenomenon, there has been a general move away from larger conurbations.

What has been good news for some country locations has, sadly, been countered by some truly devastating results for businesses of all sorts in our larger towns and cities.

The performing arts have been particularly seriously affected and the damage to some theatrical and musical bodies could well prove terminal unless really serious measures are taken to mount rescue operations. Well intentioned hand wringing is not going to suffice.

As soon as the opportunities present themselves we must all make a point of getting out there and showing our practical support for the many womderfully talented artists who do so much to make our lives civilised.

Through the lockdown the BBC has continued in various ingenious ways to keep live music showing some forms of life. But threatened as it is by seriously inimical elements in the present government – one of the more notorious of Mr Johnson’s back room boys has referred to the BBC as ‘the enemy’ – question marks must start to be raised about the future of some of the very costly orchestras the BBC maintains.

So as well as pressing for serious support for our great performing institutions – and those brave, talented individuals who are their life blood – we must be very alert to any threats to the BBC.

We must all make our voices heard – and keep making them heard – loud and clear!

Matis – merci beaucoup!

ON A NUMBER of recent occasions we have reported in these columns on the very gratifying moves there have been to keep alive and honour the reputation of one of our finest architects on foreign shores.

The small coastal town of Port Vendres in the Roussillon area of France was where Mackintosh and his wife eked out a somewhat miserable existence towards the end of their lives.

Several initiatives, including interpretive sign boards, trails and exhibitions have been promoted in their memory by the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Association

Now, our own Cathy Bell, who has kept a close eye on these heartening developments, reports how a young student, one Matis Leggiadro, has developed Histal M, an internet tool “allowing all types of audiences to encounter art, heritage, architecture and history” – (

Matis, whose grandmother haled from Port Vendres, was very taken with the story of the Mackintoshes staying in the Hôtel du Commerce there and wanted to do a report on Mackintosh, whom, Bell says, he considers to be “one of the only artists whose work can be described as iconic.”

As if the dedication of their Charles Rennie Mackintosh Association were not enough, the extraordinary enthusiasm of this young French fan is surely a sobering reminder of the responsibility we have to do more – much, much more – to honour Toshie’s reputation.

Most pressingly we need somehow to try to make amends for the appalling sequence of events that led to the eventual total destruction of his masterpiece.

The derelict ruin of the School of Art speaks volumes.

Watch this space? No – sell it!

IN THESE super difficult times any venture faces dreadful hurdles to surmount. This modest sheet which you hold in your hands is no exception.

But..... thanks to the ongoing wonderful support of our super advertisers and, of course, you our readers, we are overcoming the difficulties and attempting, as ever, to tell it how it is – or how it might have been.

All of our scattered team must take credit for the continued appearance of the paper – not least the one out in front – the person who sells the ads.

This issue, sadly, we say goodbye to Andrew who has done sterling work over a very difficult period. Thank you, Andrew – and very well done!


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