Day 4 – Glasgow – Mackintosh

Day 4 Glasgow

The idyllic Radisson experience continues with excellent pastries and coffee at breakfast, overseen by a Maistridge impersonator. His greeting – “Good morning. Your name?” – is high-pitched and begs for a “Bitte?” at the end of it. (See The Imposters). In keeping with this, when I wake up or glance out the window, I have a reflex to think of this as Germany. This is odd, since clearly its not Germany and I’m not speaking German. Perhaps its the salespeople, who all look really grim. Unlike my experience in Germany however, the Scottish are friendly in conversation, but I’m seeing a lot more people than I’m talking to, arent I? Hence the impression.

At any rate, we raced off on a whirlwind Mackintosh tour, hitting the Willow Tearoom which has mediocre food and service but which is a very decent example of Mackintosh’s work. Excessively tall chairs, a lot of pink and vertical lines. (If you’re the only Mackintosh tearoom still standing, you can pretty much get away with Wonder Bread, I guess. I kid you not.) Mackintosh’s School of Art was closed off during a tour but what we could see on the outside and in the foyer was even better than the Tearoom.

From there, my life of English crime picked up where it left off years ago when Carl and I climbed a castle wall to avoid paying exorbitant entrance fees at an historic site. R. and I felt that we had to scale two fences, erected no doubt to keep people just such as ourselves out (or “in” as the case was). We were running late for the Mackintosh House, and it turns out that Scottish parks have one entrance only, which would explain how nice they are. Walk about as much as you like, but don’t try to get anywhere.

The House was very soothing, many dove greys and creams and, upstairs, light. I’m not a huge fan of that school of design (Wright, the craftsmen of the early century), but, as at Falling Water, I have to admit that when you’re inside the completed vision, its consistency is impressive and, in a geometrical way, lovely.

I was also struck by how imperfect well-made, handmade objects are. Part of the pre-fab, Ikea generation that passed through the chilly 80’s with its Wall St. lofts, I am aware that my implanted instinct for clean edges, perfect seams and machine-like perfection runs in contradiction to my deeper desire for sturdy, substantial, and unique design. (Wright and Le Corbusier’s houses leak like bastards, as I understand it. That would drive me nutty…but I’d still like to have one, in case you ever come across one you’d like to get for me.)

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