The two really important things to remember when you want to make a great discovery are that you must be looking for something else and you must be on the point ofgiving up: viz. Columbus was actually looking for India when he found America and practically had a mutiny on his hands. Howard Carter was all for going home when he found the famous Tutankhamun treasure. because the tomb he had been looking for. and found. was empty. Similarly when Pierre Montet found the tomb of Psusennes I. the contents ofwhich are the basis of the new Gold of the Pharaohs exhibition in Edinburgh. he was actually looking for the lost Ark ofthe Covenant. And ifthat sounds familiar. yes. it was Montet‘s story upon which Raiders of the Lost Ark was based. though as Edinburgh‘s City curator Herbert Coutts noted drily. ‘Not many archaeologists go around with a whip. as far as I am aware.’
These and other fascinating facts about Pharaohs may be found in a series of several zillion that you will learn if you come within a sarcophagus length of the exhibition. Number three hundred and twelve in the series is that British Airways pilots can‘t keep a secret. All this gold. not to mention the silver. granite. lapis lazuli, etc was ﬂown over from Egypt in. understandably. the greatest secrecy. At least that was the idea. But the Captain Kirk lookalike on the final leg from Heathrow couldn’t resist it and announced the nature of his cargo along with the breakfast menu. Maybe flying Super Shuttles gets to you this way. “Good morning. ladies and gentlemen, this is the Captain speaking, I just thought you‘d like to know that with us on board today we have the most valuable cargo ever transported by air. As a result. your ﬂight to Edinburgh this morning will be slightly delayed because I’m taking this lot to Brazil to retire on.‘ Make sure you ﬂy British Midland next time.
The City of Edinburgh is taking the security of the exhibition seriously. The crowd control barriers outside the City Art Centre look ordinary
enough but are designed to withstand a full frontal assault by an armoured vehicle. It seems that villains don‘t go in for Pink Panther jobs except in the movies: they much prefer the traditional smash and grab (the bag marked ‘Swag' is optional). The attendants all have two-way radio communication with each other so be careful that you pick up the right toy when you go in. Instead of the guided tour round the exhibition you might get a guided tour round what‘s going to win the 3.30 at Ayr which is what the guy on level four was discussing with the guy on level two a couple of days ago. Meanwhile the cloak and dagger stuff about the arrival of the exhibits gave way to much pomp and ceremony about opening the box which contained the most precious item. the gold funerary mask. All the high heedjins gathered around to break seals and turn locks and so forth. lcouldn't help wanting them to find an empty box and a wee note saying ‘Game for a Laugh‘." but it wasn‘t to be. No Pharaoh‘s curse. I'm afraid. So long as you exclude the gallery attendant who had a heart attack and the exhibition handler who crushed his fingers under a lump ofgranite. Absolutely no connection. None whatsoever. Of course not.
By the way. lest anyone should think, with big exhibitions like the Gold of the Pharaohs and the Emperor‘s Warriors and whatever is coming next (negotiations are in progress for a follow-up but no-onc is saying where from) that Edinburgh is trying to challenge Glasgow‘s current cultural hegemony.‘you maybe interested to know how the City secured these two undeniably prestigious shows exclusively for itself. For the Chinese it was Edinburgh‘s mania for twin cities which did the trick. You can understand Edinburgh being twinned with Munich — both places are full ofbeer and Nazis. But Xian. where the warriors came from? It‘s like Florence being twinned with Grangemouth. Edinburgh however is not twinned with Gizeh. even if the average Edinburgh lawyer makes the Sphinx look chatty. For the Egyptians it was Edinburgh‘s reputation as a cultural centre reknowned throughout the world that swung it. We know about this great cultural event which lasts for three weeks and dominates the entire City, said the Egyptians. We know about The Edinburgh Tattoo.
Production EditOI' Paul Williamson. Sport Kenny Keir. Production Assistant Mathieson. Theatre Sarah Publish." Robin Hodgc‘ Mark Fisher. Art Alice Hemming. Camera Editonmgc] Bmcn‘ Bain.Books Alan Taylor. Edinburgh Make-up Sarah Iicmming‘ Classical "u‘ic CBTOI SCTViCCS covof GOid (if thC Associate Edna; Allan Main. Dance Alice Bain. Pharaohs Cover Photo Ron Hunter‘ Design Simon Film Allan Hunter. Trevor O'Donnell Cover Design Esterson‘ Advgﬂiglng Johnston. Folk/Jazz Nigel Billen and Paul chyc McCullough Norman Chalmers. Kids Keir. Sheila Madcan‘ Sally Kinnes. Media Nigel Published by The List Ltd. Accounts Georgette Billen, Sally Kinnes. 14 High Street. chwick‘ Richard Gray‘ Open Sarah Hemming. Edinburgh. 558 1191 and Typesetting Jo Kennedy Rock (Edinburgh) Mab. 37 Otago Street. Glasgow. and Hewer Text. ROCHGNW‘W) 10h"
THE COVER BY RON O’DONNELL
The V & A have a photograph of The Antechamber of Rameses V in the Valley of the Kings. Scrawled with hieroglyphs the walls have the regulation yellow with age. Hmmmm. There's a red leather chair in the corner with a cup of tea balanced on the arm and a G-plan sideboard with HP on the side. Supernatural lights have shone out of both fridges and doorways in the movies, but here the golden glow pours from the cupboard door. Rameses has got himself all mixed up with forties suburbia. Who's the culprit?
You would have to search the hidden parts of town to find him. In old
Sandra Wilson of Alan Murray. Fine Jewellery. Victoria Street. Edinburgh. replies to C Jones' letter in issue 57 of The List.
Edinburgh. we know. each year. does not try to put on a spectacular light show for (‘hristmas as Glasgow does. It is known that lighting is expensive to put up and organise so that each trader is satisfied and gets the benefit from a festive street with the right spirit and enthusiasm at a time ofyear when all the traders seem to do is take with both hands. In Victoria Street the lights were no spectacular sight and none ofthe traders or people who work in the street will say otherwise. but the spirit in which they were organised was in the very best of festive spirit and a way ofgiving back something to the shoppers.
There may only have been six strings ofwhite bulbs down the street but each and every part of those lights was jointly financed and erected by the independent traders in a small street. where hands were dug deep into pockets.
Unlike the multinational and multi-pound-making traders of Princes Street. . . now that would be spectacular.
Might I add that next year we hope to at least double the strings and add a little razzle to our lack ofdazzle. Meanwhile we are trying our best to make Victoria Street a lively. interesting and friendly shopping
buildings open to the elements or dark sheds rattling with mice (keeps him company he says), in the darkroom of an out-of-the-way university department where he still works as technical photographer, or. ilyou're quick, digging through the contents of a skip. Ron O'Donnell finds skips exciting. Like a modern-day archeologist, he is happy to look through the cast-aways for hidden treasure — cracked sinks and old suitcases have rare meaning for this Edinburgh photographer.
You may have seen Ron O'Donnell’s witty work at Stills Gallery in 1986 or at the Gallery of Modern Art as part of the Vigorous Imagination exhibition. There, he printed a photograph ten feet long illustrating the North South divide - it was both send-up and serious. Most recenty Ron has exhibited in London and at the Walker Art Centre in Minneapolis. The latter wanted the installation as well as the photograph so he took a container-load of junk with him. Is it art? ask the customs.
It was the Egyptian section of the Royal Scottish Museum that triggered oftthe Rameses antechamber in 1985. It was the Gold of the Pharoahs that tempted O'Donnell to agree to setting a special scene for cover of this issue of The List. And here we have it. An original artwork of the poster of the exhibition of a very precious obiect.
area. full ofinterest and indivrduality. Yours sincerely
lsee that some wisecracker had the cheek to include ‘Marxism Today‘ in the ‘()ut‘ for '88 category. GEEZABREK! What‘s ‘In' and ‘()ut‘ anytime ought to be out!
Glasgow Marxism Today Group
As we love your country and would like to have friends from there. we send you our information and hope you will assist us.
We are Ghanaian twins looking for pen-friends (male and female) from all over the world — especially Scotland and England.
We hope you will publish our particulars in The List.
P. Kassimu Baba: Male student.
age 16, English language. Hobbies: reading. swimming. collecting stickers and posters. and listening to music.
P. Joyce Affrow: Female student. age 16. English language. Hobbies: exchange of photos and gifts.
Both students are resident in Ghana. West Africa. Replies to Box 32, The List, 14 High Street. Edinburgh Elli lTE — must reach this office by Friday 19 February.
4 The List 5 — 18 February 1988