Words: Paul Carey Jones Photos: Stephen Robinson
Princes Street Ingleby Gallery
Red Door Gallery 14 THE LIST 18 Nov–2 Dec 2010
Paul Carey Jones is a freelance operatic baritone, originally from Cardiff but now living in Glasgow where he works with Scottish Opera. Having had most of his Edinburgh experiences during festival time The List whisked him off on a tour of the capital’s unsung highlights, to prove that it’s not all flyerers and street performance. www.paulcareyjones.com
I’ve only ever really visited Edinburgh while working, so haven’t had much of a chance to explore too far beyond the Festival Theatre, and various venues during the Fringe – and I’m fully aware that Edinburgh in August is not the same city as it is the rest of the year. For my foray into the town itself, then, I wasn’t so keen to do the standard tourist activities – the historic (and draughty) attractions of the Castle and the Scott Monument didn’t seem quite so attractive on a dreich November afternoon. I was more interested in seeing the lesser known, everyday highlights: shops, bars, galleries and the like. 12.45PM. INGLEBY GALLERY Leaving the train, I’m escorted through the back of Waverley Station to the Ingleby Gallery, and an exhibition by James Hugonin. Hugonin produces only one piece each year, which always consists of many small, colourful squares painted onto an immense canvas. There’s evidence of great discipline: first of all to create only one per year, and secondly to establish a pattern that has become more and more pronounced with each new work. They are for sale individually, but having seen the impact they make as a group, showing the artist’s evolution over the years, it would almost seem a
shame to remove any of them from this context. We leave the Ingleby and walk up towards Leith Street, climbing the same steps that Ewan McGregor used for his shoplifting getaway in Trainspotting. This is a truly three-dimensional city: on a map, you can’t tell that the towering Regent’s Bridge and Calton Road underneath it are separated by a 40ft drop. This is true of Glasgow as well, in a different way – the parallel streets that ascend at wildly varying rates from the city centre to Charing Cross are a surprise to anyone who’s only seen the city on paper.
1.15PM. TAPA It’s nearing lunchtime, so we head over to Tapa on Hanover Street, identifiable by a laughing, toothless old lady on the sign outside. My brother lives near Barcelona, so I’m no stranger to Spanish cuisine, and the lunchtime deal – the chef’s tapas selection for £10 – is a substantial and varied platter for two, featuring patatas bravas, tortilla and mouth-watering honey- drizzled aubergine crisps. It is perfectly accompanied by a cold bottle of Estrella Damm, the Catalans’ beer of choice. 2PM. VICTORIA STREET We work off lunch by climbing the Playfair Steps, then wander down Victoria Street. Cheese-tasting in IJ Mellis is an ideal after- lunch treat, especially the rich Mimolette and creamy Valency De Fermier goat’s cheese, accompanied with quince membrillo, a jelly- like fruit preserve. Further down the street, we pop into the Red Door Gallery, where I am delighted to see that they sell Polaroid film – in a production in Bologna recently, where I had to