The usual entrance was the same to me as it has been since I was small. And many years before that, I am sure. Solid and sandstone. The ornate doors with the large handles. I think that the space is huge. I thought that all the world seemed to be interwoven in the art within.
All the different times and situations seemed to come at once. There were a few stalls around in the main part of the building with faces I didn’t know. The Mental Health Network. Scottish Recovery Consortium. Future Pathways. Vox Scotland. See Me. And, of course, the Mental Health Foundation.
I had been in the building for a while. Having a cup of tea, having a sausage roll. Looking out at the people who had gathered and those who were passing through. I read a little while I waited. I went on a guided tour and found out a little of what I didn’t know already. There is always room for a guided tour, no matter what you think you know.
Greeted well as the great composers looked on, as the clone heads looked on. A different style of consideration was on me. The roof seemed miles away from where I was stood. Different staircases led to the floors both up and down. Plenty of room to get lost.
There was a choir from Maryhill Integration Network. And a catwalk of women in international dress right in the middle of the space. People sang, and the clothes were announced to the lookers on. Traditional eastern and western dress. Bright colours and people flowed. Bright ideas, I am sure, conveyed in the medium of dance.
Food break. Then another round of music from the organ. I had been on a tour. I went with the tour leader to her favourite places in the gallery. Some fine art and space age looking toys. I thought the carved granite was something to be seen. And the music from the Joyous Choir indented the carvings onto my memory.
The definition of sounds seemed to enhance the experience in the dull lit room. A place for autistic children to come and see the media on offer. Away from the plaster of Paris child. The motherless child looked onto the concourse. As did the child unconstructed, held in the arms of his father, maybe. As the Victorian statue sat overlooking the first floor. Still, the songs from the ground level interrupted the sadness of the sculpture.
Then the tour ended. Then the world seemed a little bit different. A little less large. A little less formidable. The songs carried on with a great sound check. The two girls, Mandulu and Hephzibah, sang in the afternoon. As the chatter was heard from the melee of people. Tourists. Locals. Sightseers. And the staff. All had a purpose, all had a way through the day.
I have experienced the night in the museum once. Some time ago. It seemed to come alive this time. As it had when I was growing up.
by Stuart Low