Some years ago I blogged about the art installation that has been added to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. I thought it was just a temporary thing, a reaction to the financial melt-down of 2008 but obviously it isn’t. In Alexander McCall Smith’s recent Scotland Street book The Bertie Project he mentions this installation. He’s not happy that the word ‘alright’ is there instead of ‘all right’. He has his character Domenica complaining of the use surmising that it must be deliberate as Kingsley Amis desribed ‘alright’ as ‘gross, crass, coarse and to be avoided,’ and Bill Bryson, hardly a fuddy-duddy describes its use as ‘illiterate and unacceptable.’
Domenica admits that she feels very old-fashioned in expecting people to be able to spell. It’s one of McCall Smith’s meandering conversations that often bring in modern morality or ethics.
But a more recent installation in the gallery across the road and several years on from the melt-down is taking a much more pessimistic and possibly Calvinist attitude to our situation.
It seems we’re done for!
In this book poor wee Bertie makes a break for freedom by putting himself up for adoption on eBay and when that doesn’t work he tries to get to Glasgow to find an adoption agency. Bertie has always wanted to live in Glasgow, unknown to him his father, Stuart has the very same ambition. Poor Bertie has another psychologist and Irene, Bertie’s horrendous mother, is busy psychoanalysing the analyst. Of course it’s Irene who is most in need of being analysed.
Matthew and Elspeth have become shell-shocked parents of triplets, entirely naturally and they aren’t coping too well with it all. This actually isn’t too far fetched because I do know a couple who had one wee boy and when he was about a year old they decided to have another baby which turned out to be triplets, the upshot being that they had four boys under the age of two. Nightmare! I must admit that I’m beginning to get a wee bit fed up with this gormless pair of millionaires though.
Stuart has joined the Freemasons, much against Irene’s wishes and McCall Smith sings the praises of that secret organisation which apparently is mainly for raising money for charity!!
It so happens that I side completely with Irene on the subject of Freemasons (whodathunkit) which is just corruption dressed up as is every secret society. In fact I can get quite a bee in my bonnet about the whole thing because a big part of the reason why the world is in the state that it is is because people get jobs by their ‘connections’ rather than on merit. It leads to people being in top positions who are completely clueless about what they’re meant to be doing. Like all those so-called bankers who messed up everything and didn’t have any banking qualifications at all. Honestly where is the point in people going to university to get qualifications if some idiot can come along with a dodgy handshake and shoot to the top? It’s corruption – plain and simple.
Right – I got that off my chest. Otherwise I enjoyed the book and I’m glad that I’ve caught up with the series. I have hopes for Bertie getting a life of his own – when he’s about 40.