The Readers’ Letters page
06 April 2012
I am by no means a shrinking violet but I must admit I was more than somewhat taken aback last Friday.
It being what I felt was the first day of Summer, blue sky, birds singing, flowers everywhere, I decided to take an afternoon stroll up to the Modern Art Gallery to gaze once again at Mr. Jenks’ marvellously carved landscape which I don’t think has been appreciated sufficiently by the good people of Edinburgh. A few more suchlike projects instead of the horrendous Tramway fiasco would have made our city an even more attractive place rather than what it is now in danger of becoming – an eyesore and a laughingstock.
However, it being such a nice afternoon, after a half-hour or so with the delightful Mr. Jenks, I decided to go down to the Waters of Leith and take the riverside footpath down to Dean village, a nice walk I hadn’t done for more years than I care to remember. And this is where and when it happened.
Just as I was approaching the pretty Belford Weir I was stopped in my tracks. I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes!
I was confronted by a totally naked man, a totally naked man walking on water!
I’m not sure whether it was the blasphemy or the nudity that took my breath away but whatever, I turned sharply on my heel and hurried back the way I had come, non-stop up the woodland path to the comfort and safety of Mr. Jenks.
The Gallery curator told me there were FIVE more naked figures in the river after the one I had seen, that the sculptor, Antony Gormley, was world-famous, that he made the sculptures from casts of his own body, that naked Gormleys were everywhere nowadays, that in fact there was one buried up to the chest in tarmac just outside the gates to the gallery and the one outside Newcastle, known locally as “The Gateshead Flasher”, is 66 feet tall and cost more than £1 million.
I sometimes wonder what the world is coming to.