10 August 2010

The Strange Face of Dr Jekyll & Mr Gray...

In honour of the start of the Edinburgh Festivals and recalled to mind by yesterday's post on Iain Gray, I wanted to reprise this amusing spot of last year. Many of you had not joined me here at that point and I'd hate for you to be disadvantaged or deprived of a peppery mote of pleasure on that account. To recap. In July and August of last year, I was doing some work across in Edinburgh. On my wending morning way down towards Stockbridge, I regularly passed the pub Jekyll and Hyde on Hanover Street - named after the Strange Case that has grown into the par excellence expression of binary Edinburghian dualism. Outside the bar, this sign swings its gallows swing:




In my waggish way, padding day by day past the building, I couldn't shake the sensation that I had seen Mr Hyde's leering and blue-furred phizog before... Snaggletoothed, clamp jawed and tetanus gobbed - his terse, unrounded Lothians accent ricocheting off walls as fiercely as a sprung squashball - I suddenly had it! With bizarre synchronicity, and a partisan eye to subliminal manipulation, I realised that the aesthetic model for this boozer's Hyde was none other than the vivid Iain Gray. The likeness, to my mind, is striking. They've got him down pat. Indeed, such is the similarity, that I can only assume that the artist was some disgruntled constituent or satirically-minded nationalist. Not, of course, that I'd peg Mr Gray for villainy and baseness. And anyway, his coat has none of the glossy healthsome halcyon of this pub's socially hostile, gurning footpad... 

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