More Thoughts on the New Museum of Transport

First thought is that I need to visit again when it isn’t packed with visitors there for the same reason as myself: to gawp at the new architecture. What would I have designed with limited money? I guess I would have worked on the idea that all objects deserve to be seen from the middle distance and close up, thus satisfying the casual visitor enjoying the experience and the expert who has travelled specifically to see their favourite object. When I worked in the Museum of Transport back in the 90s, I used to wander around the cars looking for inspiration for building the Football Museum. The temperature and humidity control was difficult because the Kelvin Hall was just not built to cope with the environmental demands of a museum, but at least you could scrutinise the objects very easily. If a car is to be lifted up, then I suggest no more than a metre. The four year I took around did not have much to enjoy but that’s a separate debate. At that age they’re focussed on the next shop stop.

The basic need is for the visitor to look at an object that is on the ground. I would have spent less on the aesthetics of the building and more on ensuring the public could see what was in their collection. I believe it is possible to produce reasonable design to a tight margin: for example the new Aldi stores in Scotland are functional but likeable. Maybe that’s from the sublime to the ridiculous for some, but the rigours of commerce do make the Aldi owners concentrate on the only thing that matters: showing off their produce to the customer.

Maybe as the Museum matures someone will stick some light rail rail down along the quay, to run a tram the 500 metres from the Museum to the Heliport. It should not be beyond the wit of the city fathers to take it as close to Exhibition Centre Station as possible or to even run it out along the old Caledonian Line towards Yoker. Now that would make it a museum worth visiting.

Ace McTastic: What Genre Is It?

I have an unhealthy love of rhetorical questions, but the rule should be that both the inquisitor and the audience have a reasonable mutual idea as to the answer. In this I have to say I am struggling. When I had my flash of light on the Albert Drive railway bridge, all I knew was that I had a brilliant idea around the character of amusingly surreal chum Annie Mac. The skeleton of the narrative was easily fleshed out and though I kept changing elements until the final page was concluded, I always knew what I was writing.

Less easy was the question of genre. At first I had it pegged as a children’s tale and indeed the vocabulary suits the average twelve year old. However, it is not just a children’s tale, because there is a nod towards the alternative history genre. Not exactly a ‘Man in the High Castle’ but I purposely sought to change Glasgow to a place in my mind where its nineteenth century brilliance had continued and burgeoned further. This confusion has led to me trying to understand my own tale as a children’s book based on an alternative history for Glasgow and a satire on some of the mistakes that society has made in the last century. Maybe I’ve fallen between a forest of stools, but it was immense fun to write.