Tuesday, 4 September 2012

little sparta

what a surprise today to see a video piece on little sparta in the guardian. the video itself is reasonably terrible but at leads you do get to see a bit of the garden. follow the link on the page to the little sparta trust site for more.

i've been going to little sparta on and off since i was in my twenties having first heard about it away back when, when ian hamilton finlay was having his problems with the council and, if memory serves, the locals. since then, of all the people i've taken there i'm not sure any has been back, at leads not without me. maybe it's because it's so out of the way (and they didn't have me to drive) and maybe, latterly, it's because it takes a bit of organisation via the trust even to get there.

which is kind of okay with me. while i'd like hamilton finlay to be much more recognised there's no change little sparta itself could stand much on the way of people going to it. that said, if you're ever going to visit only one garden in scotland it's this one. around the time hamilton finlay died i wrote to alex salmond espousing the view that, as a nationalist he must make sure little sparta was preserved for the nation. thus far it hasn't and fat eck never replied (no golf or hollywood interest here presumably). the trust tho, seem t be doing the business and hamilton fin lay remains both a part and apart. i think he would;t have minded that.

i never met him but i did see him while visiting once, sitting in how own wee world on his veranda. he was obviously not well (at least to my eyes) but at the same time he seemed quite at peace there in his green. it's the way i'll always remember him. not easy to get into, not so easy to dismiss, ian hamilton finlay, for me (and far more than most of that younger glasgow lot that came after him, i say) is possibly the most significant scottish artist in the latter part of the last century. little sparta is a both a living work and a wonderful epitaph.


Marion McCready said...

sounds like an interesting place. you'll never guess what finally turned up the other day - your Distances collection!! I couldn't for the life of me work out what had happened to it but it got caught up with some old uni folders! a photographer recently asked me to do a collaboration pamphlet with her photos and my poems but I was asking colin about it and he said pics are super expensive to print so not many publishers are interested so I'm not sure what to do.

swiss said...

distances! i did have it out and about recently but it's still so far on the back burner it's reduced to a smoulder. but no, it wasn't cheap and that's before you get a decent printer. a5 will keep your costs lower but then the pics won't look as good and even then a lot of your expense is dictated by papaer type which is itself dictated by image qulaity...