Stop the world I want to get off
3 years ago, first day I got my digital camera, I went to Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum on the day before it closed for refurbishment and photographed everything I liked that I thought might change. It's such a big part of living in Glasgow - this really grand building with all this amazing stuff, that's so labyrinthine you get lost straight away. I felt quite nervous about going back this week to see what's changed.
At first it's hard to tell because it's so busy. I worried that it was going to be all shiny and interactive, and it's not. It's more shiny and interactive than it was - they've taken a lot of things out of cases (more things to tell your kids not to touch) and the Tyrannosaurus Rex that I used to be so scared of is gone for being "anatomically incorrect". At least there are no annoying audio guides and the building is as grand as ever. It's arranged by theme now (rather than art upstairs, natural history downstairs) - Life in one wing and Expression in the other. Not convinced about that. And there's something really handwringy about Glasgow Stories which starts with the Old Firm and sectarianism, then moves on to Violence Against Women and Lunatic Asylums. Really cheery, and not representative of any Glasgow I know.
All in all it left me a bit troubled. I don't know how much this is about the art galleries and how much is about me. It reminds me of working in libraries a few years ago, when there were all these people coming in from industry with no respect for libraries or librarians and they decided libraries had to be called "learning centres" or "ideas factories" or something. It was horrible. And of course, because it was librarians no one wanted to cause a fuss, and instead of fighting for everything libraries stood for everyone rolled over (including the Library Association) and changed their name as well, so to this day some people don't have a clue what their job title is. (Information Assistant anyone?) So this feels the same, like someone has said museums can't be museum-y any more, when that's what's so great about them. Things in glass cases, EVERYTHING IN CAPITALS, those little machines with the graphs on them.
And the way I feel about the Art Galleries is the way I feel about a lot of things at the moment. In the past few months, having a baby and everything, I feel like everything's going a bit too fast. I want to press Pause. And I want things to stop changing, just for a minute, because a lot of the time they don't need to. Progress is fine, but somewhere along the line we've all lost it and ended up striving for things that really aren't important. Change for change's sake. I don't know if that's a bit harsh but all I could think was that I liked things fine the way they were.