Tuesday 17 April 2012: Roots
This is, of course, the incomparable , irrepressible and invaluable Ricky Demarco whom I am proud to call a friend. I had a meeting with him this morning at Victoria Quay to discuss his archive and the involvement of Scottish Higher Education in its preservation , management and use.
Ricky is a phenomenon, as the two officials who were with me at the meeting soon discovered. He was a co-founder of the Traverse theatre, has been one of the key guiding spirits of the Edinburgh Festival idea (or ideas, to be accurate) and he , at one time single handedly , opened Scotland to the contemporary European arts world, and vica versa. He has helped, nourished and built many distinguished careers and is a figure of international significance in the visual arts who has achieved wide international recognition. His archive is absolutely unique.
He has also challenged and sometimes exasperated more arts administrators and council (and government) bureacracts than you could shake a exhibtion catalogue at , but always for the strongest of cultural imperatives.
He was brought up in Largs, which is why he is holding my iPad with the picture I blipped last Tuesday of Nardinis. Our conversation also ranged through German cultural designations, private philanthropy, research pools and the work of Margaret Tait ( a retrospective of whom I organised when directing the Celtic Film & TV Festival which is now - after 32 years - called the Celtic Media Festival).
An invigorating way to start the day. We also talked a lilttle about Blipfoto , which he did not know and about which he was very interested. He was himself taking pictures during the meeting, as he always does in order to keep adding to his own archive.
I have called the blip "roots", by the way, not just in homage to his own roots but in admiration for the profusion of diverse , far reaching, and (now) deeply established cultural roots he has nourished and encouraged in Scotland in all his 81 years.