Liz Lochhead at Scotland Street: Competent at peever

What a great wee museum Scotland Street is! A former primary school designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who fell out spectacularly with the School Board of Glasgow and was more or less taken off the case, it’s now a School Museum with, amongst other things, classrooms of different eras. You can see something of that in my last post about it – this time I went for Liz Lochhead’s exhibition, Competent at peever.

Liz is currently Scotland’s Makar, or poet laureate. She studied at Glasgow School of Art and was a teacher for a while, but is now a playwright and poet. For a flavour of her work, read her moving contribution to Book Week Scotland’s My favourite place project. The exhibition results from a year-long residency at Scotland Street and comprises poems, drawings and collages on the themes of childhood and primary school. The highlight for me was her art school project from 1968 in which she went back to her old school – it brought back so many memories since that was the year I finished primary. Not all pleasant unfortunately – I enjoyed learning “sums” with the cuisenaire rods she illustrated, and there’s a real set to look at elsewhere in the museum, but my headmaster was not as benevolent as Mr Ritchie and I still smart with humiliation from an undeserved punishment. I came away with the exhibition literature and a collection of poems from the bookshop – but where has the cafe gone? I was also planning to have lunch there, so that was my only disappointment about my visit. Finally, for non-Scots, what on earth is peever? Well, the clue is in Poem for my sister: “I like to watch my little sister playing hopscotch………She is competent at peever.” If you’re in Glasgow, hop, skip and jump over to this exhibition as soon as you can! It’s on till 7th April.

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