150th issue, huh! How’d that happen?
Sometime in the first decade of the year 2000, five shifty fellows sidled into The Compass Bar & Grill and announced themselves as “The Monday Club.”
“We meet every (your ahead of me here, reader) of the year, for a fine dining experience. If we have two bad experiences we move elsewhere. You, are now that elsewhere.”
The Club stayed for a couple of years, during which time they brainstormed, or so they told me, and eventually launched The Leither magazine.
During one such lunch, the about-to-be editor Peter ‘I’ll have a dark rum and tomato juice’ Laing popped into the kitchen to ask “if I’d write a column like those weird things you chalk up on your blackboard.”
150 columns later – having taken over from Peter on Issue 50 – I’m still writing ‘those weird columns’. As evidenced here.
Bernie Reid, who designed this anniversary cover has done many ‘favours’ for us lot at Leither Towers. I’m guessing he’s created one tenth of all our covers. As well as producing a series of prints riffing on The Leither which lifts the whole into more rarefied company than it’s guttersnipe cousin.
We met in The King’s Wark kitchen where Bernie, at school age still, scoured the pots. Our nascent friendship could have had the kibosh put on it after I asked his mother out in the Ladies toilet. Where I was met with a polite, “I’m sorry I have a boyfriend.” When Bernie found out I expected a mouthful and a no show for the rest of his shifts.
Instead - in that calm way of his – he said. “You dodged a bullet there Gouldy, he was in the South African police force”. Keeping the best till last he added. “During the apartheid years.” Yikes!
From there we jumped ship to set up The Compass, where we collaborated on a series of scurrilous adverts for that beacon of ‘scurrility’ The Shavers Weekly. Some of which I feel sure were highly actionable.
On that theme, had the Health & Safety goon squad paid a visit to The Compass kitchen a couple of weeks after Bernie and Beca’s daughter Bonnie was born, it’s a stone cold certainty that your correspondent would be banged up at Her Majesties (or His) pleasure to this very day…
You see, as a chef, I was much impressed by the heft of this pudgy little bundle in swaddling. And resolved, there and then, to create a dish in her honour. Which would require some input from her… namely her upper arm.
The dish: Slow braise of Bonnie’s arm in milk, sage and amalfi lemon with the curds was, I thought, a bargain at the princely sum of £9.99.
Bernie reminded me lately that it was on the menu for weeks, and admitted to being slightly put out that nobody ordered it or even asked about its provenance.
That same Bernie Reid, whose work has been shown at MOMA New York, SFMOMA, 019 in Ghent, Serpentine Galleries in London, Garage Museum in Moscow and on the island of Stromboli for the Fiorucci Art Trust - he also facilitates projects for ArtLink. Now has an exhibition in his home town at Edinburgh Printmakers.
The Show, Ornamental Breakdown, which continues to 16th March, sees Bernie employ ‘mediums and techniques associated with graffiti such as stencils and spray paint to create a new body of work, hopefully pushing stencil art and the decorative in a new direction’. ■
Bernie Reid. Image: Neil Hannah.
Issue 1 with Mary Moriarty gracing the cover