In particular, by the access we have to some of the most wonderful museums and art galleries in Europe.
While we may take their permanent collections for granted, now and again, we are fortunate enough to have a touring exhibition which totally blows the mind.
For her Christmas present to me, my daughter bought me tickets to “Ray Harryhausen – Titan Of Cinema” at the Scottish Gallery Of Modern Art. I went to see the show last weekend and, for 90 minutes, I was transported back in time to my seven-year-old self.
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As a young child growing up in Glasgow, I used to regularly watch the Saturday afternoon matinee at The Gaumont cinema at Anniesland Cross, which was converted into flats in an act of mid-80s cultural vandalism.
On one occasion – I have long forgotten what film I went to see – I was utterly transfixed by the trailer for the following week’s movie, Jason And The Argonauts. It featured the scene where Jason had a sword fight with an army of skeleton soldiers.
At that young age, I did not understand the concept of special effects. The next seven days were the longest week of my life. I couldn’t wait to see the whole film.
The models for that movie are currently on show at Modern Two in Ravelston, and I was even able to watch myself fighting one of the skeleton warriors, thanks to the modern technology of green screen projection.
It may have taken me over 50 years to achieve the ambition, but I was finally one of the Argonauts. I was a seven-year-old child again. As I am sure my wife, and the gallery staff, will no doubt confirm.
The exhibition runs for another month. Do go to see it, if you haven’t already done so. If you have seen it, like me, you may want to return. It is a marvellous immersive experience for people of all ages.
For kids, it is simply a lot of fun. For old-timers like myself, that sense of fun is augmented by the soft glow of nostalgia. A joyous day out, which I would thoroughly recommend for over-60, under-sixes and everyone in between.