Jesus’ Hands

Every August the city I have come to call home witnesses a transformation.  The Festival brings throngs of tourists who congest the pavements and slow the locals down as they try to get from A to B whilst muttering sounds of discontent at the inconvenience.  What do Edinburgh’s residents make of those who pack out the various events on offer?  What do they make of us, our great city and our culture?  What are they looking for as they roam our streets?  Do they find it?

The Festival brings a great buzz with it.  Back in 2003 we took a week off work to simply be tourists on our own streets.  It was great – to slow down, to savour the sights, sounds, smells and tastes…

The Festival is floods our city with streams of creativity because it brings so many people who are seeking to express something or make a connection whether through stand up comedy, theatre, music, performance or literature.  To create something and to share that with an audience is to embark upon an inherently risky venture.  It reveals vulnerability, but, just maybe it will resonate and create a moment of definition.

Today I strolled along to The National Portrait Gallery on Queen Street to see a free exhibition of Scottish artists called Rough Cut Nation.  Amidst the street art, graffiti, scribbles and paintings, a face looked out at me from a wall – huge, unassuming in it’s hooded top and, yet, strangely familiar.  A bunch of adjectives framed the upper border and a selection of ordinary and extraordinary faces and images peered through the streaks of running paint that bled down the walls. 


The figure had huge hands stretched out which were punctured, enabling me to peer right through to the life and movement and bustle and flow of people in the adjoining installations. 


The photo’s snapped on my Blackberry don’t do it justice, so I’d recommend that if you’re in Edinburgh that you take the chance to get along between now and the 30th of August. 

The image reminded me of lyrics penned by one of my favourite singer songwriters.  The last time I saw the original line up of American Music Club play in a sweaty King Tuts in Glasgow, they finished the set with this song.  Mark Eitzel was lost in the music and delivery, rolling his head around, eyes shut, letting the distance he was creating between his vocal chords and the mic add to the intensity and earnestness of this hopeless song…

“Looking for love in all the wrong places –
The sidewalks and the sky.
Looking for something that no one can give me
And no one can help me buy.

Oh brother, oh sister.
Don’t you see a crack form in the dam?
For a loser, no one can touch him,
He’s out slipping through Jesus’ hands”.

From “Jesus’ Hands” by American Music Club.


2 Responses to “Jesus’ Hands”

  1. 1 Duncan August 28, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Nice pictures, can see why it spoke to you.

  2. 2 Fin September 1, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Thanks Brian –
    Has all been a bit mad with work recently and had hoped to contact you and try to meet you when we were down working on this…It did however turn into marathon sessions of working from 0830 through to after midnight most days (took us 3 days to do the face and hands!!)
    Will have to meet up and have a chat sometime soon – have a lot in common and an uncommon Saviour!!

    keep on


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"The priest in the booth had a photographic memory for all he had heard. He took all of my sins and he wrote a pocket novel called "The State That I'm In"". From "The State I Am In" by Belle and Sebastian
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