Tonight, Kate is performing Zimmertime as part of Performance Nights 2 at the Pipe Factory in Glasgow. But what am I saying? - she's performing it now in our front room so as to be All Right on the Night.

It's down to me to switch on the music. The George Gershwin song,
Summertime, a 1964 version courtesy of The Zombies. The driving beat starts and Kate walks towards the Zimmer and inspects it as if wondering what the object is. Light or heavy? Ornamental or functional?

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'It's summertime,
And the livin' is easy-y-y-y
The fish are jumpin'
And the cotton is high.

'Your daddy's rich...'

On this cue, Kate lifts the Zimmer with her right hand and puts it on her back, like a rucksack, perhaps. Then she walks about with it, the Zimmer morphing between backpack and article of clothing, either coat or dress...

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'And your mamma's good lookin-n-n-n'
Won't you hush pretty baby
Do-o-o-o-o-n't you cry.'

The next transition involves Kate placing the Zimmer on the ground and sitting on it. She worked this move out in mid-week when she spent the evening with Gerry O'Brien, artist and dancer. I have to say the move works well.

'One of these mornings
You're going to rise up singing
Then you'll spread your wings
And take to the sky.'

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'But until that morning
There's a'nothing gonna harm you
With your mommy and daddy there standing by.'

Now the instrumental. For that Kate stands up and twiddles the Zimmer on one of its legs. The Zombies really go for it. At least the guy fingering the organ does...

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'It's summertime,
And the livin' is easy
The fish are jumpin'...

Kate takes the Zimmer and lifts it above her head. Always remembering not to smash the chandelier that we inherited from the previous owners of our house.

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...And the cotton is high.'

'Your daddy's rich
And your mamma's good lookin-n-n-n.'

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'Won't you hush pretty baby
Do-o-o-o-n't you cry.'

That's the end of the lyric, And the cue for Kate to creep off using the Zimmer in conventional mode.

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Kate reminds me of her father at this point: white hair, bent back, slow movements. A few months ago he shuffled off this mortal coil at the age of 88. He didn't pass through a Zimmer phase though, whereas my mother did. Mabel's Zimmer is not the one that Kate's using today but she's got that in her studio in Dundee and, I believe, has plans for it.

But todays' plan is to get to Glasgow by Megabus. The 13.40 leaves from Broxden Park and Ride on the edge of Perth and we have a ticket to ride. As Kate is over 60 she goes for free. My ticket cost a whopping £17 even though it was booked a week in advance, so the agreement is we pool costs. Yes, it all comes out of our joint account.

As for the Zimmer, he/she/it seems at home amongst the tubular steel of the walkways and may be looking forward to sharing space with all kinds of modern bags in the luggage hold.


The journey to Glasgow is fine. It's a bit of a hassle getting the Zimmer back from a scrum of youngsters looking for their backpacks, but Kate manages it without my help. And then we're leaving Buchanan Street Bus Station behind us. We're out of here! Actually, the next picture reminds me of the beginning of the
Silver Sisters page. A year ago Kate travelled on her own to London to engage with Suzanne Lacy's work. Well, she didn't travel on her own. Hundreds of women over 60 who had some history of activism, assembled at Tate Modern to talk about their experience of life. That day Kate was wearing a purple beret and pulling a case along behind her.


Today, on the streets of Glasgow, everyone has a backpack or a trolley. Everyone except us - we have a Zimmer. I'm more self-conscious about it than Kate, but that doesn't mean that Kate's happy to take charge of it all afternoon. She's not. I have to bear my share of the burden.


Does it look like we're window shopping on Sauchiehall Street as we come back from a visit to the CCA? We are not window shopping, unless for photo opportunity.


Does it looks as if the Zimmer is window shopping? I do believe that's exactly what's happening outside the premises of Ann Summers (pronounced 'Zimmers'). Suddenly I'm looking at the walking frame through new eyes. "Gee - it's a toy!"


Kate really gets into the photo side of things. She stops in the middle of pedestrianised Buchanan Street and sets up shots with the Zimmer. Passers by stare at the Zimmer and at us, but she don't care. I do care, and I make the mistake of trying to hurry her along. "Will you just relax?" she says. She's right of course. I must try to go with the flow.

What is Kate trying to capture in the following photograph? Oh all sorts of things: a variety of reflections; a person suddenly coming into view on the up escalator; a schoolgirl watching him or her take shape from where she stands in the corner of the shot; many people taking advantage of the 'BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE' deal that's available from the department store. By one Zimmer, get another free? I won't be investigating


The following photo was taken outside a building that is now the Apple store. Though the place is too cool to put a sign outside to that effect. Anyway, here is the latest in the iZim range.


It brings to mind some photographs that Heather Lane has been posting on her
Wordpress site in the last few months. Heather came to BCCA (our own Blairgowrie Centre for Contemporary Art) for a 24-hour residency last summer. She's now on the Sculpture and Environmental Art degree course at Glasgow, and never stops living/working. Of course, she's very young (not yet twenty-two) and so it's strange that the Zimmer on the railings seems to call out to her, down through the generations. Perhaps Heather and Kate are kindred spirits.

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Heather Lane from the series the day it was supposed to snow, February 14, 2014

The above photo was posted less than a fortnight ago. And the one below, just a week before that. I suppose, Heather has been trying to slip into various architectural spaces until she becomes as one with the metal tubing, rusty or smartly painted, gateway or barrier. Heather is named Heather (Mc)Lane on her Wordpress site, because another Heather Lane already has an account there. I wonder if there is already a Heather Lane in Glasgow. My Street Atlas tells me there is a Heather Street and a Heather Place but no Heather Lane. Is this an opportunity for an artist who is obviously keen to explore her identity and her place in the world? Soon there could be a Heather (Mc)Lane Place and a Heather (Mc)Lane Street. Current work on her site is called 'My(self in) Glasgow'.

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Heather Lane from the series my(self) in Glasgow space, February 7, 2014

Back to the here and now. Kate wants to go inside the Apple store using the Zimmer in a conventional way. I suppose there might be Zi-Fi throughout the building, but I just can't hack the embarrassment factor. If Kate goes in there, she's on her own.

So this is as close as Kate gets to the inside of the store and to delivering her spiel: "Excuse me, I'm after the new iZim G-Toy. The memory's full on this old model. Besides, there is no DVD player on the blooming thing. Can you believe the short-sightedness of that in this day and age? It's good for Yo(u)tube though. We've learned how to use InDesign simply through watching a couple of tutorials."


We do go inside GOMA where the show on the ground floor is
Living with the War: artists on war and conflict. Then we make our way to Rogano's, One of Kate's favourite eating place in Glasgow. There is no free table but we are able to sit on barstools and keep an eye on our coats.


Kate tells me she intends to order white wine and oysters. Wouldn't it be better to eat something more substantial to set herself up for the Performance Night? She pooh-poohs this as far too sensible. Half a dozen oysters is
exactly what she needs to set herself up for the evening. Fair enough, but I order a thick fish soup for myself.

We leave Rogano's at 5.30pm in order to be at the Pipe factory by 6pm. It's walkable, but then Kate has her free bus pass, so why should she walk?


We have to stand on the busy bus. I decide it would be a good idea to record the Zimmer as it lies on the luggage rack alongside us, juxtaposed with a disability sticker. Perhaps I should have waited until the bus had stopped, but no matter.


As we trundle along Gallowbank we spot Morrison's supermarket, our cue to dismount for Bain Street. As soon as we do, we bump into Stuart Murray, a Glasgow artist who we've known for a while, though we haven't seen Stuart for a few years now. It's Kate who recognises the tall, smartly dressed guy, and walks up to him, blocking his onward path. But it's clear from Stuart's reaction that he doesn't recognise Kate. "It's Kate and Duncan!" she announces, smiling under her red beret. After a few seconds Stuart realises who we are. He explains that he'd not cottoned on at once because he'd been distracted by the Zimmer that Kate is pulling along. He'd thought to himself:
"Hullo, these two have just knocked off a trolley from Morrisons!"

Stuart observes people in the community he lives and works. He does so with dry wit (which bounces off his subjects' often very strange pronouncements), veracity and without judgement. I'm placing a couple of Stuart's distinctive drawings into the text at this point. This first is from
The Folk ye Bump Intae, as it's just possible that bumping into us will elicit a new drawing. This one features English-speaking Kate, as it were:

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Stuart Murray, Oh, hi!, from the series 'The Folk ye Bump Intae', December, 2013.

Stuart's young, only thirty or so, and so still has a flexible mind. If he can think of the Zimmer as a supermarket trolley, he can surely think of it as a man-bag.

The following drawing is a dead-ringer for me, calling out in the vernacular after Kate, as she continues on her way after telling Stuart about the Performance Night and encouraging him to come along (Stuart can't come, he's already told us he's cooking for his girlfriend):

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Stuart Murray, Ya Fuckin Nutcase, from the series 'The Folk ye Bump Intae', June, 2011.

What am I (note the man-bag) doing with my hand in the litter bin? Looking for my hat, of course. Though it's marginally more likely that the Zimmer swopped it for oysters of its own in Rogano's.

OK here we are at Performance Nights 2, hosted by Conor Baird and by Alexander Storey Gordon who Kate worked with in
Drive-in Theatre. Below is a back view of Morgan Cahn, who graduated from Dundee last year and is building a presence in Edinburgh now, not just because she lives there these days, but because she's got work in the RSA's New Contemporaries show which has earned her an award and upped her profile on the Scottish art scene. This evening she is going around asking: "What do you think of when you hear the words 'Performance Art' ."

But at the time when Kate took this photo, Morgan was contributing to Peter McRae's piece. Peter adopts a banker's persona for his performances, at lest he did in the entertaining piece he did as part of Generator's 'Performance Now' evening in Dundee last year, but for this one he's taken a step back from performing in person. Rather, he's set things up for us all. Morgan is writing on the pages of a magazine that Peter's stuck to the walls. But for the most part, it's pages from the
Financial Times that are available, and one member of the audience has already written 'ALKY FATHER' or 'ALKY FATHER YOU'LL GET BATTERED', wherever he can.


It's very cold in the Pipe Factory. The organisers have made available lots of little beers and a couple of radiators, but it's still difficult to keep warm. I can't help wondering if Kate wishes she had a few more calories inside her to burn off as she steps up to the plate.

Conor Baird, 'Performance Nights 2'

'It's Summertime,
And the livin' is easy...'

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Obviously, I'm writing up the story of our day after the event. February 21, 2014, is being played out again on February 26, 2014. So I'll take the opportunity of getting a little ahead and describing how our day culminated.

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Kate emerged from the Performance Night - eight varied acts, that ended at 10pm - freezing and hungry. In an effort to get her warm we walked into town, and in an effort to get some hot food inside her, we found a fish and chip shop. Yes, we shared a packet of chips while sitting on a window ledge in the Buchanan Street chippie. I wanted to take a photo of the ZImmer standing next to the queue of punters but couldn't get myself to do so, for the spurious reason that I didn't want to risk getting us chucked out into the night. While we were sitting there, the Drunkest Man came into the shop as did the Loudest Talker.

Conor Baird, 'Performance Nights 2', Kate Clayton, Zimmertime

The return bus journey from Glasgow to Perth proved civilised and uneventful. When we arrived at the Park and Ride at midnight it was to discover that the battery of the car was completely flat. How so? Because I, who had been driving that morning, had left the frigging lights on. I tried to blame Kate for talking to me about locking doors while we'd been getting out of the car earlier in the day. But it would have been as reasonable to blame the need to remember to bring along the Zimmer for distracting me.

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Another Megabus kindly took us into the middle of Perth. We were relieved to see three taxis outside the station and the driver of the first one said he would be pleased to drive us home for the sum of 'about £35'.

"It's OK," I wanted to say, "We'll walk."

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But to walk our way home would have taken five or six hours, so that was never an option. Besides, it was only £18 each. Less than the cost of a dozen oysters.

But let me end on a positive note. One of the performances after Kate's was by Fabrizio Potestad. He did a lot of stuff with a chicken, including drumming home the word by announcing: "Chicken', as he dropped a carcase onto the floor. But the chicken turned out to be just the way in to his piece, as the word he left us with - courtesy of cream sprayed from a can onto the wall - was 'IMMIGRANT'.

The picture below shows, on the right edge, Fabrizio's hands holding the chicken. Morgan is watching the performance as is Duncan Comrie, in the cap, who is putting Kate's Zimmer to good use.


So what else is there to be said about our day in Glasgow? Perhaps, that in twenty years time, when Kate and I - if we've been lucky enough to survive the passage of time - will be 84 and 77 respectively, we'll look back at the day with nostalgia, and we'll sing:

"It's Zimmertime,
And the livin' is easy
The fish are jumpin'
And the chicken is high.

"Your Heather's rich
And your Stuart's good-lookin'
Won't you hush pretty Katy
Do-n-n-n-n't you cry."

Thanks to Stuart Murray and Heather Lane for permission to use images of their work. Thanks to Conor Baird for supplying photographs of Zimmertime.