Friday, April 21, 2006

Gorgeous (part 2)

...And if you follow Brunel’s Great Western Railway from London Paddington to Bristol, you’ll pass along the way the massive chimneys of Didcot Power Station.

Everyone claims to hate these steaming giants, but I think they’re extremely beautiful, especially as you cruise sleepily past them in your train carriage. Your natural wonders are all well and good, but for my money man’s ingenuity is really the thing.



They’re like Cloud Machines. In the land of Oz or somewhere...

3 comments:

Oroborous said...

I agree.

While the wonders of human construction are definitely secondary to natural wonders, they're still quite impressive.

I really like the raw, gritty, enormousness of human industrial activity. Giant, rust-streaked ships and cranes, industrial parks, tangles of interlocked freeway overpasses, colossal buildings housing steel works or airplanes...

Peter Burnet said...

Agreed up to a point. One of my formative moments in leaving the (post)modern world behind came in the mid-eighties when I was heading a fairly well-known environmental/aboriginal support group dealing with Arctic development. Somehow I got invited on a special tour of the James Bay hydroelectric development in sub-Arctic Quebec. We were flown up and shown a huge, largely subterranean mini-city in the middle of nowhere. I spent the whole day in utterly gobsmacked admiration for this engineering marvel (How did they do it?), but I was surrounded by fellow activists, bureaucrats and Scandinavian diplomats sniffing non-stop about threats to the caribou, the Inuit, etc. (the complex, huge as it was, was just a tiny speck on an endless wilderness). I also came to harbour similarly subversive thoughts about the huge off-shore drilling platforms I was being paid to oppose.

But it's a little like sex, isn't it? You have to keep this aesthetic sentiment under control and in its proper place. The Soviets commanded two generations of loyalty for their disgusting regime by playing on this "all hail the engineer" ethos as they built one non-economic, socially and environmentally destructive behemoth after another. And just how many cloud machines from Oz do you want to see on a given train trip?

Brit said...

Well, one is enough, true.

I also think wind farms are pretty, but everything in moderation.