Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Not with a bang but a whimper

Lately, I've been out almost daily with the camera capturing changes in the cityscape, as the final stages of the SD2 demolition work draw nearer, then publishing them on the church website. Last week the Western Mail ran an article on my project, but I still haven't seen it. For once, none of the congregation have saved me a copy, as they usually do. So I'm not even sure if the journalist included the website address, which to my mind was the whole point of the exercise.
At the very last remaining corner of the Oxford House building the distinctive, very sixties 'modern' ironwork and glass brick lantern top began to list over the weekend, as the supporting structure was progressively eaten away by the huge 'lobster claw' demolition machine. It was still there last night when I left at four, but at this morning's Retail Partnership Board meeting, the chair, David Hughes Lewis, reported that it had disappeared overnight. Apparently it was taken down just after I'd gone home with a camera full of pictures last night. Taken down without ceremony. An icon that has outlived its usefulness. No even anyone cheering or booing as with Saddam's statue in Baghdad. I have published a shot of the crumpled lantern ironwork sitting on top of of a fifteen foot high pile of concrete rubble. It's still discernable, if you know what you're expecting to pick out in all that visual chaos, but so insignificant now it's not on the skyline.
It's rather strange to think that it's just gone from public view to the scrapheap with hardly a mention. Did anyone take a photo? If so, I'd be very jealous. Why? Because it's part of the story I want to tell, I guess.
The cherry tree just underneath the safety cladding at the foot of the building over which this lantern presided is now thick with pink blossom, and surrounded by white plastic shrouds that protect passers by from small flying particles. The tree is glorious, its setting is as bizarre as one of those expensive art installations that involve parcelling up public buildings. I remember seeing a park full of trees in winter thus wrapped, not against the cold, but to draw attention to their shapes (on the theory "you don't know what you've got till it's gone"?). Daft, but it made me think, as I watched the buildings to be demolished having shrouds up over them - like those to be executed .... defiant or otherwise.

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