Monday, December 17, 2012

World due to end on Friday...

say followers of the Mayan calender. As a means of measurement the Mayan method has long ceased to be the cherry in history's pie. The Mayan baktun is as useful today as those Martian rocks Challenger keeps stumbling into. Honest, the bus timetable is more accurate a predictor of events than the ancient baktun. One forecasts the arrival of charabancs the other universal disaster but which has stood the test of time? There's plenty of buses but can anyone remember the last apocalypse? I think not. The timetable, however, predicts a bus is due and lo, here's the 192 to Piccadilly Gardens and in the distance? Oh, another 192 to Piccadilly Gardens and behind that? MY GOD IT'S ANOTHER 192. Giddy with excitement I'm now atop the shelter and peering through binoculars I see in the far distance OMG yet another 192. Let's hear it for the bus timetable a chart that just keeps on giving. Which is more than can be said for the Mayans.

If the world does end on Friday, mind you, I'll be the first to hold my hands up and admit I was wrong. And you can't say fairer than that.


Sunday, December 09, 2012

Seaton Carew...

in County Durham on a freezing December morning. In the distance is Redcar steelworks and I'm reminded of the film Silence of the Lambs when trainee detective Clarice Starling visits the home of Frederica Bimmell who is Buffalo Bill's first victim. The scene begins with Clarice driving over a girdered bridge into the cold industrial town of Belvedere, Ohio. We see a barge hauling goods on a soulless river then Clarice's car beneath trees bare of foliage on a street of clapboard houses. Amber leaves lie all around. A freight train clatters on the elevated rail line before the camera cuts to a woman in buttoned coat hanging out washing beneath the gloomy grey sky. Mr Bimmell stands by his pigeon coop as nervous Clarice crosses a grubby lawn to meet him. The dull green coat Clarice wears adds to the sombre tone.

Arrival in Belvedere links a harsh industrial landscape with the weariness and pain in Mr Bimmell's sad unshaven face and is amongst the film's bleakest moments.

Last Friday, I looked south from Seaton Carew. To the right and out of shot is Hartlepool's nuclear power station and the huge oil and chemical factories of Billingham.

A beautiful beach diminished.


Largest black hole...

in universe is discovered. Last week I was driving down an old farm track and encountered some very large black holes. Nearly buggered my car's suspension.