Saturday, July 07, 2012

The Grand Opening Of The Shed

The ShardAs a race our expectations of life must surely be the single biggest contributor to our general unhappiness.

As adults we are well acquainted with reality and yet we constantly expect and hope for far more than we know can ever be delivered. This is idiocy and arrogance. We know how the world works, how much it costs and how people like to cut corners. A little thought and a little logic would rein in our runaway dreams and ensure that we are never disappointed again. No more will we be glass-half-full or glass-half-empty people. We will just be a people grateful for having a glass.

Take the opening of The Shard during the week. London's newest, biggest building. In fact it is the tallest building in Western Europe. For the time being.

According to news reports the general feeling was that people - i.e. the hoi polloi, you and me and your mama too - were a tad disappointed by the opening ceremony. It was something of a let down.

I must admit I didn't watch it but just caught the highlights on Newsround (I have kids, OK, what scope do you think I have to watch News24 these days?) - enough in itself to remove the high and the light from any ceremony.

I saw light displays from within the building itself and a laser show from the extremeties of the building. Admittedly there were no fireworks (that I saw) but I dare say they are stockpiling those for the Olympics.

The opening ceremony seemed perfectly adequate to my mind. It's a building, for God's sake. What were people expecting it to do? Develop rocket thrusters Autobot style and blast off to the moon?

It's a building.

Back when I was a kid a new building was opened by having a local celeb cut a pink ribbon in front of the doors and then everyone downed a cheap glass of Liebfraumilch in the foyer and that was it. You counted yourself lucky if you were presented with a sausage and a pineapple chunk on a stick.

It's a building. It doesn't do anything but stand there and gradually fall into decay by the unstoppable effects of entropy.

Be grateful for the coloured lights and the lasers.

Even if they'd installed nude can-can dancers on the top floor no-one would have seen them.

At the end of the day this building is nothing more than an icon and a trophy for the rich and smug affluent enough to live and work there.

Personally I have already re-christened it The Shed and I do hope you will all assist my attempts to see that this new monicker soon catches on.

As for the aesthetics of the building itself... well, I've seen worse. At least it doesn't look like a car park.

One thing does worry me though.

I'm sure London's newest erection has a twin somewhere in Mordor.

Should we be worried?

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22 comments:

Hannah Denski said...

And yet, isn't she beautiful? : ) my fave photo 'subject'...

Steve said...

Hannah: is it a she or a he? Male or female? Phallus or yonic? I'm confused about this building's sexuality.

Gorilla Bananas said...

I'm glad your penis-envy is sufficiently repressed to find that thing unthreatening. I won't have to think about it until it's used in a re-make of King Kong.

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: I'd love to see Kong try and squat on the top of that pointy beauty and bash bi-planes out of the sky.

Nota Bene said...

We were just around the corner...and yes the opening show lacked any real sparkle...in fact the laser lights looked as though they were being fired by aliens aiming to destroy our architectural heritage.

It's a building, just a big building and I work in its shadow...I don't think it will work its way into our affections even when it a century old. But it is big, it is impressive

Kelloggs Ville said...

There were nude can-can dancers on the top floor Steve. It was a great party, we just didn't tell you (and news round) about it.

Katriina said...

I do wish it had developed rocket thrusters, Autobot style, and blasted off. That would have been awesome in the extreme! Of course, this might have destroyed the building, and perhaps fried thousands of eager spectators to a crisp, but pfft to that.

Steve said...

Nota Bene: given the quality of builder's these days we ought to marvel if it is still standing in ten year's time, let alone a hundred.

Kelloggs Ville: glad to hear you've been having a proper knees-up.

Katriina: it would have meant several thousand people less to chog the roads during the Olympics.

Nana Go-Go said...

I love it!Thank God it puts that awful penile Gherkin firmly in the shade!......wouldn't love the job of cleaning all that glass though, which apparently has still to be done manually!Some lucky window-cleaning geezer's in for a great tender!

Steve said...

Nana Go-Go: where's George Formby when you need him?

libby said...

I'm not sure I'd call it beautiful but it does make you look at it....

Steve said...

Libby: it is something of an archetectural behemoth, isn't it?

Owen said...

Just what the world needs, another massive erection to prove our collective virility...

Being Me said...

Victorians (the type who live in the state of Australia, not anyone still managing to be with us on the mortal coil from Queen Vic's time) are renowned for going to the opening of structures. Take, for instance, the bloody eye sore Bolte Bridge. People lined up for the chance to drive across it. Madness.

In saying that, a grand opening of any new structure seems stupid to me. Laser shows? For a building? Could they have better spent the money? Is it ludicrous to even suggest it might've been put to better use for the homeless? I wonder if they at least enjoyed the light show from wherever they were settling down for the night... they missed out on the can-can dancers, after all.

Steve said...

Owen: it took a lot of heavy machinery to get it up, apparently.

Being Me: at the end of the day "opening a building" just means the physical act of opening its front door. Going to the opening of a front door is surely as sad and desperate as these people who, as the saying goes, would turn up to the opening of an envelope...

the fly in the web said...

I sometimes suspect you have taken over my mind...I saw the thing and thought...Mordor.

Steve said...

The fly in the web: I'm starting to find the French deeply exasperating... I think the connection goes both ways.

Löst Jimmy said...

Lasers of pinpoint accruacy from an orbiting Death Star would've put paid to their feeble concrete erectile dysfunction!

Vicky said...

ahh you have the shed we have the giant cockroach - google Perth bell tower and check out images.

Steve said...

Löst Jimmy: be patient my old friend... soon we shall have revenge on the Jedi!

Vicki: do people not build houses any more?

Wanderlust said...

It looks like a giant claw. Or is that just me?

Steve said...

Wanderlust: no, I agree. A giant cyborg crab is emerging from the soil of London...