Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Truck and Alain score. Poem on trial

AUTHENTICITY PAYS OFF Grandchild Zach’s birthday. At the toyshop, he was eased away from an 80 cm tractor/harrow combination and guided towards a 400D John Deere articulated dump truck. For which Mrs B handed over a breathtaking £25. This diecast model, 50 cm long, is replete with technical detail but would Zach respond to its authenticity?

The answer was yes. He pushed it slowly along the coffee table apparently revelling in its well-mounted wheels. He tilted the cab up and down. He tipped precisely, allowing the bricks to slide off without commotion. Heck, he can grow up to lead a rock band if he wishes but I was heartened by his response to a well-made – almost adult - toy.

ALAIN, YOU’RE OK Plutarch quoted from Alain de Botton’s recent “The pleasures and sorrows of work”, celebrating the delights of technology. Although I was impressed by his “How Proust can change your life” I fear I responded robustly, implying he was slumming. I was wrong. In a related essay in New Statesman de Botton uses the role of the spotter (of trains, lorries, etc) as a way of scrutinising industrial culture.

“When we think of tourist destinations we don’t think of the places of work,” he writes. “Why, endowed as they are with both practical importance and emotional resonance, do cargo ships, port facilities, airport warehouses, storage tanks, refineries and assembly plants go unnoticed?” Because they require new eyes.

THE POEM Accused justifiably of being a teaser, I report that this was finally completed and has been emailed to Julia who will decide whether it sees the light of day.


Julia said...

BB, still no poem in my box! Here's my email again, in cryptic to avoid the spammers - juliaprague at yahoo dot com

Barrett Bonden said...

In fact I sent it twice. I copy/pasted the address to my address book, transcribed the escargot and the dot and then noticed, after I'd sent the first version, that an extra space had wandered in. Deleted this and sent it again. I have the window of your comment open and my address book and I am d....d (saving your Southern sensitivities) if I can see the difference. This time I will delete the address book entry and type it in the old-fashioned way. Then send it again. My email is rodrob at globalnet dot co dot uk so we may take part of this unenlightening exchange off the blog.