Deceased
Sitting by the Thames, behind me the brutalism of Scott's Bankside power station. It is a warm autumn day in London. Twenty four hours earlier I had sat in the humidity beside the Singapore river, drinking beer and watching the bumboats talk tourists past the old warehouses. In London the old warehouses were no more - gentrified, reconstructed,chic - as in docklands in many old cities. Thriving activity; proud technology of another age had all gone - where? Still in London the barges throbbed up and down. To what destinations? The beer in London, still the measures of another age, tasted good, as good as it did in Singapore those twenty four hours ago. Behind me the power station had also been gentrified and become the Tate Modern. The mighty cathedral to past technology was now the stunning gallery of all things modern - well, whatever that might mean. To me the highlight was the Epstein's - mighty pieces of stone turned into fantastic figures, beautiful, sometimes haunting, evoking powers from another age. Yet they in their time had travelled as sideshows to a circus. How could you keep your integrity and that of your work when it was treated with such disdain? I hope that never happened to 'Ecce Homo' standing now outside the Cathedral of Coventry - that squat haunted figure constrasting the height and grace of the archangel Michael in the glass of the epinonymous building. Then the bookstore and the discovery of the 'Atlas of Experience', mapping the human condition. Sitting in the warm sun it was good to be alive. Six months after salvage radiotherapy, in a time when you could dare hope that you might be cured. Life was simpler then. It was another country. Sailor The past is foreign country, they do things differently there. L P Hartley
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