Finding time to work through the ideas generated by the weekend course is a bit of a problem. Let us endeavour.
Last Saturday our first practical was to go forth and contemplate in whatever manner we chose. Being tired, I rambled in the usual way, waiting for a theme to emerge. The first one was uglification. This is a particularly pointed question around the cathedral close, as its humans are so conscious of its beauty, and yet so frequently mar it.
Start small: A period door with an authentic period letterbox. The discrepancy with the keypad is only very obvious when close to, but what about the pipe thing and the bag of salt?
While we are on the subject of doors: this one was rather handsome, and the note was rather ugly. I take it that there is an enormous hole just behind the door, so perhaps we can say that this uglification, which is after all very temporary, is justified for safety. What about the bell pushes? The house must predate them; did they look ugly and modern when first installed?
All carefully maintained, and self-consciously period and pretty. So what’s with the cheap tubular thing in front of the door? I’m not sure of the function (seems in the wrong place to be a handrail) and if you are spending so much on your facade why not buy a half-decent bit of cast iron railing?
These teeth are designed to prevent anyone attempting to drive through a narrow gateway on a blind bend in the wrong direction. Incongruous indeed with the cottage beside them; but apart from the safety issue (which is certainly real) they have a kind of presence of their own. Perhaps we should criticise the cottage for weakening the visual impact of the steel teeth?
Then there is this repellent and presumably functional object sticking up like a sore thumb smack bang by the cathedral. I am trying to pretend it is a modern sculpture. I am not succeeding.
Uglification on the hoof: this road looks quite different with vans and cars competing for access and manoeuvring ill-temperedly past each other
from its appearance without encumbrance – though the hoi polloi among us might still find it a bit up itself.
There were many little lamp-posts scattered about the green and the lanes behind the cathedral. All of them would have been the better for having their faces washed – the glass was uniformly dirty and splotched with algal growth.
But should they be repainted? When does scabby paint cease to be an eyesore and become a gentle commentary upon mutability and our own mortality?
I have no doubt about this monstrosity, however, two feet high and inserted into the cool green plantings around the cathedral. Ugly in itself, I profoundly reject its purpose, which is to fire about a million lux all over the cathedral and eliminate the night. Others made comments about how beautiful the cathedral was by night – rocked back when I bet those assembled that if they ever saw it by moonlight it would knock their socks off, not to mention silhouetted against a starry heaven with the Milky Way pouring down the sky. No; never to be forgiven.
So: perhaps more of a rant than a contemplation?