'Agree With Everything - Deny Nothing - Embellish All

Friday, November 03, 2006

Vulcan's Forge

The other day I had to visit Distington & dropped in to the forge of Vulcan The Smith on a matter that need not detain us here. To my surprise and delight I was offered a quick tour of the establishment by the man himself, so we set off at a fierce pace around the fitting shop and other highlights. The sheer profusion and variety of the work was staggering - a set of bright brass handrails were about to be fitted in St Giles' Cathedral; metal boxes were waiting for shipment to Liverpool; balustrades to Manchester; a huge steel parabola, extravagently curved over upon itself, was destined for 'Skateboard Heaven' in Cambridge (Herr Doktor Professor - prepare for an outbreak of 'massive air' among the young people). The whole place was deeply compelling - on the one hand because pieces like the cathedral handrail are being designed and made with a thousand years of use in mind, on the other because I'd really been nowhere like this since my mid-teens when I'd had a holiday job in the fitting shop of the now sadly extinguished Phoenix Foundry. The collision of a timescale rooted in eternity with memories of sights and sounds long-unexperienced but remembered across half a lifetime was jarring but reassuring, if only in the knowledge that perfectly contrived beauty will survive us.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Lex said...

Every time we go to the mountains, I always try to stop by the ironworkers' shop in Black Mountain just to watch them work and look at some of their creations. The smallest thing they make costs probably more than I can afford, but I derive great comfort just from knowing that people are still making, and buying, cool stuff like this.

4/11/06 1:08 pm  
Anonymous Herr Doktor Professor said...

Mr. Google cannot find any reference to:
"Skateboard Heaven" AND Cambridge
in the UK. The whole idea smacks of public investment in facilities for young people - which is certainly something South Cambridgeshire County Council seems reluctant to do.
In any case, the young people possessing (I hope) approximately 50% of then information content of my own Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid seem more content to gain their 'massive air' from some of the existing architectural features, which blight parts of Cambridge, rather than from fabrications conforming to the canonical algebraic form y^2 = 4ax

HDP

10/12/06 7:53 pm  

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