nomadic philo-sophy (34)
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Name: miles allinson
Photos: miles's photo libraries
The sky is a never quiet machine ( 30th Sep, 2006 )
Civilization and the Memory of Weather ( 27th Jul, 2006 )
A Further Invisible City (V) ( 21st May, 2006 )
Death In Venice ( City of Masks, City of Ghosts) ( 17th May, 2006 )
A Further Invisible City ( IV ) ( 24th Mar, 2006 )
London: unreliable first impressions ( 8th Feb, 2006 )
The Chiaroscuro of Rio de Janeiro ( 29th Jan, 2006 )
The Randomness (Christmas Eve in Cusco) ( 26th Dec, 2005 )
A further Invisible City (III) ( 21st Dec, 2005 )
The Rain in Cochabamba ( 15th Dec, 2005 )
A Further Invisible City (II) ( 12th Dec, 2005 )
Mixed Feelings in Montevideo ( 8th Dec, 2005 )
The Announcement from the Ministry ( 6th Dec, 2005 )
Return to the Vertigo ( 5th Dec, 2005 )
In Patagonia ( 30th Nov, 2005 )
The Ashes of Other Possible Cities ( 30th Nov, 2005 )
a further invisible city ( 11th Sep, 2005 )
The traveler approaches Olembach by train at sunset, over a flat expanse of cropless paddock, of profitless soil. There is the smell of burning rubber or something worse and occasionally the dejected forms of little wooden houses, leaning forlornly and surrounded by worn out machinery. A kind of smog seems to hang over everything as if one were observing the world through a series of grubby windows.
Strangers pass in the corridors of the train like smears being wiped from glass, always disappearing before they can be made out; faceless faces peering into the cabins and dissolving just as you turn to notice.
But what is unusual about any of this? Isn't every city encircled by similarly dreary outlands whose destitution is rendered extravagant by the dusk? And isn't every train journey, after all, a dream of death?
Olembach rises from these thoughts, a metropolis of huge, thin towers glittering with lighted windows and the promise behind them of meals being prepared, of conversations taking place across tables, of steam rising, of illicit glances passing from one building to the next, tremulous in the high air as kites. Who, approaching Olembach does not imagine the dusty trams racketing through the streets or the drifting sound of a music lesson coming from an open window? Who doesn't edge forward with anticipation thinking of the hanging baskets of flowers, the commuters alighting beneath the haze of street lights, the bubbling song of their language and the long, glad climb of each towards whichever room it is that will have them, that desires them?
Olembach is no such place. The men, for there are only men, are seldom seen, except darkly, hurrying exhaustedly past close to the wall, like stray cats. The buildings are unenterable steal chimneys, endlessly manufacturing smoke and the lights you imagined so much of are mere bulbs attached at intervals to the chimneys, flickering intermittently. A search light prowls the streets at night. What is this uninhabitable machine?
As those little houses were to Olembach, so Olembach is to something much larger, something unimaginably worse.
In london, between the underground world and the sky.
Like that intricate system of corridors hidden beneath the surface, the sky is a never quiet machine. It fizzes coldly, it fades and returns with aeroplanes.
There is nothing quite so beautiful as to immerge from beneath the earth and to look up at those vapour trails; long, thin, man-made clouds, annointed by the last colour of the day, as if innumerable space ships were plummetting and burning through the atmosphere, having failed.
In the blue night, distant planes like little intermittant stars. Perhaps oneday we will look up towards whatever it is that hangs above us and realise that all the stars have become aeroplanes, crossing forlornly between foreign cities, dragging crowds of tourists and businessmen from one indefinite memory to another.