Saturday, 30 July 2011

Myth and the city

Taking a a walkover to St Pancreas Station, that vast, Gothic monstrosity which dominates the landscape of Kings Cross. Back in the distant past this folly was going to be demolished in favour of a modernistic disaster much like Euston Station which must be the most ugly travel trap in the whole world. These buildings represents clash of travel styles which speak volumes about how culture experience the idea of travel. St Pancreas was conceive at a time when to travel meant some different. A statement of England at the time when the confidence in the Empire was on the wane. But the class system still prevailed. The building was/is a monument to the self perception of bombast and imagined power.
When we use our penetrating gaze and focus our attention upon the style of this form of Gothic structure we must question what we are observing. This is a symbol of invented histories which have no meaning what so ever in reality. Its a imagined reality in a landscape of imagined passion. When the building went up it was already out if time with the changing historical reality.
Nothing about the building tells us anything about the times. Monuments which hold onto fairy stories offer up a comfort against the harsh troubles of the times.
The railway station was a microcosm of 19c expectations. It is a space of waiting, the original interior was a net work of waiting rooms. It was a monument to the tedium of waiting and the expectation of new things.
The roof is a master work of engineering.
Everything else is candy land reality. They/the station is,was full of illusions and deceptions which high light the high point of capitalism in the late 19c Its a dreamscape, today it represents the Disney version of pleasure.The big difference being shopping .
Importantly for me the station became my adventure playground way back in my tender years. This is why I am returning back with a different gaze.

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