Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Thought for the Day

Thought for the Day at BBC Radio Bristol this morning, the day they were talking about vast void caverns being discovered under the Clifton Suspension Bridge and plans to build an eighteen story tower block near to a historic Bristol church. As delivered:

'What is this?' people said to Jesus. 'A new teaching. With authority. No-one did it like this before.'

The new style earned him followers and made him enemies. It cast doubt on the abilities of the old style of teaching. The style without the miraculous special effects. The new was threatening.

In Jesus' day there were few very tall towers and no-one flew.

Whether it's the 18th century Brunel-brilliance of Clifton Suspension Bridge, which we now learn has secret chambers. Creepy. Or the Gothic St Mary Redcliffe church which I find completely creepy and feels like it belongs in an episode of Ghostbusters (that'll get you feedback Emma). With a few exceptions, we all like our landmark local buildings. Mess with them at your peril.

But what makes a building or bridge the last word? Why can't the skyline change? Why not build something taller than the church?

Observing the recent history of the City of London, and my home city of Birmingham, Victorian red brick has given way to a vision of a new future in coloured glass and metal. Many fine buildings are now given a new back-drop.

The usual reaction on seeing new architecture is for most people to dislike it. Then to come round to it. Finally to love it and wish ill on anyone who messes with it.

We don't like change. But we risk complacency if we never move on.

I'm not making any comment about any particular tower block and I understand concerns.

It's just that we have learned to build bigger, better buildings.

I wonder if we might all try to get rid of our instant hatred of the new and give change a chance.

We could go into training. Even if it's only a different route to the shops, try something new today.

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