The Disaster Area

This is the M4 overpass; it wasn't built in 1977

18 January, 1977

The sky above the swimming centre was alive with sounds he had previously heard only on television: sirens in chorus and the thumping flutter of helicopter blades. The swimming lessons were cancelled and they were sent home with their parents. According to the announcements, the bridge had fallen down. He thought, “What bridge?”

The Disaster Area

The seabirds

Years later, he would visit the Granville branch of the council library on his way home from school, a short walk from the rebuilt Bold Street bridge. He borrowed copies of Crash and The Atrocity Exhibition and read them while he waited for the bus home. The concrete paving of the bus terminal was dazzlingly white in the sun, making him dizzy when he looked up from the pages of the book. Seagulls perched on the halogen streetlamps, drawn this far from the coast by the Parramatta River to the scavening grounds of suburban rubbish dumps.

Reservoirs, Heathrow

Dead white males

“Since the death of Einstein in 1955, there hasn’t been a single living genius. From Michelangelo, through to Shakespeare, Newton, Beethoven, Darwin, Freud and Einstein, there’s always been a living genius. Now, for the first time in 500 years, we are on our own.”

J G Ballard, 1930-2009

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