All text copyright Stephen Coates 2006 - 2015

THE CITY RE-CYCLED

There are bikes everywhere in London now.  If you are not from here, it is because there is a new amazing scheme of thousands of public cycles for anyone to use. It's really wonderful.

Speaking of which, back in March last year, I posted about this kid's bike we saw leaning against the river wall down on the foreshore at very low tide. The other day I was surprised to see it still there.  I don't know why I should be - it looks like it is from the seventies and may have stood there since in spite of a hundred thousand tides.  I like the polite way it is parked against the wall - almost as if its young owner has just popped off to do something - a wee perhaps - and will be back in a minute.  

Well, they never did come back - or haven't yet.

For absolutely no apparent reason, apart from general musing on time passing, this reminded me of one of my favourite quotes.  It is by Orson Welles from 'F for Fake' (surely one of the greatest of his forgotten films).  It always cheers me up:

"Our works in stone, in paint, in print are spared, some of them, for a few decades or a millennium or two, but everything must finally fall in war, or wear away into the ultimate and universal ash - the triumphs, the frauds, the treasures and the fakes. 

A fact of life: we're going to die. 

"Be of good heart," cry the dead artists out of the living past. 
"Our songs will all be silenced, but what of it? 

"Go on singing!""

10 comments:

ArtSparker said...

Wonderful how the sonorous words match his sonorous voice, so that one can hear it in the reading (although I have seen the film, which no doubt helps).

ArtSparker said...

BTW- I trust that ou and your associates have seen the animated film Mary and Max? When sensibilities collide...

spillyjane said...

It's a bit like handknit socks isn't it -- many people are flummoxed by the fact that I put so many hours of my life and so much effort into making an item that is only going going to end up full of holes. Things aren't supposed to last forever!

That is indeed a wonderful (and humbling) quotation. I myself currently have a bit of a crush on Mr. Welles.

Zurich said...

We are, indeed, going to die, but it's just what makes it all so touching. And time is like amber, it catches us and gets thicker; when dead, somewhere in the past we're still there singing, or painting, or faking - just like this kid's bike.

clerkenwell kid said...

Well, at this gothic time of year, I am very glad to hear that am not the only one who take a pleasure mortality.

Thanks!

clerkenwell kid said...

"Takes a pleasure IN mortality" I should say.

clerkenwell kid said...

Top tip re Mary and Max btw- I loved Harvey Krumpet

Kari Mathias said...

I am in love with the idea of public bicycles. Minneapolis just had a bunch of them put in, and they're all bright green and fabulous. I have to smile every time I see them.

spillyjane said...

Re. this time of year: I myself am never happier than when I'm sitting beneath some large old tree with its leaves falling down around me.

Zurich said...

You're welcome!

There's hardly any trace of Gothic, as there's hardly any of the Autumn yet in Montenegro, so it's probably much more easier to take a pleasure in mortality while everything is still green and shiny around me. Though come to think of it, I'm pretty much this way all through the year.