Tuesday, December 28, 2010



©2006 Bauzeitgeist.

Charles Holland's Fantastic Journal has a great year-end essay about Dover, specifically the remarkable juxtaposition of the quintessentially English-Heritage fantasy, stone ruins atop chalk cliffs clawing down into La Manche, with the grimy, cement-and-auto-exhaust pinball-machine landscape of an overcapacity late-capitalism logistics node.

I haven't been to Dover in about four years, but I did really enjoy both aspects of the place when I passed through there. I loved watching the cargo ships and the passenger ferries, the lorry traffic crawling along the flyovers through customs, and the white-worn paths along the top of the cliffs were a pleasure.

The place has a particular importance to me personally, as when I first moved to the UK to attend the AA, I arrived at Dover via ferry. The crossing added another layer of romance to the whole experience of living overseas for the first time, with all the excitement of school and living in London ahead of me.

The Fantastic Journal Essay goes into wonderful detail on the frontier between these two very different aspects of the place, and also some of the historic and political atmosphere of Dover as a municipality and an asset of a large global economy. Going beyond a perfunctory aesthetic dichotomy, I wonder if its possible to see beauty not only in the natural cliffs, but in the concrete flyovers and loading docks.

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