Saturday 27 January 2024

Human folly

Follies... odd little buildings without particular usage, playful, harmless. Folly, from the French (folie) meaning foolishness. Nothing wrong with a bit of playfulness in architecture, or your own pimped garden shed, but then there's the bigger and more scary version of the word, folly, which seems to be appearing with rapidity in this world of shrinking natural 'resources' and ever-increasing pollution.

After doing a spot of garden reconstruction yesterday, revelling in the very early signs of spring and feeling how important it is that we embrace all the smaller stuff: birdsong, shapes of trees, simple food made with as-local-as-possible ingredients, examining in detail our local environment, etc etc, I came indoors to start work on the audiobook and happened to see the front page of the online guardian. 

My peaceful thoughts transmogrified into utter incredulity as I stared at the picture of the latest and gargantuanly (if that's a word) huge cruise ship - Icon of the Seas. In a time of human shift towards a probable extinction event - yes it could happen; it's happened before many times - it seems unthinkable that people are still wishing and able to create bigger, grosser, plastic-filled, fuel guzzling atrocities such as this. 

But it's ok... it runs on green energy. Oh . . . yes, right. LNG. Natural gas - natural. It just appears magically without consequences of further climate disruption and vast levels of pollution. 

I personally don't understand the draw of cruises anyway. The few crossings I took on the piddly (in comparison) ferries between Britain and France I found only possible either by lying on the floor - preferably in a cabin - or standing on deck even in horizontal freezing rain. The idea of being trapped on a astronomically huge boat with around eight thousand other people - however manically happy they might be - (or not, if you are a member of the two thousand or so staff) is the stuff of technicolour nightmares, not to mention being swept along within a stream of slightly claustrophobic humans keening for on-land distractions when the mega-boat finally docks somewhere. 

The vessel has an infinity pool, so you can sit and look at a chlorine infested stretch of water hovering above the real ocean infinity, along with seven other pools and spas, a highly naff water park (thrill island), a 55 foot indoor waterfall (?!), and all the usual gyms, cinemas etc, etc. As far as food goes apparently there are forty ways to odd statement - on one leg? smothered in foam, being lectured by a rabid maths teacher, surrounded by hyenas, suspended above a giant vat of custard; sitting alone at a small corner table while Gordon Ramsey picks your meal apart - what the fuck is this!, naked in front of a gospel choir? and that's just seven . . .

Give me a small rowing boat and a tranquil river in early June - waving river weed, dragonflies, weeping willows, and a picnic, maybe with a bottle of Cava thrown in. Or just a flask of tea. That'll do.

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