Spoor of the Bookworm

By Bookworm1962

Dirty Old Town

These chimneys, divorced from their original function, now exist to provide compositional elements.

I do miss the open fires that I used to stare, fascinated into as a child. I remember, aged 11, feeling sad when my parents ripped out all the fireplaces in the big Edwardian house we moved into, it seemed like vandalism to me....actually it still does. I don't miss the smoke that used to pour out of these chimneys though. I know our cleaner air now is purchased with hidden, or at least more remote, pollution costs from power stations, and perhaps the smoke of coal fires pouring into ones immediate environment is more honest in that it's harder to ignore, but I do not miss that world of soot and smell. I was thinking about this recently when watching the film version of Cloud Atlas, one of the changes they made from the book was to transpose one of the story lines from Bruges to Edinburgh - a distinct improvement I thought - but this is the Edinburgh of the 1930's not modern Edinburgh after decades of developing and applying stone cleaning technology, so the film crew recreated Auld Reekie complete with the Scott Monument, as it still was when I first got to know it in the sixties and seventies - a world where the predominant colour was black, the deep jet black of centuries of thousands of belching chimneys etching their dirt into the stones of the city - Auld Reekie indeed.

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