May 31, 2021

Dreams or product placement?

The yowl of a Paxman Valenta is no more...

Dreams or product placement? | Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International
Photo by Ben Brooksbank Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

Is it all a dream, an illusion?

My train of thought...

Isambard started it!

Down here in La La Land things are not what they seem it is an illusory place. Once again I hear that this place is one of the most desirable to live in, and that it has the highest property prices of anywhere except for London. Every summer that 'old chestnut' is given air time by the media and I daresay that they are right. My town seems to have more Chelsea Tractors than Chelsea. I have no doubt that people will chase the dream and the beautiful people will have their place by the sea. This place has always been somewhere to be 'seen' a place to retire to when you have made your fortune. Good luck to them.

I have always said that 'La La land' is somewhere where if you are not too careful you will get stuck. I have been stuck here for over twenty years and have seen the changes.

Another name for my town is Chelsea On Sea and that is a fitting moniker. In my last post I was rather rude about our visitors, but I understand that their holiday is something that is imperative, a given, a right and something that has to be perfect heaven forfend if a fly should fall in their pink gin or whatever tipple is fashionable at the moment.

A friend of mine pointed something out to me, and that it is all, an advertising construct. And given my previous role I should have 'sussed' that. Well I do now.

Really this place is one great enormous advertising and marketing construct. So we are all chasing something that has been 'planted' into our minds. I thought I came here to escape, to run away to the Wild West of England. I remember arriving at Paddington Station. There was no going back I had burnt my bridges. I had a rucksack on my back and a big shaggy Irish Wolfhound called Poppy walking by my side. I will never forget that day and as the Paxman Valenta powered Inter City 125 powered up with a scream or yowl that only those engines can make I was leaving the station speeding towards my escape. The suburbs of London shot by the train was going at full pelt back in those days 125 mph was normal Sir Kenneth Grange's 'journey shrinker' was doing it's job flawlessly. Too flawlessly and soon I was at my new home. No more will the Western main line see these incredible pieces of technology fly like a dart along Brunel's amazing creation. I wish I could have been at Paddington Station to see the last '125' leave London. Unlike Chelsea on Sea they did the job with little advertising or 'spin' they did the business and saved British Rail from disaster. No spin no flummery but good design and engineering. I have a few material momentos of those diesel 'racehorses' they were something that was not based upon something 'fake' but built solidly like the engineering of their predecessors, the steam engines designed by another incredible engineer George Jackson Churchward and his successor C B Collett. The Stars, Castles, and the Kings also helped to create an advertising 'construct'. One that the Great Western Railway started in the 1920's with the creation of a mythical Cornish Rivera and it's slick advertising enticing people to holiday in Devon. So perhaps we can blame the general manager of the Great Western Railway Sir Felix Pole for starting this dream, this myth? Did I fall for this myth? Yep hook line and sinker. A sad fact is that Churchward was killed by one of his locomotives. He had a habit of walking along the railway line balancing on one rall. It was a foggy day and he got hit. A sad but true end to the life of a 'forgotten' genius. If you want to see poetry in motion go to the Didcot Railway Centre and stand next to a Castle class steam locomotive. If it doesn't take your breath away then you have no soul whatsoever. So I think railway companies started all this and in London Metro Land was another 'ruse' thought up by companies to create a commuter belt.

I said that I 'escaped' from London. That is a fair summation of things. The trouble is all the people I wanted to 'escape' from followed me. Bugger. They however escaped in their uninspiring drab 'tractors' at least my diesels had soul and were made by the people for the people. Now things have changed. Now our atomised society has created a rather insular and self centered 'dream' I think it is a dream that is rather vulgar and insipid. We have created a dream that is based upon the cult of the individual, and as I once said we once let slip the dogs of war, now we let slip dogs that fit in a handbag. Such is modern life? And it is something that feeds the ego of the 'beautiful people'. Advertisers now beam 'perfection' into our eyeballs and everything has to be 'designer', in a way that is not a bad thing but this design is based around the 'person' we all chase 'singular perfection' I am not sure that this dream is a healthy one. Maybe all dreams are not healthy? But I suppose it depends on what 'dreams' you are dreaming. Martin Luther King had an amazing dream of great social and political meaning. but dreaming about your next car or your next visit to Chelsea on Sea in the age of the virus, is self centered and rather vainglorious don't you think? No? Then shame on you!

I share a video about the incredible Class 43. They are still in service in Scotland and other secondary routes. The Class 43 holds the world speed record for diesel traction 148mph. Apparently it could have done much much more but for track and signalling reasons it was throttled back. shame...