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It flies hard. Beastlike. Low.

On the rooftops of Hounslow


Not the Concorde

Not a concorde

Simply Concorde




Wolfgang Tillman’s golden example of 1960s techno-utopian invention


Soaring in its majesty

Above suburban train stations full of commuters

Above treetops

Above airport carparks full of Vauxhalls

Above washing lines and sheds and lampposts and wire fences


Soaring in the sky so blue blue


Its power was on its outside

Its visual magnificence from without

Not from within

Where you would sit cramped

And surrounded by smoke


You would rather be outside than in


Unless, of course, you were Iggy Pop who said

‘I remember smoking on the airplane

I used to love to smoke on the airplane

Those were the golden days of air travel’


Like it’s better to watch a steam train powering across a viaduct

Than sit in one of its filthy, stuffy, noisy carriages


It flies hard. Low

To new worlds

But few worlds would let it in


Its obsolescence was built in from the start

All the doors were closed


There was never a need for it

Besides taking Phil Collins to Philadelphia

Besides serving tourists

Besides its joyrides


No business need

No leisure need


Besides its sheer magnificence and splendour


Even without its tragic death

If it were still here now

It would have been doomed

Its sonic boom replaced by Zoom


Let’s come down to earth

Let’s get on the road

The highway

The autobahn


Wir fahren, fahren, fahren auf der Autobahn

Wir fahren, fahren, fahren auf der Autobahn


The M1

The road to the North and to the South

To Staples Corner, to Toddington, Trowel and Tipshelf

To these dark Satanic mills

Their overwhelming glamour trips off the tip of the tongue

Driving home for Christmas

If we get to the Watford Gap by the end of the day I’ll be happy she said

Her optimism misplaced


Like the Barbican

Its optimism retraced

Its honesty, its dynamism, enshrined in its brutalism


It tried to open new worlds

But these worlds were difficult to find

The complex was too complex


Its design

A Design for Life

For people who work in the City

For people who liked Scandinavian furniture before Ikea came to Neasden

For people who liked French cooking before Karen and Roger opened Café Rouge in Richmond


For people who like Culture. Culture with a capital ‘C’


Culture Club

Karma Chameleon

Karma Police

Culture Vulture


Flying high

Circling low

Over the rooftops

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