sale away
big bang
tail lights  
moving constellations  
nothing so fashionable 
pleasant children  
please constable
what, no tea?
day of hope

big bang
Walking on the High Street I felt a gust of hot air from a department store's large
automatic doors stuck permanently open because people were milling about near the
sensor. The situation seemed no more or less surprising than the time my local
supermarket ran the heating on a summer morning to offset cold air pouring
out of their open freezers.

I remember a time when we had to use our arms or our charm to open doors. Doors that
sense our approach and politely move out of the way were the stuff of science fiction.
Partly because the technology was too costly to be considered worthwhile and also
because it signified the utopian ideal of a perfect well ordered affluent society. Don't
kid yourself, that's not us. We are just a pale imitation, a parody.
We value illusion over substance.

Certainly our technology has improved over the years. We can make automatic sliding
doors easily and comparatively cheaply. What's more, because we can do it, we do it.
Inevitably, the deed precedes the heed. No-one stops to think, "do we actually need
this - does it provide any real benefit using electrical power to open and close doors for
everyone?" Did anyone even consider that it's ecologically and economically unsound
to use energy this way?

Think of any High Street and all adjoining streets in a town centre, all lined with shops,
all artificially lit. The superstores, shopping malls, retail complexes, garages, traffic
lights, street lights, illuminated road signs, CCTV and other utilities. Our towns are
positively buzzing. A local sub station regularly handles more than twice its intended
maximum load, surprisingly with far fewer failures than would be expected. It's no
wonder we have a problem. And yet somehow amid all this wanton use of energy,
governments claim to be reducing our CO2 emissions. How?

We as individuals are constantly being told to improve insulation, reduce our energy
consumption and emissions for the good of the environment, but why? To offset
corporate waste? Are we the poor children who have to eat dry bread for tea because
Daddy has a drink problem? Or are we culpable through our support of the system?
Let's face it, if we weren't gullible enough to be drawn in to overheated over-lit stores
to buy a whole host of unnecessary junk, then they wouldn't sell it, they'd make less
profit and would therefore be less inclined to waste money on heating and lighting.

But that would be unthinkable. If one word could describe the ethos of our society it
would have to be "more". More wants more, more needs more. "Light the lights, throw
open the doors. Roll up, roll up, join the party! Who will buy? Hang out the banners,
pump up the balloons, pump them till they're fit to burst then pump them up some more."