Friday, July 25, 2014

An ideological moment

I went to see the restored St Lawrence Jewry fountain, re-erected after forty years in store.

When it was taken down James Callaghan was Prime Minister.

The heat of the day was beginning to ease.  The setting sun edged the side of the fountain in gold.  The gothic revival fountain was poised between the Wren bulk of the cathedral and the Wren tower of St Augustine's (the rest of the church was destroyed by the Germans in 1940).

It was a moment of intense aesthetic pleasure.

But it was also an ideological moment.

How exultant the modernists must have been in the 1970s when they succeeded in having the fountain banished.  How convinced the brutalist philistines would have been that they were junking all of the past and starting again.  And yet here the fountain is, more prominent and more beautiful than before.

That is how I want society to be.

All the rubbish of the last fifty-five years removed.

And we return to status quo ante.

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