270914 Birmingham’s belle époque

By September 27, 2014zBlog Archives

A trip down memory lane (that’s an idiom – not a Bleeding London street) as the RPS meeting took me to Birmingham, which has changed beyond all recognition. I’ve got to be honest and say that there is absolutely nothing Parisian about Brum, so any attempts at capturing the spirit of La “belle époque” were doomed to failure before I even got there. (“Belle époque: ‘With the or in la belle époque. The period of peace and prosperity in the Western world in the decades preceding the First World War (1914–18), characterized by cultural vitality, artistic accomplishment, and scientific progress, esp. as epitomized in Parisian society at that time. Also in extended use: a period of peace, prosperity, and progress; a golden age.’ OED) However, Birmingham was renowned for its engineering industry and so it counts in terms of ‘scientific progress’; and it did produce Simon Rattle, so there’s a bit of ‘artistic accomplishment’; and Jasper Carrott comes from down the road, so there’s a bit of ‘cultural vitality’ – didn’t he once say that if Britain had piles, they’d be in Birmingham? Today’s pic is a leftover from that golden Brummie era sitting lonesomely in a contemporary urban space.

Day #266 of a 365 project, where the daily pic is informed by the OED word of the day.