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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Suppose the man should fall asleep






London Bridge is broken down,
Broken down, broken down.
London Bridge is broken down,
My fair lady.

Build it up with wood and clay,
Wood and clay, wood and clay,
Build it up with wood and clay,
My fair lady.

Wood and clay will wash away,
Wash away, wash away,
Wood and clay will wash away,
My fair lady.

Build it up with bricks and mortar,
Bricks and mortar, bricks and mortar,
Build it up with bricks and mortar,
My fair lady.

Bricks and mortar will not stay,
Will not stay, will not stay,
Bricks and mortar will not stay,
My fair lady.

Build it up with iron and steel,
Iron and steel, iron and steel,
Build it up with iron and steel,
My fair lady.

Iron and steel will bend and bow,
Bend and bow, bend and bow,
Iron and steel will bend and bow,
My fair lady.

Build it up with silver and gold,
Silver and gold, silver and gold,
Build it up with silver and gold,
My fair lady.

Silver and gold will be stolen away,
Stolen away, stolen away,
Silver and gold will be stolen away,
My fair lady.

Set a man to watch all night,
Watch all night, watch all night,
Set a man to watch all night,
My fair lady.

Suppose the man should fall asleep,
Fall asleep, fall asleep,
Suppose the man should fall asleep?
My fair lady.

Give him a pipe to smoke all night,
Smoke all night, smoke all night,
Give him a pipe to smoke all night,
My fair lady.
— I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), pp. 270-6.  An "archi-poem" posted in response to the recent election results in the UK, and London's recurring fascination with over-the-top bridges.Commentary:


With all the hullaballoo about bridges in London, and the Falling Down in the recent UK election of those many hoped could Bridge Left and Right, and who we imagined were Strong Enough to Stand Up against Nationalism, Xenophobia, and the Hoarding of Wealth and Power.... well... with all that in mind, I thought I'd revisit the classic "archi-poem" called London Bridge.

It an interesting poem if you read it all the way through, 
and bother to interpret it. 

Also, consider the poem in relation to the old London Bridge, which had dense housing on it (as impressive as Kowloon in its day). Look - it's about people as a vulnerable bridge, living in a precarious and absurd, but somehow wonderfully propped up, situation in the city. Both city and bridge (it is a metaphor, duh) were crumbling under their own weight, and the burden of time: i.e., there were people living on that falling down bridge/city; singing this song in a morally decayed bridge/pub; not simply singing a lullaby to their kids—who may indeed have had a hard time sleeping, knowing the bridge was crumbling beneath them, and in need of restoration, not cynical demolition of housing.

Seeing London Bridge as part of this spectacular panorama (with the Globe theatre in the foreground), reminds us of the dramatic tension of a city crossing and surrounding a river that also divides it. An allegory one can stuff in a pipe and smoke it, if one imagines one does not need to (or cannot) take a more difficult course of action: i.e., to collectively cross the bridge of indifference, and span the gulf of that all-too-human desire to be forever young and absolutely free.

Link here to an interesting before and after of London Bridge http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/mar/03/london-skyline-1616-2016-interactive-faders-visscher



And for the latest news on the Garden Bridge Scandal Link Here: http://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/revealed-tfl-manager-challenged-garden-bridge-scoring/10003444.article