Thursday, 5 June 2014

Green Steps, Victorian Roost and Afloat

"Green Steps" :- In all the times I had wandered around the cliff tops I had never noticed these steps before...and there I am thinking I am visually aware! Ha. This very small flight of steps is set into a grass bank that separates the pavement (sidewalk) from the cliff top in the hstorical village of Rottingdean on the south coast of England. Beyond the dark line of hedge towards the back of the image there's a good 24 meter (80 feet) drop to the beach below as that's the edge of the chalk cliff.

"Victorian Roost" :- I loved her in her heyday and I adore her just as much now. I have distant but fond memories of walkng on her boards, riding the children's roudabouts, playing 'Crazy Golf' and bouncing about inside a sealed 70's version of what we now call a "Bouncy Castle". An episode of the 70's series "The Persuaders" starring Sir Roger Moore and the late great Tony Curtis was partially filmed on her and "Oh What A Lovely War" the 1969 musical film directed by Richard Attenborough was 75% set on her (other scenes were shot elsewhere in Brighton and on the South Downs). She opened in 1866 and was eventually closed to the public in 1975 when Brighton Corporation declined to buy it. So now she sits forlorn with her soul to bare. Many haven't a clue as to what she looked like or what she once was. She was an elegant testament to the Victorian age and is still to this day (believe it or not) one of only two Grade I listed piers in the UK (Clevedon Pier in Somerset is the other).

"Afloat" :- Many refer to this seafront sculpture as "The Donut" but that's about as far as it goes. They wander down from the promenade and onto the huge Victorian built breakwater and patiently wait their turn to pull faces through the hole as a picture is taken. It's become a daily occurrence as a never ending conveyor belt of tourists, students and day trippers all think they are the first to strike a silly facial expression whilst looking through. They are all blissfully unaware of what the sclupture is called, who the sculptor is and what exactly "The Donut" represents or is supposed to be. It's proper title is "Afloat" and it was masterfully sculpted in bronze by Hamish Black. Scientists have often speculated that the donut shape or torus is how our universe may look. So Hamish Black looked at a globe of our planet globe and pressed the south and north poles together to form a torus with the lines of longitude radiating from the hole in the middle. The dark 'holes' that you see on its surface are the shapes of the major continents. When viewed from the other side the horizon of the sea forms the diameter of the central hole. It's all very clever stuff but next time someone gets their head stuck in the hole I bet they'll still be blissfully unaware.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill