December 31st, 2009


harry harrison could have told you that

I've just been googling "Primeval Drinking Game" and "Jonathan Meades drinkng game". No luck, just some people being sarcastic about Hannah Spearritt's pants and opinionated bloggers skipping lightly between Meades and binge drinking -- Off Kilter at work, I suspect. Ah well, I'll just have to watch the christmas box sets and make them up myself then. I'm feeling the need for another eating-and-drinking party, perhaps Primeval will provide.

Oh, and I went to see Avatar -- quite an eye opener, especially in 3D. I hear some people have been finding it hard to empathise with the big blue sexy cat people, perhaps comparing them to the vastly cheaper but somehow more intensely engaging prawns from District 9. Well yes, but all you've really got to empathise with is the planet, as it's clearly a Deathworld. Sorry, it's not a planet. It's a low gravity moon orbiting a gas giant. And that huge chasm full of floating rocks? My guess is that's the remnants of the previous invaders, their antigrav drive still sputtering away after thousands of years. I see the faint marks of someone thinking it through, under the layers of glitter, render, flying debris and mood lighting.

Shame it's not going to be a trilogy. No, scratch that. Shame it won't be the trilogy I'd like to see which would be (working titles, obviously) Revenge of the Earth Men and Green Hell Planet Unleashed. It might well become a trilogy, but it'd probably just be a rehash of the noble savage/Gaia theory nonsense the humans kept using to describe the ticks/gardeners/interface species. Not sure why they did, really. If it's real, you can just say what's happening.

shopping trolley reef

On the way across the bridge today, I spotted a shopping trolley in the river. The water was goose-turd green, angry and high. We're on flood warning, and the Thames is fast and brutally cold at the moment. A human would be foolhardy to venture into that mess to fish it out. So there it stays, for a while, becoming part of the river.

Which brought the thought that it would rapidly be colonised by fish and weeds and riverine invertebrates. By the time it was removed, it would be sheltering species, well on its way to becoming its own tiny ecosystem.

I'm not the first person to think such things; meet the Bath Marine Preservation Society's Trolly Reef, and follow on down the comments for the eerily beautiful Original Abandoned Shopping Trolley Project.

All of which leads me to wonder how much of conservation is about returning an area to an idea of appropriate wildness. The plants and animals don't especially care, they will happily grow through concrete, tarmac, old bikes and shopping trolleys. You could argue about rust, broken glass, sharp edges but moss and murk will happily cover all of that, given time. And the wildlife would probably appreciate being left in peace.