Thursday, September 01, 2005

Sad cranes.

Around the corner of where I live, they are building a new apartment-complex. Or something like that, I haven't bothered to actually look at the "artistic impression" that graces the sign in front of the site yet.

In order to do so, they had to tear down a large flat, that was abandoned and subsequently re-used by squatters. Inside, there were studios, a café/restaurant, a movie theater, a place for performances, both theatre and music, and living-spaces. This was all more than a year ago. I expect the new apartments to go for sale for an incredible amount, furthering the cause of upyuppie-ing the neighbourhood. I suppose that's what you get for squatting a big building and doing nice things in it on a top-level location (it's about 10 minutes walking from Leidseplein).

For a city that wants to promote itself as a place where a lot of creativity is happening, they sure are working hard that all the places where the really interesting stuff (i.e. the stuff that doesn't necessarily make money) happens are being forced to move or closed down.

But before I sound too bitter: this is not the point of my post.

My point is: at this construction site, there are cranes. Several huge cranes. These cranes need oiling. Badly. But I wish, I really wish, that they won't do that.

Because you see, everytime these cranes move, they make a loud noise, like only huge metal constructions that need oiling can. They moan, they groan, they howl. A beautiful hymn, a symphony of gargantuan, sad, sluggish mammals, possibly from the Pleistocene. Slow to build up, it sustains for several seconds, then fades out. Sometimes they sing together, creating a dissonant harmony. It reverberates against the walls around my house. Sometimes haunting, melancholy, then hopeful, as the younger, sorry, smaller one joins in with it's high-pitched whine. When I close my eyes, I can sometimes see these creatures, somewhere in between Woolly Mammoth and Dire Wolf, call out to each other over the span of an ancient plain, a tundra with a crack in the middle, unable to reach each other, their only comfort each other's voices.

And then the hammering starts, because Amsterdam soil is soft, and apartments need to be built, money needs to be made.

I get out of bed and get ready for work.

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