Friday, 6 March 2009

Built-up area

Michael Flanders, without Donald Swann this time, notes that a Stone Age man watching from the observation platform on Salisbury Plain doesn't think much of the project:

Well wot's this then? You're not going to put up these great ugly stone blocks 'ere, are you? You can't do that! I've got Ancient Lights on my cave! Well, what is it anyway? A henge? Well, what's a henge? You may call it megalithic culture, I call it vandalism! I suppose you realise this is about the last nesting place for mammoths in the whole of Wessex?

What with them building up the long barrows and the round barrows and the bell-shaped barrows... They've started cutting out these white horses on the hillside now, have you seen that? I don't know - it's some sort of ad for mead, I think. They don't call 'em the Beaker Folk for nothing! And then you come dragging along these great prefabricated dominoes all over the roads! They're not meant for that sort of traffic. Every fine weekend it's the same story: ox-carts nose to tail all the way from 'ere to the coast.

I don't know where you get that stone from anyway - that's not local stone - I can tell. You get it from where? The Preseli Mountains? In Wales? I know it's in Wales - I've been abroad. Ooh, what'd'yer want to bring it all the way... You're bringing it the wrong way anyway: you want to bring it round the Chanctonbury Ring road, avoiding earthworks at Avebury.

What a horrible lookin' thing! That's all there is to it, is it then? Just two up and one across the top all the way round? Well if that's modern architecture, roll on the Ice Age I say! Well, you'll never get a roof on it for a start - never get twigs big enough! Yes, we 'ad a wood henge here once but it rotted. These big picture windows you've got all the way around the bottom: oh, they look very nice, yes, I grant you but what about the draughts? What about the lack of privacy? Who wants to live in a thing like that? Will you tell me when they start movin' in, won't yer? We get a pretty rowdy crowd in some of these new developments. I don't want to end up under the altar stone in a crouching position!

It's not going to be lived in? Well, that's something anyway. What is it then? It's a what? You're pulling my... a calendar? Well, it's a bit big for a calendar isn't it? I mean, you'd look a bit silly with that on your desk, wouldn't you? Well, how'd you work it then? You come up 'ere every morning before dawn - well better you than me, mate - and when the rising Sun throws a shadow of that big stone onto this flat one 'ere, then we shall know if it's Summer. Well, that will be very helpful, I must say. But is it Summer? You can't tell. Well, I'd better come and help you shovel the snow off it then...

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