Thursday 22nd of August 2019

happy like a wrinkled pumpkin rotting on a heap of pH deficient manure... (updated)...

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Update: fire at Notre Dame, Paris — blame the Russians, the Yellow Vests, global warming, Quasimodo, the Phantom of the Opera, the Poms still reeling about the fire at Winsdor Castle, Putin, the Muslims, Brexit, Macron and at a stretch Donald Trump who in his presidential wisdom would have ordered water bombers to kill off the fire.  Gus primary analysis of this fire, like many of these fires on old buidings with wooden framed roofs, suggests dust is the culprit. Old dust has destroyed many old buidings, started these days with an arc welder, or an acetylene cutter, rather than a candle. See article restoration gone wrong...? 

 

Back to the original article.

Dismal news over the wire from Blighty: Sir Roger Scruton, the greatest living conservative philosopher, has been dismissed as chair of the British government’s Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission after making a few anodyne remarks to the New Statesman about the Communist Party of China. “They’re creating robots out of their own people,” quoth Sir Roger, “each Chinese person is a kind of replica of the next one and that is a very frightening thing.

Predictably, the Wets and Labourites are offended on behalf of totalitarians over this nonexistent racial slight. Meanwhile, normal people are offended by the CPC’s latest experiment in social engineering, the Social Credit system, which is indeed meant to turn the populace into well-managed and safely predictable automata. To call the Communists’ machinations “frightening” is positively charitable.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/roger-scruton-for-architecture-czar/

Obviously, Sir Dear Roger and his supporters of his comments about China, have not watched the Trump train in action, the revelation by Assange and Snowden about the way the US administration secretly spies on its people without giving credits, but only brickbats. Roger and his supporters obviously have not watched the very popular Chinese show, called “She is the One”, and its derivative with parental approval, where Scruton would have seen a many different Chinese faces and not a single god in the construct of happy Chinese relationships, created with very different looking people on a brightly tinselled modern TV stage. 

In most of the photographs of Roger, he appears as happy as a wrinkled pumpkin rotting on a heap of pH deficient manure. I'm not that good looking myself...

But enough of the sweet and sour descriptions, let's get on with some real black beans stir fry. In an essay on architecture published in The American Conservative, Scruton lodes an old idea about the purpose of gloriously building stuff. He thus refers to Adolf Loos' only two worthwhile applications of art in architecture — the temple and the tomb. This is very well said though it is completely erroneous should you refer to a temple as one of god and a tomb as the resting place for an important person like a Ramses II, or an unknown soldier who makes us think about the futility of war (or about the necessary sacrifice of dying for a psychopath).

This is what Scruton says:

Adolf Loos, founding father of architectural modernism, maintained that only in two of its applications is architecture an art—in the temple and the tomb. For it is only in these structures, built to house the non-existent, that architecture escapes from its everyday function as a shelter against an inhospitable reality. The tomb and the temple are ostensibly built as monuments to the hero or the god contained in them. In fact they are monuments to our own ideals, giving form and mass to purely mental entities

And Scruton's essay goes downhill from here on.

One could be taken by the pompous grandiosity of the vernacular, and dismiss our little abode as not worth a fart though we have toiled to make it honourable enough, but the Scruton idea is totally false for the modern times. A great many of modern architectural buildings are not dedicated to god nor death — unless you take the twin towers demolition on 9/11, as a massive tomb-site. Take the Sydney Opera House for example: no god, no death — but a fine building dedicated to the art of music — possibly one of the most iconic buildings in the world, that people have tried to copy with very limited success. Sure the SOH has its problems though — and so does the Parthenon which lacks a roof. Many fine MODERN buildings are dedicated to cash, like the new European Bank in Frankfurt, and that massive 820+ metre tower in Dubai, not dedicated to allah but to business deals and to the flow of greenbacks. Our present ideals are to make cash and to have a good time making cash. Even many rich people will chose incineration before having a mausoleum built in the worms' honour. The last massive tomb project may have been the one for Napoleon. Hitler never had time to escape his tunnels that became his burial chamber. Not even a modern American General gets a full monument built in his/her honour of battle. One exception though is the resting place of Lenin, that after so many years in public view in Moscow is attracting some unflattering comments and a possible removal. 

We must admit that Supermarkets are often of poor architectural value, except if you go to some department stores in Singapore and Shanghai in China, where the up and down escalator is the king of transportation. But Supermarkets are usually transient buildings, unlike the Guggenheim Gallery or the old Natural History Museum, itself a grandiose tomb for dead animals and some dead rocks we admit. I'm not sure if Roger Scruton is in favour of flogging architects who indulge in designing bridges like that magnificent one, the Millau Viaduct, a cable-stayed bridge on the River Tarn near Millau in southern France, listed in the Guinness Book of World Records in the year 2011 for being the tallest bridge in the world. This is a work of art dedicated to, not a god nor dead people, but faster transport. With Scruton in charge of the British government’s Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission, we could end up with Roman circuses (not really, because these are dedicated to blood sports [like the new Gladys sports stadiums replacing newish Wran's sports stadiums]), Amphitheatres (not really, because these are dedicated to Thespian activities), Churches (not Mosques because Scruton is a rabid Christian) and a massive tomb to bury Theresa May for having done the best she could do to annoy the shit out of Europe and most of the population of the United Kingdom (presently a Queendom). I hope that eventually Scruton sees the silliness of what he wrote by following Adolf Franz Karl Viktor Maria Loos' old ways — unless he was pulling our leg all along and we've been had.

I don't think Roger is devious enough to trick us, but he is intelligent enough to trick himself.

 

GL

Dunny architect extraordinaire

dubai

Picture above by Gus Leonisky: nighttime view of the Burj Khalifa, inaugurated in 2010, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Total height: 829.8 m (2,722 ft).

the natural history museum...

museum

This large mural in Newtown, Sydney, Australia, of the The Natural History Museum in London, has since disappeared, replaced by a building of offices, shops and apartments. This mural, painted with spray cans, was a massive undertaking for an artist, knowing that the work would eventually be destroyed...

In front of it was a realistic concrete sculpture of a 1980/90s computer and full cathode-ray tube. Amazing obsolescence.

 

Below, Gus called this: "Staircase to Nowhere" in a new building in New York... introduced here as a counterpoint to the utilitarian staircase of the museum above...

 

modern staircase...

 


restoration gone wrong...?

A massive fire has engulfed the roof of Notre Dame cathedral in the heart of the French capital, toppling its spire and sending thick plumes of smoke high into the blue sky as tourists and Parisians watched in horror from the streets below.

Flames that began in the early evening burst through the roof of the centuries-old cathedral and engulfed the spire, which collapsed, quickly followed by the entire roof.

It was not immediately clear what caused the fire, which drew crowds of people to gather in nearby squares as a huge plume of smoke wafted across the city and ash fell over a large area.

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https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-16/notre-dame-cathedral-paris-engulf...

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Notre Dame of Paris in "better times"... (Picture by Gus). By the look of it (scaffolding), some restoration was going on. One must say that although no cause of the fire has been determined, "old" roofs are dusty. The accumulation of this dust is a MAJOR fire hasard. The dust can act like a bomb... Any grinding, sawing cutting and dust making activities by restoration — even dust from stone — would add to the old dust and become powerful explosive like thermite... Remember:

1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.

Her Majesty The Queen

 

This was the year Winsor Castle got destroyed by a major fire. The major loss was to the fabric of the castle. The false ceiling in St George's Hall and the void for coal trucks beneath the floor had allowed the fire to spread. It burned as far as the Chester Tower. Several ceilings collapsed. Apartments burnt included the Crimson Drawing Room (completely gutted), the Green Drawing Room (badly damaged, though only partially destroyed by smoke and water) and the Queen's Private Chapel (including the double-sided 19th century Henry Willis organ in the gallery between St George's Hall and Private Chapel, oak panelling, glass and the altar).

St George's Hall survived with the walls largely intact, but the ceiling had collapsed. The State Dining Room in the Prince of Wales Tower and the Grand Reception Room were also devastated. In total, 100 rooms were affected by the fire. Smaller apartments damaged or destroyed included the Star Chamber, Octagon Room, Brunswick Tower (covered in 12 feet (3.5 m) of debris), Cornwall Tower, Prince of Wales Tower, Chester Tower, Holbein Room and the Great Kitchen, which lost its plaster coving and most of the medieval timber. The external wall above the bay window of the Crimson Drawing Room (between the Prince of Wales and Chester Towers) was seriously calcified.

 

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dust explosion is the rapid combustion of fine particles suspended in the air within an enclosed location. Dust explosions can occur where any dispersed powdered combustible material is present in high-enough concentrations in the atmosphere or other oxidizing gaseous medium, such as pure oxygen. In cases when fuel plays the role of a combustible material, the explosion is known as a fuel-air explosion.

Dust explosions are a frequent hazard in underground coal minesgrain elevators, and other industrial environments. They are also commonly used by special effects artists, filmmakers, and pyrotechnicians, given their spectacular appearance and ability to be safely contained under certain carefully controlled conditions.

Thermobaric weapons utilize this principle by rapidly saturating area with an easily combustible material and then igniting it to produce explosive force. These weapons are the most powerful non-nuclear weapons in the world.

 

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And talking of explosion, this one was about one hundred metres from the floating restaurant, famous for its beer and sausages, that I have visited many times: 

 

Frankfurt: WWII bomb detonated in river

Specialists detonated a World War II bomb in Frankfurt's Main River, causing a spectacular water fountain. Hundreds of residents living nearby were evacuated ahead of the explosion.

 

https://www.dw.com/en/frankfurt-wwii-bomb-detonated-in-river/a-48323783

 

frankfurt

Gus' picture of the bridge from the floating restaurant... 

 

 

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notre dame: a "pompidou centre" in waiting since 2015...


The Hidden Challenge of the Restoration of Notre-Dame

 


by  Thierry Meyssan

The Élysée used the fire of Notre-Dame de Paris to carry out a project that had been put on the back burner. It has set new rules, outside tender procedures and respect for heritage not to restore the cathedral, but to transform the Île de la Cité into Europe’s leading touristic destination on the eve of the Olympic Games of 2024. To avoid judicial constraints, he [Meyssan] arbitrarily retained the "hypothesis of a construction incident".




The fire of Notre-Dame Cathedral

When the fire of Notre-Dame began on the evening of April 15, 2019, all the French media and many foreigners turned to the burning cathedral. Many foreign TVs started their editorials with this news, but not France 2.

The public channel had planned to devote its news to President Macron’s announced speech entitled the "Great National Debate". The script, completely drowned by the counterpoint provoked by this unforeseen drama, preserved the TV schedule, not without having first regretted that the president postponed his speech sine die; a speech in F2's eyes much more important.

The coldness of most journalists and the stupidity of the politicians’ hot comments suddenly showed the gaping gulf between their intellectual world and that of the ordinary French people. For the ruling class, the beauty of Notre-Dame can not make us forget that it is a monument of Christian superstition. On the contrary, for the public, it is the place where the French meet as a people to supplicate or give thanks to God.

In terms of communication, there will probably be a before and after this fire: a majority of French was stunned by this disaster, and revolted by the arrogant indifference of the ruling class.


The Island of the City and the tourism industry

Immediately, the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron decided not to rebuild Notre Dame, but to realize a difficult project that had been waiting in drawers for two and a half years.

In December 2015, a mission was sponsored by the President of the Republic, François Hollande, and the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo. It lasted a whole year while Emmanuel Macron was Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital.

Many personalities participated, including Audrey Azoulay, then Minister of Culture and now Director of Unesco [1], or the Prefect Patrick Strzoda, then Chief of Staff to the Minister of Interior and today Emmanuel Macron.

It was headed by the President of the National Monuments Center, Philippe Bélaval, and the architect Dominique Perrault.


Noting that the island of the City is, since its remodeling by Baron Haussmann in the nineteenth century, an administrative complex closed to the public, housing the Sainte-Chapelle and the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, the mission proposed to transform it into a "Island-monument". The opportunity is provided by the removal of the Palace of Justice, the reorganization of the Prefecture of Police and the hospital of the Hotel Dieu. [now] It will indeed be possible to reorganize everything.

The mission has thus listed 35 coordinated projects, including the creation of underground traffic routes and the canopy of many interior courtyards, to make the island a must-drive for 14 million annual tourists and also French people.

The report of the mission [2] evokes the incredible commercial value of this project, but does not say a word about the heritage value, particularly spiritual, of Sainte-Chapelle and Notre-Dame that it addresses exclusively as tourist sites, sources potential income.

Unfortunately this ambitious project could not, according to its authors, be realized quickly not so much because of the absence of financing as heavy administrative habits and enormous legal constraints. Although there are only a few people living on the island, the slightest expropriation can last for decades. More surprisingly, the director of the National Monuments Center seemed to regret the prohibition to destroy part of the heritage to enhance another part. Etc.


The choices of the Élysée

In the hours that followed, it was obvious that very large funds would be offered by donors ranging from ordinary citizens to super rich magnates. The objective of the Élysée was therefore to set up an authority capable of leading both the reconstruction of Notre-Dame and the transformation of the Ile de la Cité.

The next day, April 16, during a televised speech, President Macron declared: "So, yes, we will rebuild Notre-Dame Cathedral even more beautiful, and I want it to be completed within 5 years" [3]. Let’s forget the "I want" characteristic not of a Republican elected, but of a business leader. Five years is extremely short, especially considering the century and a half of the construction of the cathedral. However, it is the time necessary for the work to be completed in time for tourists from the 2024 Olympic Games. This was the date planned by the Bélaval-Perrault mission.

Two days later, on the 17th of April, the Council of Ministers was entirely devoted to the consequences of the fire. Three important decisions were recorded:

• Appoint the former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, General Jean-Louis Georgelin, to lead from the Elysee a special representation mission "to ensure the progress of the procedures and work that will be undertaken ».

• Have the parliament adopt a bill [4] governing the collection of funds, regularizing the appointment of General Georgelin who has reached the age limit and above all exempting his mission from all tendering procedures, heritage protection laws, and any constraints that may arise.`

• Launch an international architectural competition to rebuild Notre-Dame.

Another decision was made: to stifle any debate on the causes of the fire in order to avoid a judicial inquiry disturbing this beautiful arrangement.


The State lies

Immediately, the new prosecutor of the Republic of Paris, Rémy Heitz, appointed by personal intervention Emmanuel Macron, ensures that the criminal track would not be pursued and that the fire ibe declared as a construction site accident.

This attitude provokes an outcry from the site’s experts, firefighters, craftsmen and architects, for whom no worksite element was able to cause such a fire, at this place and at this speed.

The insistence of the Prosecutor and that of the Prefect of Police, Didier Lallement, to take a stand at a time when no investigator had been able to visit the scene of the fire attests to the development of an official version which does not constrain to long investigations blocking the site. It also feeds questions about the arbitrarily dismissed track, that of an anti-Christian or anti-religious act, especially in the context of the vandalism against the churches (878 profanations in 2017), the arson of the Saint-Sulpice church on March 17, or even the fire of Al-Marwani mosque on the Al-Aqsa esplanade in Jerusalem.

In addition, knowing that the majority of large fires occur in the context of real estate projects, the hypothesis of a deliberate act to allow the transformation of the Ile de la Cité must be examined. These questions are all legitimate, but in the absence of investigation no definitive answer can be made.

Certainly, the goal of President Macron is commendable, but his method is very strange. While it is not possible to launch such a project without changing the rules of law, but if the appointment of a senior general officer is a guarantee for "effectiveness", it does not respect the law.

Thierry Meyssan

Translation 
Jean-Louis Scarsi

 

Major adaptation by Jules Letambour

 

Read more:

https://www.voltairenet.org/article206340.html

 

 

Hurling an inconvenient truth into the midst of this gushing outpouring of billionaire and corporate largesse is Philippe Martinez, head of the France’s CGT trade union. Martinez makes the point that “If they can give tens of millions to rebuild Notre Dame, then they should stop telling us there is no money to help with the social emergency.”

The social emergency he’s referring to concerns the plight of France’s economically disadvantaged – the poor, unemployed, low waged – who have been left behind at a time when President Macron, pejoratively disdained as ‘president of the rich’ by the tens of thousands of men and women who make up the Yellow Vests mass movement, continues to parade around the European and world stage. A leader so out of touch with his own people that his every word and gesture only succeeds in adding more fuel to the fire of popular discontent.

 

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/457425-notre-dame-rich-yellow-vests/

 

 

 

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See also: 

is paris burning?