Friday, July 29, 2005

Ghosts from the Machine Elucidated

This blog is, amongst other things, a ‘post-industrial malarkey’.

Jarrow is a town where once were built an astonishing number of ships at Palmer’s Shipyard. All of that came to an abrupt halt in the 30s, and the resulting unemployment and Crusade became iconic in British working class history. Before Palmer’s there was coal mining. There were steel mills too. Railways.

It’s all gone now. There are light industry sites. ‘Bede’s World’ by Jarrow Slake. A big deal is made of this being ‘Catherine bloody Cookson Country’. There’s a nature reserve on the Don. Maturing trees everywhere.

Despite this, it’s still Jarra. The culture of independence and distrust of authority is in our bones, bred in by generations of hard labour and refusing to be bossed around.

And now there’s Flickr – perhaps conceived as a means to share wedding photos with your relatives in Australia, say, but, as so often with the internet, it’s developed into something else, into a means to illuminate the world we live in through the medium of digital images.

Thus: Ghosts From The Machine, to collect images that speak of our past, and the way it informs our lives now.

Incidentally, it was interesting to read that Sir Richard Doll, who died aged 90-something last week, and was responsible for linking tabs with lung cancer, began his medical career as one of the medial officers on the Jarrow March, and no doubt attended to my forebears' blisters. And, apparently, he was a great advocate of moderate boozing. God rest him.