Hole in the wall 2

27 January 2010

The gap in the shopping parade is still there, although it would be more shocking if it weren’t. The tower block with a see-through stairwell, where they leave the lights on twenty-four hours a day, is now its uvula.

The crane ripped out the last load-bearing wall yesterday morning while the nine o’clock buses were picking up. First it had to tear out the steel cable it had left behind when it polished off the shopfront. Get that bus out of the way, I thought, we’re missing the best bit!

The wall doesn’t come up like a tooth – not like the roof. There’s none of that instant when the machine lifts the trophy triumphantly up into the air. It’s nuzzling the paintwork with its head until the brickslab topples over, and you brace yourself for the crumping sound and the cloud of dust.

This morning, you don’t brace yourself for anything. They’re up to something in the foundations, and – because construction is one of the few things we haven’t spectacularised yet – the corrugated metal fence is opaque so you can’t tell what it is –

Until you get the stamping sound, a massive footprint that makes me think of a Clive Barker story I never want to have to read again, the same thing every ten seconds until the bus arrives, and absolutely no idea what it’s all about. They can’t be putting in new foundations this soon, can they?

The kebab shop next to the hole has stayed open through all this, but the mirrored decorations by the counter wall look as if they ought to point somewhere.


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