Saturday, 15 September 2012

When There's Something Strange........ your neighbourhood.

As any rational person knows, the whole horoscope thing is complete nonsense (although other views on this subject are available!) but just as long as it is not taken too seriously it can't do any harm.........can it?

The entrance to 107 Cheapside is surrounded by the signs of the zodiac. Carved by John Skeaping in around 1955. I have no idea why they are there. I'd like to think that there is some mystery to them but I suspect that they are purely decorative. Anyway, nonsense or not, I quite like them and they are a slightly surprising thing to find on an office building in the City.

As well as recording this slightly quirky architectural detail, I took this photograph to illustrate a moan about one of the blights on the 21st Century cityscape. I mean, of course the warning sign. I accept that in this less than enlightened age we all need to be warned that it is advisable to look right (or left) before crossing the road, that it is not a good thing to drop your litter on the pavement, that it is only reasonable to clean up after your dog, that poisonous substances are not good for your health and that there is the "danger of death" should you chose to poke around in an electrical sub station. However, these signs are deeply unattractive, largely unread and, I suspect, are really there simply to prevent the "victims" from sueing the the "authorities". A sort of "I told you so" clause.

The ban on smoking in public and commercial premises has led to the unhappy sight of clusters of smokers gathering in the street to get their nicotine fix. This issue is dealt with in various ways. Some chose to corral their smokers in draughty and secluded shelters, like latter day lepers. Others hang those ugly, and usually overflowing, butt boxes outside their premises in the hope that their decorative and expensive planters won't be used as giant ash trays and then there are those that just put up no smoking signs in the hope that their smokers will move away and gather in front of someone else's property!

The management of 107 Cheapside have apparently chosen the latter method. I'm sure that it will help to keep the front of the building (and the planters) free of dog ends, but the signs are obtrusive and ugly.................and just as offensive as a carpet of ash and soggy filter tips.

It wasn't until I got home that I noticed what appear to be demonic eyes, like burning coals, deep within 107 Cheapside, glaring across the road at the church of St Mary-le-Bow. So, perhaps the original creators of this building did have a serious reason for the zodiac carvings. Maybe, just maybe, they knew that something malevolent lurked in the bowels of the building and were trying to warn us in a backhanded sort of way to look to the future. Of course, it could simply be a trick of the light and  slightly over active imagination but where's the fun in that?

Anyway, just in case there is somethin' weird an' it don't look good, it may well be worth giving some thought to who you gonna call!

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