Wednesday, 30 January 2013


I took this picture about 25 years ago.  I was standing on 'Suicide Bridge' at Archway.  The hills to the north of London give a wonderful view of the city, if it wasn't for the 'ouses in between.'  From here you can see the Barbican complex, originally built as council houses, now sold at huge price to the rich.  Many MP's reside there.  What was known as the 'Nat West Tower,' until the IRA blew up the street below causing the National Westminster bank to move elsewhere, towers above everything else.  The view must have been excellent but not when a thunderstorm raged.  

I wonder what the view is like today?  Huge ugly erections have arisen since I took that grainy picture.  Buildings climb into the sky, the creators 'making a name for themselves in the world.'  To my mind, tired of the emptiness that claims to be success, I find them unappealing.  The 'Shard' just looks ridiculous, as does the one called the 'Gherkin!'  More to do with an abundance of money and a desire to use it to do something different rather than fulfill a function artistically.  

'Suicide Bridge,' built in 1900, carries Hornsey Lane high above the 'Archway Road.'  The bridge was enhanced by a row of iron spikes in an attempt to stop people flinging themselves therefrom.  Sadly such measures failed to stop three men clambering over the bridge to their deaths in three short weeks in 2010.

John Nash's original bridge shows the height above the road.  An excellent view from above, but a long way down for some.  The horses no longer struggle up the slope, instead expensive tin cans carry millions of canned people at high speed up the A1, the Great North Road.  That is the road the Londoners of yore took when running to Scotland for some fresh air.  Not far from here is found the hill where Dick Whittington and his cat turned around and went back to London, so he says, but as he was a politician I have my doubts.

Can I add that suicide is not a good idea.  No doubt we have all considered it at some time, even as a remote thought, but not only does it hurt others, especially if you fall on them, it fails to answer our problems.  It must be very difficult to convince someone that desperate or mentally unwell that Jesus gave us bright blue skies, green grass and sunshine to indicate life does have a meaning beyond out problems.  However it does!  One lass at the hospital killed herself one night, she had been crying for months, and nothing could be done.  I stopped her cutting her hand on one of the small windows she broke but during the night she ended it all.  Life may not be fun, but suicide does not improve it.



red dirt girl said...

I love your photo - the story is sad. Having been beset by 'suicidal ideation' in my past, the only thing I can say is that suicide begins to look and feel like the only possible choice left between living in constant mental anguish or finding a lasting sweet relief. Thankfully, for me, those moments have not lasted long enough for me to act upon them.

The impulse to self-harm or cut is very similar to that of suicidal ideation. The best metaphor I can use to describe this 'reduction of life' are a set of Russian nesting dolls. For me, depression begins reducing my mental livable space. There is a sort of chain reaction that occurs: I feel depressed; therefore, I stay home. I stay home and feel depressed; therefore, I stay home in bed ... and so on. It's my reductionist theory of suicide. Eventually there is just no more space left to reduce (okay math geeks will argue that one with me) but LIVABLE mental space disappears and suicide becomes the only possible out. As in - get me out of this impossibly tiny russian nesting doll that I can't fit into ...!

It's not the best metaphor. But ... people on the 'outside' tend label suicides as cries for help and / or incredibly selfish acts. The cries for help start far earlier in the process. And yes, it is selfish. But you are dealing with a brain that believes all other options have been lost and death is the ONLY way out. It is a terrifying place to be in, mentally, even if it only lasts for a few minutes.

Okay. I'm stepping down from the lectern now.


Mo said...

Something cheery tomorrow please.

Adullamite said...

RDG, I understand what you say. People need not feel guilt about such things. I think there is some of that in us all.

Mo, OK/