Chapter 21 » 21.37


‘What’s that on the shelf?’ my artistic friend asked. ‘A turbine blade. I designed it’, I replied proudly.
‘Oh’, she said.

Visiting three weeks later she asked, ‘Why is that still there?
‘Because I think it’s beautiful.’

‘Oh’, she said.

My friend enthused over the beauty of a cathedral, a Rembrandt, a Turner, a sonnet. I find none in a cathedral, little in Rembrandt or poetry, a lot in a Turner.

I find great beauty in Concorde, a Norton, a modern suspension bridge, in calculus and a good computer program – especially if I have written it! She little or none. I thrill to the sound of a racing car, the sight and smell of a machine shop, the noise and balletic movement of men and machine shaping white hot steel in a forge – and in my turbine blade. She does not.

We could both be moved to tears by mountains, Beethoven, Britten, clouds … and by friendship.

Graham Clarke, 1994

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