chthonya (chthonya) wrote,
chthonya
chthonya

The glamour of ghosts

I'm not entirely sure why the BBC decided to post a magazine article on Detroit today but the mention of grandiose decaying buildings piqued my curiosity. (The article itself was rather more upbeat.)

Peering at the pictures of various (ex-)civic buildings and in particular Michigan Central Station gave me the same feeling of nostalgic fascination as I get when looking at pictures of the Titanic, or Pripyat or - somewhat closer to home - the Bradford Odeon.

I'm not proud of that reaction. It feels somewhat ghoulish to react to sites and sights of abandonment and decay (and in the case of the Titanic, mass death) with anything other than dismay. But somehow looking at the rust and the rubble makes the past feel more tangible - where time has stopped, the grandeur and dreams of previous eras seem closer. It's easier to imagine past lives surrounded by past paraphernalia (however rusted) than it is in a bustling restored building that has meaning in the present. And I can't help feeling desperately sad for people who built their lives in places that are crumbling, for whom the decay is not a spur to a curious imagination but a ruination of cherished memories.
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