Blink for a second, and you’ll have missed the erection of a peculiar obelisk-looking tourist attraction, better known as ‘The Shard’. Blink for a second longer, like I did, and you’ll be scratching your head while everybody around you mindlessly scrambles to laud the building famously more reflective than the Mayor of London’s wispy, golden locks. From the pseudo-space-age opening ceremony to reams of relentless praise, everything about The Shard seems forced, uninspiring, and ultimately pointless.
Wind back to 2012 and you’ll have been forgiven for thinking you were in the middle of the ’80s. The inauguration was marked with a four-minute-long ‘laser show’ so baffling in nature it was like being forced to sit through a low-budget Close Encounters of the Third Kind rehash monotonously narrated by part-time-Anthony-Daniels-impersonator-come-student-hate-figure Michael Gove.
Though, as Close Encounters… as it felt, The Shard itself wouldn’t look too out of place in the post-apocalyptic, orc-infested realm of Mordor (not to be confused with the post-apocalyptic, orc-infested realm of Morden). In fact, the tower closely resembles its harrowing Middle-Earth counterpart Barad-Dûr if Tolkien’s fantasy was feebly disguised as a silver Samsung Galaxy. Architect Renzo Piano claimed the idea came to him ‘very quickly’. So quickly, in fact, that he forgot to draw plans to fill the gaping hole at the very top; the likes of which you’d expect the soul of reptilian overlord Rupert Murdoch to one day occupy as an ‘Eye of Sauron’ type manifestation.
More peculiar is the fact The Shard absolutely dwarfs the rest of London’s ‘skyscrapers’ – like former professional basketball player Yao Ming does walking the streets of his native China. And in light of certain claims; it’s not even the tallest structure in the United Kingdom, let alone Europe.
Neither (to recycle a dreary notion birthed by malign council-working heathens) does The Shard complement the rest of the skyline or city. The only thing more out of place would be the image of delusional enthusiast Tom Cruise scaling its walls while we heckled, threw pennies, and stuck a camera in his face – though, of course, we’d quickly find a way to ruin that moment. Most likely by sending forth a helicopter burdened with a team of stout civil servants to hover at a reasonable distance and attempt to gift the actor with a neatly-stapled set of ‘health and safety forms.’
Call me a cynic. But, hey – why spend some of that money I don’t have to a catch a murky view I won’t enjoy, while a better version already exists somewhere on the internet that doesn’t require me to be surrounded by the rain, or the smog, or the crowds of virus-addled people?
For a moment there I was too angry to remember how excited I should’ve been feeling.
Image by auspices courtesy of Flickr