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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, June 01, 2007
    The coast and the commerce coexist
    On Crosby beach today a four-year old girl, thigh-deep in water, her soggy skirt spreading on the surface like a drifting jellyfish, made a game of throwing balls of dripping sand at the calves of a lifesize iron man. Behind and around her the family's golden retriever danced and splashed. The Gormley at the centre of their play remained, as all the Gormleys remain, impassive, gazing out towards Ireland. Further along the beach someone had very carefully dressed a Gormley in a hoody - it must have been difficult to get the solid metal arms into the sleeves - and nearby another two iron men stood waist-high in a sandbank; serene.

    The view from Crosby beach is interrupted. Occasionally by a passing craft, such as the high-speed Emeraude France bouncing into port for a rapid turnaround, receiving a boatfull of TT-goers whose bikes have filled all roads into Liverpool all week en-route to the centenary races. But the view from Crosby beach is interrupted more fixedly by a growing array of gas exploration platforms and wind turbines off and beyond the Mersey Bar. Though static, the scene is busy. And the instinct to complain about the intrusiveness of these off-shore energy platforms is tempered by the realisation that these waters have always been industrialised, the coast and the commerce coexist. That's the reason why we, the little girl, her dog and The Gormleys are here.