Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Wheely big problem

At work, I have a seat that affords a wonderful view of West Melbourne. I could physically see the clouds roll over as winter started, and admire the way they changed colour as the moods of the ever-fickle Melbourne weather lightened or darkened. I've gotten at least one poem out of the view. I spend so much time looking out that window that I wouldn't be surprised if I got distracted one day, and began absent-mindedly typing up weather details into what is supposed to be an official, business-like office email.

Another sight of interest outside the window is the changing landscape of the Melbourne Docklands, and in particular their ill-fated wheel of fortune. Over the past year or so, we've all marvelled as the wheel has slowly been erected, spokes gradually built out, and the circumference built up around the spokes. Then we watched as pods appeared, one by one, on the wheel. Sometimes, during the afternoon shift, as the sky grew darker, you'd be able to notice lights on the individual pods, winking at you. Yes, there is nothing quite like a bloody big wheel to inspire awe and wonder in the eyes of onlookers.

There was, though, one little problem with this big wheel.

It didn't go.

Why, exactly, important businessmen, and workers, and crane drivers, and architects, and engineers, or whoever else is involved in the making of big wheels, would make a big wheel in the inner western suburbs of a major Australian city simply for the joy of it, I do not know. Ferris wheels are, after all, typically designed to wheel around. Ferris wheels are supposed to go. Perhaps the workers who were involved in this big wheel asked themselves the same question. So, in recent months, they've started taking the whole thing apart again: lights have been deactivated, pods have been taken off the metallic circumference, and finally, the metallic circumference has been partially deconstructed so that the bloody big wheel now has a bloody great hole in its side.

Perhaps they think it will help the wheel actually work. Though, of course, it still doesn't go.

For all I know, it may never go: it may just sit there, for years, and centuries, a bloody great wheel with a bloody great hole in its side: Melbourne's motionless ferris wheel. It could become a great accidental tourist attraction, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. At any rate, there has been something glorious about the whole process, being able to see this slow but steadily unfolding idiocy, the beautiful majesty of this gigantic failure.

It is as if a God of this great, throbbing city has spoken to us, and his fearsome and wondrous words were these:

"Whoops. My mistake. Sorry about that! Won't happen again."


Mitzi G Burger said...

As my favourite Japanese blues guitarist George Kamikawa sings, "I've got the Big Wheel Brrues"...

Dan the VespaMan said...

Maybe the chain came off. That's always what happens when the wheels on my bicycle won't go round.

phil said...

London has the London Eye. Melbourne has the I won't.

TimT said...

It makes a nice companion to the North Melbourne station 'upgrade'. I may have mentioned that. The upgrade started about two years ago, when they came and took all the seats off the platforms so people had nowhere to sit.

That was it, so far as the upgrade went, for a year or so.

They eventually put some more shelters into the station, and some kind-of-sort-of seats, wood constructions, to the other end of the platform.

Oh, and they're also constructing a new entrance for the station. Not sure when they're going to open that. Maybe next year. Maybe never.

I look forward to many more years of this upgrade (it's still nowhere near finished, which might be the point).

Halfway through all this upgrading, the Victorian Government saw fit to put up a bunch of patronising ads all around the station. Oh, look, a train station, now with less seats. 'It's all part of the plan', Melburnians!

Dave Bath said...

Maybe it's an antipodean installation in the spirit of Magritte's "This is not a pipe", but in reverse.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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