Saturday, 29 January 2011

Lifting A Lift

About 1.23 trillion bricks are manufactured world-wide every year, and that’s not counting Lego, who’s annual production is 19 billion (2.6 million per hour; that’s 36000 every minute - 600 bricks per second); and yet there are more photographs than bricks made every year.
I don’t know how many photographs are made every second, but I know a lot of them contain bricks (think of all the bricks in estate agents’ photographs alone): like dead-skin breeds dust, photographs breed bricks.
Armed with these brick-photo-facts, I set out to take a picture of bricks; the like of which didn’t exist: a unique brick photo (if such a thing were possible given the statistics). It was in the bygone days of ‘thumbing a lift’. I liked the idea of a ‘lift’ getting a lift. It was the 1980s, and the sight of a car balanced on bricks (after the wheels had been ‘lifted’ in the night) was a common sight at the time: remember, it was the ‘Thatcher years’. Then, as now, I suffered terribly from ergophobia. I had no job, no car, and no house: I’ve never had as little as then; but don’t confuse that with freedom. Bricks and mortar: it takes roughly 85,000 bricks to build the average house, and a few years later, when I bought my first house, it cost £85,000. Funny thing about house buying: it’s the most expensive thing you are ever going to purchase – one of the biggest decisions you’ll make - and yet you only look around it once or twice (three times if you are lucky), the average house-viewing lasts a mere 20 minutes.
I spent longer holding – lifting - a couple of house bricks, waiting for a lift, than I did looking at the house I paid a ransom for. Which action is odder: traveling light – with nothing but two bricks - for free, or paying £85,000 for 85,000 bricks (that I’d viewed for less than an hour) and staying put, inside them?

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