Monday, May 12


I've been bombarded with stereo-typical symbols of the future in the past 24 hours.

It began yesterday, when I bought a magnificent book titled Transit Maps of the World. It's mostly maps of underground transport systems - classics like London, Berlin and Paris, and some new weird ones in Central Asia and South America. However the small German city of Wuppertal has had the quintessential futuristic transport system for more than 100 years. The world's only suspended monorail for regular commuters. It should be compulsory to ride the train dressed in a white unitard.

Over time the monorail has been flipped like a burger, and looks much more sleek and sexy with the rail on the bottom. The beauty of photographing a monorail is that you invariably have to point the camera up towards the sky. And the sky is always blue with fluffy clouds.

A few movie reminders of the future age. As I watched the old Indiana Jones movies, I remembered how good Harrison Ford was in Blade Runner - and sure enough today's modern metropolis is a 20 story-tall neon ad filled extravaganza. As I write this, the MRS is watching Terminator 2. This always makes me smile because she doesn't really like violent movies, but somehow this gets a pass. No sign of metallic mutating cyborgs yet, but I live in Cambridge and freaked the other day when I watched this.

But the main reason for this post is to celebrate the humble hinge. View any representation of the future and doors will be pneumatic swooshing devices - and yet somehow I don't think so. The hinge remains the most practical way to hang a door, and opening a door outwards/inwards remains the most effective way of using the space.

Long live the hinge ... except strangely on monorails.

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