People who have been paying attention will see things happening over on the Scala-Theatre site.
Paul had waded thought a phenomenal amount of information and I thought I understood this… Until I traveled up to the Historic Centre with him and his partner in crime Lin Fletcher.
The Historic Centre was not what I had expected. I suppose a heavy diet of Indiana Jones movies had created an image of dusty books and darkened corners; but the Centre was nothing like this. It was a tiny room with half a dozen blocks of tables with a smattering of people sat around them. Two attendants sat behind a little island that separated us from a doorway leading further into the recesses of the Centre.
Little cards were filled out and passed over and the attendants disappeared through the door. (I thought of it as a portal of sorts, a “doorway to history”; a little nuts, huh?) Then Paul and Lin started what would be the final part of the first stage of the research.
A book of “minutes” was opened (the dates on them indicating that they were written fifty years before my birth) and I started to read.
Its a strange experience looking back into a past that you find has affected you in some way. The people I was reading about are not relatives of mine, they aren’t people who have created something that have affected me directly, and they weren’t names I’d grown up with in any other way; but the experience affected me anyway.
Mortality weighs heavily on me, it always has. As far back as I can remember I have understood the notion that I will one day not be here; one day I will die. I realize that people know this, obviously, but I don’t think most people really understand it. (For those of you thats read Heinleins “Stranger in a Strange Land”; people just don’t “grok” it.)
Sometimes I have moments of pure panic at the thought if I’m completely honest with you, genuine heart pounding panic. The kind that you imagine people fighting for their lives have (perhaps that analogy is closer than I initially thought).
So reading through these papers written so long before my birth I felt a strange kind of understanding behind it. Here was a kind of physical evidence of immortality. The Scala Theatre is a building I pass every day on my way to the shop and on my way to work. I look up at it and admire its old charm and I wonder what dreams may lurk inside those walls.
The Scala is a living thing to me in a way. I imagine it as a creature sat dormant waiting for people to walk its floors like the blood rushing through its brick walled veins.
So these names written in their archaic script, names that will soon appear over on the Scala-Theatre, began to take on a different meaning for me.
Almost a hundred years ago people started a project that reverberated to affect my life today and the building they built stands as a talisman to their success. It demonstrates the wheels within wheels that makes up all of our lives.
I was unprepared for this, as I was unprepared for some of the practical problems with this research. Reading the archaic script itself was a job in itself, but dealing with the detective work these stories produced is another thing entirely.
Much of what we know about history is what is written, but who writes history down and how much can be trust in what these people say? So the detective work starts trying to rationalize and build a story from these captured moments of subjectivity, and this is what Paul’s been doing all along.
So over the next few months check out Scala-Theatre and begin the story from the beginning. Its a long tale that takes place over half a century and perhaps beyond. Its filled with drama and great characters and is all the more interesting because it not only really happened, but because its effects are still with us to this day.
At least it affected me…