Monday 27 April 2009

The Belam approach to science fiction

Former Walthamstow resident Martin Belam, now an IT whizz kid who works on the national Guardian newspaper’s website, asks – and authoritatively answers – the question How accurate was Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" about the future?

Me, I’ve always been more of a Tarkovsky buff than a Kubrick fan (I never really saw the point of Barry Lyndon). And Solaris is probably my favourite sci-fi movie (and I’m not talking about the remake with George Clooney).

Moreover Tarkovsky’s Stalker seems to be a parable about the London Borough of Waltham Forest. It is set in a wilderness area full of decay, where the normal laws of physics no longer apply.

Martin’s dad is Bob Belam, who is the council’s cabinet member for the environment, responsible for just about everything to do with the walking and cycling environment. So I suppose we must thank Belam Senior for this magnificent Tarkovsky installation (above), which truly captures the spirit both of the desolate space station in Solaris and the ruined landscapes of Stalker, where water trickles and drips amid the decay. Otherwise known as the underpass for pedestrians and cyclists under the North Circular, leading off the A1009. A place few people ever dare to go, and as remote and empty as any deserted installation in a galaxy far, far away.

(Below) Abandon hope all ye who enter here

Deep in the shadows lurked this. Every underpass round here seems to have one.