I’m up in Lou’s flat looking out over the wine dark sea. Some way out, over the level waters, still pushing their heads up over the horizon, are the controversial blades of The Rampion Wind Farm. Over 100 turbines and it’s windy out there. I don’t find the turbines offensive myself. Some people don’t like new things. Others just want things to be weird about. It’s sustainable power. Got to be a good thing…?
The lonely turbines, all the way out there in the blackness, are sending a message. They flash red in synchronised irregular pulses. “That’s Morse Code,” I say to Lou, who rolls her eyes. I grab a pad, and try to record it. It’s hard on my own. I have to keep my eyes up so I can’t keep writing in a straight line. The pattern turns out to be simpler than I expected though. I almost give up before I go back to it and realise it’s just one letter on repeat. “dot dash dash / dot dash dash / dot dash dash”. Like somebody with a terrible stammer trying to welcome you. “W / W / W” playing on repeat all night.
When I first realised there was a message, I keyed into all my childhood tales of foiling exciting evil Scooby Doo plans. “The windfarm is sending us a secret message! Quick Scooby, write it down!” But nah. Nothing exciting. Just the letter W. It took me ages to work it out, but maybe if I was coming right at it in a lowflying aircraft it would come to me quicker.
I’m reliably informed by “doing my research” (Google) that it is “W” for “Warning”. So there you go. They missed a trick there. You could have jokes or adverts, politics or stories or anything really. The only real requirement of the red light is for it to flash. If they can program it, why not do it properly.
Unless it’s Brighton Council summoning the Dark Lord Crthywwwwwwwwwwwwwwewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwthotep again and I looked away too early in the ritual.
Brighton Council are going to need supernatural helpers before too long. There’s a bin strike here. In brief my understanding of the reason is that Brighton Council are clueless money-grubbing pigs.
Brighton is a reasonably ethical and recyclish type town. They are into the second week of this bin strike and it’s still possible to open the door in Kemptown. Things are getting bad, sure, but I can’t help thinking it kinda looks like Hackney on collection day but with less vomit.
In town I’m sure it’ll be much worse – they’ll have to dig tunnels before long to get from one artisan coffee shop to another. Here by the sea it’s definitely worse than I’ve ever seen it, but people seem to be trying really hard not to add to it. And maybe that’s a good thing.
We purport to care about the environment. We say we like the wind farm as any ugliness is made up for with sustainable energy. And then we get a plastic bag and everything is packaged in multiple layers of bollocks and we throw so much shit away, mountains and mountains of shit, every single one of us, all the time, and maybe it takes a bin strike to get people to look at it.
I hope the rubbish doesn’t blow into the sea before it’s all settled. Maybe it’s good for the people of Brighton to realise how unsustainable the consumer model we have really is – we take away the people who throw away our crap and we’re only about a month away from living in rats. Maybe that’s what the Rampion is really warning us about. “I’m sustainable. You’re not. Sort your shit out.”
On the subject of sustainable, I went to the fishmonger, bought a line caught sea bass and then hacked fillets out of it with a cross between a knife and a felt tip pen. Sustainable? Who knows. Yummy? Yep.