Does mass media and global communication bring us closer together? Does it tend to turn our eyes toward interesting and surprising places? Does it really expand our horizons? It’s really difficult to say. I fear that whilst it means we are all there looking, there is not a desperate diversity in what we are looking at. The eyes of the world point in only a few directions. There is a short list of that which is being looked at and a long list of those doing the looking. We look at America, at New York, we look at Rihanna, we look at Facebook, we look at the rich and the famous, we look at London, we look at Syria. But do our eyes turn to places that we would not turn without the internet? Not on a mass scale. Not really. They don’t often turn to Warrington…
But it’s an interesting place. 20 miles East of Liverpool and 16 miles West of Manchester, it nestles between these two beasts of the North and quietly goes about its business in relative peace. Originally settled by the Romans, as it was a vital crossing point on the river Mersey and then resettled by the Saxons, Warrington became an important market town due to its location at the lowest bridging point of the River Mersey. It is due to this period of boom that Warrington developed its own style of textile and tool production, a tradition which stretches forward to this day. Warrington was the host to the countries first Ikea. Warrington hosts one of the countries most extravagant swing bridges:
Warrington was the first place to field a candidate from the Social Democrat party. The first MMR vaccine ever to be administered in the whole country was administered in Warrington. And then there’s the Orangeries. In Warrington Orangeries are, for some reason, a super big deal. A super big deal. They’re everywhere and they are quite excessive. The array of Orangeries in Warrington is really something. It’ll blow your mind right of its head place. Go check them out RIGHT NOW.…
‘What’s under foot Legolas?’
‘Why, I barely feel anything…’
‘Indeed you wouldn’t, we are walking on air old friend’
‘How can that be?’
‘Well if you forget where you’re walking Legolas, anything can happen…’
What’s under your feet, old friend? Is it mud and dirt? Is it a thick rich carpet? Are your toes tickled by fur? IS it flat and hard? Is it rough and difficult? Do your feet sink into a softness? Is it wood? Is it rock? What is it? Well for me it is now wood, fine pure and beautiful wood(from http://www.finsahome.co.uk/). Under every step. I take my shoes of and my socks off and I walk across the cool wood floor underneath my feet and I groan with pleasure. I moan and groan and shiver with pleasure. I just really, really love it.
There is something very nice and lovely about bare feet on a wooden floor. I like how it’s cool and refreshing and relaxing. Like the other side of the pillow on a Sunday morning.
Bare feet on a fresh oak floor,
Sit tight and see us,
New life breathed into old wood,
held strong by time and wise hands,
Laid flat and steady,
Trusty wood, Strong wood,
Under bare feet.…
A great person is defined in the eyes of history not simply by what they did, but by what they didn’t do as well. And Alain Gough-Olaya didn’t do a lot. What matters about Alain Gough-Olaya though was not what he did or didn’t do, or how he influenced or didn’t influence those around him, or the impact he did or didn’t make on the world, or the extent to which he did or didn’t inspire people, or whether or not anyone remembers him. What matters about Alain Gough-Olaya is that whilst he was here the world had one more person, and now it does not.
In the grand scheme of things, does this matter? In the grand scheme of things, does anything matter? Well yes, some things matter, just not this. This thing is the news that Alain Gough-Olaya is no longer with us. He is, much like a dog that has been flattened by a bus, a dead dog..
So how will we remember Alain Gough-Olaya? With difficulty, I imagine. But to those who happened to spend extended periods of time near the man, we will remember how he answered simply to ‘Alain’, kindly relieving you of the pressure of going through the multiple syllables of his last name(s).
And now we have to ask, what does death mean? Does someone die when their body stops working and their brain shuts down? Or do they die when people stop remembering them and stop thinking about them? When people stop following their teachings and their learnings? Either way, I like to think that Alain Gough-Olaya is still alive. He told me he is, and I have no reason to doubt him.