May 31, 2007

150 years of shit!

Earlier this week I was hanging over the Thames in one of the London Eye's pods. The blasted thing was stuck for 20 minutes and Baby Chimp #3 was getting restless.
Being only six, with the expectedly short attention span, she was orbiting the interior of the capsule discretely, convinced she had become invisible. This illusion was immediately shattered when she exclaimed "Yeeuuuw!!! Look Daddy - the river's full of poo!!!"
Of course, being halfway to the top of the Eye's revolution, the object of her derision wasn't poo at all, but the swirly dirty brown current of disturbed mud that flowed along the length of the river at high tide.
150 years ago the Thames really was a river of shit. Open cesspits and drains leaked human effluent into the waterway and in the summer of 1858 London was treated to The Great Stink. Parliament was particularly worried about cholera. In those days, people thought that bad smells could transmit diseases. The result was the commissioning of the greatest sewer network the world had ever seen.
The engineer behind it was Joseph Bazalgette.
This week, Big Brother inflicts itself on British TV once more. The UK chairman of the company behind Big Brother is Joseph Bazalgette's great-great-grandson.
As Stephen Fry has drily remarked, Peter Bazalgette was undoing his great ancestor's works by pumping shit back into our homes.

2 comments:

loulou said...

I refuse to watch the latest series. I saw who went in last night and I'm quite happy as I was thanks.

FishNChimps said...

and I'll be doing my darnedest to avoid it. At least until the fighting and the shagging.