Tuesday, 28 June 2011

City Snapshots: The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver

Climbing up the ladder, there’s not so far to go. Towards the clouds, to my box in the sky, leaving my worries behind. Up here the city is in my control, its people a cast of tiny characters I can manipulate at will.

Lifting ten tonne logs like they were matchsticks, concrete panels like the pages of a book, I build this city from its ruins. I'm an eagle's eye and an elephant's trunk, with the grace of a dove and the force of a hurricane.

Some days I forget what my voice sounds like, swallowed by the twisting steel and radio crackles. The sky streaks in ever-changing colours around me, and clouds roll over my head, but I can never stop. I just keep turning my arm and building your dreams.

Day becomes night and there's only me left on site. Pinpricks of light appear across the world and the faces down below have all drifted away. Going back down to earth always seems so unnatural, but soon I'll have to descend. I'm standing on the precipice, but it's oh so far to fall.

Inspired of course by this song, and also by the ever-evolving film set in front of my window!


e said...

Lovely post and photos...
When he was young, my grandfather operated cranes like these. He enjoyed it, never hinting that it might be a lonely job.

Tim said...

Have you ever seen those cranes in the La Défense district when they're putting up skyscrapers? Wouldn't like to put a figure on how high up the drivers must be but it's well above my comfort zone anyway!...

Must pass on "Build A Rocket Boys" as I've been promising for the past three months... unless you already have it of course!

Fundación de la Memoria Urbana said...

"I build this city from its ruins."
Lovely post

Adam said...

e: I think it must take a certain kind of person to do this job, but if that person is not afraid of heights, and also comfortable with long periods of solitude, then I can imagine it being an enjoyable job too.

What I wanted to get across here is how it seems to be a very natural thing, and an almost childlike action. Despite the heavy machinery, I can imagine the driver feeling that it is all just an extension of his own body, and the repetition of the actions coupled with a dominating position above everybody else is something that could become almost obsessive.

We all look for our place in life, but what if your place was 50 metres above the ground?

vicki archer said...

Very evocative....xv

martinomartino said...

Poetic post, very enjoyable. Early-00's I was having a beer with a guy from my hometown back when the building boom in Ireland was really taking off and the skyline was dominated by cranes in central Dublin..bladder-emptying was done from the cabin..That's one guy, given the 60-70 cranes in the loosely central part of the city, that is not a drizzle in the air that I want to fondly remember of..

Adam said...

Martino: That was a question I asked myself! I read somewhere that a lot of crane drivers do 10-hour shifts, and during that whole time they don't come down. I can understand though - it's a long way to go just to relieve yourself!

Paris City Pass said...

Great pictures, thanks for sharing.

Serviced Apartments Lady said...

There's something oddly sublime about cranes isn't there? A very lonely but imposing structure on the landscape.

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akbar ali said...

Very artistically done post. I do happen to know some tower crane drivers and i'll say that they agree with your opinion.

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Matthew Elliott said...

Haha it is very child like, thats what I love about it. The simplicity of it, but dont get me wrong it takes a lot of skill. Its a great view too, easy to get good radio/phone reception and good photos. Cranecrews.com/gallery those are of towercranes in Sydney

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