Bridge Diary 1.1 — Infinity
Back in the smouldering heat of Africa, and many many years ago, a tall scrawny tomcat discovered his passion for building. He built anything big enough for a human to walk into, strong enough for giants to walk over, cunning enough to hold in and manipulate nature — each transient block of society’s infrastructure balanced on humanity’s intelligence. Skyscrapers, scaffolding, bulldozers and bridges. Build, building, built. Until there was a village, until there was a town, until there was a city. Everywhere Cat’s gone, the tall scrawny tomcat has gone before. Admiring what has been built. Pulling ideas out of the steel and concrete and blowing them to Africa.
Of everything he could build, it was bridges that he loved above all else.
My grandfather toured the world's bridges, including those in the United Kingdom. He perhaps walked Middlesbrough’s streets long before me. If he had, I might not know what he thought of the town but I know he would've been transfixed by its bridges. The Bridge Diary series is a tribute to him and to the often overlooked beauty that these ingenious constructions bring to a region’s landscape.
Starting with Infinity.
Being so used to the sight of an ordinary bridge, and even the more spectacular ones, we hardly ever notice them or wonder how they keep their own weight and the weight of everything else they have to carry in such fantabulous balance. These structures, glued together by some clever mechanism - twisting and resonating, compressing and tensing - are fascinating creatures: violins of stone and steel, that sing otherworldly songs we cannot hear.
In the North East there are many bridges that do demand to be seen, to be admired, to be visited, to be loved; the lonely steel children forever trapped under their burdens, their eyes glinting at night. The Infinity Bridge was the first one I came across and it made me fall in love with this curious, often overlooked region.
Cat gazed up at Infinity's underbelly, admired its shapely piers and met the steel gaze of each rivet as she tried hard to hear Infinity sing. Together with the other bridges down the River Tees, a silent symphony of bridges formed. But no one could tell what it sounded like.