Readers, is Matthew Higgins, the man in our picture, posed at Belconnen beside the "brutalist" flanks of Geocon's mighty under-construction Wayfarer apartment skyscraper? Or is he out in the brutishly rocky wilds of Namadgi National Park? Which do you think it is?
Brutalism in architecture has been an occasional theme of ours in recent days. We reported how there is some deliberate "brutalism" (characterful expanses of raw concrete) about Geocon'sWayfarer. Geocon says this is a deliberate echo of all the existing Belconnen brutalism.
But of course the burliest and best brutalist role models are found outdoors in Nature. The famously outdoorsy high-country trekker and photographer Matthew Higgins has just sent us come pictures taken either at Namadgi National Park's Split Rock.
"Split Rock must be one of the most magical places in Namadgi and indeed the broader high country. All those right-angles, the verticality, plus the paving of exfoliated granite pieces on the ground give it a real tomb-like ambience. A demanding ascent into the ACT's mountain fastness, but well worth it when you get there.
"No doubt it is a place of significant spiritual meaning for Ngunnwal, Ngarigo and Walgalu peoples in the past and in the present. It's a place where time really does stand still, surrounded by all that granite 450 million years old ... one's own tiny human lifespan becomes irrelevant."
Yes, the thought that there are granite masses 450 million years old looking down at us reminds us that our lives are mostly froth and bubble. But newspapers columns must deal with life as it is and so we turn to the frothy, bubbly news that Canberra and New Zealand's Wellington are likely to become sister cities.
Chief Minister Barr hopes to wrap this up when he visits Wellington in July. And when first floating this idea he trilled that "beauty of our natural surrounds" (including in our case brutalist, granitey Namadgi) was one of many things that our two cool little capital cities have in common.
Of course it is sweet and useful for us to become the sister of lucky First World cities very like our own. But it might be better for Canberra's endangered soul to find some sister cities in the third and developing worlds that really need a charitable sister's love and help.
Ours is a bourgeois, insular, selfish city, its soul quite shrivelled from lack of compassionate exercise. The things that some Canberrans imagine mightily important enough to write letters to the editor about are only suburban bubble and froth in the great scheme of things.
So let us us offer sisterhood to a struggling city somewhere in the wider world, get to know her and her people really well, and do everything we can with our superabundance of wealth, resources and expertise. Let us be a metropolitan Good Samaritan brother and sister to her. It would do that sister a power of good but the bigger beneficiary, giving us something more to think about than our sleek and greedy selves, would be Canberrans. Let us make a polite application for sisterhood to the authorities in a city, in Africa perhaps or in India, a city not just like us (Wellington is our spitting image) but as unlike Canberra as possible.
And while we are being idealistic we point to the even bigger and brighter idealism of a group of young (12-14) Canberra schoolchildren, The Spaceship Fighters.
The Fighters, Peri, Sarah, Soli, Ella, Jasper, Riley, Ollie, Alani, Izzy, Fern, Bianca, Ashleigh, Indi, Alex, Liam, Cormac, Dan, Felix, Gabe, Ollie, Jaydon and Matilda have launched the Save Our Spaceship online petition.
Peri advises us that "My classmates and I have started a petition for urgent climate action on behalf of all Aussie kids who care about the planet we are going to inherit."
"We can't vote at this year's election, so please help us get our voice heard. We already have [many] signatures but need to reach out to pretty cool writer guys [like you the Gang-gang columnist] to help us spread the word. We have got together to represent the kids of Australia who want urgent action ..."
"Our generation is going to inherit the earth and we are frightened that, without more targeted and real action, we are going to be left with a very sick planet. Sign our petition calling on our nation's leaders for urgent action on climate change. Help us to convince them that this is the most important issue at this year's election. Our world is in desperate need of leaders who will dream daring dreams and set bold deadlines to take action to stop climate change. Help us petition them to meet us in person."
Not at all influenced by being called, accurately, a pretty cool writer guy, but sharing the youngsters' sense that our electioneering politicians are not taking our spaceship's plight seriously we point you to to the Fighters' admirable petition. It is online at Save Our Spaceship. https://www.change.org/p/save-our-spaceship-aussie-kids-ask-for-urgent-action-on-climate-change-nowg/p/save-our-spaceship-aussie-kids-ask-for-urgent-action-on-climate-change-now
Our aforementioned new, third world sister is unlikely to be lucky enough to be part of an easy-going democracy where there are real, viable political parties, where people are allowed to vote and where satirical things can be said and displayed about politics.
Perhaps we should count our blessings that as we speak the Monaro Highway as it wends its way out towards Fyshwick is decorated with some quite witty and timely politics-referencing advertisements (like the one pictured) for Canturf's green and pleasant product.