In Appreciation Of: The Pylon Appreciation Society
People appreciate some strange and apparently mundane things. You may have heard of the ‘cloud appreciation society’, and while it sounds a slightly unusual group to join, it’s perfectly understandable. Clouds are beautiful, and anyone who has looked up at the sky is bound to have appreciated the form of one at some point. But pylons?
It’s no joke, the Pylon Appreciation Society is a real group that you can join. Your membership entitles you to a pack of such things as pylon badges, photographs, and miniature cards. The site is run by Flash Bristow, and she is a pylon enthusiast of the highest order. Her website contains plenty of images of pylons, as well as information about them, and there is the possibility of sending pylon membership as a gift to a friend or loved one. She believes there is a strange beauty to these objects of engineering, and it’s easy enough to see it when you start looking. If you look at the work of 100 photography students, half of them will have photographed pylons at some point. But what is the allure of these metal giants?
There is a symbolism to them. They are strong, tall and dominate the landscape. They are a powerful sign of industrialisation, and sit in dissonant contrast to the soft idyllic curves of nature. In this contrast, there is a tension, and in tension there is interest.
Pylons are dramatic, oppressive, but have a certain functional beauty, almost incidentally, and are refreshing in that respect.
The Pylon Appreciation Society has received a lot of press coverage, from multiple stints on various BBC radio stations to articles in the Guardian and a mention in an Alain De Botton book called The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work.
The aesthetics of pylons may not be to everybody’s taste, though perhaps a lot of people can understand the appeal when they begin to look. Their usefulness is universally understood or they would not be tolerated. However, the great thing about this society is that an often overlooked object is getting celebratory attention, and that can only be good, because when people start really looking at their environment they begin to see more deeply. It is easy to get blinded to the things we see every day, and groups like this lend us fresh eyes. Here’s to the pylons, in all their ugly beauty.
Geoff works for www.electricityprices.org.uk/ which has caused him to have a sudden new found appreciation for pylons