The Cenotaph review (May 2012)
This is an old review Read my most recent review here
So, The Cenotaph. What is it like? It's not a barrel of laughs, I can tell you that much. It's still got a load of poppies around it commemorating the dead. There's pictures of soldiers looking like kids and peering out from the center of a wreath, and kind words from the Salvation Army. There was also one from the Armenian Embassy, for some reason. But there was loads of them -- about fifty at least all placed around the base. That's a lot of dead soldiers to remember.
The Cenotaph has always seemed a little bland to me. It's just a concrete box standing on end. I know that's probably the point, to make it devoid of decoration. But why should that be so? What's wrong with a bit of celebration for these guys? Everyone wants to have the biggest gravestone in the churchyard... I know do, and I don't even deserve it. I want the plushest walnut coffin to lie in, and silk pillow too. But we lumber these soldiers with a big concrete box.
It works well on Remembrance Sunday, when they shut the road off to traffic. But the Cenotaph loses a little of its power at other times. Because it's sitting in the middle of two busy lanes of traffic. You can walk across to the island in the middle if you want, to have a proper look, but forget about peace and solitude when there's a load of ten tonne buses thundering by.
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