Friday, April 27, 2007

Cradle to Grave - our lives laid bare

In the novel How The Dead Live by Will Self, the dead protagonist is in limbo followed around by a number of ghosts including three blubbery humanoid shapes which consist of all the fat she gained and lost again while she was alive. I was reminded of this while watching Human Footprint on the UK's Channel 4 last night. The programme went from birth to death for the average Brit, showing you how much stuff we consume and produce.

The makers amassed our life of consumption together, piling up carrots, potatos and apples, racked up empty wine bottles and emptied a bin lorry full of packaging waste. The sight of two kids tumbling over a huge pile of nappies reinforced my view that cloth is best.

The stuff that comes back out of us was a little more modest - only five buckets of vomit? I got poisoned by dodgy Russian vodka once and thought I produced that in one day. The pile of poo was a little smaller than I expected as well. But the best bit visually was when they ignited the equivalent methane that we fart over our lifetime producing a reasonable mushroom cloud - now if we could only capture that...

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