I know I’m back in Helsinki, crane-filled boom-town. I woke up to a god-awful explosion that took place some dozens of metres below my bed – BOOOM!!! At some minutes past nine in the evening (listening to the storm brewing outside) I hear what I hope is the last blast of the day. BOOOMM!! I am wrong. Another dose of the dynamite sends shudders through the granite at a few minutes before ten. BOOOMMMM!!!!
A letter from the building manager is among the less boring bits and pieces that I gather up from between the outer and inner front doors as I return. (This being Helsinki, my post doesn’t drop into some tin box by the sidewalk or flop onto a cutesy doormat, it gets wedged ever deeper and thicker between two extremely functional doors, one that opens in, the other that opens out. In the absence of a picture of a door to the stairs, here’s a pic of a Helsinki double-glazed window, circa 1902).
The letter informs us politely that residents are to ensure compliance with legal requirements by installing one smoke alarm per 60 square metres of living space.
It goes on:
In the Töölö area each day one can hear series of explosions. These emanate from the tunnelling works for the car parking being constructed underneath the Music Centre [I still think it should be called Music House] and the Finlandia Hall. … we recommend residents keep an eye on the walls and ceilings of their properties for possible cracking. Any cracks should be reported … and compensation …
Yes, a little money to shut up the old ladies from Töölö might be forthcoming. But, I ask, what about stopping the cancerous “growth machine” or the “boomtown” phenomenon that’s at the core of this car-friendly excavatory madness? The battle between jobs and resources/environment about which Americans write so much and with such eloquent anger?
Not likely in Helsinki as the new Pasila is being planned with its new multi-lane highway, while underground parking caves are being dynamited into existence throughout the Helsinki peninsula.
Note to self, blog about the odd coincidence of having just finished Jonathan Franzen’s new novel, the one with mountain-top-removal (I still struggle with the idea that that is an intelligible concept!) at the heart of its plot (kind of) and flying back to Finland only to read that some people think that its future landscape will be one great, f***ing moonscape of an open-cast mine, by 2020. (To explain, from living off the forest to living off Nokia, it’s not a mad idea to suggest that Finland may soon be living off its minerals…)