Nice day for an implosion

I'm as surprised as anyone that my alarm going off at 6.30am on Sunday wasn't a mistake. I actually willingly chose this as my time of rising, and as I shuffled into the bathroom and levered open my protesting lids in order to put in my contact lenses, I couldn't help reflecting on the fact that life really can take you in some unexpected directions.

I could never have anticipated, two years ago, the series of events that would lead me to saunter down Madras Street in the early morning light with a backpack containing a thermos flask of champagne, a pair of binoculars, two cameras and half a dozen dust masks while my boyfriend beside me carried two folding chairs. I mean, what on earth could these people be up to? Were we on the way to some kind of urban safari DIY christening? At 7.30 in the morning?

Well, kind of.

As soon as it was announced that there would be a building imploded in the central city, I was keen to see it. There's so much of the city that has been slowly chipped and wrenched and scraped away that implosion is comparatively glamorous and exciting. It's one thing to see a building slowly degraded by heavy machinery over weeks or months. To see one destroyed in a matter of seconds seems like a breath of fresh air.

But naturally, this called for some kind of social occasion, hence the thermos flask of champagne, and the multiple dust masks which were for my friends whom I was meeting at our designated "implosion vantage point". I'd gone around on my bike a week beforehand and had scoped out what I thought were the best spots. In the end I opted for a driveway at the back of the Centennial Pool complex on Armagh St as it offered a clear line of sight largely unobstructed by pesky trees.

So there we were, a motley crew with cameras and plastic tupperware cups filled with bubbly wine.

My friend took a handout from a lanky chap who was handing them out. It explained how the falling of the Twin Towers on 9/11 was too much like a controlled implosion not to be a controlled implosion. Whatever you think of conspiracy theorists, they obviously know an opportunity when they see one. I'd never really thought of "implosion associated selling" being a thing before.

I had a peer at the Newstalk ZB building through my binoculars, but the thing is, there isn't anything especially interesting about a building when it's just sitting there. As much as I hoped to catch a glimpse of a bound and gagged Murray Deaker through one of the upper windows, no such luck.

  Radio Network House after a hard night on the tiles...
I was busy fiddling with my camera, with which I intended to capture some video of the implosion, when three rapid booms did their best to give me a heart attack. I'd been expecting a siren or countdown* of some kind but instead the short series of percussive booms snapped me to attention and very nearly had me soiling my pants. I scrambled to get my camera into position and pressed the button.

And then nothing. For a second or so the building just stood there looking back at us as if to say "Is that the best you've got?" This was followed by another volley of bass drum booms (it was a bit like being at a concert, when you can feel the percussion in your chest, but in this case I was quite far down the back) and then the whole thing just tumbled towards us in that weirdly slow-motion way that large buildings seem to have. And then I started breathing again.

While it may seem strange that a group of people who have lost so many buildings and surely aren't overly pleased about losing another should laugh and cheer as one is turned into a pile of rubble and dust, it's just the natural reaction, I think, to something exciting and terrifying but essentially safe. I far prefer implosions to earthquakes, that's for sure.

We then all went back to my place for breakfast and more bubbles before the earliest party I've ever given wrapped around 9.30am. On our way back home the Silver Fox and I saw an abandoned trampoline sitting on the footpath on the Kilmore St bridge. I wish I'd taken a picture of it but happily someone else did. I guess someone had positioned it there as an implosion viewing platform? Though the Silver Fox and I theorised that it was obviously one of the species of trampolines that migrate north. This one was clearly injured and had been left behind during the annual journey north to spawn (this is how you get rebounders). Eventually the trampolines return in the spring*.

Would you get up at 6.30am on a Sunday to go and watch a building implode? Did you go on Sunday and how did you like it? What's the biggest thing you've ever seen destroyed in front of your very eyes?

* Turns out there was a siren and a countdown but we couldn't hear them from where we were.

** I offer you, ladies and gents, the worst pun EVER.

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