26.5.05

Pit.

"...this is a perfect exhibit - the smell of earth and damp and carbon dust, the doors you are warned to close behind you to prevent gas build-up, the props you bash your head on, thankful for the helmet - all this is utterly authentic. The only way they could make it more so would be to ask you to heave some coal to the surface, if you don't mind, on your way out."

~ "We need an award for Dullness" by Jonathan Jones, writing about the single face of the Big Pit in Blaenafon, South Wales.

I went there on a school trip when I was thirteen, and nothing can compare to the overwhelming feeling of enclosure when they close those two doors and you are plunged into pitch darkness, utterly senseless aside from the earthy smell of the tonnes of rock and earth above your head. You are rendered completely aware of your own fragile mortality, that it could be smashed so easily while you stand there: as if someone had ripped out your spine and left you in the middle of the M5.