I write now from the city of London, city of our Lord Plexiglass. There it is: the uplifting skyline, the gentle tarmac. And there, by the fence, is wild Nature reaching up to greet it. Hello wilderness!
At the age of sixteen, in my school’s computer room, I was accused of setting my sights on turning the key in the lock that kept the power on for all the school’s primitive computers. My sight was indeed fixed on the key, but – being English and middle class – I would never do such a thing. I learnt very soon in life that I would literally rather die than draw attention to myself (an attitude that leads to some interesting manoeuvres on the cycle path). However, the end of the world is clearly like a kind of drunkenness where no embarrassment can fix itself to me, so in the server room at Cern I pulled a plug, willing an end to the power behind the black hole and the desacralization of life’s mysteries.
As I ran, the underground tunnel from Cern beneath the French border took some peculiar turns, and the humming, metallic curving route gradually gave way to a more organic, less well-lit passageway. Despite having no conception of day or night – the Las Vegas lighting of Cern faded to a dim mossy glow – I felt as though I walked for days. In the end it was only the light from my digital watch that illuminated the markings on the cavern wall: the bull, the horse, the armed men.
Cern feeds on Lascaux’s energies under the European soil where humanity’s enquiry into nature is hidden from plain view: dangerous and on an awesome scale. Whatever its funding, The Large Hadron Collider draws its energy directly from the Lascaux bull. Awake now in London-upon-Plexiglass, it is clear to me that whether the black holes swallow us or not, the Cern bull demands its tribute.