Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Halifax - City of Love

I was half-listening to a news download this morning when my attention was caught by the phrase "Halifax - City of Love". Granted, this is St Valentine's Day : but even if you have OD'd on red roses, chilled champagne and fluffy bunnies, I still can't quite see Halifax as the city of love. This is not the Halifax I have lived in most of my life. The Halifax of smoking chimneys, crumbling mills, greyscale drizzle and sullen faces. Not the Halifax of endless dissatisfaction and binge-fed alienation. Of course it isn't. I had not walked many yards before I realised that I was listening to some Canadian radio programme and the Halifax being referred to was Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Now the description may be just as out of place when used in relation to our Canadian-cousin of a city, but that is not where I am going this morning. No, this is a rambling discourse about the nature of cyber-space. I recall many years ago, in the very early days of the web, one of the computer magazines gave away a large colour "map" of cyberspace. Even back then - when web content could still be counted on the toes of a millipede - this was unrealistic. Cyberspace is not a place - it is the very antithesis of a place. Time, distance, location - none of these exist. Thus my Uncle Harry - now long dead - can exist side by side with Edwin and his electric boat and I can walk the dog along the California highway and get back each night in time to watch Coronation Street.
The first time I realised all this was some years ago when I was doing a search for material about transport in Halifax to help my son with a school project. I eventually found a long article and was feeling well pleased with myself until - on reading it more carefully - I discovered that it was about a new ferry service direct from Halifax to New York! Yes, you've worked it out ... yet again it was Halifax NS. To me that appeared silly, but once you take time and space out of the equation it was all quite logical. So maybe if you take time and space out of the equation Halifax can really be the City of Love. .

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