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Beat Up

Line Drawing by Vic Campden, OBE

Line Drawing by Vic Campden

Beat Up from 'The Unreturning Spring' by James Farrar 1943

The beat-up is a crescendo of reckless feeling beginning at a respectable height with the nose leaning down before you, the needle creeping up to 230, 240, and onward on the clock, the aerodrome spreading and opening out before you. We are going for the Watch Office: a last, low bank over the end of the runway, then down, leveling, and time becomes a blur in which we only know that we are nosing a little lower, then a clear chip of time breaks away and lodges in the brain - an upward whirl with a very large, close piece of Watch Office, with iron rails, contact in the comer of one's vision.

Again we come round, this time at the Flight. Again the nose down, the speed growing. Time is still in perspective: one sees consecutively, the objective grows before us. Time fades into the blur again, then the one thing is photographed - a cubic vision of bays, an aircraft, trees, and many upturned faces close to us - and carried away up over the wood into the clear sky where the shattered fragments of time slow into coherence.

The brain cannot compete against this speed.

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