In the 60s you were just
a twinkle in an engineer's eye, but in the years since you developed
and matured, wearing many faces as you did so. You performed
as an ambassador, as a sculpture of great beauty, as a symbol
of technological expertise, as a magician whose act never fails
to astound, as an all-round, consummate performer. Throughout
your life, crowds have come from far and wide to watch your performance.
You have become an object of wonder and admiration, a talking
point in every language and in every part of the globe.
At first they said you were noisy, some said you
would fail at every turn, some even said you were a vandal, intent
on smashing windows and destroying ancient buildings, even harming
the air we breathe. But despite all the threats, you blossomed.
Throughout the early years they trained you, taught
you, learnt from you and perfected you until it was time for
you to work for your living. Overnight you took on a mantle of
excellence, of supreme achievement, and for a quarter of a century
you led a charmed life, enchanting all who saw you and who travelled
When you awoke for each performance, you moved elegantly
to take up your position, turning heads and stopping everyone
about you in their tracks. As your act began, you roared an awesome
roar and white heat streamed from you. To those close by, it
seems as though a mythical creature had awoken, with delta wings
and great threatening beak, raised as a dagger, aimed directly
at those beneath. You thundered towards them as if in attack,
increasingly deafening, yet at the last moment you swept overhead
in such dramatic style that none of your fellow players could
hope to match. The ground shook, the car alarms chorused, a young
child cried out, the crowd at first awestruck, before the cheers
Still you roared, turning, climbing, and then we
could see your true beauty, your timeless elegance that comes
from pure perfection of form.
Yet you have just one more piece of magic in your
repertoire. As you leave us, as if page boys tending a monarch's
train, a wind brushes us by, a gentle reminder of the fury of
Another stunning performance is past. The drama is
over all too soon as you speed to your next performance, leaving
all behind you except light itself. Your next audience awaits
you expectantly in some far distant land.
But now you are extinct. Your enemies, holed up with
only their treasure chests to cheer them, plotted your downfall.
Like Samson, your strength was sapped, your lifeblood
drained, your finery stripped, and your fires extinguished. Just
your bones are left to be poked, fingered, scratched, glanced
at, then forgotten.
Neglect will be your final and greatest enemy. You
will be squeezed between lesser glories, sentenced to a relentless
decline into dusty insignificance and impotence, your magical
skills evaporated, never to be restored. Gone is the pampering,
the attention to your every last need, a drop of something here,
attention to that detail there. Those who cared for you once
are forced to abandon you, forced to care for lesser creatures.
You will never see them again, they will never see you.
Your supreme act will be mere history, your unique
roar instantly recognised for miles around, will be reduced to
trifling whispers. For some, there will be tears in their eyes
as they remember your elegance, your spectacular power, your
quite unique way of life, but your thunder will be just a memory.
Time passes. Your time
has come and gone. You leave behind a public impressed yet deeply
saddened that your reign has ended.
You are the unique, the
beautiful, the stunning, the glorious Concorde. We shall never see your like again.