When God Lived in the Fisher Building

Not the Fischer: taken outside another bit of Michigan grandeur, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA)

Outside another bit of Michigan grandeur, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA)

2014 has been a surprisingly good year for me. (1) Not such a great one for humanity. If I were the Almighty, I’d be seriously hacked off.

Shootings and stabbings, mass and otherwise, abound. This old world, to borrow a line from one of my poems, appears to be “going to Hell in a very large handbasket indeed”.

But, hasn’t this always been the case? What’s different from any other era in history, except:

(1) There are more of us, thus more bad stuff.

(2) As industry advances, we find more sophisticated, complex, and frankly mad (2) ways to harm each other.

(3) Thanks to mass media, we find out about the horrid stuff much more quickly.

As with most things in life, I have choices. Sometimes, I turn my back on the world. Sometimes, I get angry. Occasionally, I attempt to “get even” (3).

Or, there’s my other choice. To try and apply some understanding: whether in my adopted home town of Doncaster, or the vast back garden of this “global village” known as Mother Earth.

Where does the Fisher Building come into this? Built in 1928 by architect Joseph Nathaniel French, the Fisher has three key things going for it:

(1) It’s home to the Fisher Theatre (4), which, in the 60s and 70s, was the theatre in Detroit.

(2) It was also home to WJR – “760 on your radio dial!” – the only station my parents listened to when I was growing up. ‘JR’s call sign, as announced by Charley Park, was:

from the golden tower of the Fisher Building

(4) It was also where my sister thought God lived.

She was quite young at the time.

Growing up, we made occasional trips to St George’s, where we were exposed to the incense, chants, and icons of the Romanian-Orthodox faith. The rest of the time, we were introduced to God, and Jesus – the saints didn’t get a look in – via the tepid architecture of a Baptist church, where the only pictures were the Sunday school dioramas we seemed to be continually crayoning in, and cutting out.

Little wonder that the Art Noveau splendour of the Fisher made such an impact.

These days, I’m more likely to see God – whoever he/she/they may be – in Nature:

An autumnal web

An autumnal web

Although, I’ve also met God in refuges such as this:


I’m told my face was a picture when, back in the 1980s, I first arrived in Donny, and saw this:

St George's parish church, aka the Doncaster Minster

St George’s parish church, aka the Doncaster Minster

I’ve featured several photos of St George’s in this blog. The church was built in 1858 to replace the previous one, which was destroyed in a fire in February 1853.

Is God a Yorkshireman? Or a Detroiter? Or, indeed, a Londoner (5)?

As well as Nature, and architecture, I can and do find God(s) in the mystery and magnificence of words.

Yorkshire has some wonderful poets – Ted Hughes, originally from Mexborough, springs to mind. However, for me, there are few verses more moving than those of Wordsworth, in his short yet powerful poem, “Upon Westminster Bridge” (1802). It concludes:

The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

“Go, and may your god go with you.” – Dave Allen

Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes contemplates London.

Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes contemplates London.

(1) “Surprisingly” as some right shite has happened to me this year.

(2) I use “mad” to mean “the nasty, crazy shit we sometimes do to each other”. Not the same thing at all as mental health problems.

(3) No, it doesn’t work, though it can backfire with spectacularly awful results.

(4) Congrats, guys, on spelling “theatre” correctly.

(5) A Northerner by birth, name and choice, I’m tempted to add “God forbid”.

About Sheila N

Enough about me. Art by Tom Brown.
This entry was posted in Nostalgia, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to When God Lived in the Fisher Building

  1. blahpolar says:

    God is from Derbyshire.

  2. Sue Stevens says:

    So does this mean JP was God? Or just one of many? You know, like Lance Parrish…

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