A Murderous Afternoon


Where were you when you heard the towers of the World Trade Centre had been struck? I remember being at work and hardly believing the news. That evening the news footage compared with a nightmarish film or video game. That morning nineteen al Qaeda extremists had hijacked four airplanes. Two were flown into the twin towers, a third hit the Pentagon and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville in Pennsylvania. Nearly 2,996 people died. Here is a rather bland painting showing the second plane heading for the second tower.


Iím not sure what spawned this one. Iíd found a wardrobe door in a skip which was too good for the landfill tip. I sawed it up to abuse with paint. Even though I applied a layer of undercoat I found paint would not easily purchase onto the surface. This limited the topics I could paint. I started with a pale pink and blue sky and for two weeks lay in bed looking at it wondering what to put in the foreground. I saw a documentary about the twin towers which showed people leaping from the flames the towers. I tickled in the main buildings and the tops of others with sun from the left. The north tower has already been struck. The first plane - aBoeing 767 carrying 20,000 gallons of jet fuel - crashed into the 80th floor (of 110). This left a gaping, burning hole, carnage, terror and hundreds of dead people. Evacuation got underway but eighteen minutes after the first plane hit a second Boeing 767 appeared in view, turned sharply and sliced into the south tower near the 60th floor. Can you imagine what boundless horror people on board the planes suffered? And people in the towers who could see its approach? No, me neither.


Only about 40% of this board is taken up with paint and it didn't take long to complete. Sunlight catches the left sides of the buildings. Black billowing black smoke is lightened as it mushrooms up and blows leftward into sunlight. Perhaps the towers wouldnít have collapsed had it not been for the size of the explosion. To maximise impact the planes were chosen as they were loaded with fuel for the long transcontinental journey (both were flying to Los Angeles.) The skyscrapers were built to withstand 200mph winds and large conventional fires but not the superheat generated by burning jet fuel.


On this dreadful September day I remember trying to sell shares on but the stock markets were temporarily closed to prevent further panic selling. I canít remember this happening before or since.