The eternal brick and other urban objects - Spring 2005
In the courtyard of the Dutch Ministry of Health there lies a brick. It’s a simple red brick, with one corner broken off. Nothing remarkable about it, except that it has lain there since January and it probably won’t disappear soon.

I hope that you will come up with some exciting examples of your own. In fact, I hope this proves that you can find curious phenomena in the most common circumstances. And I hope to give some inspiration to those Forteans who say : “Nothing odd ever happens to me.” Maybe the odd fact is in front of your eyes.

This is the courtyard of MinVWS. Its a well kept place. The brick is barely visible at the bottom of the red column. It's between the tree and the round steel column.
25 February 2005 23 March 2005
Evidently someone has put it there. It’s not a leftover from the construction of the building, nor is it the same brick that the pavement is made of. It’s bigger and a different colour. It’s not a door stopper, like a stone that I know, that keeps a bank backdoor open. So evidently it’s urban garbage.

Now I’m quite interested in urban garbage and if I see an interesting piece of paper I usually read it (hoping to find a new MJ-12 document). And I often remember the location of dropped bottles, broken CD’s and other out of place stuff. Usually these are swept up in a week. The brick stays put. It's May 2005 now and the brick is still there - unmoved.

I’ve been wondering why this is the case. Some theories:
- It has some useful purpose that I don’t know of.
- It’s so unobtrusive that no one has thought of removing it.
- It doesn’t do any harm so it’s nobody’s problem.
- It doesn’t look enough like “garbage” – would you throw a brick in a dustbin?

That makes me wonder – how many objects are there in the urban environment that are out of place, but still stay “under the radar”.

I’m playing with the idea of planting some bricks in the city myself. Of course you know that hollowed-out bricks have been used as dead-drops by both MI5 and the CIA.

Since I’ve found this brick I’ve seen many more stones lying around, and I’m now taking pictures of them. I hope that they will stay put just as long. But surprisingly enough some of them disappeared quicker than I thought.

For example - these three stones - in the same courtyard - looked just as permanent as the brick. But then someone put a Coke tin next to them and drew attention to them. Then someone moved them. Soon they were gone. So - not every urban stone is permanent.

25 February 2005  
17 March 2005 23 March 2005
This stone obviously has a function. It is a "stone with a job". It keeps open the back door of the ING Bank for the addicted smokers fleeing their smoke free office. - But he brick has no obvious function.
I was happy when I found this stone. It looked heavy and permanent. I was sure I had found another example of a "permanent urban object".

But two days later it had obviously moved - even leaving tracks on the pavement! Did it move by itself?

Even later it was back to where it started. Then it was gone. Will I ever see it again?

4/22/2005 4/25/2005
In the mantime I have picked two other examples. I will monitor them and see how long they last. Want to place some bets?
4/18/2005 4/28/2005
Another object that disappointed me was this coffee cup. I had hoped it would be stable and reliable. But it didn't survive for even one week.
4/19/2005 4/21/2005
4/22/2005 4/25/2005

Another class of “eternal” objects are weeds. Since January I’ve been following one thistle that has managed to grow to respectable height – more or less opposite the workplace of our Prime Minister. I can’t understand that no one has uprooted it yet.

Urban Adventure Home Petr Kazil, May 2005