Society

The Shutdown

Belching gas by day, Bladerunner by night: the explosion at the Grangemouth oil refinery that killed two men

10 MINUTES

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Every night in Falkirk in the central lowlands of Scotland, smoke from the nearby Grangemouth oil refinery engulfs the town, and the lights from the industrial complex make the fog glow bright orange. As a child, the writer and playwright Alan Bissett would look out at the factory and occasionally he’d see the unstable chemicals igniting, turning the smoke to flames. When the explosion eventually came, killing two workers and badly injuring his own father, it was a tragedy, but it wasn’t a surprise. In The Shutdown, Bissett reflects on a childhood spent in the shadow of this ‘techno vision of the future’, detailing the dangers faced by workers whose lives are so easily sacrificed in service of production and profit. The director Adam Stafford pairs poetic imagery and music with Bissett’s lyrical prose, painting an uneasy portrait of the modern industrial landscape in which our self-destructive thirst for oil continues unslaked.

Director: Adam Stafford

Producer: Peter Gerard

Editor: Adam Stafford, Leo Bruges, Peter Gerard

Language: English

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