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Tony Grist

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The Thoughts of Youth Are Long Long Thoughts [Jul. 30th, 2004|09:36 pm]
Tony Grist
I spent the afternoon being a little boy.

I met Mike in Manchester and we had a coffee and then walked out of the town centre and went climbing all over an area which used to be railway tracks and is now a wasteland studded with lilac bushes.

I forgot about my arthritis and climbed over walls and through fences and got scratched by briars and stung by nettles.

A Victorian passenger bridge crosses the area. Stand under one of the many brick arches and it feels almost physical the way your voice loops the loop to come back at you.

The view from the top of the bridge was extensive- and all the lovelier because WE WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO BE THERE.

In the middle of this wasteland is a large area of tarmac marked out with parking spaces. It clearly hasn't been there long because it's guarded by state-of-the-art floodlights and the weeds haven't got to grips with it yet. But there weren't any cars. Neither were there any signs of there ever having been a building or other facility there that the car-park might have served. Odd.

We kept coming across abandoned porn magazines. Why don't people take them home?

Hah, on reflection, I can answer that one for myself.

We left the wasteland, and followed the river Irk back into town and stopped off for a final prowl round an abandoned rubber goods factory. What a great place for a movie show-down we thought. Lots of places to hide. Imagine bullets chewing up the concrete pillars.

Back on the street we found a wallet. It must have been dropped because the cards were still there and so was £100 in cash. There was a passport photo of a woman with "I <3 you" written across the bottom and a newspaper obituary from 1986.
Tantalizing fragments of someone else's life. We took it to the police station off Albert Square and handed it in.
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Comments:
From: manfalling
2004-07-31 05:56 pm (UTC)

never was

i like the way you write up the car park. makes it sound so mysterious. car park, but no cars. no buildings. no evidence that there EVER were buildings for it to service. spooky, huh?

i reckon manchester- indeed any place- is crawling with these ghosts. i reckon they can be found so easily. bricked up churches, abandoned flatblocks, gutted mills, torn down way stations and torn up roads. places we forget. places we never see. around every corner.

in my mind- these places are no different from your stonehenges and your romes and pompeiis. the timescale obviously, but short of that, it's the same. people lived here, people worked here, but i can never really know what there lives were like. what things happened to them. what things happened at that place.

my favourite part of the movie gangs of new york, the bit that really gets me, is right at the end, when we're looking at the graves and onto the city, with caprio's voiceover int he background, and the city phases to the modern skyline, and the graveyard becomes overgrown with the passage of time, and caprio tells us- nobody will ever know we passed this way at all.

i love that.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-08-01 01:22 am (UTC)

Re: never was

Wastelands are wonderful. There's an anglo-saxon poem (I forget what it's called) about going through the woods and coming across Roman ruins and trying to figure out what they meant- just like we were doing Friday.

I'm gonna be revising Mammary Hill soon and I'm thinking I need to get that car-park into the story somehow....
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