Synthetic Heritage

Off to the Gallery today; I’ve never seen it so busy, there were swarms of Japanese schoolgirls, middle-aged couples, and a few hardcore music fans (also the wrong side of fifty) who had called in to look at the glass case containing a handwritten song by Ian Curtis. Instead of a visitors’ book, the gallery offers people a section of wall on which to post sticky notes; the contributions often run to one or two words with a battalion of exclamation marks – ‘Fascinating!!!!’ One of the small square notes had an ornamental border surrounding a four-line poem:

“There’s something wrong with the canal today; the
Water has forgotten how to breathe
And waves arrive at random intervals, created
By a barge that wandered past two years ago.”

Another exhibition at the gallery consists of photographs of Salford taken in the seventies. We see cobbled streets, women in headscarves, scruffy children sitting on walls and playing with gas-masks. There are ruined houses with exposed wallpaper; very few cars apart from a wreck that children used for playing. How many of these urchins are now working as hedge fund managers, or in prison for murder, or carefully inspecting aviation test panels for SCD (sickness, corrosion and despair)?



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