Turquoise, January 2005
The other day, to my surprise
I found myself believing once again
And stared with undiluted joy
Towards the setting sun where clouds
Are in a shaft and light beyond compare.
The other night, as happiness gave way
To anger and confusion
You waited for me on the corner
Of Radium Street, beneath a post-ironic
I saw my life at breakneck speed
Escaping in a stolen car
In search of someone else to occupy
A journey through a Nimslo scene
Where people fade at nobody’s expense
Tues 7 Jun 05:
Yesterday at work I had two samples to test, both with the same product code, both light grey colour, and both the same dry time spec.
One dried completely in 3 hours, while the other was still tacky after 4 hours. It occurred to me that Flemo might have added all the driers to the same batch.
e-mail message from Steve S about Pride Parade float – Julian has some ideas for decoration.
All Hail Pollution
Sing, sweet muse
Of the ugliness of factories. Let us rejoice
In these dens of waste
Let us call blessings on the rusted cages
The grimy windows, acrid stench
And complex Harpies dancing
Through the poison clouds.
Was it Mercury who taught us
To create a landscape
Of broken concrete, battered metal,
Spills of random chemicals and dirt?
Everywhere the angles rust beneath harsh lights
And rancid miles of futile pipework
Dream of pollution.
It reassures me when I see
A shopping trolley lying there
Abandoned at the entrance to an underpass
It lets me know the world
Where I grew up is not that far away at all.
This is the Akcros factory at Eccles, on Lankro Way. There are some picturesque storage drums, rusty and forgotten, along with hundreds of empty plastic one-tonne containers, white and cold in their steel cages. Several years ago I went to an interview at this firm for a job as laboratory technician.
To ensure that I was on time for the interview, I decided to travel up to Eccles the night before and stay in a hotel. The place I chose was cheap and cheerful; they didn’t offer evening meals, so I wandered down the road to a restaurant called Smith’s where a jazz singer was performing. The place was packed, but they actually sorted out a table for me by turfing out one of the waiters who was on his lunch break in the corner. The next morning I had breakfast in the hotel, in a basement dining-room that smelled faintly of mould.
It disappoints me when I stumble on
Mahler six on vinyl in a shop
Next to tatty paperbacks
And fat brown polyester ties. Does
No-one care about this avalanche of pain?
I remember walking along the long road where lorries waited to carry off the kegs of resin and sacks of pigment. After what seemed like twenty minutes of brisk walking I found myself at the security lodge, and ended up in an office discussing materials science with a bunch of smartly-dressed strangers. That road is now deserted, lined with concrete blocks to prevent joyriders or doggers ending up in the Manchester Ship Canal.
The interview went well; a couple of weeks later I received a note from the recruitment agency (Polyjobs) informing me that the firm had been suitably impressed by my skills and experience but alas, had decided not to proceed with my application.
And then I see a ruined factory, silent valves
And empty pumps, the canteen radiators
Cold with rust. No alchemy takes place
The way it did ten years ago, transforming
Beige slime into snow-white flakes of joy.
And then, nine years later, I did find a job in Eccles which meant that my journey to work took me past this site every day, listening to Schubert, Biffy Clyro and Liszt on my tiny Hitachi MP3 player.
Down the road from this derelict site is an office block which I have nicknamed ‘Cthulhu Mansions’ because it appears to have been designed without a single right angle anywhere. Presumably if there was an earthquake and this building was hit by subsidence, it would then settle down into a normal rectangular edifice.