Saturday 26 August 2017

Leaves are stuck fast to the roofs of cars with condensation

Leaves are stuck fast with condensation to the roofs of cars. More leaves and a couple of energy drink cans line the gutter. I can hear a police siren, the noise of a train going through the cutting, a jangle of keys as a man unlocks the community centre and the wood pigeons calling from the beech on the edge of the wood. There are some more old mattresses in the front garden of the flats and a burst bin bag outside A-Z Tyres where the fuchsia had dropped its flowers in a neat purple stripe. In the park, a flock of gulls swoops low over the narrow gauge railway and the Canada geese by the pond stare at me as I walk past.

In town, the tail-lifts creak, the pallet trucks squeak and the drunks in the church gardens argue about which of them understands dogs the most. Above them, a fourth-floor window opens and two men lean out. One of them launches a paper dart made from a pizza menu. “What the fuck was that?” the other exclaims as it spiral dives straight down and crashes onto the pavement below.

Later, on the estate, a learner driver cautiously passes the boy of about eight who jumps from a four-foot high garden wall using a Morrison’s bag as a parachute and then rolls histrionically across the pavement.

I pass two untidy looking men with several missing teeth. They are leaning on the bins and drinking strong cider. “You look nothing like Postman Pat!” one of them shouts to me in a slightly camp accent.
“Do you not like my look?” I ask, "This high-vis is brand new.”
“It’s not so bad, you just don’t look like Postman Pat, that’s all," the man says before his attention is drawn to the tall woman in her seventies with the full-length woollen overcoat who has just come round the corner and is trying to avoid eye contact. “I love your coat!” he shouts after her. 
“Thanks, love,” says the woman, blushing slightly.

Thursday 10 August 2017

The Most Difficult Thing Ever at the 4th World Congress of Psychogeography

  • The Most Difficult Thing Ever will feature in the programme of the 4th World Congress of Psychogeography at Heritage Quay, University of Huddersfield, September 8th-10th 2017.

    "The 4th World Congress of Psychogeography in 2017 brings together people from all walks of life to to Huddersfield this Autumn. With a mix of walks and talks come and find out what it’s all about and take the opportunity to explore new ways of seeing the world around you. Some of the walks are also part of Heritage Open Days in Huddersfield. 
    Please note that some details may change, please check these listing nearer to the time to double check the running order. Any under 16s must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Please dress appropriately for the weather if you are taking part in an outdoor activity. Some events may require booking, but all are free."

    MUSIC / TALK / FILM:  The Most Difficult Thing Ever 
    Saturday 9th September, 18.00,  Auditorium 
    By: Kevin Boniface, Beeves, & ML-B 
    Artists/musicians Beeves, ML-B, and Kevin Boniface will help you to make a bit less sense of Huddersfield through its frost damaged backyard buddhas, its bag-for-lifes, its salmon and potato dog food, its polythene trees, its Susans and its Geoffs, its Pot Noodle Portakabins, its mid-winter flip-flops, its couch grass window-boxes, its gin and slim on noughties decking, its talk of chimineas and quad bikes, its heated discussions about lorne sausage, its swanee-whistling starlings and its ketchup stained promotional air-dancers. 
    A Huddersfield experience realised in film, soundscape, music, and talking out loud.

Tuesday 1 August 2017

Walking into work at 6 a.m., I am overtaken by a man on an old mountain bike.

Walking into work at 6 a.m., I am overtaken by a man on an old mountain bike, a Labrador on a lead trotting alongside him. 20 yards ahead of me on the pavement is the spectral flâneur who I’ve occasionally glimpsed sight of over many years as he conducts his early morning dérives around town. He is easily recognised by his head-to-toe navy blue waterproofs and tightly drawn hood—whatever the weather. Over time I have convinced myself of this man's supernatural powers of perception and am consequently intimidated by his presence in the same street as me. 
Eventually, the mountain biker and Labrador catch up with and pass the mysterious flâneur which appears to prompt him to take flight; he suddenly leaps from the pavement, sprints across the road and disappears into a side street for another few months.

I have a badly addressed parcel to deliver: no street number, just a name. I ask the camp eastern European man with the tattoos who lives at the house with the waist height grass meadow in the front yard whether he recognises it. He says he doesn't which seems to frustrate him. I can tell he really wants to help and, after thinking for a moment he says, "The only advice I can give you is to drive really slowly along the road looking in all the windows at the curtains and things.”

It’s windy. I can hear plastic bottles blowing down the street. I see one bounce past the little junction box whose inspection door has been secured shut with brown packing tape.

Balls of plastic topiary hang from chains by front doors on the new estate. There are low maintenance bits of lawn, bits of privet, bits of cotoneaster etc. On a window sill, a pair of metallic effect picture frames display identical pieces of white paper printed with the words 4x4 Metallic Effect Frame.

At the house that smells of dog piss, there are signs on the gate that say Beware of Dogs. Next door, at the house where a recording of an Islamic call to prayer is audible from an upstairs window, there is a handwritten note in pencil attached to the door frame above the bell. It says “What are YOU saying?”

The sun comes out briefly and the broken glass glistens on the pavements. A scattering of takeaway detritus blows in a circle outside the post office where the couple with the bags-for-life are having an argument at the bus stop.

Inside the newsagent’s shop with the faded sign, a big man on crutches is talking to the thin woman in the torn gilet behind the counter. He is dressed in black with his hood up. He says Dr Who has had too many assistants over the years. “It started with his granddaughter and she was around for a while and then a new one came in and she’d be gone before you knew it and then there’d be another female on.” he explains, “There have been that many assistants it’s hard to keep up sometimes.”

On the estate of sweet peas and sticky grass, the 4x4 is loaded up and the kids are strapped in for the holiday drive. Parents scurry back and forth, “Have you got your fidget spinners?”

“Well, she’s putting enough weight on for twins,” says the waitress at the pub as she walks past the bar with plates of screwed up serviettes and ketchup stacked the length of her forearm. The barman glances up from his phone with a wry smile.

I pass The Bathstore on the ring road and I find myself thinking about the olive green plastic bath panel that was on sale for years at a rural post office from where I used to collect the mail. Other than post office essentials: stamps, envelopes, pens, there was nothing else for sale but this olive green bath panel. It was hung from baling twine above the cashier’s head and had a price tag of £18 attached to it. The office is long gone and presumably, the bath panel will have gone with it.