Why was I in the depths of Rochdale at 9pm on a Tuesday evening? Photography reasons, of course. (OK, actually it was a football match.) The substantial tower blocks in the background are locally known as the ‘Seven Sisters’, I believe. As is often the case, going monochrome disguises some dubious sodium-lighting yellowness and the odd bit of lens flare. Plus it just seems like a black-and-white kind of place, to be honest, befitting the first day of November.
Whenever I walk past the new car park on Princess Street in Manchester, just north of the Mancunian Way (the shadow of which is visible), nine times out of ten there is a mysterious, anonymous white van parked in the service tunnel, as here. The metal grille in front of it adds a pointillist effect to what is basically an abstract. Yes, probably it would have been better without the shadow, but it was another sunny and warm day, so I’m not complaining too much.
Another damp day. With only occasional breaks, it feels like it’s been raining for weeks. A misty car park somewhere in the western reaches of Leeds. In the distance another soul who, like me, is just glad to find a game on. This shot is a relative rarity for me, as it’s one where I don’t mind the cars.
Here’s 1960s town planning for you. Build a concrete monstrosity of a street in the centre of your city, with a car park on top of it, and name it after a female character from that city’s history who was alluring enough to appeal to its most dashing hero. Maid Marian’s appeal is at least hinted at by whomever decorated the wall, but that’s scant consolation.
This one is here more because I like the shapes and patterns than anything else. But I suppose there’s an ongoing sense of frustration at the remnants of lockdown, which hangs around like an irritating guest at a party that can’t get started with him there. We are in the ‘we’re doing it because we said three months ago that we would’ stage, as far as Authority goes — for of course, they cannot be seen to have changed their minds. Going on the front pages of the papers today even the media are not bothered any more. But Mytholmroyd station car park remains largely unused.
The establishment in question is located somewhere round here but that sign isn’t pointing to it. Instead it just presides over a mostly empty car park, where there should be signs of visitors, shoppers, people just hanging out in the town centre on a Saturday.
One of the lies we’ve been sold over the last year centres around the notion of ‘essentia’ and ‘non-essential’ retail. Amazon can compel their drones to go work in warehouses that are centres of virus transmission, but I am not allowed to patronise a local bookshop, nor to buy a pair of shoes. This has been an unparalleled opportunity to shaft small businesses, one the Tories (backed up by Labour, who are even worse) have taken with glee, while puttng on their concerned face, and telling us it’s all for our own good. Not if you are a business owner, I imagine. But that’s OK, we can just blame them for ‘not adapting’, like not inventing a way to get nails done online. Sorry to break out into this again, but there’ll be weeks more of this crap yet.
My penultimate day in Manchester, 2020. A year which has had fewer such days than expected. How often does the place display its appalling street drainage? I think this is a big contributor to the city’s reputation for wetness.
My Manchester colleague Lee skulks around the Uni of Melbourne’s underground car park waiting to be picked up. So to speak. Melbourne’s seventh shot in a row, and there’ll be a few more yet: a period of stability, place-wise, after a long run of moving around — the period 8th March to 4th April featured 21 different places.
Altrincham Street marks one of the edges of the Manchester campus. Officially, it ends just behind where this shot was taken: here, we are looking through a gate that blocks off this extension, squeezing itself through the gap between the car park and the (overcrowded and inadequate) cross-Manchester railway line on the right. Why this shot, and the second monochrome shot in a row? I just like the perspectives. And it’s a kind of non-space, forgotten, unused. In some cities there’d be a whole thriving community down here.