I’ve given up wondering whether I’m being metaphorical or not. Fact is it’s that first week after the clocks go back, and dusk oppresses us an hour or more earlier than it did last week. Winter is coming. The Christmas lights are ready.
The schools are shut for half-term, there are no trains to Manchester and it rained most of the day. Hebden Bridge is back in lockdown almost by default. It’s a depressing time, a silence hangs over the place that is unnatural and wrong.
Time is on our hands. I can’t easily get into Manchester this week as the train line is having one of its bouts of ‘maintenance’. Joe is on his half-term break. I needed a film making for teaching purposes and it gave us both something to do, and him something to put on his portfolio for later life.
I can see no reason at all for this rather odd sight of spectators at today’s football match turning their back on Newcastle United women’s no. 21, Maisie Cole. Except that there was a game on the other pitch below. Mind you, as the game between Newcastle and Brighouse was 0-0, they didn’t miss much.
This is Leeds railway station, at what should be peak time on a Saturday morning.
You may think this desperately depressing scene is justified and necessary. I do not. When a crime has been committed the good investigator first asks — cui bono? It means ‘who benefits’? And who does benefit from all this — if we are not travelling, not spending money in the same places we were spending it last October, seeing friends, partying in nightclubs, going to Elland Road or wherever? I name Rupert Murdoch, Jim Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Eric Schmidt and all their kin as people with the most profoud vested interest in keeping us locked up through the spreading of fear and this year’s sudden, digitally-driven enhancement of what Michel Foucault called the carceral state. If I’m wrong, sue me. If you don’t like it, defy it.
With no disrespect to the people who are sharing this life with me (Clare, Joe), things have a drabness to them at the moment: all the diary contains are work events, there is nothing communal beyond some football matches (and even they are visited alone), no parties, no gigs. This is what the world has become now the Great Fear has been used as an excuse to kick us all into a digital semi-prison. If things are different where you are, then embrace that. At least from my house the view is quite good, particularly when the afternoon sunlight catches the hills in the distance.
The Rochdale Canal has featured many times on this blog, most recently eleven days ago, near Todmorden. This shot is taken in the centre of Manchester, on Canal Street, as urban (and metrosexual) as you get, but you wouldn’t know that from this shot. When I returned past this point in the afternoon, all the leaves had gone, suggesting the lock had been opened at some point during the day — a small sign of life in what remains a mostly comatose city, just waiting for the Tory Party to take it down and stomp it underfoot for a few more weeks.
Going to see a football match is such a simple, harmless thing, and no one is compelled to do it. Our Glorious Leader and some associated bureaucrats, desperate to deflect blame away from the fact they’ve all been promoted above their level of competence, are desperate to take this pleasure away. Region is being played off against region, town against town, neighbour against neighbour even, and simple, harmless things are suddenly not so simple any more. What a farce all this has been, and a no-deal Brexit still to come.
This is about half an hour before kick off at Atherton Collieries’ very fine little ground, by the way. The hosts were smiling at the end — the scoreboard read 5-0 by full time.
Whether or not Authority spasms and throws out arbitrary diktats in the next few weeks will not change the fact that I have plenty of work to do, and opportunities to get out of Hebden Bridge are going to be limited. So, Johnson, Our Glorious Leader, do your worst, I don’t care any more. Expect more photos of the local area. I don’t know why I focused on this run of satellite dishes on the street of Royd Terrace this morning — possibilities range from a ‘staying in touch’ metaphor, up to and including the decline of civilisation itself. Perhaps.
I don’t get to spend enough time in hammocks. There is something deeply relaxing about this mode of relaxation. A shame the weather is getting colder now and this one — lying outside the houses that stand above our allotment — probably won’t be used much now, until the spring. (Spring 2021 seems even longer away this year than usual, sadly.)