It was only a matter of time before it all came down. The last time I walked through was on my way to town. Up the mossy steps and across the walkways, into strange spaces layered with paintings.
But then came the great reconstruction. Hoardings went up sharing brash statements about what’s to come once the work is undertaken.
And it got me thinking that something is amiss, the way plans come to pass. Before you know it a block’s pulled down before anyone’s thought to ask: is this what we want for our city, the place that we call home, what would I like to see and feel when all is set in stone?
Nuances of place is heavily underrated, developers don’t see because there’s no money to be made from it. Even when it’s included in the literature, which inadvertently contributes to the decline of what’s being pitched to you.
Luxury apartments in the heart of the street art scene, but in reality it’s being ripped apart by JCBs while men in hard hats and suits watch as the fruits of their labourers plays out.
Why can’t we take the rough with the smooth, no need for every last pock mark to be removed, renovated? It seems like some things are better left unregenerated.
For this history isn’t medieval or wartime but my-time. The paintwork and the street corners are part of a time-line that speaks of the most subtle feats of human endeavour.
Pavements beat bent and broken from stomping children, trees like grandparents leaning over parked cars pushing their roots up to make bike ramps.
Streets where the graffiti is a landmark, plotting a course to a destination where ancestry and intention is lived out.
Conversations over a rusty gate, the flaking paint dropping with the years it takes for bonds to grow so strong that they might just pass over to the next of kin.
For this place has an age, a face and a name; a personality to which it stakes its claim. These things weren’t prefabricated, but grown from a thousand imprints, thoughts and visions pressed together in a coalition so deep and intricate most would miss it. Except the ones who seek to add their own.