Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Splash of Twirl

The red river, west of Deskall, winding and wending its meandering path from source to stream, offers up bounties of teeming life and boundless activity in the form of fish, fauna, bubbles, scabies, pond scrape, algae, detritus, flotsam, jetsam and mermaids. It is the latter, blessed as they are with that enticing combination of scales, skin and great lengths of human hair, who provide us with the biggest talking points, to wit and thus: “Hey, look, there’s one of them mermaids I was telling you about! Who’s a liar now then eh? Look, there’s another one! Two mermaids!”

The red river, both downstream and upstream, delivers to the wide expanse of the undulating sea a mass collection of all kinds of pebbles, rocks, shells, grit, sand, clay marlins, rubble and boulders. It delivers this mass cheerily, stopping for a chat or two with the sea as they ruminate over the weather and the likely rise of temperatures and levels. It is the latter, fraught as it is with the potential destruction of all things known to fish and fowl, that causes the greatest consternation on the part of the sea and the river. They have a desire to be remembered as life-givers rather than life-destroyers. Because what, after all, is more symbolic and purty than the rush of the cool clear of the cool, cool water?

The red river, whether green, blue or part of a dream, carries itself with dignity as it shrugs off the fact that it carries all manner of rubbish and things in the form of all kinds of old boots, horses’ heads, bicycle wheels, shopping trolleys, drinks cans, water bottles, plastic bags, inner tubes, nappies, condoms, sanitary towels, tampons, bin liners, crisp packets, sweet wrappers and plastic beer glasses. It dismisses the fact of its pandering to rubbish and mess, choosing instead to live with the dignity of cutting a dash through towns and cities as a symbol for the very best of the towns and the cities by way of duck races, swan gatherings, lazy floatings and Mayoral processions. To boot: “Ladies and Gentlemen it gives me the greatest pleasure to formally declare this part of the river as a sanctuary haven escape piece for those people behind me, in those new apartments right there, who had the wherewithal to be able to afford one of those flash new apartments that have been built on the site of the old houses that once housed families and children who had every right to live smack bang in the city centre without it costing them a fucking fortune. And I say to you ladies and gentlemen that as soon as all of our towns and cities are turned over to what used to be known as yuppie filth then so much the better for the local economy, even if that means the certain death and destruction of all previous forms of community and the general sense of well-being of what it feels like to belong for ordinary people. To this latter group, these so-called salts of the earth, these working-class heroes, I say fuck you tramps, fuck you proper and good!”

The red river is a splash of twirl on the faceless, endless landscape of the never-ending Norfolk landscape as it hoves into view somewhere in the middle and coils its snaky path eastways towards the coast and right beyond and right into the sea. The blank canvas of countryside is lifted in spirit by the red river as it offers up a full range of wild and exciting touches, all designed to dot the vacant heart of the grey pastorality of nothing. To thus: succour for trees, plants and green growth of all manner and kind, as a cut into mud and clay, offering divergence and pattern, a haven for insect and animal life featuring a host variety of riverbank and beyond types: mayflies, dragonflies, waterboatmen, voles, otters, shrews, alligators, flies, beavers, fish, butterflies, moths, crawlies, dippers, herons, ducks, moorhens, coots, waders, gadflies, curlicues, kingfishers, marlins, neurotics, daisydukes, pelicans, flippers, seals, organisms, water lions, halfmasts and coals. This mass of life and teeming activity sometimes threatens to break the banks and overflow the region with a flood of fantasia that would, while destroying the landscape, at least offer us something to look at as we make our quick yet dreary trudge through the Norfolk countryside in order to get back to our towns, cities and coasts as soon as is humanly possible. This as articulated by the Unknown Traveller, whose cassette tape imbued monument states ever so clearly: “I were proceeding in an easterly direction by train and car when I happened to glance from the window and spy from the window this heart-sinking stab of nothingness, this vast expanse of potentially wild and interesting countryside that had been tamed and turned by a whole host of fat farmers into absolutely fuck all. God, it were depressing. So I stopped looking out of the window and instead concentrated on my book, a novel about life in the city, in the hope of quicker passing the time so I could get back to my home in the city all the more quicker and fast. To the rail operators and the people who look after the motorways, I say they should provide forms of entertainment that can be viewed from train and car windows in the form of films and adverts and maybe even just interesting patterns and paintings. Anything, that is, that would quicker and better pass the time and divert our eyes from the spectacle of what those stupid fat farmers, those self-appointed and erroneously titled guardians of the countryside, have done to our countryside and country. Hurrah for that little red river!”


Blogger Molly Bloom said...

Another great use of water imagery. I like the onomatopoeic splashes and waves of natural words such as 'pond scrape' and the rhythmic movements of 'mass cheerily' and 'likely rise of temperatures and levels'. Also, the lists of different objects makes you feel like a beachcomber - sorting through the natural landscape of the Fens, a place where I grew up so it reminds of long walks on the 'Meshes'.

I also like the way the river is like a great beast - the use of active verbs and harsher consonant sounds such as 'wending' and 'undulating' brings the river to life. Whoever stands at the river's mouth is very lucky indeed.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Molly Bloom said...

Your work is a landscape through which mermaids swim. I wonder what our landscape will look like in years to come? Do you think the Red River will still exist?

I wonder if there will only be a huge industrial complex on the site of this writer. Maybe a Pret-a-manger..we should be celebrating creativity. What a breath of fresh air this is in today's dirth of dumbing down rubbish.

Why is it that one well-known Oxbridge writer sold the rights to her book for a million before she had even written it!! Shocking, shocking, shocking!

Celebrate the ones who continue writing, whatever life throws at them, in moments snatched eversobriefly with no subsidiesgrantshelpshit.

Keep writing Paul!

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic, absorbing, I don't agree at points and strongly agree at others. Magnetic writing, best of what I've read so far.


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