Monthly Archives: May 2020

Maxine Peake, Widnes Council, and a Reclaimed Toxic-Waste Dump – Reflections on Spike Island

Exactly 30 years to the day, what’s changed? I like Maxine Peake for her membership of the Communist Party and for her outspokenness on political matters (and she’s a truly great actor (but maybe yet to be recognised as such)).

The only occasion I’ve had to go near Widnes in the 30 years since is to drop some paperwork off at a colleague’s house (Widnes and surrounding areas are much nicer than the name Widnes suggests – maybe Widnes Council needs to amplify this (or change its name). I once lived near Summertown, Oxford. They know how to name places down there. It lived up to its name.

The Stone Roses LP is still a part of my vinyl collection, and is, in fact, unsleeved on my (still/static) turntable right now. I own way more vinyl than 30 years ago.

Maxine Peake took a beating from a critic for her performance in Peterloo (something to do with her northern accent) – maybe the critic should have been focusing on the incident itself, and the fact that kids like me weren’t taught about such things (or the tanks sent to Glasgow shipyardsto ward off the ‘threat’ of communism; or the use of paramilitary troops disguised as police officersto break up the coal miners’ strikes).

I didn’t value mon£y then (I never had much until around 1996). I don’t value it now, and have arguments with people about it. I did have a phase in between where I had money and acted like people who have money (and didn’t like it (the pha$e) very much).

I think the Stone Roses are in danger of becoming their own tribute act.

The world is in such a mess it is hard to tune out.

Much of human activity is pointless, at best, and destructive, at worst.

Doing anything for mOn€y involves compromise.

capitalism-propaganda-roland


25” Straight Leg Jeans, Fishing Hat, and C20H25N3O – Reflections on Spike Island

Jeans. So wide at bottom, trainers/trainees/sneakers completely obscured from view. Turn-ups 3” deep, turned 3 times, gather roughly 1” dirt/dust over course of night. Later emptied onto bedroom floor. Pockets deep enough to hide Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, for personal consumption. Two packets of fags. £30. Lip balm stick. Zippo lighter. 30 years on, jeans lay in paper bag in attic. Nearly new. One careful owner. Pockets empty.

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Fishing Hat. Bought from Army Navy Stores on high street. Morning of Stone Roses concert: Lee’s back yard. Selection of Airfix paint pots, very small. Dip tiny paintbrush, flick paint onto hat. Old bed sheet on patio appeases Lee’s mum. Colours selected: Made of Stone (hat: light khaki/stone?). Not yet aware of Jackson Pollock (have heard name in lyrics). 15 minutes after concert ends, hat stolen w/ menace. 30 years on, presumed dead. Reward offered for safe return.

C20H25N3O. Safely enters Spike Island. Spends 2 hours playing in pocket fluff. Tiny piece of cardboard/paper w/ kooky image (of what?). Taken w/ water. 1 hour later all faces look implausibly distorted, both animal and alien-like. Dry mouth. Cigarette smoke causes wincing, watering mouth, and colours in back of eyes. Smoking oddly unpleasant yet comforting. Toilet trips fraught w/anxiety. Light reflecting off disco ball (for Waterfall) causes tiny slashes on face (hand waving cannot deflect light/slashes). Concert ends. Walk to car, alone. Hat stolen. 6 or 7 of them. 1 of me. Walk on. Find approximate parking area. 30 minutes getting anxious (friends watching do not let on, just watch). Friend retrieves distraught me. Safe in car. Up to Lee’s room. Inspect dust/dirt. Ears hurt. Eyes won’t close. Dry mouth. Wincing at smells and colours.

27thMay 1990. Spike Island, Widnes.

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Sunny. Hot. Dry. Vivid.


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