Me ‘ome town is a ghost town. So many shop fronts boarded up. Large, major buildings cacooned in plastic, across its basin, where there is a pool and outdoor screen. A surreal, almost futuristic experience when walking through.
The theatre is white, gold and shiny. The national media museum is still here despite threat of pulling funding. It has the best cinemas I’ve been in.
I seem to keep missing the demonstrations, celebrations, commemorations and parades that happen. But I’ve only been back six weeks.
So many of us left in droves in the 80’s and 90’s. The basin tipped and with the water we all tumbled out. In search of work, away from our dark satanic mills.
Now everything is sand-blasted and golden. The mills glisten in the sun – when it shines – Dubrovnik-esque.
And I go in search of the ghosts. Not even the ghosts are there.
Unlike its larger neighbour, my home town has a certain something. It’s indie, rock, art, film. It’s earthy. There is soul. Yes and Northern Soul.
And so I venture in and back out. Slowly accepting its developments and new movements, meeting people, looking in to places. Ignoring the surface and digging deeper.
It is the world’s first UNESCO City of Film beating Los Angeles, Cannes and Venice to the title in 2009.
The National Media Museum is the most visited museum outside London.
It was once the centre of the industrial revolution in the UK and the birth place of the Labour party.
Do I dare to believe that it will revive itself. That’s up to us. Change, and the city will change with us. Only we can make it so.
A series of events are coming soon.
A story for the city is too.
My personal journey and that of the city are entwined. Future and past.
Still thinking about getting a record player…