The concert finished. The audience applauded. Not bad for a free concert by students so early in the academic year. Up out of the seat and leave the concert hall before most of the elderly audience has managed to struggle into their coats. Through the cafeteria thronged with young people noisily chatting, eating, guarding their cellos, discussing sheet music. Out into the busy street. Wet, cold and lonely. A good contrast to the dry, warm and busy interior.
Right of left? Is it a good day to be a flâneur? When setting out on a psychogeographical dérive how do you choose which direction to take? There’s no answer, so right it was. Within a few steps I’m out of the buzzing, people dense student zone and into the neighbouring low rise, high density social housing area. Lots of houses no people at least on the streets. They may be inside keeping warm. But it’s wet and deserted out here. Although the street sign says, ‘New Welcome Street’ it doesn’t feel very welcoming. Signs everywhere, ‘Controlled Zone’, ‘No Access’, ‘Permit Holders Only’, ‘Surveillance cameras in operation’.
Through the park. A single empty fixed wooden picnic table in the shadow of a tall perimeter fence. A walkway between high wire fences. One side the school the other a block of apartments. No access except through locked gates. Across the dual carriageway dodging the traffic. Onto the canal side between the canyon walls of new, expensive apartment blocks. A young man in jeans, thin jacket and scarf appears from ‘Block 5’ and hurries off towards the city.
The canal towpath is muddy and well used. Joggers, cyclists and who else? It soon leads into an urban wasteland. Empty old docklands waiting for regeneration. Now home for graffiti kids. They do wonderful work on the concrete supports of the tramway. Onto the tram to go home.
A short journey across the city led from cosy high culture to cold wet desolation. Typical city life.