Monday, May 04, 2009
Nostalgie de la Boue, Slight Return
An extract from an essay of mine in this new poetry anthology:
For anyone else, the phrase nostalgie de la boue would mean slumming it; for me, it has an almost aspirational air. I exult in, I yearn to fathom the depths, the textures, the tang of these estuarine leavings. Heaney has his bogs, yielding up their hoards of Irish elks and Iron Age human sacrifice victims, and I have my mudbanks, rich in deposits of Asda shopping trolleys and BMXs. Above me hulks the British Extracting Company building, a disused mill. If I were Monet, this colossus on the banks of the Hull would be my Rouen cathedral. I never pass it without contemplating, awe-struck, its huge, redundant majesty. Fossicking around on Google, curious to see what its disused interior might look like, I happened on an account of someone who’d braved the security fence, the wreckage-strewn interior and what sounded like a hair-raising ladder-climb to reach its roof, from which he then photographed the rising sun, suggesting he’d done all of the above in the dark. I salute him for it.
Searching for online evidence again of the innards of the British Extracting Company Building I found this fascinating site, on which enterprising psychogeographers do their bit to reclaim the closed and forbidden landscapes where the concept of place goes to die, in placeless, CCTV-infested, barcoded Britain. Some stunning photographs, I must say.