17 March 2008

The Great British Seaside

There is a haunting beauty to deserted British Seaside resorts in winter. The late Victorian era saw the rise in the British Seaside as a cultural institution but by the 1980s (or earlier) many of piers, fun parks and resorts were decaying. In recent years, as people have started to holiday at home more, the Seaside resort is experiencing somewhat of a resurgence. However, I still enjoy the aesthetic of decay. (More of this in Foulweather #2)

The British Coast took a hammering last week. In general people, tend to grumble about the weather, but there something to be said about the ever changing North Atanlitic climate as it hammers run-down coastal towns. Below, is one the beaches I learned to surf at. It only really gets waves in winter. The surrounding hills are usually a dull green and the sky grey.

I'd usually hop the train with my surfboard from Aberystwyth, get off the train in the pissing rain, no one around save a few hundred bleeting sheep, and maybe the odd heroin addict. Then, I'd walk across the empty street to the beach and look for the best sandbar before my clothes got too wet.

But I often think I'd like to hole up there with a few books, a few bottles of ale and sneak away from the fireplace for the occasional strategic surf.

The time I think most clearly
The time I drift away
Is on the bus ride that meanders
Up these valleys of green and grey
I get to think about what might have been
And what may yet come true
And I get to pass a rainy mile
Thinking of you

And all the while, all the while
I still hear that call
To the land of gold and poison
That beckons to us all
Nothing changes here very much
I guess you'd say it never will
The pubs are all full on Friday nights
And things get started still

We spent hours last week with Billy boy
Bleeding, yeah queueing in casualty

Staring at those posters we used to laugh
Never never land, palm trees by the sea

Well there was no need for those guys
To hurt him so bad
When all they had to do
Was knock him down
But no one asks to many questions like that anymore
Since you left this town

And tomorrow brings another train
Another young brave steals away
But you're the one I remember
From these valleys of green and the grey
You used to talk about winners and losers
All the time - as if that was all there was

As if we were not of the same blood
family, a
s if we live by different laws
Do you owe so much less to these
Rain swept hills
Than you owe to your good self
Is it true that the world has always got
To be something that always seems
To happen - somewhere else
For God's sake don't you realise
That I still hear that call
Do you think you're so brave
Just to go running
To that which beckons to us all

Not for one second, did you look behind you
As you were walking away
Never once did you wish any of us well
Those who had chosen to stay
And if that's what it takes to make it
In the place that you live today
Then I guess you'll never read these
Letters that I send From the valleys of the green and the grey 

New Model Army-  Valleys of Green and the Grey