Sunday, 7 August 2011

walking before returning

When I was a kid and lived in Kings Cross the train stations were part of growing up. They took on the role of adventure playgrounds. Underground tunnel linked two stations. Back then Kings Cross Station was the elegant sister to the Gothic Monster which is St Pancres. Steam Trains ruled the landscape in every possible manner Smoke, soot, and noise filled the day and night This is a vanished world of darkness and adventure. The tunnels were mysterious and scary. Dark underground vains which spread out under the the dirty,bustling, travel traps above the ground. Trains appeared like vast metal demons which spat out steam,fire, and thick smoke.
The stations where dark and dirty. Places of departure and returns. Soot was everywhere. Smoke was everywhere. People who worked on the stations didn't appear to bother with the kids running all over the place. We could look after ourselves. And we could and did.
St Pancres was the darkest. The vast glass roof was coated in 100 years of grim,smoke,and darkness. The place became an adventure in survival. We kids imagined becoming lost in the grim and ending up in some far away land.
I remember the oak panelled waiting rooms, dirty and sad, but also mysterious. Throw backs from an old time. The vastness of the station added to its strangeness. It possessed a sense of out of timeliness.
We lids didn't know anything about this strange place being pulled down. It belonged to our dreams. Its filth and emptiness fitted into a landscape of ruins and adventure. Smoke and fire. All those waiting rooms,always empty, deserted but hiding ghost. I was fortunate to have the greatest adventure playground in the whole of London right on my doorstep. A Gothic monster which towerd over the whole landscape. We had no idea of its history but we had a sense of place. It belonged to us. Its dirt was our dirt. We loved it.
Now its a shopping mall devoid of place and meaning. a cleansed spectacle which means nothing. Its cleansed of meaning and adventure.

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