I went by train from London to Newcastle today, realising too late I’d left my phone at home, so here are some written snapshots of the shots I might have snapped….
1. Walking through Bloomsbury and looking up as always at the flat with the blue plaque which says Lenin lived there, I spot a woman in the kitchen cooking breakfast. For the next few streets, my feet ring out to the phrase ‘frying bacon for Lenin, Lenin’s bacon is frying, Lenin’s frying bacon.’ By the time, I’ve reached Kings Cross, I’ve written a whole opera in my head, including smoke alarms.
2. On the train, four railway employees come to sit across the aisle. They’ve just been on a course together, and spread drawings and plans of signal crossings across the table. For nearly the whole journey between Peterborough and Darlington, they discuss signals. With enthusiasm.
3. Looking up suddenly and seeing the Angel of the North from the train window.
4. There’s a queue spilling out on the street as I walk to the university, I imagine a restaurant, pub, nightclub, but it’s a gym. The bouncer is letting people in one at a time.
5. At the bar, I sit and wait for Viccy. At the other end of the table two architecture academics are discussing ‘civilian architects’. Separately they both pull out the same huge heavy book from their bags. One has dragged her copy all the way from Denmark. For the whole time I sit there, the two books sit in front of them. Unopened.
6. The Premier Inn I’m staying in used to be the old Co-Operative headquarters. On the stairwell there’s a memorial plaque for employees killed in both world wars. They are listed under their old departments – Butchery, Boot Repairs, Ready to Wear…