Thursday, March 16, 2006

Rinsed through by too much rain.

The bus stop is on a roundabout next to a church. It’s one of those classic English estate roundabouts as displayed in happy pastel colours in children’s Highway Code books from the 80’s, complete with a pelican crossing. It would be illustrated with a man waking a dog, two children holding hands as they cross the crossing, and a mother with a pram on the pavement, all smiling. And it’s actually like that sometimes, except that everything looks somewhat muted in real life, and the colours have faded, rinsed through by too much rain. It looks like someone has gone into photoshop and reduced the contrast. I think to myself, ‘isn’t the world supposed to be vibrant, full of colour and life?’ And a lot of the world is like that, just not this roundabout on a south Manchester estate on a cloudy weekday morning.

Some developers have been trying to improve matters for the residents of the three high rise blocks that overlook this intersection of roads. Scaffolding goes up, wrapped in opaque plastic sheeting, and for six months the building is shielded from the world. Like a magicians curtain it hides the secrets of the trade, before it is lowered eventually to reveal the transformation. One has been finished, another is having the curtain dropped, and a third remains cocooned in plastic, emitting the noises of industry from within. The redevelopment is certainly making a difference, but it will only be a matter of time before they blend in again with the washed-out grey of their environment, like a chameleon in slow motion.


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