Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Street walk

My daily walk through town.

Just as I was thinking how walking is an act of theatre - ipso facto I am walker, actress, audience and critic - I come across the remains of a previous performance.

Who uses flour bombs? Seems only right to make a stop at our local second-hand bookshop to browse the theatre shelf.

I am not sure whether grubbing through used books for half-an-hour counts as Exploratory Walk. (Subdivision: Woman in Landscape / Urban/Rural / Flameuse / Walking Lit&Lang.) Whatever, I just have to carry about in my backpack a rather lumpy C. Day-Lewis along with Women in Technology.

Then I turned left and took the back road, looking to see if I could drop down to follow the canal.

Not here, evidently. I walk as dictated by whimsy (one of the walking rules). But the signage caught my eye, regularly placed along what feels like a border fence.

Designed to tell me I'm now on private land in a 'gated community' without gates (but with signs), so clear off.

And if I was walking in anyone's company, you'd have to listen to a soapbox full of opinion about the horrors of this experience with its implied threat via these border notices that if I do anything that someone doesn't like, I'll be fined and imprisoned.

So I took a lot of photographs of the signs, half-hoping a security guard would appear and I could have a right set-to with moral righteousness and illegality both on my side, all at the same time. Bliss.

I also enjoyed a good grumble in my own head about the complicities or resistances of people involved in the privatisations of public land and the steady way that unaccountable private companies might work to control social behaviours.

As it was, no-one tuned up to turf me out the 'gated community' without gates (but with signs). Even though I stood in the road for 15 minutes, waiting.

I then walked along a public footpath next to land locked up behind green railings, owned by the old Railway Works. Or, with my local knowledge, I'm assuming the Works owns this land: there's no sign to say, so it could be owned by a giant squirrel protecting their nut stack. (Unlikely.)

But I look at the heavy green railing, determined to protect what's inside and keep me out. I see those tree branches, like the fingers of the imprisoned, poking through the bars, tentatively wondering if what is on the other side is liberty.

No comments: