Monday, 24 March 2008

the ditherer - part 2

the easter bank holiday can conspire to create ditherers and procrastinators of the most diligent of diarists, and no more so than when living on the inner edge of the city...

by maundy thursday everything has quietly ground to a halt; offices close for the long weekend, motorways prepare for the inevitable pile-up, the rail network gears up for the huge increase in public travel by shutting down operations altogether and indulging in 'essential track repairs', and national parks and heritage sites stock up on kendal mint cake.

in the city this results in a temporary suspension of 'business as usual', much more so than christmas. office types are conspicious by their absence, businesses are closed for the holidays, tescos shelves are even more useless than ever, emptied by the frenzied stock piling that always accompanies a bank holiday, students have nipped home to the counties to visit mummy and daddy.

only the city dweller and flaneur remains. the pavements have welcome gaps, the roads are easier to cross, and its possible to grab and keep that coveted sofa in cornerhouse or the cosy battered armchair in oklahoma. city life takes on a dreamy, lazy quality. the streets feel ones own again. its peculiarly relaxing to stroll through town and look upwards and around...

consequently i have done very little this weekend apart from idle about, enjoying the nooks and crannies of the city. my favourite activity (barring heavy rain or flurry of hail stones) at times like this is to find a suitable vantage point in town with a take away coffee and croissant and watch the world go about its business. favourite spots include the little square in brazenose street, the second step of st anne's squares church, the bench to the left hand side of the city library in st peter's square, the patch of grass next to the water feature of urbis gardens (summer only), the lovely little gardens behind kendals (lunch time and weekends only to avoid the unwanted attention of the city's undead)...

to salve my conscience i have also conducted extensive researches deep in the undergrowth of the world wide web and can recommend the following sites for the amusement of bluestockings, boffins, and flaneurs of all persuasions at the next available public holiday...enjoy!

http://www.theflaneur.co.uk/opium.html - a round up of arcane and intriguing nonsense from the admittedly somewhat male oriented The Flâneur, official website of La Société des Flâneurs Sans Frontières (Liverpool chapter)....gentlemen should not miss the marvellous sections on self defence with a walking stick or top hat, or the useful flaneur's lexicon. the flaneur is also a mine of information on all things liverpool...

http://www.thelemming.com/lemming/dissertation-web/home/flaneur.html - or the arcades project project, a benjaminian site, heavy on the scholarliness for the academic amongst you.

http://www.newstatesman.com/200703120029 - meanwhile our old friend joe moran writes on the return of the shopping mall, that favourite non-place of auge, in our city centre...essential reading as always...

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