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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Thursday, October 13, 2005
    A journey north
    Came north today. From the lakeside refreshment house at St James's Park, where pigeons crowd out the ducks and geese in competition for the rich tourist pickings; via Trafalgar Square where the shining white Alison Lapper pregnant has been sullied by those same filthy flying pests, while she maintains her dignified look in the direction of the Canadian Embassy; up Charing Cross Road where newsagents' shelves sag beneath every kind of magazine imaginable, in many languages; down Old Compton Road, across Wardour Street and into sordid Berwick Street, sick spine of Soho, but a street which also hosts a large number of excellent new- and used-record stores: steering past propositioning women, lingering over rarities by Vashti Bunyan and Coil; through Fitzrovia where the transition is from backstreet media houses in converted clothes factories to awesome academic and medical institutions: Middlesex Hospital, UCL; onto Euston Road, shining with new buildings, hqs for multinationals dealing in PR, education, health, armaments.

    I had anticipated that my northward journey from Euston would continue in the company of Sinclair and Clare, their shared route connecting Essex and Northants across two centuries; and Vashti Bunyan, whose long-lost, currently (and rightly) celebrated album Just another Diamond Day was the product of her two-year-long journey in a horse-drawn caravan from Sidcup, Kent to Donovan's communal camp on the Isle of Skye which began in July 1968 (and ended in tears).

    However a better thing still happened: by synchronicity Dot got on the same carriage, and we talked all the way to Crewe, Dot sharing with me some pictures on her iBook of a journey she had recently made. To a place we both know well: Iona, of course. It was a good journey she had, as all such journeys tend to be. Our journeys north.