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

    Monday, April 28, 2008
    Today in Sheffield
    Today in Sheffield:

    Over a feeble station kiosk tea served in a Ripple Coffee Cup I finished reading Merlin Coverley's Psychogeography, a decent little primer somewhat limited by its blinkered Londoncentricity;

    I had a meaningful pro-Fall conversation with the woman in Zavvi whilst handing over my eleven quid for the purchase of Imperial Wax Solvent (out today!);

    I stood in driving rain with a huddle of Sheffield trades unionists and the Lord Mayor at the Workers’ Memorial Tree by the Town Hall, all marking Workers' Memorial Day by listening to the testimony of asbestosis survivor John, striving to catch his precious words as the vile wind hacked them down Fargate;

    In another rainstorm I sheltered in a bus stop on Burngreave Road, watching scaffolders hoist lengths of cylindrical metal up alongside the white stone face of St Catherine's RC Church, celebrating skillful, speedy manoeuvres with whoops and shouts;

    Over another cuppa, in a mug marking a Methodist church centenary, Ian Duffield helped me form a proposal to join the Sheffield Urban Theology Unit's MPhil/PhD in Theology & Religion, Contextual, Urban and Liberation Theologies programme, a piece of work with a working title Urban Walking in L11: Psychogeography, Anthropology and Theology;

    On a Pitsmoor roadside I joined forces with an Asian youth in attaching a set of jumpleads to the car battery of a grateful, if fraught, woman whose four under-six-year olds ran, skipped and collided with each other and with us around the conked out vehicle.

    And today on the train returning from Sheffield:

    As I was propelled at high speed, in reverse, past the giant red tomblike railway arches of Deansgate, the evening sun strobing through each one into my eyes, a searing, shocking soundtrack assaulted my ears with Coil's now-deceased Jhon Balance shouting "EVERYTHING'S BACKWARDS, EVERYTHING'S BACKWARDS, EVERYTHING'S BACKWARDS' over and over again.

    Naturally, all these things made an impact on me. Watch this space on the MPhil/PhD.