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

    Friday, December 09, 2005
    'The Bus' by Paul Sumpter
    He just sat there and the more he tried to hide it the more he became noticeable. On a packed number 10A, taking its lunatics to each of their asylums, as we passed through Kenny's smacked-up 80s landscape, he started to cry. A simple release of expression, a rejection of the multitude's plan to keep it together, a rebellion against the etiquette of the bus, an act so beautifully simple it made it impossible not to stare at him.
    Many times I have felt like slicing open the dulled oppression of the us and many times the view of Kenny on mornings such as this have made me want to cry, but I had never thought that the two could be so intrinsically linked.
    But this man's refusal to hide his obvious distress filled me with belief that it was possible to beat the bus. He suddenly became James Dean, his fake Berghouse a biker's leather, his tears a switchblade, each one slashing out with years of frustration behind it. And it was happening in front of me in the last place I thought it possible - the 10A at 9.11 on Tuesday morning.
    As he hopelessly tried to gather himself together and re-enter the bus he found he couldn't. So just after the Royal he departed, a victim of his own heroic actions. No doubt in search of a way back in. A reluctant hero, but a hero all the same.
    As he fought his way down London Road away from the bus, surrounded by people who had no idea, I knew it was going to be a good day.

    - 'The Bus' by Paul Sumpter, from the latest issue of Nerve. For those not in the know, Kenny = Kensington, one of Liverpool's more overlooked areas (until recently) as far as regeneration is concerned. Famously (?) twinned with London's Kensington by Bill Drummond, the twinning marked by his exchanging a Liverpool wheelie bin with a London one for a fortnight and then swopping them back again [see here].