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British Seaside and Holidays by Polnareff

It is absolutely true: my first ever sea was the Irish Sea. I saw it in 2002. When I told one of my friends about it, he pitied me. Indeed, how sad is that: to see your first sea in Blackpool?

This was in 2002. Between then and the late 2007 I visited Blackpool a few times. I rode past Conwy Bay in North Wales once or twice. But it was at the turn of 2007-2008 that I spent almost two weeks in North Wales. I was staying in Llandudno and taking day trips to Conwy, Caernarfon, Beaumaris. Most importantly, each day I was walking by the sea, breathing sea air and watching seagulls. Little did I know that the memories of staying in North Wales would be so strong that I would want to go to the seaside more and more often.

This is what has been happening since March 2009: whenever I had the chance, I tried to go and spend a day by the water. I visited Southport for the first time; then I went to Blackpool after a 3-year pause; and finally I visited Scarborough. I figured out that Scarborough would be the closest to Manchester town on the eastern coast which was unknown to me.

From all those trips I brough back some photos, and the most recent ones from Blackpool and Scarborough are still in the process of being uploaded to Flickr. But, looking at them recently, I realised that they can illustrate “Holidays” by Michel Polnareff. I have already written a post about this song in December 2006, although I include the English translation here again now. I arranged some of the photos to the “story” of Polnareff’s song; the photos were taken in places like Llandudno, Conwy, and Deganwy (North Wales), Blackpool and Southport (English west coast), and Scarborough (English east coast). Mr Polnareff is web-savvy, so I hope he likes my attempt at spreading the word about his work, if he sees this post or the video.

Holidays, oh holidays
It’s a plane that comes down from the sky
And the shadow of its wing
Covers a city below
How close is the ground

Holidays, oh holidays
Churches and council flats,
What is their beloved God doing?
He who lives in the space
How close is the ground

Holidays, oh holidays
The plane’s shadow covers the sea
The sea is like a preface
To the desert
How close is the sea

Holidays, oh holidays
So much sky and so many clouds
At your age you don’t know
That life is boring
How close is death

Holidays, oh holidays
It’s a plane that lives in the sky
You’re so beautiful, but don’t forget
That planes crash
And that the ground is close

Voyages in Lancashire and Yorkshire

I have recently been added as a Flickr contact by someone who was making pictures of Liverpool on exactly the same day – 18th of December – when I visited the 2008 European Capital of Culture. The person even took a few pictures of Walker Art Gallery where I spent some four hours exploring the collection.

This obviously means that the world IS small, but this is actually the first time I have come so close to having my virtual path cross with someone else, even without knowing it. On another note, I remember advising the gentleman in the photo on the right to get up on the staircase of Stockport’s Town Hall, to get a good picture of the Georgian building on the opposite side of the road. As you can see, he adhered to my advice. I won’t be surprised if next he adds me as a contact on Flickr.

Likewise, tomorrow when I’m travelling to Leeds to listen to Slavoj Zizek’s talk about Richard Wagner, there’s a good chance I may meet someone I know, or someone accidentally takes a picture of me. If you do see me there, please feel free to say “hello”. I don’t know yet what form of Social Media content I will be able to produce tomorrow, but I’m at least hoping to squeeze in some tweets designated by #Zizek (you’ll be able to follow them here). And there will certainly be a blog post afterwards. Anything else will depend on the venue restrictions.

I started with mentioning a Merseyside city (Liverpool), and Stockport is often “filed” under Cheshire, but generally speaking, apart from two trips to Birmingham last year, the turn on 2008/2009 has all been about trips to various places in Lancashire and Yorkshire. I went to Blackburn and Preston, and I’m about to go Leeds for the third time since the end of January. This Saturday, however, I decided to go to Southport on the spur of the moment. As you may already have learnt, this is my favourite way of travelling.

I arrived to Southport before noon and was greeted with a light drizzle which I braved. A musician who lives in Preston and with whom I had a pleasure to work earlier this year has said that Southport was his favourite place in England: he liked the sands and the sight of Blackpool Tower in the distance. I’d been to Blackpool quite a few times (though not once since 2006), but never to Southport, although I might have gone past it in a car. I contemplated going to Blackpool, but chose Southport. Judging by the rainy clouds over Blackpool, I may just have been right.

As always, I brought photos back with me. I haven’t gone much beyond the city centre, but even strolling down the central streets was something of an adventure. There were two teenagers with an advertising board for Bojangles, a fashion accessories shop, touring the backstreets of town in the hope to attract more customers (left). A little bit away from the city centre there was the Holy Trinity church of the diocese of Liverpool, built in 1913 and adorned with distinct Gothic details (right). Not far from there was a small restaurant, Little Gourmet, where I had a very pleasant and very filling luncheon, including fish&chips, although my fondest memories treasure a homemade tartar sauce, a lemon and chocolate cake, and a Roma coffee (with Sambuca liquor).

And then I went to Southport Pier, and now I’ll only post a couple of pictures I took there, saving a few more for later. It really was an interesting experience considering how many people go to the pier, in spite of a very strong chilly wind and little to see apart from people and dogs who play and walk on the sand, and the Blackpool Tower, barely seen through the mist. But I think I can see the beauty of going to the pier and back. It’s almost like walking on water. I was practically intoxicated by the fresh air and ended up sleeping most of the remaining weekend, although I managed to go out on a Sunday afternoon and took a few pictures of the building where I presently work. But I’m sure I’m still wearing the scent of the sea. And the cold wind yet blows in my ears.

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