Though Joni Mitchell will forever be my favourite lyricist for the poetry of the human condition that she wrote in her prime, I do enjoy the wit and intelligence of Guy Garvey and Elbow. Akin to a lyrical L S Lowry in many ways, it seems appropriate that I enjoy their work so much since the great painter was a regular visitor to the same coastline that I regularly photograph, and painted seascapes in contrast to his Salford mills.
I’d been listening to Elbow all morning, so was in something of a nostalgic mood when I left to look for a picture today. I went a little further afield, to Sunderland’s east end (not a Mitchell brother to be seen). This is Old Sunderland, once the core of the town where visiting ships docked to unload their cargo, or load up with the glassware that was exported from here.
There was evidence of that former time at Wylam Wharf, and there remains a fish quay, though without a trace of the fishwives that once frequented the area. There are still fishing boats, although the fishermen on board need no help to make their catch, preferring to use the boat as a place of rest
A few interesting scenes,but nothing outstanding, and no one to photograph. The place seemed deserted; this image was shot whilst standing in the middle of High Street! Then I heard the roar from the Stadium of Light that explained so much. This was prime Mackem estate, and its denizens would have other priorities.
Returning north of the river to my usual patch, I was leaning against the promenade railings when a noisy group nearby attracted my attention.
“Mister, do you want to see a dead chicken?” one of them shouted. “It’s hung itself”.
It was much of an enticement, but I was curious as to what such a thing would be doing by the seaside shelter. On investigation I found no chicken, but the pheasant that featured in this blog a few days ago, tangled in a mass of black rope. No idea, who or what would have wanted to bring it ashore but it was in a far worse state, and were it not for the distinctive tail feathers might have been mistaken for an adolescent gull.
The next question from my inquisitors was whether I would take their photograph. Not as Lowry as had been my original intention, but still appropriately Elbow. I had so many names thrown my way, which changed on every round, but I think there were a couple of Lukes in there, maybe a David, but not an Emma who made herself scarce while the others happily posed.
Lippy kids on the corner again
Lippy kids on the corner begin settling like crows
Though I never perfected the simian stroll
The cigarette senate was everything then
Do they know those days are golden?