In Cannon Hill Park under a dull grey sky, a family of three spend the afternoon roller-skating in front of the shuttered and boarded MAC tracing lines up and down the path as the seagulls swoop low over the lake, hunting for scraps. The three figures are accompanied by many other local residents out for a walk, a jog, or simply to feed the birds and get out of the house for an hour or so.
I add three laps of the park to my own tally and weekly target of 50 miles / 80km before heading back up the steep hill on Priory Road, away from the heavy traffic and fumes on the main arterial roads in and out of the city centre. With the country in lockdown again, I can’t understand why there are still so many cars on the roads. Not everyone can be heading out to work, especially at 3PM, and everything else is closed.
On my way home I pass by the local budget Petri dish. Aldi is so busy that customers are lined up down every aisle, enjoying a good old fashioned British queue whilst they stock up on Friday night drinks and snacks, poorly fitting masks sagging to expose a nose, or pulled down low to protect a hundred chins from pestilence.
I’m getting my piano tuned tomorrow, but when I look back on this year in the future the soundtrack will be a mixture of Spanish Love Songs’ album ‘Brave Faces Everyone’ and Chopin nocturnes and preludes played on a piano which is overdue a tuning because of physical distancing and lockdown restrictions.
I wanted to capture the sound of 2020 in this very much imperfect recording because sound and memory go hand in hand for me. It took me five attempts before I managed to play without any wonky notes as I always get nervous when I’m playing to an audience, even if that audience is just my camera and cat.
I have always hated November, but this November has taken the trophy for Worst November Ever. Still, there [were] still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity*.
Regular readers could be forgiven for thinking I have a melancholy mind. I keep a notebook which I fill with observations from my everyday life in and around my city of Birmingham. From time to time, I share snippets from my notebook here on my personal blog. This year, my observations have been bleak. My latest, a postcard from the end of the world, especially so. My hope is that after seeing these photos, you will see that I am not dressing things up, or rather down, but rather aiming for a truthful portrayal of Birmingham. I love my adopted home town, but it has seen better days.