I have written a couple of times recently about being absent minded… lo and behold, today I should have been at a writing group in Clevedon… and I wasn’t! The topic was ‘20/20 vision’ and it was quite a challenge to think of something original. The group are emailing their next stories in advance for the next time but I will be able to email mine which I should have shared today!
This is the first part of it:
Livia looked up at the building; it was like a skeleton, everything stripped away to reveal the 1960’s frame and concrete slabs, regular rectangles where once windows had gazed out across the city.
“It’s like a ghost,” said a voice making her jump, and she thought for a second it was her own thought spoken aloud. She glanced at the figure beside her and he looked pretty much like a ghost, all in grey, drab rags hanging in layers from his lean old frame. A street person, homeless except for the city’s nooks and crannies. His long dreadlocks and matted beard were ashen, his face, though brown had a steely patina.
“It’s like a terribly sad ghost,” she replied.
“Do you know it, did you know it?” he asked moving his head up and down as he looked from the top of what had been known as Cocomin, the College of Commerce and Industry until it was subsumed into Strand Polytechnic.
“Yes, I was a student there in the eighties.”
” I was a student there in the seventies; I can’t believe they’ve done this, Poor old Cocomin. Turning it into flats but I won’t be getting one.” The old man, or maybe not so old, turned and looked at her sadly. “Shame, they’re killing history, shame, shame on them.”
“Don’t go upsetting yourself with memories, but keep them alive, keep your history alive,” he said and began to walk away. He turned back to her. “Have you seen what they’re calling it? Vision! “Where do you live?” “Vision.” Bloody daft. Vision – they’ve got them all over the place, seen one In Sheffield, Vision Yorkshire 2018 it was – how can that be an address? Bloody daft… Vision, I’ll give them bloody Vision – double vision if I get my hands on them! Take care, dear, don’t go upsetting yourself!” and he walked away, surprisingly sprightly.
Livia should be heading back to the car park, her ticket would be running out, but she continued to look at the wreck of a place she had once known so well. There were hoardings around the building which at ground level was a building site, and she saw the grey man had been right, this was going to be Vision, homes for now, homes for the future, sustainable living in the heart of Strand!
She shouldn’t resent the old place being recycled to give accommodation to those who needed it, but judging by the artist’s impressions advertising homes for now, homes for the future, these would be apartments for those who wanted and could afford on-site gyms, swimming pools, health studios, residents’ restaurants, bistros and bars… Way beyond what she could ever afford, let alone the grey man and others who slept in doorways and gutters of the city.
There is no such city as Strand, there was never the Strand College of Commerce and Industry. My featured image shows what used to be the College of Commerce, which used to be part of Manchester Polytechnic.