Sarah O'Donnell, Weston
Author Philip Hoare recently tweeted about an early morning swim in a calm and lulling sea; and described an oystercatcher flying by as a "benign exocet in orange, black and white" @philipwhale. It's a beautiful, evocative description conjuring an exotic location. It reminded me of Ian Curtis' words "If you could just see the beauty, these things I could never describe". Finding the beauty in the ordinary, looking at the world anew.
I might be wrong but I think this is where he was swimming. Costa del Weston. It's not that exotic. In fact, the area ranks as one of the most deprived areas in the UK. Here's some facts and figures from a Southampton City Council document.
where 1 is most deprived
It makes for disheartening reading but, hey, facts and figures only tell half a story. To the west Weston merges with Woolston and the Itchen River, to the east is Tickleford Gully, Westwood and Netley Abbey and to the south, Southampton Water. Every drop of which is liquid history (may contain contaminants).
A little while ago part of one low rise block of flats fell down. Just like that. A walkway just collapsed. There was a door, it just opened on to nothing, If you had come out of it you would have just fallen to the ground. I didn't take any pictures because, although it was a striking image, it seemed like a cheap holiday in other people's misery.
They demolished the flats. They're building new ones. They look pretty good. When the building started we were told Vibrant, hand painted hoarding boards will also be erected on site, which were created by the Weston Church Youth Project to enhance the look of the site hoardings during the demolition works and inject a sense of local ownership to the development.
That didn't exactly happen. This is what we got:
What would Jesus do? Weston Church Youth Project
However, recently that has been replaced with a number of new pictures, some by local children, some by local adults. I think they show the same skill in bringing out the beauty of the ordinary that Philip Hoare's line did.
When dinosaurs roamed the estate, Unsigned
The Friends of Weston Shore have organised a beach clean up for Saturday August 6th.
Here's some info:
Big thanks to all the artists whose pictures I've used here. I would love to give you all the credit that you're due but there is no info attached. Let me know and I'll fix it.