23 August 2015

A roar of burning. We didn't move.

James Earley's piece dominates the Tivoli car park after this year's All City Jam.
Tivoli Car Park, Dublin, 30th July, 2015
Amongst other things on my table at the moment sits a copy of China Miéville's recent collection of short stories Three Moments of an Explosion, wherein there lies a tale of a burning stag running loose through a London estate. In uncharacteristically clipped prose he describes the scene as the creature manifests in the urban night:
"Firelight flared. There was a roar of burning. A stag walked out of the dark.
It shone. Its antlers were on fire.
The stag was huge. It regarded us without fear. The antlers were like the branches of a great tree. They rushed with flame. They sent up oily smoke, lit the cars and the lots and the pedestrians. The antlers spat.
The stag swung its brawny neck. It walked toward us with forest calm. It paused and lowered its head and lapped at a gutter.
We didn't move"
- Chine Miéville, Estate in Three Moments of an Explosion, p288
When I read Miéville, particularly his dark urban writings, I see street art. He writes in spray paint and stencils. The city is his canvas. He communicates through the alleys and walls, the grime and the refuse and the lead-stained flotsam and jetsam of half-populated streets.

In The City and the City he writes of two towns that physically occupy the same space, overlapping and cross-hatching yet with the population of each rigorously ignoring all evidence of the other. My life these last two years has been this cross-hatched streetscape, the damp grey concrete and pox-scarred potholed streets of Dublin lying buried beneath the heat-scorched petrol-fumed ring-roads and orbitals of London, impossible to tell where the angry belching thunder of hurtling crimson-red buses end and the piss-soaked bottle-smashed stains of a Friday night begin.

I live in both in parallel and am at home in neither.

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