Monthly Archives: December 2010

Blackrod to York 30.12.10

tickets, anxiety, languages, types (many, many), conductors.

characters, reprieves, silent moments eg small versions of Tony. To do: make list, perform best ideas *

Who stands out? Who is worthy of an observation and study? What is it about deviations from the norm that makes them of interest? What do I/we learn about me/human behaviour by doing this?

* Blonde guy sat opposite on the table. Initially I’d sat next to him but his behaviour and the fact he was covered in animal fur made me nervous. I moved opposite, sitting next to an unassuming girl, not nearly as interesting as him, plugged into an ipod that didn’t even play at a volume level loud enough to disturb me.

He was nervous, anxious breathing deep. Agitated, dressed fairly well although covered in animal hair.
He bit his fingers, sighed and I wasn’t entirely sure if he wasn’t experiencing some sort of mental distress.

Aware that I’d moved seats, making muttering excuses about doing so to keep an eye on my luggage.

His ticket was on the table and it said Liverpool to Leeds, I took another glance at him and wondered if he was in withdrawal from drugs.
I decided from the way he was dressed and the fact he’d purchased a ticket, on display on the table this was unlikely to be the case, keen not to be too obvious and trigger any paranoia I made furtive glances and observations to note down once we departed Leeds.

He moved out of his seat to look down the train, clambering over my luggage, immediately he sat back down again, whatever journey he was investigating, not worth making. I apologised about my bags being in the way, he smiled spoke quickly, mumbling a response which seemed to indicate, ‘don’t worry about it’, but wasn’t even slightly clear, leading me to wonder if he had a physical or learning disability which would explain his behaviour.

I reached no firm conclusions.

He had two cans of cheap fizzy pop, the first was already empty when I boarded at Manchester Oxford Road, the second a can of Lemon Fanta with the 59p shop sticker on the side was drunk sometime after. Before Leeds both cans were grasped by a hand and squeezed like a stress ball making irritating clicking sounds of tin.

When he stood to leave he was wearing tracksuit bottoms, blue. Timberland boots relatively clean/new. A brown zip up cardigan/top made up of machine knitted and velour panels. A black scarf.
The side of his face bore the trace of red angry marks of distant acne and some stubble, as though it had been missed shaving. His complexion was very pale with milky bar kid blonde hair.

He took a red holdall off the train, with a foreign name on the side, possibly Nordic. I reframed him in my mind again.

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NRM Notes

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Going home for the last time

Performed Text

It’s the 15th October. It’s a Friday.

The digital display reads 15.38.

I am in someone else’s seat.

Coach C, Seat 32. A window seat.

It looks out to the right, my preferred side for this journey, but not my preferred coach.
The front coach, no good in a train crash, especially forward facing.

I’ve an open return. My return ticket is dated 16th October, which means it was bought on September 15th,  bought before I’d even envisioned this journey being made.

Before the leaves had turned golden and when the sun was still warm. How poetic, but that’s how it was and how it needed to be.

One final summer. One more artistic cliché. How romantic.

And now I’m travelling home. Travelling home for the last time because after today I can never go home again.


There’s a man over there on his laptop, casually dressed drinking one of those small bottles of station bought wine, no on second glance its Marks & Spencers. There’s an M&S at Leeds station, he probably got on there.

Sitting opposite him a man seemingly engrossed in his book.

And through the crack in the seat I can see the classifieds section of the Metro.
The paper of train travellers; Second-hand, pass-me-down, well thumbed sheets of world news. The risk of reading them when the flu season begins.




Out of the window, the flat expanse of the Malton approach. Soon small hills & dips in the land will cause all signals to be lost, fading in & out.

Hello, Hello, no…no… are you there….I’ve got no, I said I’ve got no….(sighs)




A forest on a hill


Gone. Past. Behind.

Gone. Past. Behind

Gone. Past. Behind


(laughs inwardly) can you hear those school girls? They’re discussing life and work and boasting and playing at being older than they are.


Broken toilet

15.59 and the man reading his book picks up his can of Fosters and sups in unison with the red wine drinker sat opposite him. A dance, a performance of pedestrianism for an audience of one.


Nearing. Slowing. Stopping.

Nearing. Slowing. Stopping.

The red wine drinker’s packing his bag, he finishes his glass, but not the small bottle. Stowed away safely for later. No wedding band, meal for one?


And this journey is just the beginning, this journey is the end. Tomorrow I’ll get on a train and it will be taking me to a new life.

This journey will change me.

Tanoy: …. if you are leaving the train please make sure you take all your luggage and personal baggage with you. Please take care when stepping from the train onto the platform edge….

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Scarborough to York

The return. The beginning. The end.


Can of Carsberg Export.




Last night I got in early. I couldn’t go home – I went to the sea and said thank you to Scarborough. The sound of the sea soothed me. I will miss the place and the memories.

I can’t believe I’m writing this, it seems so crass to make the personal material. As tears pour down onto my scarf.

Its just been so lovely. All of it.

So here it is my rite of passage, it doesn’t feel like it’ll be over when I leave this train.




It was like a montage – everything reminding me, seeing the dead plants and I’m there in Summer growing them, enjoying them….[personal]… the spring the grass will be green, the air will be warm and things will grow again.


There’s a guy with a George Michael, Wham era hair cut doing some sort of braid making with an octagonal card device – what an incongruent image – although given the bright green cable knit jumpers and the Wham hair, possibly not.

Its a busy train, much busier than yesterday. I was worried someone would come and sit with me.

Nearing York now – its gone so much quicker than the journey out, I think it actually has gone quicker. How much more I wrote yesterday, is it possible for the feeling of time quickening to actually be a physical reality? I feel as though this is evidence of that.

Coach C – Seat 05. Someone elses seat/ Rear facing window seat. Left hand side.



The train slows.

We will shortly be arriving at York.


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04.12.2010: York to Scarborough (now updated new version with more of me, 13.02.11)

It’s cold, but not as cold as it has been, the snow is turning to slush now. It even rained a little today and the big icicles are threatening to fall from rooftops at any time.

I’m waiting for the 20.38. at least I thought I was, just realised I’m waiting for the 19.38. It’s due at 19.47, its now 19.42 & 33secs and counting.
How odd that I’ve come an hour early, there’s meaning in that, I’m sure.

I’ve got a can of beer and two small bottles of station bought red wine. And a lot of sadness.

Now it feels like I am admitting it.

The station is strange tonight. Eerie almost. Trains delayed, fewer travellers than usual and those that are here are stressed out, running from platform to platform as last minute alterations are announced.
Police on entry signalled a football match which has just turned up, smoking on platfroms, testosterone, alcohol fuelled grunts.

God its cold.

What shall I do with the extra hour? I’ll be a stranger in the place I made a home.
Its strange Scarborough is really under my skin. Maybe its because its the end of the line, you don’t pass through, its the last stop, you have to mean to go there. Tomorrow it will be the departure point, the first stop. I need to reach the end of the line to set out on a new journey, I can’t be in two places at once.

The train has been announced, for the last time, for me. 19:51 50 seconds and counting.

of course trains never turn up when they’re announced

19:56 05 seconds and counting.

On  the train 20:02

The announcer is familiar, short guy, Scarborough’s one of the those places, this train is one of those places, familiar faces and voices.

A woman stands, her hands in a muffler. she’s waiting to wave off the woman sat behind me. we depart.
The woman sat behind me has a cough.

My favourite announcement: “If you have chosen to walk past an open ticket office today you will be obliged to pay the full fare for your journey” – God every time I hear that  it grates on me.

I hesitated choosing seats – went for the empty yoghurt pot on the seat opposite, coach B, seat 64, as opposed to the screwed up bit of pasty in a pasty shop wrapper on the table adjacent. I’m a bit hungry.

Two people pushed in front of me getting on the train, only one of them managed it though as I pushed between the two of them. Only three of us got on.

The toilet, much to the disgust of a drunken disgusting man is out of order. There’s one past first class, but no-one ever goes to look, as though 1st class is an impenetrable carriage.

The woman who was waved off is still coughing and I wonder if my lack of commuting has affected my immune system, maybe I’ll be ill after this.

The ticket collector, it is the guy. He’s being followed by an inspector as well tonight. Today a Christmas tree leaves a mark through Scarborough.

How tired they must get asking for the other part of the ticket; “not your seat reservation”, “have you got your railcard please?” – all the way down the train!

Still she coughs.

It’s dark out, I wonder if I can feel where I am simply from knowing the timing and speed changes and twists and turns of this journey?

Wine time: In a pint glass, a plastic one given with the sort of reluctance one comes to expect from miserable greasy station staff that never go home.

I’m thinking of that day in Filey. I’m thinking of laughing in the kitchen.

Soon I won’t remember I wrote this, I’ll only remember when I come across it one day trying to find bits of writing for a show about break-ups or love lost or a better show about trains.

I cried then. Sobbed even. The woman still coughs and the woman in my peripheral vision is playing a game on a cheap mobile which she hasn’t figured how to turn the sound off. I hate people like her. I may be forced to move.

I think Malton is close, we’re slowing slightly.

I didn’t pick a very good seat for observation. I think I’m in a daze.

If you are leaving the train, please take all your luggage and personal belongings with you.

Malton, the approaches to these familiar places are etched on my mind.

That woman’s cough sounds nasty, I hope I don’t get it.

The back of my wine bottle has a tab on the label which says ‘peel here to remember’ – if only it were that easy.

The woman, somewhat slovenly in my peripheral vision, back right has made a number of phone calls trying to ensure she can get in, when she gets to her destination. (urgh… a fart smell) (another dry cough) I hope he’s in. She’s not got her keys and the train before this one was cancelled. All things considered she’s remarkably placid and accepting. Although she has forgotten to get whatever the thing was, that Jessica was asking about.

[personal]….tomorrow I’ll get on a train and it will be leading me to a new life, this journey will change me.

A girl in Ugg boots snuggles up to her partner leaving her feet and a partial view of her jeans exposed on the edge of the seat.

I remember driving to Scarborough with Mum, it was sunny, I was happy.


The Morrisons I practised bay parking in on my driving lessons.

Almost at Scarborough now, good news, the woman can get in. Gosh she’s odd, I can’t quite put my finger on it. The woman orders a taxi, her name is Jackie.

Scarborough station rolls in along the window. This is it. The destination is beginning.


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