Saturday, 19 February 2011

Pontypridd is Vile

When other people run my home town down, it hurts. I feel better today for visiting the town centre. Our trip to the park helped to lift the small cloud of doom that was hovering over me this morning. Space, trees, a skinny Robin fascinating my 2 year old and childrens' happy noises. I swung really high on the swings letting out several small yelps as my breathing pattern changed, it was fun. 
After the park, on to the greengrocers for bananas and spuds, that was pleasant too. Exchanged small talk with the cashier and eavesdropped on the conversation a customer was having about his planned dinner of beef casserole. Walked back through the main street, my partner commented on how 'ill' everyone looked. "Fucking  depressing town" "shit weather, everyone looks poor, bloated and pathetic". "Including us" I added.

I scanned the crowd as I always do, and imagined everyone as a stereotypical zombie, limping, crazed, vacant. It wasn't a difficult image to conjure, and some people would have only needed 5 minutes in hair and make-up.
Memories-pretending to be a singer
'B&M Bargains', huge queues just like Woolies used to have before it. Stout gormless lads in cheap garish t-shirts and hoodies chomping ferociously on chips or pasties. Wailing kids being told that they're 'doin' their parents' head in' (I'm sure the feeling was mutual). Two 'ladies' with a number 2 all over hairdo, top-heavy body shape, butch stance and clothes their faces like a dog eating hot chips staring at the wares on a shite market stall. I could go on and on...

I had two things left to buy before home; sun-dried tomatoes and some gluten free flour.  I chatted to the owner of the deli (her daughter is in my middle son's class) meanwhile, my two year old screeched outside in the buggy. On to the whole-food shop, more howling and stiffening of limbs from youngest.
I blend in perfectly with my surroundings, Pontypridd is run-down, neglected, the forgotten town. No leisure centre, no pool, rubbish cafĂ©'s, few decent shops. But it is MY home town, I have good memories, the park is beautiful as are some of the monuments steeped in history. I am still inspired by what I see (even if the inspiration leads to me thinking about zombies).

I was in hospital for 5 days after having my youngest, and I enjoyed escaping into music during visiting hours. The excitable relatives arriving festooned with balloons, flowers and junk food provided a great backdrop to the music I drowned their noise out with. Headphones in, baby to breast, curtain left slightly open and lie back. Boy Robot:Bass and Booze on the mp3 player, that tune now holds special significance. Watching human behaviour is my favourite pass time, and it doesn't matter where I am, I always feel I'm outside.

1 comment:

  1. Oddly, when I went there in 1983 as a wide-eyed student, it seemed a teeming metropolis compared to where I was from. I lived up the Merthyr Road, in Evans Square which was good as there were no other students around except us. I was there during Mrs Thatcher's final battle with the miners and the sentiments were quite raw.
    The market was pretty cool, I thought. It was a great place to get veg and dressing up stuff. I also used to like to sit in the park and write. Its still a lovely park.
    I was saddened when I went back for the first time in over 20 years to find how many closed down shops there were. But then, this is so everywhere now.
    But most of all, I remember the railway station with its enormously long platform. When I felt lazy, I would catch the train from Treforest for, I think, 40p.
    Well, there is a trip down memory lane! Crikey! I feel old :-)


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