Go Home Go up a level


Indeed, there are many stories to be heard about the landscapes of New Town - the vistas, the scrubland, the endless orchard rows, the cool valleys overshadowed by deep clefts in the mountainside escarpment - but in those stories one must take heed: they are but stories, and not part of the landscape itself. I’m sure this warning might appear ridiculous to an intelligent person such as yourself; perhaps I have already wasted too much of your precious story-reading time with such a preamble, but my caution is not down to melodramatic flair, nor is it to increase my stature over yours by tediously driving home the inferiority of your local knowledge and bragging about all shapes of anecdote as, you may be aware, some are like to do. No, my caution is pertinent, and yet almost too ephemeral to have any meaning amongst the locals - for I myself have yet to be fully assimilated into the geography of New Town. Often there are no ears for my tongue.

Yet be aware that many here believe that their stories are the landscape itself; the two have somehow become indistinguishable, and no-one here contradicts the view that the landscape is nothing but a series of descriptions of it - a peculiarity which is jealously defended. Sometimes you will be out walking, tempted by the fragrance of orange blossom which fills the atmosphere with a billion particulates, or tempted by the warmth of the earth and the movement of trees. Sometimes you will be out walking, and already you have disappeared - you are walking only in the mind of the bartender, who spits into a glass to have it clean, tending to nefarious business on the side whilst his mother looks down into the sink, lost. Or you are walking across the landscape as someone else might see it, never on your own two feet.

This is very common here, no? Absorbed by the stories of the landscape, you have no way now to be disjoint from a collective paranoia which has led to the deterioration of this valley into words, nothing but words. Listen instead to the stories, but listen close and listen careful. Stories are the most deadly landscapes of all.

Jim Broadband

Maig 5-th, 2017