We are looking for contacts, local community groups, interested individuals, routes into funding, places to exhibit, support, volunteers, publicity and people to network with in order to develop our projects.
Please contact us by emailing milesanddacombe@virginmedia.com.

Monday 16 August 2010


One travels to escape from it all, but that is the great illusion: It cannot be done, since one travels with one's mind.
 Ella Maillart (travel writer, 1903-1997)

The romanticism of travel still persists.  Yesterday I saw a 7 year old boy at the station platform waiting for the train with his family.  Mum looks tired, carrying all the bags - they are on a trip to Skegness, they had to get up early to get things ready.  The boy, however, is full of beans, he's beside himself with excitement and announces to the platform crowd "We're going on a train! choo choo!"  followed by the dance:  he strides up and down the platform, rotating arms bent at the elbow, "chuff chuff, woo woo!"

Where, I wonder, has he got this image from?  Has this young boy ever actually seen a steam engine that goes "chuff chuff woo woo"?  Certainly no trains at this platform will be making that sound.  Somehow the excitement of the romantic image of the train lives on in this child - he does not talk about the excitement of the seaside, it is the journey itself that has him enthused.

Alas, not so for the rest of us this morning, commuting to our various places of work.  How different the weekend train passengers are from the Monday morning.  The train is equally noisy, but nobody here expects the journey to be exciting, or even fun - most people have brought some form of distraction for themselves:  headphones, books, mobiles for texting, spreadsheets to pore over, dark sunglasses to sleep under.  No child's voice trilling over the conversations of colleagues, no sense of anticipation, just a sleepy, weary monotony of the same old journey...

I once made a piece called "Interruptions"which mused on travel... how travel is a series of interruptions, a story to tell and the "interruptions are what make a journey worth relating."  The daily commute has no sense of story, there will be no interruptions... it is the efficiency of the train that takes away the anticipation, the unexpected, the romanticism...

It is the unknown that excites us, the sense of exploration, the romanticism of the train only lasts for those for whom it is a novelty, who don't know what to expect, who knows what could happen... like a 7 year old boy.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave a comment