Monday, 29 June 2009

Noticing Trees


I walk across King George's Field every day.

It's surrounded on three sides by trees.

Walking around London every day, it's not uncommon that at some point I'll look up and feel awe at the scale of the buildings. And I doubt I'm the only one.

But I haven't been doing the same with trees. Until the other day. The tree in the centre of this picture is easily as tall as a four-storey house, probably taller. And there are scores of other trees on my walk to work which are as tall, or taller.

Why is it that we don't find trees remarkable?

I was walking to work, so it would have been 7:10 when I took this.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Day at night

I walk along the path that connects Millenium Way to Stubbs Lane every day.

During the winter, it's dark when I walk to and from work.

There is a football pitch alongside Stubbs Lane that on some nights will turn on floodlights in order to make it possible for football to be played.

The light is extraordinary. It shines through the trees and gives the area an ethereal quality. It's impossible not to think of aliens and Level 3 encounters. It is impressive, and transportive.

For the birds though, the light has an even more dramatic effect. The floodlight is bright enough that the birds think that dawn is breaking, and they all sit in the trees singing accordingly. But the quantity of light doesn't change, as it would during daybreak. And so the birds are trapped in time, announcing the arrival of morning until the football ground's caretaker goes home for the night and turns the lights off on his way.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Goodbye Millenium Way

I walk along Stubbs Lane every day.

I've been doing so for around 3 years.

And up until about a week ago, when I noticed this sign -- a sign I've walked past twice a day for 3 years -- I was convinced it was called 'Millenium Way'.

In the background there are about 10 rabbits. There are rabbits all over this part of Braintree.

I was late coming home, so it would have been about 21:45 when I took this.

Hot Snack Undergound

I walk across King George's Field Every Day.

Like most spaces frequented by teenagers, for whom the use of bins must be terrifying, King George's Field is often covered in litter.

Most of it comes as expected. Crisp bags, scraps of paper (often from exercise books), beer bottles. That type of thing.

But there's also a bizarrely high number of empty Pot Noodle containers. I imagine there being a localised fad amongst the youth of Braintree for carrying flasks of boiling water around with them, solely for the purpose of making hot snacks in a park. Probably to give them the energy to hoist trolleys on to the top of fences, or to kick fledgling trees in half.

I was walking to work, so it would have been about 7:11 when I took this.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Facing Off

I walk through the transitional area between Clay Pits and King George's field every day.

One morning, on the way to work, yet more trolleys had been left in odd places. I found this pair facing eachother at the entrance to King George's Field.

Often when I find things like this, I think maybe that they're just the product of random experience. But this...

...this was on purpose. Why, I don't know. The two trolleys describe a line, but I'm not sure what it intersects. I wasn't sure whether to corss it either... at 7am, anything confusing is a potential threat, so I was tempted to turn around and sit at home until the whole thing had blown over.

But I didn't. I just hopped over it, and carried on my way.

I was on my way to work, so it would have been about 7:10 when I took this.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Bad Draw Times

video

I walk across King George's Field every day.

I've often had the suspicion that the world is generated as we travel through it, rather than being continuous. Once, whilst looking out of a plane window, I thought I saw a contrail being rotated into position. It was as though the people who put contrails in the sky had forgotten I'd be flying that day, and were rushing to get it finished.

This happens in computer games. To save memory, the environment is built as you get nearer to it, rather than being present all the time. This is called 'draw time'.

King George's Field can get very foggy. And when walking through the fog, it's like the world's draw times have suddenly got really short.

I was walking to work, so it would have been about 7:10 when I shot this.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Empty Carpark

I walk across Freeport Shopping Village's overspill carpark every day.

There's something about empty carparks that I find disquieting.

It's similar to the feeling you get in an empty school, or a large office building after everyone's gone home. They're more than empty, extra empty, because they're normally so full.

And the sky over an empty carpark has the same power. Like it's ready to burst with a force that's the culmination of everythnig that's natural. Supernatural, in the most literal sense of the word.

And if it's late, and I'm walking home, Freeport's carparks will be empty. And I enjoy being a part of that emptiness, in the knowledge that I'm only passing through.

I was walking home, so it would have been about 21:45 when I took this.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Ditched Trolley

I walk across King George's Field every day.

On my way home one day, I noticed a number of shopping trolleys which had been abandoned in odd places. This is the second one I saw. It had been mercilessly tipped into this ditch, which runs along one side of the field, next to the path.

This is the sort of thing you could see every day. I'm sure there are thousands of ditches with trolleys dumped in them.

An observation about shopping trolleys: When taken out of their usual context, there is something anomalous about them. They tend to draw focus, and if not dominate, then at least subvert their surroundings. It's possibly because their shape is so unnatural. They don't look like they should function in conventional space.

But this one, lying on its side in this ditch, all alone, just looked pathetic.

I was walking home, so it would have been about 18:40 when I took this.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Nighttime Light Corridor

I walk along Stubbs Lane every day.

Sometimes I don't get home before nightfall, and have to walk along Stubbs Lane in the dark. The alley is lit at four points by streetlights. When it rains, and water settles on the path, the light from the streetlight from the streetlights reflects off the ground.

It always makes my walk home seem more mysterious when it's like this. Like I'm walking down a corridor that's both indoors and outdoors at the same time. Or that I'm walking along a boundry between two worlds.

I was walking home at night, so it would have been about 21:35 when I took this.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Most Peaceful Place On Earth

video
I wait for the train at Freeport Station every day.

I say "Freeport Station" but it's just a platform, on a branch line. The train comes in every hour on its way to Braintree, and 15mins later comes back through again as it heads back to Witham.

The platform sits in a little man-made valley, surrounded on two sides with trees. It's been very well designed to keep the sound of any passing trains contained in its hollow. And very little sound leaks in from the rest of the world.

Some days, I'm late, and miss the train. And I loiter in the platform's shelter, with three quarters of an hour to wait, alone, before the train returns.

Out there, it feels like the quietest, most peaceful place on earth.

I decided to record this silence one morning. And after 8 seconds of bird song and the rustle of leaves, I got bored, made a bizarre tapping noise and stopped recording.

As I'd missed the train on the way to work, it would have been about 8:00am when I filmed this.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Trolley In A Fence

I walk along the path that connects Millenium Way to Stubbs Lane every day.

On my way home one day, I noticed a number of shopping trolleys which had been abandoned in odd places. This is the first one I saw. It had been hoisted up onto this fence. The fence is about 6' tall, maybe taller.

It occured to me what a frenzied effort it must have taken to get it up there. Trolleys are deceptively heavy, but not only that, they are unweildly -- once they are off the ground, they are spastic in space.

Whoever got it up there could not have done so gracefully. Sheer, shaking fury would have been necessary to get it up there, even if it was a group exercise. Especially if it was a group exercise.

What sort of person would decide on that course of action, and then be bloody-minded enough to follow through?

I was walking home, so it would have been about 18:35 when I took this.

Ritual Snow Pile

I walk across King George's Field every day.

Earlier this year, when it snowed very heavily, King George's Field was transformed, in the way that snow always transforms a landscape: it smoothed it out, covered it over, painted it white.

Early in the morning, the sun not yet fully in the sky, the light reflected off the snow and turned it blue.

As the days went by, and people participated in the snow, moving it about, piling it up, throwing it around, the landscape changed again, and became slightly alien, pitted. There were black spots in the snow: twigs and rubbish and exposed dirt.

And as I was walking to work one morning, this came looming through the thick, heavy air. This pile of snow, with twigs inserted in apparently random arrays. At one point, it could have been a snowman, but it didn't last long. It was early morning, and it had refrozen, stuck like this.

I couldn't help seeing it as an artifact, a part of some ritual conducted hastily through the night by cloaked agents. Or even a ritual carried out randomly, unwittingly, the product of frenzied action by the same kids who displace the trolleys and leave Pot Noodle packaging in the through-road.

I was walking to work, so it would have been about 7:12am when I took this.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Buried Playground

I walk across King Geroge's Field every day.

It used to have just the one playground area, but then they built a snazzy new one a few hundred yards across the field and then there were two.

And then one morning, I found that the first one had been dug up, and in its place there was this patch of earth, as though they'd buried it.

They've built a new one since, a third one, only a few steps away from where the first one stood. Grass has started growing on this square of dirt now, but it's a different colour to the rest of the field, like it's a ghost or something.

I was walking to work, so it would have been about 7:15am when I took this.