Thursday 10 October 2013

GUEST BLOG: Everywhere is Changing - Tony Ballantyne

Today, we're proud to have Tony Ballantyne talking about his latest title, Dream London (released today from Solaris) where he brings thoughts about changes to life using his home town as an example.  Enjoy...

In Dream London the people change a little every day, the city changes a little every night.

Actually, the same is true out here in the real world.  In my home town of Oldham they knocked down the rather oddly named Mumps bridge, and dug up all the trees.  This was so they could lay the new tramlines, linking us to the Manchester Metrolink.  There was a half hearted attempt to save the bridge, one that never really got off the ground as the bridge was so ugly.  It's chief claim to fame was advertising Oldham as the home of the Tubigrip bandage (It has also been the home of Brian Cox, William Walton and Winston Churchill to name but three less medically related denizens).   Not many people wanted to save the bridge, though it did seem sad to lose the trees.  Oddly, opening up the scene has made the place look nicer, you can appreciate the vista as you come down the hill from Yorkshire and rise up into the town centre.

Whilst they have been building the trams, the roads have changed direction.  There was a run of weeks where we had to get used fresh diversions, to chain metal fences pulled across the roads, to pavements dug up, to roads ripped apart to expose yellow mud veins, to puddles of oily water collect in depressions as the land subsides.  But slowly, something new has been emerging.  Over the months, the pattern of the future developments can be seen as the roads resolved themselves into definite routes. One morning whilst walking to work I saw a yellow tram gliding bizarrely across a road, perpendicular to the normal flow of traffic.  It was an odd sight, completely unexpected at the time, now commonplace.

I love the trams.  More, I love the way the world slowly changes over time.  I had no influence over the changes that were wreaked upon my town, they happened despite my wishes.  These changes were for the better, but often they are for the worst.  The Town Hall has been left to rot for as long as I've lived here, together with many other fine old buildings it has been quietly forgotten about until it can be pulled down and replaced with more bars and fast food joints.

In Dream London, the changes are speeded up and they are nearly always negative.  The people only notice them because they happen so quickly. Out here in the real world, we tend not to notice the changes that are happening around us until it's too late...

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