Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Halfway Down The Stairs ...

Spent two and a half hours on Leeds station, waiting for my mother, who was stuck just a few miles away behind a broken down train, waiting for a third train to come and rescue it. Browsed Smiths, M&S food store, Boots, sat with a coffee and an almond croissant, fed the meter in the car park, browsed Smiths again, sat and watched trailers for a Clive Owen thriller on the big screen. I like stations. The sense that you all have a more or less common purpose, and you’re neither here nor there, suspended in time. Halfway down the stairs is a place where I stop. Tried to think of books set in stations, or scenes in books. Remembered watching The Odessa File as a kid, Jon Voight … pushed under a train in a German underground? An American Werewolf in London, the businessman being stalked in the tube. That fabulous scene in one of the Bourne thrillers, at Waterloo station. The Guardian journalist - Paddy Considine? – getting shot. The Railway Children of course, but I never read it, only saw the film. The figure appearing out of the steam, ‘Daddy, my daddy’. But books … my mind’s gone blank. Or it’s been colonised by big, brash films, pushing all the books out. Graham Greene wrote Stamboul Train, didn’t he? That must feature some stations. Anyway, my mum arrived eventually, so our stalled lives coughed back into action and continued, and continue.

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