Monday, 31 January 2011

Bus to Confidence

Step, got it. Step, got it. Step, got two. Step, got two again. Whoo. This is amazing.
Johnny loved this town. He played this game at home all the time, but here it was just so much more fun, with all the chewing gum constellations on the pavement. Step - and another one. It was practically impossible to lose here. He kept on jumping from foot to foot.
“Wow.” He put both feet on the ground and ran to the grass. “Look at all these seeds here.” He picked up a Cadbury paper and smelled it. The stingy scent of chocolate and syrup. He took a deep breath and then tucked the paper neatly between three clusters of grass, putting a bit of soil on top of it. “Now you can blossom, sweety.”
He looked further ahead. He had never seen something like that before. Quickly he ran over to a bottle of cider. Yes, bottles he knew, even this size. But the name on it wasn’t anything like they had at home. “Cider.” Was that the brand?
A girl walked by. She was dressed really strangely. Jeans as big as his Mum’s, but the girl was skinny and pale. Not really pale with all the black in her face. The jacket also seemed to be three times too big for her. He sighed. She must be a very poor girl. It gave him some reassurance that not all the people in “Confidence” were rich and wealthy.
He took the bottle and moved on, playing his game down the street. A strange music caught his ear. He peered into the distance, where the sun was about to disappear behind the chimneys. The smoke that came out of the roofs was just like the one surrounding the dump in his backyard. A black car drove by with a dark man inside. The music became louder as it approached. The beat kept repeating constantly; what a stupid thing to do when there are so many different tunes.
Right behind the car was a bus just like the one he had arrived in. This was such a strange place the bus to Confidence had dropped him off.

By Nico Lehmann, DMU, Leicester

Sunday, 30 January 2011

my home.

Frayed fingers and caressing eyes

rove, never ending over me.

‘Don’t walk through there alone,’ they cry.

A perfect circle. Much to shy

to open and let us be free,

of frayed fingers and caressing eyes.

Halfway around, it tries to hide.

High-pitched screams as we try to flee.

‘Don’t walk through there alone’ they cry

to me as I daringly try

to enter the beautifully

frayed fingers and caressing eyes.

A set of wheels and racing thighs,

hurtle me towards the queen bee.

‘Don’t walk through there alone,’ they cry.

Brown bricks and branches block the sky,

as they begin to stare at my

frayed fingers and caressing eyes.

‘Don’t walk through there alone,’ they cry.

By Brittany Reid

Deaf to the world.

Dan got up at 5:30 every morning to go for a run before work. Today was no exception; his radio alarm woke him on time with the daily celebrity scandal. He hit a button to silence it, and put on his training clothes. He grabbed his iPod on the way out the door, and unwound the cable as he walked to warm up. He put the earphones in and quickened to a jogging pace as he scrolled through his playlists. He pressed play and quickened his step again. He crossed the road, heading towards the park, and then realised no music was playing. He cranked the volume up but nothing happened. Dan pulled his iPod from his pocket and found the playlist empty of tracks.
“What the hell…”
He selected another playlist, but its pre-selected tracks weren’t there either. After checking two more playlists, Dan stopped running and clicked All Music. Nothing appeared; there was a blank screen. He grunted, shoved his iPod into his pocket, and continued his daily run without his usual upbeat music to keep rhythm.

Once he got home, Dan jumped in the shower, had breakfast and then got in the car to head to work across the city. The radio station he had pre-tuned in the car was spitting out static, so he switched to another, which was transmitting a news report. Every channel he tuned into was playing either news, weather or DJs talking rubbish. Dan hit the radio off with a thump and drove to work in silence. He passed the morning by drinking coffee after coffee as he waded his way through paperwork he had been hoping would disappear. His afternoon was one long, stressful meeting, and by the time he left the office and got into his car, he was more than ready to unwind with his girlfriend at the concert they booked tickets for months before. He flipped through the radio stations again and let it settle on a comedy act as he sat in traffic.

As soon as he got home, he took a shower to waken up, and made a quick microwave dinner. He had just finished getting ready when his phone buzzed with a text from Lucy: “Concert cancelled tonight, band gave no reason!”

Dan swore loudly and went straight to the fridge for a beer. Lucy phoned him ten minutes later and asked if he wanted to go to a wine bar instead. “They better have stocked up,” Dan replied.

“What’s up?” Lucy asked him as they sat on the bar’s balcony, overlooking part of the city. “Nothing, why?” he replied. “You seem tense. Bad day?” Lucy asked. “I guess… well, no… I don’t know, nothing bad happened, it’s just been a weird sort of day. Quiet, but busy, you know?” Dan answered. Lucy nodded.
“It’s nice here, but they could do with playing some music or something, soft jazz or that,” Dan said. “Yeah,” Lucy agreed.

On their walk back to Lucy’s apartment, they stopped to buy kebabs from a street vendor, and while they waited for their overpriced, cheap meat, Dan looked up and saw some words spray painted onto a disused bridge. He could just make out what it said from the flickering light of a street lamp: “Imagine waking tomorrow and all music has disappeared”.

-Naomi Marcus, DMU.

Unplugged in Leicester

(Click the picture)

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Brucie's in the Sky with Cupcakes

Ay up, you seen them paintings,
on the 'oardings down Bath Lane, by the canal?
Cartoons, like Sergeant Pepper,
'ang on, I mean Yellow Submarine.
Slap bang across from Brucie's, y'know,
'im does tea and pastries, and a pretty spanking
jammy scone and cream.

You should see them paintings,
I ain't never seen oat like 'em,
all candy pink and full-on bubblegum,
mutant pear drops, cochineal and cherry plums.
Just like Woolies' Pik 'n' Mix, before they closed.

Fizzy pop and fondant fancies,
doughy doughnuts, buns and biscuits,
still warm.
Or just a cheese 'n' onion cob, I ain't fancy.
Hey, lets go Brucie's now, I'm hungry.

Could gerra tea to go,
'ead up West Wharf and see
his piece of history, tucked away.
A kaleidoscope of colours,
psychedelic cyanosis.
Oo ya beauty,
Luigi Brucciani

by Sally Jack, DMU

Thursday, 27 January 2011

A Leicester Walk Poem

Sirens are our birdsong

Sirens are our birdsong
as we break onto Bonner’s Lane
biro-beaks primed to gather,
hunt and scavenge.

left his name to the city
and here
on Gosling St

two half-gouged lychees
burst their rubber moulds.
Above, air miles are chalked
in spinal sky trails. Below,

tarmac deep, an ocean floor;
the predatory life of the streets
acted by an ensemble of discarded objects:
orange bottle top edges

away from the gaping mouth
of a sandwich-shell, mere inches
from the splayed fin of a fag-butt.
We swim for it in light

squeezed between buildings,
channelled past cruising subs
with black-out windows
and bass-bin sonar.

Breaking news is tidal, laps the curbs
wraps a tide-line round the gutters:
a translucent Pringle caught in the slipstream
of leaves and tissue polyps.

Our feathered constituents
scrabble for scraps on a mercury Soar.
The more we watch, the more
they choreograph our times;

liquorice-legged Coots
dart in from the margins
for crumbs
afraid to challenge geese and swans.

The future’s orange,
or agents thereof: a Doosan crane
picks at the brick-bones
of an ex-public house,

whilst men on Black Friar’s Lane
in garage arches, scrub in; massage
the internal organs of failing cars
hands slick with vital fluids

and in the sky top-right, mid-afternoon,
the pale coin of the moon:
phantom currency. We bag it all,
There’s no such thing as a Dog Pooh Fairy.

Simon Perril, DMU, England

Monday, 24 January 2011

Dear Writers in America and Hawaii and Leicester,

a belated Happy New Year 2011 to you all!

So let's turn our attention to the unique opportunity before us: the chance for students at four different universities in different parts of the world to share writings about place. These writings don't have to be polished stories, poems, memoirs; they can just as usefully be informal jottings, observations and photos that try to capture the texture of a place.

Places are so often magnets for stories, aren't they? You must all know a tale, folk legend, anecdote or urban myth about where you grew up? There must have been a place you were told not to go to, or a place that had become so wrapped in generations of telling that it has become an almost mythical focus of attention for its community? So, please introduce yourselves by posting something on the blog ASAP: either something related to where you grew up, or something about the immediate environment around you - even if it's just a photo of the view from your window ...

C'mon: participate!

Simon Perril

DMU, Leicester, England

The Tree

There is a tree outside my window.

It's not a particularly special tree; just a tree.

It stands in the pub garden next door, reaching over four stories of student housing. Perhaps it's set aside in a special part of the garden, with grass and flowers and stones. It could have seating around it, a bench perhaps. You have to wonder if the smokers in the garden even notice the tree, or just walk right past it.

There is a tree outside my window.

It's not a particularly special tree; just a tree.

Four stories high and I can see all of its branches and the trunk as it disappears behind brick and metal buildings. Winter has stripped it of its leaves, and in the darkness it is just a silhouette against the bright lights of the buildings surrounding it. The trunk looks scraped and scarred, maybe to protect student drinkers from splinters.

There is a tree outside my window.

It looks like it is crying.

by Kelly Lawson, DMU

Leicester by GR Phillpott