Much as i try to avoid the scourge of the real world creeping on to these pages, i can’t honestly justify ignoring the fairly momentous and possibly historical events taking place, quite literally on my rl doorstep.
As i type these words, i can’t avoid the surreal feeling that i’ve been press ganged into the Welsh remake of Apocalypse Now! A horde of military helicopters are at this moment thundering overhead, police sirens are almost constant from every corner of the city and there’s a weird and very tangible feeling in the air that momentous things are afoot.
This drab and weary no-hope city has, over the last few weeks, become a very strange and bewildering place to live and go about normal business: huge steel fortifications have appeared at strategic locations, military vehicles and aircraft have become everyday sights, police helicopters fly non-stop in the skies above and an overwhelming police presence – the like of which has to be experienced to be believed – has cast an iron grip over every aspect of life. The fields opposite my humble abode have been requisitioned as a base for 9000+ police officers, together with their assorted vehicles, dogs and horses from every corner of the country, as well as being pressed into service as an impromptu airport – it really does leave you feeling a little out of your depth.
It’s been an odd week – a friend was stopped and searched twice on the street within the space of a couple of hundred metres: bag emptied, mobile phone messages inspected, everything; a colleague’s train was boarded by armed police, who ordered all the passengers off and onto another train; i myself was greeted by a couple of armed officers carrying sub-machine guns as i got off the train for work on Monday; every bridge, motorway junction, intersection and building seems to have its contingent of armed cops, blue-capped, bullet-proof jacketed and menacing.
Schools, city centre shops and offices are closed, public transport cancelled and threats of road closures, delays and unspecified threats abound. The city is in lockdown and – despite the shrugging-off of such things that those less close to the action seem to think we should be doing, it is actually very difficult to adjust emotionally to the highly-charged and disturbing atmosphere that pervades. Things feel terribly, terribly out of sync.
And all this because a generous helping of world leaders are descending upon us for what is likely to be a significant and possibly world-changing NATO Summit. You’re not going to get me embroiled in the politics and moral, or ethical, complexities of the thing – that way, madness lies – whether it’s right, wrong, good, bad or inconsequential makes absolutely not one jot of a difference: it’s happening and that’s all there is to it.
Unfortunately, it’s happening right here and right now – in a way it’s incredibly exciting, in another, it’s horribly disorientating – a once in a lifetime experience that is hard to reconcile with the banality and normality of what is usually a fairly routine sort of life. Yes, i could be wrong, but i suspect that this city and those who call it home right now, may not be the same for quite some time.
i hear sl calling: a quiet, safe place that – for once, at least – is far less confusing that the real one!
And I’ll be Port forever
Yes it is my lifeblood
These streets they are a part of me
The yin to my yang
The Craig to my Bellamy
Goldie Lookin Chain – Newport (Ymerodraeth State Of Mind)