Saturday, 10 May 2008
Hide and Seek and Swirling Stars.
A Swansea Bay
Ian Nairn was a fine journalist who wrote for the Observer newspaper. He did a series of articles on the most interesting towns and cities of Britain. I remember one comment he made about Swansea. It went something like this. “Not since leaving Liverpool have I seen such a display of sexuality and seedy vitality on the street.” So obviously I had done something right in making Swansea my university of choice.
A wonderful picture is conjured up of this lubricious and well oiled journalist peering down from the top of a Swansea bus at the crowded streets below. I remember the streets as being shabby and worn, and he didn’t mention the pubs which smelt of beer, unlike today; but everything else he said about Swansea was true.
What I don’t remember him saying is how breathtakingly beautiful the immediate area is, especially the coastline. We were fortunate living just over Langland Bay with other bays like Caswell, Three Cliffs, and Oxwich in easy reach. Each had their own peculiar magic that slowly seeped into you and never let go.
This picture reminds me of a Dennis Wheatley horror movie. It has something of the satanic ritual about it, but it's just us sharing a drink in the Langland House. I don't know who the woman is. I wish I did.
In our second year we rented a house in Langland. It overlooked the park where I rediscovered swings and slides, the potency of a roundabout at night when drunk, seeing how fast you could make the stars swirl round. In Langland we most often walked down to the Langland Bay hotel which had a dartboard and a pleasantly seedy bar. Alcohol bonds, allows a degree of telepathy, encourages schoolboy japes, disguises cruelty.
One night someone suggested a game of ‘Hide and Seek’ on the beach. Ian volunteered to be ‘Man’ while the rest of us hid. Nothing was said or planned; what happened just happened. We all crept quietly up the cliff path on our way home, listening to Ian counting up to twenty and then searching the rocks and chalets where we should have been hiding. We were on our second cup of tea when Ian finally reached home, thoroughly disgruntled whilst we felt thoroughly mean.
Rocks in Langland Bay