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squirmelia

Skyberries and Voidmelons or Voidberries and Skymelons


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squirmelia

Soton

Although I was quite exhausted, I decided it was necessary to take Marios on a tour of Southampton, and probably bored him by pointing out the sights that were relevant to my life once. "I used to live here in the flooded basement amongst the stairs to nowhere!", "I used to rent foreign films from here, when it was Videotheque!", "This used to be the Lizard Lounge!", etc. The night before we had ended up at the Dungeon, which featured in my life a lot when I was a student in Southampton. On the Sunday, we wandered around the Avenue, and then Bedford Place (Marios was interested in the strange looking courthouse, and we walked through Little Mongers), and then through the parks, and around the town centre. To stop ourselves getting too cold, we popped into the various shopping centres (Marlands, West Quay, Bargate and East Street). The Bargate had some art in a shop which we went to look at, with t-shirts such as "If you cannot be a poet, be the poem", but the Titanic exhibition was closed. We wandered through the Bargate itself and then onto East Street. The East Street shopping centre is surprisingly still open, when I had imagined it would be closed down by now, as most of the shops are long since gone. We took advantage of the special feature in the shopping centre though - the bit of pipe in the middle. I climbed through it, as if it were part of an adventure playground. An elderly man spoke to us on our way out of the shopping centre, and commented on the emptiness. "Was there a plague here?" he asked.

The town centre currently has a German Christmas market on, so we had a look at that, and then after a while, concluded we were too tired and too cold, so unfortunately didn't make it for lunch with Nick & co, and instead just headed home. We walked through the little bit of park next to the station and stared at the new Ikea in the distance, and the bits of crumbling walls in that park, and also at the glorious brutalist Wyndham Court.

I actually forgot about Southampton for a few years, but visiting it again at the weekend made me realise that these days it feels more like home than most other places I have lived in. I suppose because I lived there for 9 years. It is not the prettiest city I have ever lived in, but there are excellent people there, and interesting little features of the town if you look hard enough, and well, I realise now that I miss it.

I want to read Militant Modernism by Owen Hatherley, since he talks about Southampton, including one place I lived for a year:
"The place in question was a 'cottage estate'; one of those built on the outskirts of the cities by councils in the 30s in woolly, vaguely vernacular fashion, with real homes featuring gardens and pitched roofs. Every road was named after a different flower, from carnations to lobelias, in true garden-suburb style. This didn't stop it from being one of the more impoverished, violent and desolate places in Southampton, feared most of all by the students of the nearby University."

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Yeah, living on that estate was... interesting.

I'm glad Southampton still feels a little bit like home to you. Calendar conflicts suck, so sorry I never made it as far as re-exploring Southampton with you on Sunday.

It wasn't actually as bad as it could have been though. I only remember people having stones thrown at them once? At least it was close to ECS.

Sorry for not making it to the pub for lunch and for leaving Soton much earlier than I had originally intended to! Was good to catch up with you on Saturday at least.

I had stones thrown at me on the flowers estate once, they stopped when I started catching them out of the air and hefting them interestedly.

I believe I've only once walked through the estate proper, and by coincidence I was carrying the naginata at the time. Can't imagine why we got no hassle! :)

You were obviously the one causing the trouble there then with your naginata. Tsk.

Actually, the road where we lived was pretty quiet, but sometimes it was a bit scary walking past one of the other roads on the way to the computer labs.

Did you throw the stones back at them or higher than that, onto the moon?

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It would have been cool to see you, and the roast did sound tempting, but what happened was that when visiting East Street shopping centre, the elderly man in the desolate and plague-ridden East Street was obviously a zombie, so we feared for our lives and jumped aboard our respective trains to escape.

At one point I used to live about 3 doors down from Videotheque, so ended up hiring a lot of films from there.

The poor residences of the flowers estate

It's come a long way since 2000 and I fear that they are stuck with a reputation they can't shift. Thornhill has superseded the Flowers Estate in spades. I would like to read that book too. But it does make me wonder what happens when places like that become case studies but they finally manage to move on and out of poverty.

Re: The poor residences of the flowers estate

Glad to hear it has improved since I lived there!

The author of the book apparently also lived on the Flowers Estate. There is also another book that he has written which also sounds fascinating: A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain.

I was confused by the mention of Thornhill to start with, as there is Thornhill Park and Ride in Oxford! Then realised you obviously meant the Southampton one. :)

So many familiar street names and places. Saying those place names out loud makes them feel so foreign now. It's been a while.

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