Newcastle under lockdown

12020 June 10

I'd become very tired of looking at nothing but the same four walls and the occasional peek outside at the dreary, empty, and grey town of [REDACTED], so for the sake of my own mental health i decided to don a mask and take the bus somewhere. I'd meant to go to Morpeth, but i'd missed the bus and the next one wouldn't arrive for ¾ of an hour, so instead i took prerogative and went down to Newcastle.

The journey in was vaguely post-apocalyptic0, as if some unspoken catastrophe had hit the world three months ago — which, of course, it had. Posters for films and advertisements on the side of buses were permanently stuck in late February; unchanged banners were fading and peeling off the walls, the sky was overcast with dreary grey; the streets were deserted, and to add to all that, there were still some Extinction Rebellion flyers stuck to fenceposts on the street, a reminder that the climate crisis hasn't stopped just because we've got other pressing concerns.

The shut doors of the Theatre Royal. There are two panels to the left and the right; the left one reads 'There will now be a short interval. Please support local theatres when we return.'; the right one reads 'See you after the break. Book online or make a donation at theatreroyal.co.uk'

Once i'd gotten off in the city centre1, it was alarming to see the town so tranquil. Shops were shuttered, windows covered with polite flyers explaining why; many establishments also adorned themselves with reminders that no cash was kept on-site. One hardware establishment on Grey Street was closed except for deliveries, for which one was to knock loudly on its imposing doors. An order appeared to be in progress. I didn't dare listen in.

Bird shite carpeting the street directly below the Tyne Bridge.

The disrepair was more evident on the Quayside. A fouler than usual odour filled the air; it became apparent that nobody had cleaned up the bird shite under the Tyne Bridge for quite some time. I hurried out to find the glistening Millennium Bridge was also worse for wear: some sort of black gunk, possibly rust, had smothered parts of its magnificent arch and the joints of its oft-tread deck.

The Gateshead Millennium bridge, smattered with some sort of black substance.

Radiohead's A Moon Shaped Pool provided a fitting soundtrack to exploring the desolate metropolis. Those shivering strings and lush soundscapes let me disappear completely into the setting, aimlessly wandering as i saw fit.2

A closeup on the black substance covering the bridge.

Returning home, i could only hope i'd been lucky enough by Acéstor to avoid the plague; though as a city the town still had a pattering of people, i never felt in any danger of breaking the government's 2 metres' distance.

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Page created: 12020.06.11
Page last updated: 12020.07.18